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Jack Dempsey

jack dempsey

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Scientific Name:   Rocio octofasciata      
Min. Tank Size:   70 gallons      
Personality:   Highly aggressive      
Temperature:   75-82°F      
pH:   7.0-8.5/5-25°dGH      
Size:   8"      
Diet:   Carnivore/Will accept Cichlid pellets      
Breeding:   Egglayer      


Can be kept with other large, aggressive species as long as the chosen tank size provides plenty of room.

Jack Dempsey

Due to its bright coloration and unique personality, the Jack Dempsey Cichlid is very popular in the aquarium trade. These fish are typically gray or tan in color, but often exhibit flecks of turquoise, purple, blue, green or gold. A blue variant of this species also exists under the name Blue Jack Dempsey or Electric Blue Jack Dempsey. These fish are Central American Cichlids, native to Mexico and Honduras. This species typically inhabits slow-moving, murky waters such as canals, swamps and drainage ditches.

Tank Set-up

Jack Dempsey Cichlids are very hardy and relatively undemanding when it comes to keeping them in the home aquarium but, due to their aggression, they are not recommended for beginning hobbyists. These Cichlids usually live in densely-planted environments, but live plants should be avoided in the home aquarium because Jack Dempsey Cichlids are likely to eat or uproot the plants. Rocks, driftwood and terra cotta pots are the recommended decorations for a Jack Dempsey Cichlid tank and they should be used to establish natural territorial boundaries within the tank.


This species is carnivorous in nature, feeding on a variety of insects, crustaceans and other fish in the wild. In the home aquarium, these Cichlids are likely to accept many foods and should be offered a staple diet of Cichlid pellets supplemented with live and frozen foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp and even small crayfish. Feed a regular varied diet to promote the best health and coloration.


Breeding Jack Dempsey Cichlids is relatively easy in the home aquarium. These fish are naturally aggressive, but aggressive behaviors may become enhanced during breeding periods. To counteract this, many breeders lower the temperature in the breeding tank and provide plenty of places for the female fish to hide. These fish typically spawn on flat rocks but, if no rocks are available, may also spawn directly on the substrate. After spawning, Jack Dempsey Cichlids exhibit advanced parental care in guarding and feeding their fry.

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