The Jewel cichlid (scientific name: Hemichromis bimaculatus) is a popular fish in the cichlid family. These fish originate from west Africa primarily but can be found a bit further east as well. Another common name for them is the African Jewelfish. They spend most of their time in smaller bodies of freshwater like rivers, streams, and lakes (among others). This is useful to know because this is the kind of environment you’ll be trying to replicate when setting up their tank.
Click for all African Cichlid fish at Rebel Pets.
Jewel cichlids have a reputation for being quite aggressive and potentially difficult to manage in certain situations. Here are some things to consider
- They get MUCH more aggressive when mating.
- Providing them with their own space to claim in the tank will help reduce confrontations. See Tank Conditions below.
- Jewel cichlids will nip at the fins of other fish (especially ones that have long fins) if they’re aggravated or hungry.
- They’re active fish and you will often see them digging and rooting around in the substrate looking for food.
The average Jewel cichlid lifespan is roughly 5 years. There have been instances when this fish has lived up to 7 yrs in captivity but it’s extremely uncommon. Their lifespan is influenced by the quality of care and habitat they’re provided with (just like any other fish). However, what makes them a little bit different is the importance of managing their aggression.
Experts recommend a 100 litre tank minimum, we think that something a little larger will make your life a whole lot easier. A 150 litre tank provides some extra room to help your fish be more comfortable and will give them the space they need. The average Jewel cichlid size is usually no more than 15 cm when in captivity. However, in the wild they can get as long as 30 cm.
- Sandy substrate: Jewel cichlids like to root around and dig at the bottom of the tank. Anything rougher could cause them to get cut.
- Background covering: If you use an aquarium background you’ll want to make it as natural as possible. Our recommendation is something with a mix of rocks and plants.
- Large rocks: This will make all the difference. First of all, rocks help mimic their natural habitat of rivers, streams, and lakes. Secondly, this gives your Jewel cichlids a place to call their own. This will help prevent territorial spats.
Some aquarists have had fantastic luck with keeping Jewel cichlids in community tanks. They have paired them with African cichlids, and even some varying kinds of tetras. But this can be more of a lucky situation than anything else. Because of the aggressive territorial behavior, it is often recommended keeping the species alone, but in large aquariums they can be kept with Congo tetras, Synodontis catfish and other robust species.
Jewel cichlids are omnivores and will happily snack on flake food, pellets, cichlid food and live food. Overall they’re pretty easy fish to feed, but make sure you provide them with a balanced diet if you want to keep them as healthy as possible. This means a mix of flakes or pellets and a couple days of live/frozen food mixed in each week. Two of your best choices are frozen brine shrimp or bloodworms.
This cichlid is very hardy but you’ll still need to slowly acclimate them to your quarantine tank. Watch for several weeks before introducing to your display tank.
See Fish Disease Diagnosis and Treatment at Rebel Pets for help with diagnosing and treating diseases.
|Adult Size:||15 cm|
|Aquarist Experience Level:||Intermediate|
|Minimum Tank Size:||100 litres, +50 litres/add. fish|
|Tank Level:||Mid to bottom dweller|
|Diet:||Omnivore, eats most foods|
|Temperature:||23 – 27°C|
|pH:||6.5 to 7.5 slightly acidic|
|Hardness:||neutral-soft range not to exceed 12 dGH|
Image Source: Wikipedia