Jewel Cichlids

jewel cichlids

Jewel cichlids (Hemichromis bimaculatus) belong to the family Cichlidae. They are commonly referred to as a group of fishes known as the African cichlids. Jewel cichlids are freshwater fish from the Nile, Zaire, and Niger rivers in Africa.

They are not good fish for a community tank and so you should keep jewel cichlids in a species only tank. Jewel cichlids are very territorial fish and they typically fight with other species.

You should provide plants in their aquarium, however, they will usually dig these up, but it is still best to provide some plants. They also like to dig in the substrate. You should provide some rocks and caves in your tank for hiding places and for spawning. A flat rock will also be necessary if you want them to spawn.

They reach an adult size of about 4-6 inches (10-15 cm). They need a water temperature of between 70-82°F (21-28°C) and a pH of about 7.5.

Jewel cichlids will eat most aquarium fare, flakes, pellets, freeze-dried, frozen, and live foods. Feeding them meaty type foods will help to get them into breeding condition.

jewel cichlid and fry
Jewel Cichlid and Fry

It is difficult to sex jewel cichlids. If you want to breed them, the best way is to have several in your tank and let them pair themselves off. Once they have selected a mate, move the pair into their own aquarium (that also contains caves, rocks, and plants). They will then preclean a surface, such as a flat rock, and lay their eggs on it. Both parents guard the eggs until they hatch.

After the fry hatch, both parents take care of their fry until they are almost half an inch long (about 1 cm), moving the fry into pits they have dug in the substrate. The fry will become free-swimming in about 2-3 days after hatching and can be fed newly hatched brine shrimp and liquid or powdered fry food.

Once the jewel cichlid pair stop taking care of their fry remove them and raise the fry alone. Be certain that parenting has stopped before removing the parents.