Aquarium Fish

Jewel Cichlid

The Jewel Cichlid originates from Africa where they live in streams and river systems with mud bottoms. This jewel cichlid has a wide range of common names with some pet stores calling them the Blue Jewel Cichlid, Green Jewel, Jewel fish, etc. Their coloration in pet store tanks can be a little drab, but with proper feeding and a suitable aquarium, they should color up nicely. They are very hardy and should tolerate a range of water conditions, but may only breed in tanks with water on the acidic side and slightly elevated tank temperature. See the table below for more parameters.

This Jewel Cichlid can be quite aggressive, even more so when they form pairs and start breeding. They will not tolerate other fish in the tank when this happens. A tank divider is needed if you plan on stocking them with other fish. Given their nature, a separate tank is advisable if you want to keep a pair of these beauties. Once they have babies, like other cichlids, these are great parents and will defend their fry against any and all comers.

Feeding the Jewel Cichlid should be a breeze since they will accept nearly all fish foods you give them. Give them a varied diet of frozen, live, flakes and pellets and they should reward you with great health and colors.

Again, think twice before putting a Jewel Cichlid in a tank with less aggressive fish species. If you're keeping only one Jewel you might be ok, but keeping pairs will be a problem when keeping them with other fish. They also like to dig, so keeping them with live plants may be difficult.

Jewel Cichlid Picture

Jewel Cichlid
Jeweled Cichlid

Jewel Cichlid Breeding Video

Jewel Cichlid Care

Scientific Name : Hemichromis bimaculatus

Common Names : Jewel Cichlid, Jewel fish, African Jewelfish, Two Spotted Jewel Fish, Green Jewel, Blue Jewel

Jewel Cichlid Care Level : Easy to Moderate

Size : 5.5 inches (14 cm)

pH : 7 - 7.5

Temperature : 70°F - 74°F (21°C - 23°C)

Lifespan : 5 years or longer

Origin / Habitat : African rivers

Temperament / Behavior : Can get aggressive when forming pairs.

Jewel Cichlid Breeding : May get better results with slightly increased (a degree or two) water temperature. The female will lay the eggs on a flat surface. After 2 to 4 days, the eggs hatch and the parents will move them to another location for another couple of days until the babies are swimming. These jewel cichlids are great parents. Get your fry foods ready and plan on feeding finely crushed flake foods, baby brine shrimp or other fry foods.

Aquarium Size : 30 gallon minimum for a pair, much larger for multiples to limit aggression.

Jewel Cichlid Tank Mates : Not recommended for community tank type setups. They can get very aggressive with tank mates when ready for breeding.

Fish Disease : Freshwater Fish Disease - Diagnose, Symptoms and Treatment. 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.

Jewel Cichlid Food : Should accept flakes and pellet fish foods. The Jewel Cichlid will go after algae wafers and shrimp pellets too, so make sure your bottom feeders are getting enough to eat if they are housed with this cichlid.

Tank Region : Will roam all over the tank. Likes to guard a chosen spot in the tank around spawning time.

Gender : Difficult to determine, but males may become even more brilliantly colored when breeding. If you're interested in breeding them it may be advisable to get a group of six or more and wait for them to pair off. Once a pair is formed, remove the others from the tank to prevent fighting.

Author : Mike FishLore

Fish Lore Forum : Jewel Cichlid Forum


Jewel Cichlid Tips

From: Derek
I love my blue jewel cichlids! They are around 3 inches and they are always swimming the aquarium together. The other fish (Tiger barbs and a bristlenose pleco) give them a wide berth, ha ha! If they show signs of breeding, I will use a tank divider to protect my other fish since I've read they can become quite they bullies.

From: Arindam
Jewels dont seem to be able to guard their eggs from plecos (even from small plecos). The plecos eat their eggs when the lights are off. I have separated the eggs from the parents. I have heard that this works with oscars, lets see what happens now.
What about a tank divider, like what Derek does in the comments above?

From: Erika
My Jewel Cichlids are doing great at protecting the fry. They have moved them numerous times from one flat surface to another more protected area close by. Although they are digging up most of my plants so I have moved all the plants away from their fry in an effort to keep my live plants. It is working so far.

From: Fresno John - Breeding Jewel Cichlids
One sure-fire trick I've found to encourage breeding in these fish is to raise the water temp to 80-82F, and then do a water change of 50 percent or so at about 74-75F degrees. I've read this simulates the rainy season where these fish are native to and it worked like a charm for me.

For a few months, my females would color up and then dim away with no spawning, until I read this tip elsewhere. First time I tried it I had the first spawn within 12 hours. I keep three 3" females and one 5-6" male in a 125 gallon.


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