The upper part of a jewel cichlid's body is of light olive-green shade and the lower part of the body is dark orange shade, the lips are bright red as are the cheeks and the lower jaw. Their body is covered with iridescent spots which can be yellow to turquoise in coloration. These cichlids also have two black spots that mark the fill cover, one spot is located around the mid section, while other is at the joining area of the tail fin. This is the general physical appearance of the fish, however, during spawning season the color of the fish becomes dark red with the small iridescent spots covering the entire body. These fish are considered to be aggressive fish, however they get aggressive only when they are trying to protect their fry and mate. If you take proper care of this fish, then you will face very less problems with this hardy fish.
You can buy a pair of this fish for a small aquarium. Take care that you buy the female smaller than the male fish, because a larger female cichlid will hardly ever mate with a male that is smaller than her. However, if you wish to maintain a tank with many cichlids then you will need a large aquarium. You can buy a group of young cichlids and as they grow up they will pair up.
- Original Habitat: African rivers
- First discovered: Loiselle 1979
- Scientific name: Hemichromis bimaculatus
- Other Common Names: African Jewelfish, Jewel fish, Two Spotted Jewel Fish, Green Jewel
- Size/Length: 6 inches (15 cm)
- Longevity: 10 years
Water Needs and Tank Setup
The pH of the water should be maintained between 7 - 7.5, and temperature should be 70°F - 74°F (21°C - 23°C). A tank of minimum 30 gallon capacity is required for keeping a pair. Larger fish tanks are required to maintain a group of jewel cichlids to limit aggression. These fish like to dig which disturbs the plants and can often destroy these plants. If you are placing any aquarium plants, then cover their roots with stones around their base to protect them. Some good plant choice are amazon sword plants and Cryptocoryne species.
These fish are not picky to any type of food. They will accept fish pellet and flake foods. They can go after algae wafer and shrimp pellets too, so take care that your bottom feeders are getting enough to eat, if you are housing this cichlid.
The compatibility of these fish with other tank mates is not too good. They are not recommended for community tank setups, as they can get very aggressive with other aquarium fish during the breeding season.
Females need cover when they are breeding, hence caves or some rocks should be kept in the tank. You will get better results with slightly better water temperature. The female fish will lay eggs on a flat surface. After 2 - 3 days the eggs will hatch and the parents will move them to another location for another couple of days, till the babies start swimming. Jewel cichlids are great parents. Feed the fry finely-crushed flake foods and baby brine shrimp.
They are very hardy fish, but might get freshwater fish disease. Owners will still need to slowly acclimate them to a quarantine tank, watch the fish for several weeks before immersing them to a display tank.
This was some general info and care instructions of this fish. So, remember the above instructions and keep healthy and happy jewel cichlids.