Jewel Cichlid (Hemichromis bimaculatus) Species Guide

Looking to add some color and personality to your freshwater aquarium? Consider adding a Jewel Cichlid! Also known as Hemichromis bimaculatus or African Jewelfish, this fish is known for its vibrant colors and interesting behavior.

Jewel Cichlids are native to Africa and are typically found in slow-moving rivers and streams with plenty of vegetation. They are known for their territorial behavior and can be aggressive towards other fish, especially during breeding season. With proper care and attention, however, Jewel Cichlids can make a beautiful and fascinating addition to your aquarium.

Img Of A Jewel Cichlid Swimming

Jewel Cichlid Species Guide Summary

  • Average Lifespan: Jewel Cichlids can live up to 10 years with proper care.
  • Care Difficulty: Jewel Cichlids are easy to care for and are a good choice for beginner fish keepers.
  • Colors: Jewel Cichlids come in a variety of colors including red, blue, green, orange, turquoise, and yellow. They also have a distinctive black spot on their bodies.
  • Compatibility: Jewel Cichlids are aggressive and territorial, so they should be kept in a species-only tank or with other larger and equally aggressive fish.
  • Conservation Status: Jewel Cichlids are not currently listed as endangered or threatened.
  • Diet: Jewel Cichlids are omnivores and should be fed a varied diet that includes flakes, pellets, and live foods such as brine shrimp.
  • Distribution: Jewel Cichlids are native to West Africa, specifically Guinea and Liberia, and can be found in rivers, streams, and lakes.
  • Group: Jewel Cichlids belong to the family Cichlidae and are African cichlids.
  • Habitat: Jewel Cichlids prefer a sandy substrate and need plenty of hiding places in their tank.
  • Hardness: Jewel Cichlids prefer water with a hardness of 10-15 dGH.
  • Interesting Fact: Jewel Cichlids are known for their aggressive behavior and territorial nature.
  • Minimum Tank Size: Jewel Cichlids require a minimum tank size of 30 gallons.
  • Ph: Jewel Cichlids prefer slightly acidic water with a pH of 6.5-7.5.
  • Scientific Name: The scientific name for Jewel Cichlids is Hemichromis bimaculatus.
  • Size: Jewel Cichlids can grow up to 6 inches in length.
  • Temperament: Jewel Cichlids are aggressive and territorial, so they should not be kept with smaller or more peaceful fish.
  • Temperature: Jewel Cichlids prefer water temperatures between 72-82°F.
  • Where It Swims: Jewel Cichlids are bottom-dwellers and prefer to stay close to the substrate.

Appearance & Varieties

Jewel Cichlids are known for their stunning appearance, which makes them a popular choice for aquarium enthusiasts. These fish are native to Africa and can grow up to 6 inches long. They have a unique body shape that is oval and slightly compressed from the sides. The body is adorned with bright and vibrant colors that make them stand out in any aquarium.

Sex Differences

Male Jewel Cichlids are larger and more colorful than females. They have a more prominent hump on their forehead and longer fins, especially the dorsal and anal fins. The dorsal fin of male Jewel Cichlids is elongated and pointed, while the anal fin is more rounded. On the other hand, females have a more rounded body shape and shorter fins. They are generally less colorful than males, with a more subdued appearance.

There are different varieties of Jewel Cichlids, each with its own unique coloration and pattern. The most common variety is the Red Jewel Cichlid, which has a bright red body with blue-green iridescent scales. There are also other color variations such as blue, yellow, and green. Some Jewel Cichlids have distinctive black stripes on their body, while others have a solid coloration.

In conclusion, Jewel Cichlids are a beautiful addition to any aquarium. With their unique body shape and vibrant colors, they are sure to catch your eye. Male Jewel Cichlids are more colorful than females, with longer and more pointed fins. There are different varieties of Jewel Cichlids, each with a unique coloration and pattern.

Behavior & Temperament

Jewel cichlids are known for their aggressive behavior, especially during breeding season. They can become territorial and may attack other fish in the tank, including their own species. It’s important to provide plenty of hiding places and separate breeding areas to prevent aggression.

In addition to their territorial behavior, jewel cichlids are also known for their digging behavior. They will often dig in the substrate to create a nest or hiding place. This behavior can be beneficial for the aquarium ecosystem, as it helps to aerate the substrate and promote healthy bacterial growth.

When it comes to temperament, jewel cichlids can vary depending on their environment and individual personality. Some may be more aggressive than others, while some may be more docile. It’s important to observe your fish and their behavior to understand their temperament and adjust their environment accordingly.

Overall, jewel cichlids are a hardy and interesting species to keep in an aquarium. However, their aggressive behavior requires careful consideration and management to ensure the safety and health of all fish in the tank.


Breeding jewel cichlids can be a challenging but rewarding experience. If you’re planning on breeding these fish, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

First, you’ll need to make sure you have a compatible pair. Jewel cichlids can be aggressive, so it’s important to choose a male and female that get along well. Once you have your pair, you’ll need to provide them with a suitable breeding environment.

Jewel cichlids are substrate spawners, which means they lay their eggs on a flat surface. You can provide a breeding site by using a flat rock, a piece of slate, or even a clay pot. Make sure the breeding site is large enough for both fish to fit comfortably.

When the male is ready to breed, he will begin to display to the female. He may become more aggressive and territorial, so it’s important to provide plenty of hiding places for the female to retreat to if necessary.

Once the female is ready to breed, she will lay her eggs on the breeding site. The male will then fertilize the eggs. Jewel cichlids can lay up to 100 eggs at a time, so be prepared for a large brood.

After the eggs are fertilized, the female will guard them while the male defends the territory. The eggs will hatch in about three days, and the fry will be free-swimming after another three days.

To ensure the survival of the fry, you’ll need to provide them with plenty of hiding places and a nutritious diet. You can feed them baby brine shrimp, crushed flakes, or other small, high-protein foods.

Breeding jewel cichlids can be a fascinating and rewarding experience. With the right pair, environment, and care, you can successfully raise a healthy brood of these beautiful fish.

Care Instructions

Caring for jewel cichlids is not too difficult, but it does require some effort. Here are some care instructions to keep your jewel cichlids healthy and happy.

Food & Feeding Frequency

Jewel cichlids are omnivorous and will eat a variety of foods. They can be fed flakes, pellets, frozen or live foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia. It is important to feed them a varied diet to ensure they get all the nutrients they need.

Feed your jewel cichlids twice a day, but only what they can eat in 2-3 minutes. Overfeeding can lead to health problems, so be careful not to overfeed them.

Potential Diseases

Jewel cichlids are generally hardy fish, but they can still be susceptible to diseases. The most common diseases that affect them are ich, fin rot, and fungal infections. To prevent these diseases, keep the tank clean and maintain good water quality.

Tank Setup

Jewel cichlids require a spacious tank with plenty of hiding places and decorations. A 55-gallon tank is recommended for a pair of jewel cichlids. They prefer a sandy substrate and will appreciate some rocks, caves, and driftwood to hide in.

Make sure the tank has a filter to keep the water clean. A canister filter is a good choice for a jewel cichlid tank. They also need moderate to high lighting, but make sure the light is not too bright as this can stress them out.

Water Conditions

Jewel cichlids prefer slightly acidic to neutral water with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5. The water temperature should be between 74°F and 82°F. It is important to maintain good water quality by doing regular water changes and testing the water parameters regularly.

In summary, jewel cichlids are beautiful and fascinating fish that can make a great addition to your aquarium. By following these care instructions, you can ensure that your jewel cichlids stay healthy and happy.

In The Wild

If you are lucky enough to spot a jewel cichlid in the wild, you will likely find them in freshwater rivers, streams, and lakes in West Africa. These fish are native to the region and can be found in a variety of natural habitats, including areas with dense vegetation and rocky bottoms.

Jewel cichlids are known for their striking colors, which can vary depending on their natural habitat. In the wild, you may see jewel cichlids with bright red or orange bodies, while others may have more muted colors like brown or gray. Their colors can also change depending on their mood or breeding status.

In their natural habitat, jewel cichlids are omnivores and will eat a variety of foods, including insects, small crustaceans, and plant matter. They are also known for their territorial behavior and will defend their space aggressively against other fish.

While jewel cichlids are native to West Africa, they have also been introduced to other parts of the world through the aquarium trade. In some areas, they have become invasive and can pose a threat to native freshwater fish populations.

Overall, jewel cichlids are fascinating fish that are well-adapted to their natural habitat in freshwater rivers, streams, and lakes. If you ever have the chance to observe them in the wild, take the opportunity to appreciate their unique colors and behaviors.

FAQs About Jewel Cichlids

Are Jewel Cichlids Good Tank Mates?

Jewel cichlids are known to be aggressive and territorial, so it’s important to choose their tank mates carefully. They can be kept with other African cichlids that have similar temperaments, but it’s best to avoid keeping them with smaller, more peaceful fish. Jewel cichlids can also be kept with larger, more aggressive fish like oscars or other cichlids from South America, but it’s important to make sure the tank is large enough to accommodate all the fish comfortably.

How Much Do Jewel Cichlids Cost?

The cost of a jewel cichlid can vary depending on where you purchase it from and its size. On average, a juvenile jewel cichlid can cost anywhere from $5 to $10, while an adult can cost upwards of $20. It’s important to keep in mind that the cost of the fish is just one aspect of owning a jewel cichlid. You’ll also need to factor in the cost of a suitable tank, equipment, and food.

How Do I Keep My Jewel Cichlid Healthy?

To keep your jewel cichlid healthy, it’s important to provide them with a suitable environment. They require a tank that’s at least 50 gallons in size, with plenty of hiding places and areas for them to establish their territory. Jewel cichlids also prefer a slightly alkaline pH level and a water temperature between 76-82°F. A varied diet that includes both pellets and live or frozen foods is also important for their health.

It’s also important to keep an eye out for any signs of illness, such as loss of appetite, lethargy, or abnormal swimming behavior. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to take action quickly to prevent the spread of disease. Regular water changes and tank maintenance can also help keep your jewel cichlid healthy and happy.

Jewel Cichlids In An Aquarium: Everything You Need To Know

Alright, so you’re ready to dive into the world of fishkeeping and you’ve got your eyes set on the vibrant jewel cichlids. Well, you’re in for a treat! This video is a comprehensive guide that will walk you through everything you need to know about caring for and breeding these beautiful creatures.

First off, let’s talk about the general information about jewel cichlids. These are tropical fish, known for their vibrant colors and active behavior. They’re a great choice if you’re looking for something to add a splash of color to your tank.

Next, you’ll want to know about the differences between females and males. This is important because it can affect the dynamics of your tank. The video goes into detail about how to distinguish between the two, which can be super helpful when you’re setting up your tank.

Compatibility is another crucial aspect to consider. Jewel cichlids can be a bit aggressive, especially during breeding season. So, you’ll want to make sure you’re pairing them with the right tank mates to avoid any unnecessary conflicts.

Now, let’s talk about tank requirements. Jewel cichlids are pretty hardy, but they do have specific needs when it comes to their environment. The video provides detailed information about the ideal tank size, water parameters, and the type of substrate and decorations that these fish prefer.

Diet is another key aspect of fishkeeping. Jewel cichlids are omnivores, which means they eat both plant-based and meat-based foods. The video will guide you through the best types of food to provide and how often to feed them.

And if you’re interested in breeding, you’re in luck! The video captures the entire breeding process of a pair of jewel cichlids. From courtship to laying eggs, and even the growth of the fry, you’ll get to see it all. This can be incredibly useful if you’re planning to breed your fish.

Remember, fishkeeping is a journey, not a destination. It’s all about learning and adapting along the way. So, take your time, do your research, and most importantly, enjoy the process! Happy fishkeeping!


In summary, you have learned about the behavior, diet, and health of the jewel cichlid. You discovered that red pepper can be added to their diet to enhance their coloration without causing any harm to their liver. Additionally, you found out that courtship behavior can be elicited through the use of red dummies. Finally, you learned about francisellosis, a disease that can cause high mortality rates in neon jewel cichlids.

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