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Jewel Cichlid: A Detailed Care Guide & Tank Mates

Jewel Cichlid: A Detailed Care Guide & Tank Mates

The Jewel Cichlid is the perfect freshwater fish for aquarium enthusiasts looking to add a splash of color to their tank. With its shimmering scales and vibrant hues, this West African native is sure to be the envy of all your fish-keeping friends. 

Jewel Cichlids require a tank with a minimum size of 30 gallons (114 liters) with hiding places and decorations. Also, use good filtration and lighting to maintain water quality and feed the fish a varied diet of pellets and live or frozen protein. 

Whether you are a seasoned aquarist or new to the hobby, it’s important to understand the specific needs of Jewel Cichlids to provide them with the best possible care. From tank setup and diet to behavior and breeding, this comprehensive guide will provide you with everything you need to know to keep your Jewel Cichlids happy and healthy. 

Jewel Cichlid: Overview

The Jewel Cichlid (Hemichromis bimaculatus) is a popular and colorful fish species native to West Africa. These fish are known for their bright and metallic appearance, with vibrant shades of red, green, and blue. 

Jewel Cichlids are a medium-sized fish species, with adult males typically reaching a size of around 4-5 inches (10-13 cm) in length. Females are slightly smaller, typically reaching a size of 3-4 inches (8-10 cm). 

However, the size of a Jewel Cichlid can vary depending on the specific conditions in its environment, including the quality and quantity of its diet, the size of its tank, and the presence of other fish.

In the wild, Jewel Cichlids can grow to a larger size than they typically reach in the home aquarium. This is because they have more space to swim and a greater variety of food sources in their natural habitat. That’s why it is critical to provide enough space and a varied diet to ensure that your Jewel Cichlids reach their full potential size.

Jewel Cichlids are omnivorous, feeding on a variety of plant matter and small invertebrates. They are also known to be territorial and will defend their territory from intruders, especially during the breeding season.

Jewel Cichlids are highly adaptable fish and can tolerate a range of water conditions. They prefer a pH of around 6.5-7.5 and a temperature of around 78-82°F (25.6-27.8°C). Aim to replicate these conditions as closely as possible in the aquarium to ensure the health and well-being of your fish.

Jewel Cichlid: Tank Setup

One of the most critical aspects of Jewel Cichlid care is providing them with a suitable living environment. A properly set up tank can make all the difference in the health and happiness of your fish. Here are some key points to consider when setting up a tank for Jewel Cichlids:

Minimum Tank Size

Jewel Cichlids are relatively active fish that need plenty of room to swim and explore. A minimum tank size of 30 gallons (114 liters) is recommended for a single fish, and an additional 10-15 gallons (38-57 liters) should be added for each additional fish. It’s also a good idea to choose a tank with a longer rather than taller shape to give your fish more horizontal swimming space.

Filtration and Aeration

Good filtration is essential to keep the water clean and healthy for your Jewel Cichlids. A filter that is rated for at least twice the volume of your tank is recommended. In addition to filtration, proper aeration is also essential to ensure that your fish have access to a sufficient amount of oxygen. Use an air pump to provide the necessary aeration. 

The Tetra Whisper Air Pump (available on is an efficient, easy-to-use, and reliable choice for all your aquarium aeration needs. With a range of sizes available to suit aquariums from 10 to 100 gallons, this air pump is suitable for use in a variety of setups. The dome shape and sound-dampening chambers work together to reduce turbulence and produce a quiet stream of air, making it perfect for use in a home or office setting. 

Substrate and Decorations

The substrate in your tank can be made of a variety of materials, such as gravel, sand, or even bare bottom. Choose a substrate that is appropriate for the size of your fish and easy to clean. 

It’s also a good idea to provide plenty of hiding places and other decorations for your fish to explore and interact with. Live plants can also be a great addition to a Jewel Cichlid tank, but be sure to choose species that can tolerate the water conditions and are not toxic to fish.

The PietyPet 25-Pack Aquarium decorations (available on would be an excellent choice for adding some color and vitality to your tank. The package includes 25 pieces of plastic plants in various heights and styles, making it easy to create a natural-looking environment for your fish. 

The plants are safe for use in both fresh and saltwater and will not affect the pH in the tank, making them a good choice for a wide range of aquariums. The smooth surface of the plants makes them easy to clean and maintain, and they are also resistant to fading and water pollution, helping to create a comfortable and clean living environment for your fish.

Water Quality and Temperature

Maintaining good water quality is crucial for the health of your Jewel Cichlids. Regular water changes and the use of a water conditioner can help keep the water clean and free of toxins. It’s also crucial to monitor the temperature of the water, as Jewel Cichlids prefer a range of 78-82 degrees Fahrenheit (25.6-27.8°C).

By following these guidelines for tank setup, you can create a comfortable and healthy environment for your Jewel Cichlids to thrive in. Remember to take the time to properly acclimate your fish to their new tank and monitor them closely for any signs of stress or illness. 

Jewel Cichlid Diet

Proper nutrition is essential for the health and well-being of your Jewel Cichlids. These omnivorous fish require a varied diet that includes both plant and animal matter. Here are some of the factors to consider when feeding your Jewel Cichlids:

Types of Foods to Feed Jewel Cichlids

A high-quality commercial cichlid pellet or flake food should form the base of your Jewel Cichlid’s diet. These foods are formulated to provide a balanced blend of nutrients and are readily accepted by most fish. 

In addition to a commercial diet, you can also offer your Jewel Cichlids a variety of live, frozen, and freeze-dried foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms. Vegetables such as blanched spinach and lettuce can also be offered as a supplement to their diet.

Feeding Frequency

How often you feed your Jewel Cichlids will depend on their age, size, and activity level. The rule of thumb is to feed adult fish once or twice a day, providing an amount of food that they can consume in a few minutes. Ensure not to overfeed your fish, as excess food can lead to poor water quality and health problems.

Remember to monitor your fish’s appetite and overall health and make any necessary adjustments to their diet as needed.

Jewel Cichlid: Behavior and Tank Mates

Understanding the behavior and social dynamics of your Jewel Cichlids will help you create a harmonious tank environment, allowing you to provide them with the best care possible. Here is what you need to know when it comes to the behavior and tank mates of Jewel Cichlids:

Compatibility With Other Fish

Jewel Cichlids are considered semi-aggressive and may exhibit territorial behavior toward other fish. As such, it’s crucial that you choose tank mates that are compatible with the size and personality of your Jewel Cichlids.

Additionally, provide plenty of space and hiding places to help reduce aggression. Good tank mate options for Jewel Cichlids include other peaceful cichlids, danios, and tetras.

Aggression and Territory

Jewel Cichlids may establish a hierarchy within the tank and exhibit aggressive behavior toward tank mates they perceive as potential threats. This behavior is more common in males and can be reduced by providing plenty of hiding places and giving each fish plenty of personal space. 

Additionally, monitor your fish for signs of excessive aggression and intervene if necessary.

Enrichment and Activities

Like all pets, Jewel Cichlids benefit from mental and physical stimulation. Providing your fish with a variety of decorations and toys can keep them entertained and prevent boredom. You can also try offering your fish different types of food and feeding them in different ways to keep them engaged.

If you are looking for a unique and natural-looking enrichment aid for your small or medium size aquarium (5-50 gallons or 19-190 liters), this Hyger Hollow Tree Trunk Ornament (available on is the perfect choice. Your Jewel Cichlids will love the opportunity to swim in and out of the trunk cave, providing them with a fun and interesting place to rest, hide, and play. 

By understanding the behavior and social dynamics of your Jewel Cichlids and providing them with a suitable tank environment, you can create a harmonious and enriching environment for your fish. Remember to observe your fish carefully and make any necessary adjustments to their tank setup or tank mates as needed.

Jewel Cichlid Health and Common Problems

Maintaining the health of your Jewel Cichlids is essential to their well-being and happiness. By understanding the signs of a healthy fish and being aware of common health issues, you can take steps to prevent problems and address them promptly if they do occur. 

Signs of a Healthy Jewel Cichlid 

A healthy Jewel Cichlid should be active, alert, and show a good appetite. They should have clear, bright eyes and smooth, unblemished scales. Therefore, monitor your fish regularly, so you can be aware of any changes in their appearance or behavior that could indicate a problem.

Common Health Issues

Some common health issues that can affect Jewel Cichlids include parasites, bacterial infections, and respiratory problems. These problems can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor water quality, improper diet, or stress. 

This is why it is important to monitor your fish closely and seek the advice of a veterinarian if you suspect a health problem.

To help prevent health problems in your Jewel Cichlids, provide them with a suitable living environment, a balanced diet, and proper care. Regular water changes, the use of a water conditioner, and the provision of a high-quality commercial diet can all help to maintain the health of your fish. 

Additionally, it’s a good idea to quarantine any new fish before introducing them to your tank to help prevent the spread of disease.

With proper care and attention, you can ensure the long-term health and happiness of your Jewel Cichlids.

Breeding Jewel Cichlids

Jewel Cichlids are relatively easy to breed in the home aquarium, and the process can be a rewarding and educational experience for the hobbyist. Here are some tips for breeding Jewel Cichlids

Sexing and Choosing a Breeding Pair

Jewel Cichlids are sexually dimorphic, meaning that males and females can be distinguished by their appearance. Males are typically larger and more colorful, with elongated fins. Females are generally smaller and less colorful, with a rounder abdomen. 

Ensure to choose a breeding pair that is in good health and condition, and introduce them to each other gradually to ensure compatibility. 

Setting Up a Breeding Tank

Provide your mating pair with a spacious and secure environment with plenty of hiding places and a suitable substrate for the eggs. A bare-bottom tank or a tank with a fine-grained substrate such as sand is recommended to prevent the eggs from being damaged or eaten. 

Additionally, provide plenty of filtration and aeration, as well as a source of gentle light to help the eggs hatch.

Caring for Eggs and Fry

The eggs will typically hatch within 3-5 days, and the fry will be free-swimming a few days later. Monitor the fry carefully and provide them with a suitable diet, such as newly-hatched brine shrimp or commercial fry food. 

As the fry grow, you can gradually introduce them to a more varied diet and increase the size of the tank as needed.

Wrapping Up

Jewel Cichlids are a popular and rewarding choice for aquarium enthusiasts, but they require proper care to thrive. By following these guidelines and taking the time to observe and understand the unique needs of your Jewel Cichlids, you can establish a rewarding and meaningful relationship with these fascinating fish. 

Don’t forget to seek out additional resources and continue to learn more about the care and husbandry of these wonderful creatures.

I’m Elle, the founder of FishHQ. I created this website to share knowledge, tips, and inspiration for beginner hobbyists to help them create a healthy, happy, and vibrant environment for their fish to thrive. Read more...