Jewel Cichlid (Hemichromis bimaculatus)
When spawning, Jewel Cichlids, Hemichromis bimaculatus, become incredibly aggressive, making them unsuitable for beginner aquarists or general community tanks. It is for this reason that many people keep these magnificent fish in species-only tanks. Although purchasing a pair usually results in the weaker fish being killed, these fish are best kept in pairs. You should instead buy a group of young fish and allow a couple to form from them.
In a large enough aquarium, you can keep Jewel Cichlids with Alestiid Tetras such as Congos, Synodontis Catfish, and Loricariids, as well as African Cichlids like Steatocranus. If the Jewel Cichlids breed, however, you may have to relocate their tankmates.
The best substrate would be sand with plenty of pebbles, rocks, slate pieces, flower pots turned on their sides, and driftwood tangles. By doing this, you will be providing broken lines of sight for the Cichlids. Furthermore, dense plantings will appeal to these fish. Due to this species' habit of digging, it is best to use robust species that can be trained to grow or tied onto the decor, like Java ferns and Anubias species, as well as floating varieties.
A Jewel Cichlid's body is elongated and has a slanted forehead. The lower parts of their bodies are orange or red, while the upper parts are light olive green. Their lips, cheeks, and lower jaw are usually bright red. Additionally, these fish have pearly spots that range in colour from yellow to turquoise and a large black mark on their gill cover.
There are two black spots on the body, one around the midsection and one on the caudal peduncle. In addition, the fins of these fish range from olive to red with a bright red edge. In the spawning season, their bodies turn a darker red, with iridescent spots covering their entire bodies.
|Scientific Name||Hemichromis bimaculatus|
|Other Names||African Jewelfish, Jewelfish|
|Origins||Algeria, Egypt, Guinea, Liberia|
|Aquarium Level||Bottom - Middle|
|Difficulty||Intermediate - Advanced|
|Best kept as||Pairs|
|Lifespan||3 - 5 years|
|PH||6.5 - 7.5|
|GH||4 - 18|
|72 - 82℉|
22.2 - 27.8℃
In the home aquarium, the Jewel Cichlid will readily accept most good quality dried foods such as granules, flakes and sinking pellets. These modern food products have been developed to provide all adequate nutrition to maintain your fish's health and dietary requirements.
Providing additional foodstuffs such as live, frozen, and freeze-dried meals such as bloodworm, daphnia, and tubifex once or twice a week will provide additional benefits to your fish's health and well-being but is not a must for this fish.
It should be noted that bloodworms should only be given as an occasional treat and should not be used as the staple diet as they are difficult for fish to digest and can potentially cause blockages.
This fish is an omnivore in the wild, meaning it will consume some vegetable matter. Although most modern fish foods take this into account and include them in their products, you can still supplement your fish's diet with blanched vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and zucchini. Ensure you do not overfeed your fish and remove any leftovers the following day.
The sexing of Jewel Cichlids can be pretty challenging. A male's caudal fin, however, shows reticulated blue patterning in the middle. Also, in some individuals, adult males develop more pointed dorsal, anal, ventral and dorsal fins.