Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hemichromis Bimaculatus - Jewel Cichlid

Scientific Name(s): Hemichromis bimaculatus
Common Name(s): Jewel Cichlid, African Jewelfish, Blue Jewel, Red Jewel, Red Jewel Cichlid
Family: Cichlidae.
Species Type: African Cichlids, Other
Maximum Size: 5 inches.
Life Span: 8 years.
Natural Habitat: African streams and rivers.
Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons.
Tank Region: All over.

Possible Tank Mates: Other African cichlids - be sure to provide plenty of hiding spots.
Sexing Information: Males tend to be more colorful, especially as adults.
Diet: Carnivorous - does well with flake or pellet food.
Temperment: Aggressive and territorial.

The jewelfishes from Africa are one of the most beautiful, and most bellicose, of the cichlids. While bimaculatus was the original jewelfish introduced into the hobby many years ago, there are now a number of other species available. They all behave the same and require the same conditions. Being from western Africa, they need softer, more acidic water than the cichlid of the rift lakes in eastern Africa. This is definitely not a community fish. In fact, when they mature, and most especially when they are breeding, there is virtually no other fish that can be in the tank with them. But their beauty and behavior make it worthwhile to consider keeping a tank just for them.

Breeding Information:
 Easy to breed once you have a pair, which is somewhat difficult. Sexes are somewhat difficult to tell - generally, the males have more blue reflective scales than the females, who tend to have a deeper reddish hue with a wider girth. However, this is not always the case. Place one mature male with a number of mature females and watch for a pair bond to form, then remove the others as they will be killed if forced in close proximity to the eggs. The female will lay several hundred eggs on a flat surface - usually a dugout in the back of the aquarium, although you can provide flat rocks to encourage them. The eggs will hatch in a few days and the fry will be guarded in typical cichlid fashion. They can reproduce approximately every 3 weeks once they get going.

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