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Jack Dempsey Cichlids
~Pooja Chakrabarty

Jack Dempsey Cichlids: Cichlasoma Octofasciatum

Jack Dempsey Cichlids are well-known for their aggressive behavior. After all, that is what led to them being called Jack Dempseys. It is quite a popular fish among fish enthusiasts because it breeds easily, and because of its aggressive manner.

Jack Dempsey Cichlids are flat somewhat elongated fish with very long and pointed dorsal and anal fins. The females have less pointed and shorter dorsal and anal fins. The dorsal fins are dark and have a thin red border. Both sexes have fan-shaped caudal fins.

These colorful cichlids have brown as their base color. This becomes bluish black when the fish becomes ready to breed. The side scales have lovely bluish green dots. Young Jack Dempsey Cichlids have stripes that disappear when they become older only to reappear only when they are excited. Frightened Jack Dempsey Cichlids may even have their color change from black to grey. In the females, the colors are more subdued.

Adult Jack Dempsey Cichlids may often fight by locking jaws

Jack Dempsey Cichlids breed in the open. As they dig a great deal at the time of spawning, (and may even eat the aquarium plants), a fine gravel or sand substrate of 4" to 5" would work well enough. Jack Dempsey Cichlids make terrific parents, and efficiently protect their brood. They breed several times in a year and may lay anywhere between 500 and 800 eggs at a time.

Although they are hardy, these colorful fish survive best in temperatures of 77oF to 82oF. The recommended pH level is between 7 and 8.5. Provide them with a tank (about 45 gallons) that has rocks and driftwood as these fish are territorial and would appreciate having hiding places. If the tank has a good filtration system, and if water changes are done regularly, Jack Dempsey Cichlids can even tolerate lower temperatures

Jack Dempsey Cichlids will accept a variety of foods including pellets, flakes, and frozen food. Adults may be fed about twice a day and younger fish a little more frequently maybe thrice a day.

Found naturally in the sluggish waters of Central America, in Honduras, in Guatemala and in the Yucatan, Jack Dempsey Cichlids, or Cichlasoma Octofasciatum grow to a length of 8" to 10". A very popular fish among fish hobbyists, Jack Dempsey Cichlids can become aggressive and so it is best to keep them in a species tank. Young Jack Dempseys may be kept in groups, but as they get older, it may become necessary to keep them in singles. Adult Jack Dempsey Cichlids may often fight by locking jaws. In fact, its aggressive nature earned it the name 'Jack Dempsey'. Jack Dempsey was the Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the world in 1919.

[Permission for using the above picture has been given by Jeff Rapps of Tangled Up In Cichlids.]

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