January 18, 2010







Common name: Blue Dempsey, Electric Blue Dempsey
Scientific name: Archocentrus octofaciatus, var. blue
Veracruz, Mexico to Honduras (aquarium accidental discovery by Hector Luzardo)

Adult Length: 8 to 10 inches
Minimum Tank Size: 40 gallon
Sexing: Difficult without vent examination
Breeding: Go to: Breeding Electric Blue Jack Dempseys

Diet Requirements: Not a picky eater…typical carnivore faire will do just fine. Cichlid pellets, earth worms, etc.. Go to:  Feeding Jack Dempseys – Quality, Not Quantity




Profile Created for Tropical Resources by: Tommy Lay

Photo Credit:  Tommy Lay 


General Information:  Easily labeled as one of the most beautiful freshwater fish in the hobby, not much scientific data is available for the Blue Dempsey also commonly called the Electric Blue Dempsey. As a result, internet “hearsay” including falsehoods have spread and become prevalent beliefs. One of these falsehoods is the belief that this fish is a hybrid which is not true. Electric Blue Dempseys are a natural occurring variant of the Jack Dempsey, a popular aquarium fish from Central America. The fact is that the variant was not recognized and developed until recent years after being accidently discovered in an aquarium by Hector Luzardo. It is thought that the species was missed previously due to early breeders of Jack Dempseys considered the smaller “blueish” fry to be runts and were generally culled from their spawns. What is known now is that the blue variant fish grows somewhat smaller than the regular Dempsey and while still a territorial cichlid, they are less agressive than the other.



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  • kbuntu

    January 20, 2010 at 4:53 am

    I’ve always liked Blue Dempsey’s. Problem is finding quality specimen. Most of them are bred in asia and look very very dull.

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  • cliff

    February 28, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    I have recently got one it is very young dont know if it is male or female can youhelp possibley

    • jackarthur46

      February 28, 2011 at 3:56 pm

      Hello Sk4whatever… It is difficult to tell male from female at a very young age. Check out the photos on my website and watch for color changes in your fish. In my photos, the female is almost always the smaller with richer colors around the head. Send me a photo and I’ll see if I can tell and let you know. Have fun.

      Jack Lamountain / The World Of Jack Dempsey Cichlids

      • Derald

        March 15, 2012 at 11:26 am

        I don’t see your website referenced?

  • burakula

    March 25, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    hi everyone..i m a new EBJD breeder from turkey..i ve looked for 1 year for an orginal EBJD childs an found 14 baby at last..they all 2-3 months age and 3-4 cm long..but really i need some helps..first :how do i breed this babies..now i use dainichi colour fx baby and veggie fx baby 4 days in a week..other days i gine them danex larviva-tetra discus and sirulina tabs..and all day i breed them with live daphnia which i growt..is it ok for now?thank for everybody..have a nice fish…

  • Levi

    April 22, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Hi, i was wondering if there is some special trick to keeping these cute little guys alive i have gone through 5 different EBJD when they had been about the size of a dime they grew about 2-21/2 inches then stopped eating so i went down to the LFS and thought i would try again this time i bought a pair of them same thing happened got to about 2 inces then both stopped eating i had been feeding them bloodworms brine shrimp and lettuce and they ate just fine at first i decided to try yet again bought another pair and sure enough both died at about 2 inches so i had given up (they are still a bit pricey for how much they keep dying) and i want to try again (once the wife will let me) but need to know what i need to do to keep these little buggers alive any suggestions would be much appreciated

    • john

      May 16, 2011 at 11:17 pm

      Hi levi, I just got a pare of eb jack dempseys and they are fine with all of my other fish. All of the fish i have are aggresive and my baby ebs are the ones that seem like their getting the most respect. Ive been feeding them chiclid flakes. They tear them up and the other fish do too. I just got three new fish at this place called the hidden reef and let me tell you, it was a fish store the sisze of kmart. If i were you i would try to feed them the chiclid flakes or chiclid pellets.

    • Derald

      March 15, 2012 at 11:55 am

      Hi Levi

      So far lucky. I’ve thrown flakes, cichlid pellets and more at them so far without livefood. I like freeze dried, no parasites and almost he same nutrition.

      Besides the staples I add bloodworms and then watch them go crazy when I stick a cube of tubiflex worms on the glass – that’ll get them going. I got them at a little over an inch and they are pushing 3 inches now.

      I hear that 4″ is the make or break point.

      I hope you all make it!

    • rod

      April 28, 2012 at 1:17 am

      I’m in the same boat! Can anyone help

  • Tony

    May 22, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    Hi Levi. I Got my first EBJD about 11 months ago at about an inch. I was feeding him the flakes and chiclid pellets and it seemed that he was not growing at all until about 6 months ago i bought home some left over earthworms and i gave 1 and he destroyed it. Since then i give him at least 1 to 3 a day and he has grown to about 6 inches. i also do a water change once every two weeks. Good Luck.

  • tanner

    July 9, 2011 at 3:23 am

    I just bought 2 EBJD for my aquarium and first of all i must say they look amazing ! they are still very young but i can already see a nice blue starting to come through near their head ! i noticed that it seemed like they were fighting a little, nothing really agressive, when i first got them and they have stopped recently so i just wanted to know if that was just due to their agressive nature ? and im also curious if they will eat ghost shrimp because i know a place where i can get a ton for cheap !

    • Derald

      February 13, 2012 at 2:50 am

      If you can get them cheap then certainly try it. It’s not like it will poison them.

  • Jrad

    July 20, 2011 at 10:07 am

    I have a male and a female about 8 months old I feed them frozen foods only, blood worms when they were young and now krill and silver sides, with a bit of frozen nutrimax. It sounds expensive but with just two fish and a fresh water moray it’s actually pretty cheap and my fish are beautiful and very healthy. P.S pleas don’t tell me there is no such thing as a fresh water moray because mine is 5 years old and lives in treated tap water

  • George Vega

    August 21, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    These are awesome little critters!
    What I learned through my experience is that at times, males tend to be very territorial. I had 3 at the same time. One was about an inch big, the other two were about 2 inches in size. These two would generally hang together most of the time; one would always follow the other around— the smaller one tends to swim elsewhere along. After a while, I noticed that the Alfa, the leader that would get followed would pick-off the follower till eventually it died of what I believe to be stress. The leader (alfa) EBJD fish would show exuberant bright blue colors were as the follower would be a pail whitish with minimal blue. It would change color from blue to white colors when the other would in a sense “shu” him away. That fish eventually died— now I have the Alfa fish which is almost 4” Alfa the smallest of them which is about 2” They are both doing great in a community tank. Hope this helps–

  • tod tofil

    August 26, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    fintastic aquariums manchester ct 970 main street has electric blue dempseys

  • Bstein

    October 22, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    How do you sex electric blue jack dempseys

  • Tamara

    November 9, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    I have just purchased a very small EBJD. I am told that he/she? comes from two very high quality specimens so I am very excited about this new acquisition. However, this little guy is very small. Almost all black and white with a hint of turquoise blue on the head. I think he is much younger than the 8 week old depicted above. I have him in my main aquarium in a breeder net box. I have two questions. 1.) What should I be feeding him? (he is being fed crushed cichlid pellets now.) 2.) How long should I keep him in the breeder net? I have Parkinson Rainbows, Irian Rainbows, two 2″ silver dollars, 2 blue and 2 gold Gouramis, a 14″ reed fish, a very slow and clumsy cray fish, various tetras, a butterfly fish, and a medium sized angel fish. (I have a large tank.)

  • Say goodbye...

    January 31, 2012 at 5:59 am

    Say goodbye to all those other fish basically once it matures and grows. Itll eithor eat the smaller much less aggressive fish like the tetras, and or just kill the others dues to territorality. The EBJD is very aggressive as opposed to like an African Cichlid which are just, aggresive. They love rocks and stumps to make a home and claim a territory around.

  • J.J. Koziura

    March 12, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    What’s up my name is j.j.! I just got 1 EBJD and I put it in the tank with my regular jacks! Will they b ok? Plz help cuz they are expensive! Thank u

  • J.J. Koziura

    April 12, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Nvr mind about that last post! My EBJD died becuz it stopped eating! It was doing really well and then all of a sudden it stopped eating and died a couple days after! I want to get another one but they are to expensive!

  • rod

    April 28, 2012 at 1:14 am

    Help help help me please!!!!! I am in the same boat as Levi!!!! In the past year and a half I purchased about 45 ebjds …all died the same way!! My water is perfect!!! I have ton of experience!!! Check out some of my 5 plus year old fish on YouTube …type in mayweathersdabest….please help ..the ebjds always die within 4month…I just bought 12 4 weeks ago and one died …they are in my 72 gallon bow tank ..

  • Raquelle

    May 2, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Hector Luzardo was never the original breeder of the Electric Blue Dempsey and the man that was and still is would not at all be interested in such recognition and I doubt that he ever will be…although he is one of Argentina’s most talented breeder of our time with unlimited knowledge and expertise. Back in 1986… Hector was given as a gift some regular EBJack’s and did not much care for them…they were in a vat of dark water and were extremely thin and unfed…totally ignored and one day a young 26 year old that started to work at Hector’s aquarium noticed one not many but one small fry among all the rest…showed it to Hector and Hector’s reply was that it was simply an African cichlid and said no more. He worked with Hector at his local aquarium in Buenos Aires he did not disregard it but would then set this very blue unique looking fish aside and wait to see what would happen with future spawns…many spawns of just the regular Jack Dempsey’s till one day he notice a few more of the blue’s…and that’s were he would then begin to breed this lethal gen of a fish the Electric Blue Dempsey. He lives here in the U.S. and has the most amazing breeder’s of this fine fish..some of his breeder’s he has had for seven plus years and their coloring is like no other…teals and blues with green…definitely a true trademark of it’s originator.

  • Chad

    August 23, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Mine are dying before they hit 3″ as well. Has anyone found a reason for this? Or a way to prevent it? Could it be they need the PH to be correct unlike other Cichlids who are uaffected by it? If it is a common bacterial infection with this certain fish, then what’s the treatment? Please help. I would absolutely love to get one of these beautiful fish to adult!

  • Alton

    October 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Hi all, new to the EBJD’s but fortunate to fine a place to learn more about them. Many years but not with EBJD’s or jack dempseys, mainly Mags, red devils, convicts. Just starting with three of these little guys in a 75. Hoping for the best any input is welcomed.

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