cichlids or Hemichromis
belong to the family Cichlidae
Jewel cichlids are commonly known as African cichlids
because that is their continent of origin. They are native to the
rivers, streams, creeks and lakes of west and northeast Africa. Jewels
are plentiful in the Nile, Zaire, and Niger Rivers. They live in a
variety of water conditions including stagnate lagoon waters.
Jewel Cichlids are not for amateur aquarists. Nor do they make good
community fish. They require fairly specific water conditions. They
fare well in water with a pH level of 7.5 and a temperature range
between 70-82 °F. Jewel cichlids are innately aggressive.
to suffer from an extreme case of Alpha Male Syndrome. They will fight
other species for dominance over their territory.
They are best suite
for a mono-species aquarium.
There have been reported cases where Jewel cichlids have adapted to
a community environment. They are introduced when still quite young to
a well established tank. This procedure, however, is not recommended.
Even if they adapt to communal living, they are still voracious fin
nippers due to their instinct to feed on other fish in the wild.
Even in mono-species environments they are an active species to the
point of being destructive. They have a tendency to dig up both plants
Jewel cichlids reach four to six inches long as adults and have a life
span of up to eight years.
are omnivores. They will eat common variety tropical
fish foods. It is a good idea to supplement their diet with some form
of protein whether freeze-dried, frozen or live to help insure they are
less likely to develop a taste for their tank-mates fins.
The Male is more brightly colored than the female. Jewel cichlids
are monogamous by nature. Once they choose a mate that is it. This is
not at all a trait common to most fish.