April 26, 2009






     The Jack Dempsey fish, an aggressive and strong cichlid, is named after former heavyweight boxing champion “Jack Dempsey” who shared these same characteristics. It is a very hardy fish that is easy to care for, but due to its aggressive temperament, is not recommended for novice aquarists. In Spanish speaking regions in Central America where the Jack Dempsey is native to, it is called Mojarra Castarrica or Riquiraqui. The scientific name is Archocentrus octofasciatum. The species forms a part of the genus Cichlasoma in the Cichlidae family.Everything Jack Dempsey Fish

   Wild Jack Dempsey cichlids can be found in North and Central America where they inhabit a region that stretches from the Papaloapán River in southern Mexico to the Hondurian Ulua River in Central America. The Jack Dempsey cichlid is often found in muddy canals, drainage ditches and swamps since it appreciates murky and slow flowing waters. In the coastal plains of Central America you will find warm and slow moving streams that are ideal for this cichlid. Since the wild Jack Dempsey cichlid lives in waters with a muddy or sandy bottom, it is naturally a good idea to use such substrates in the aquarium.

   Today, the Jack Dempsey cichlid has been introduced to waters outside its natural region by man. You can therefore find breeding populations of Jack Dempsey cichlids in the United States, Australia and Thailand.  In Thailand, Jack Dempsey cichlids are produced in aquacultures for the aquarium trade. From these aquacultures, Jack Dempsey cichlids have frequently escaped into the wild since the first Jack Dempsey aquacultures were established in Thailand during the 1950s. In the United States and Australia, the Jack Dempsey cichlid populations most likely originate from specimens released by aquarists. The warm waters of Florida are today home to a wide range of tropical aquarium species from all over the world, including the Jack Dempsey cichlid. In Australia, the most notable Jack Dempsey populations are found in out-flow creeks in the state of Victoria and in cooling ponds used by a power plant. The Australian Jack Dempsey cichlid populations are however showing signs of decline.

   The Jack Dempsey cichlid is not included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and you can find thriving populations of Jack Dempsey cichlids in its native region. Since its minimum population doubling time is less than 15 months, it is resilient towards over fishing. In the aquarium trade, the commercially bred Jack Dempsey cichlids are common.

   As mentioned above, the Jack Dempsey cichlid is easy to care for in the aquarium but considered unsuitable for inexperienced aquarists since they might find it difficult to handle its aggressive temperment and counteract violent behaviors. Jack Dempsey cichlids are often kept in their own aquariums instead of community aquariums or habitat aquariums, but you can keep this cichlid with other species if you select tank mates carefully. Avoid standard community aquarium species, since they tend to be peaceful and will become bullied by the Jack Dempsey cichlid. Aggressive species of similar size that can fend for themselves is a much better choice. Avoid keeping more than one Jack Dempsey cichlid in the aquarium, and avoid species that look similar to the Jack Dempsey cichlid since they may be perceived as enemies by the Jack Dempsey cichlid. It is also very important that the aquarium is large enough for the Jack Dempsey cichlid, and decorated in a way that makes it possible for the cichlid to claim a limited region as territory.

   Arranging a suitable home for a Jack Dempsey cichlid will require some dedication from the aquarists, but it is well worth it since the Jack Dempsey cichlid is an energetic and extremely beautiful fish that will add action as well as color to the aquarium. It will also adapt to most water conditions, so it is really not difficult to keep once you have learned how to master its aggressive temperament. In a well kept tropical aquarium your Jack Dempsey can live for 8-10 years.

   One way of calming down a quarrelsome Jack Dempsey cichlid is to keep the water temperature down. The recommended temperature range for a Jack Dempsey cichlid is 72-86° F (22-30° C), but many aquarists make sure that the temperature never goes above 78° F (25.5 degrees C) since warm water can increase the aggressiveness in some Jack Dempsey cichlids. Regardless of temperature, the Jack Dempsey cichlid will always claim its own territory and defend this part of the aquarium. As mentioned above, the Jack Dempsey cichlid can adapt to a wide range of different water conditions. The preferred pH range is however 7.0-8.0, and the dGH should be kept between 9 and 20.

   An adult Jack Dempsey cichlid can grow up to 10 inches (25 centimeters) long and must be provided with plenty of space. Do not house it in an aquarium smaller than 45 gallons (170 liters). If you plan to keep it with other fish, the recommended aquarium size will naturally depend on these species as well.

   In the wild, the Jack Dempsey cichlid inhabits densely grown waters. Plants are however often avoided in Jack Dempsey aquariums, since the Jack Dempsey likes to eat live plants and can destroy them. You can instead use flowerpots, caves, rocks and wood to form natural borders in the aquarium and make it possible for the Jack Dempsey cichlid to claim a limited territory. Since the Jack Dempsey cichlid is fond of digging, you should avoid substrate with sharp edges. A barren bottom, or a very thin substrate layer, is also inadvisable. Heavy objects that can injure fish if they fall should be placed directly on the glass, since they might fall when the Jack Dempsey cichlid digs around.

   You can usually train a Jack Dempsey cichlid into accepting most types of food, but it might take some time before the fish realizes that a new food type is actually edible. When a Jack Dempsey cichlid has understood that what you give it is actually food, it will usually be a happy eater. The wild Jack Dempsey cichlid feed mainly on insects, worms, crustaceans and fish and will appreciate such food types in the aquarium as well. Flake food and pellets can also be used; but pellets are usually a better idea since flakes are a bit too small for large Jack Dempsey cichlids. A high-quality pellet can be a good base for the Jack Dempsey cichlid, but should ideally be combined with occasional treats of live food. Fish, earthworms, grasshoppers, shrimps, crayfish and small frogs are just a few examples of live food that your Jack Dempsey cichlid will like. When the Jack Dempsey cichlid is kept in an unplanted aquarium, it will need some vegetable matter in its diet, e.g. lettuce and plankton.

   If your Jack Dempsey cichlid suddenly changes its coloration, the alteration can have been caused by a number of factors. Sudden changes can be caused by mood swings, and stress can also make the Jack Dempsey cichlid dampen its colours. A varied and nutritious diet is also necessary if you want your Jack Dempsey cichlid to display really great colours. Age and health will also affect the coloration of a Jack Dempsey cichlid. If your Jack Dempsey cichlid becomes ill or experience a lot of stress in the aquarium, it can turn much paler than normal and look dull. The dots and bands will be less visible. A healthy, adult Jack Dempsey cichlid will typically feature a strong purple coloration with shimmering spots of blue, green and golden. You can clearly see a dark dot on each side of the body and tail, and the dorsal side features dark bands. If you closely at one scale, you will notice green or yellowish spots against the darker background. In older specimens, these spots will gradually become less visible. Really young specimens on the other hand will not have the purple coloration of the adult Jack Dempsey cichlids. Young Jack Dempsey cichlids are camouflaged by a pale grey or tan coloration, and have bleak turquoise dots. The mature male Jack Dempsey cichlid differs from the female, since the ends of his anal and dorsal fins are elongated and pointy.

   The Jack Dempsey cichlid is commercially bred in aquacultures and it is also possible to breed this cichlid in aquariums. It is considered a moderately hard species to breed in aquariums, and breeding Jack Dempsey cichlids will always be extremely aggressive. The Jack Dempsey cichlid will typically reach sexual maturity when it has grown to approximately 7-8 inches (18-20 centimeters). As mentioned above, many aquarists choose to keep the water temperature down in the aquarium to reduce hostile behaviors in the Jack Dempsey cichlid. If you want to spawn your Jack Dempsey cichlids, an increased temperature is however recommended. Breeding Jack Dempsey cichlids should always be kept in their own tank, or in an aquarium divided by glass or net, since the parents are extremely aggressive during the breeding period.

   The Jack Dempsey cichlids will appreciate a breeding site in the aquarium in the form of a flat rock. The female Jack Dempsey cichlid can however deposit the eggs directly in the bottom substrate if there isn’t a flat breeding site around. The adult couple should not be removed from the aquarium when the eggs have been deposited, because they are devoted parents that will care for the eggs. The parents will also dig a pit in the substrate in which they will place the larvae as soon as the eggs hatch. As the fry grows older, the parents will continue to protect them and care for them. The adult Jack Dempsey cichlids will even pre-chew food for their offspring as long as the young ones are too small to eat normal food.   ♦


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  • derek kearns

    August 1, 2009 at 5:33 am

    looking to keep jd with green terror u reckon they be fine two males 240 litre tank or maybe a texas ciclid with the jd what u think?

    • bigdawg

      October 4, 2010 at 7:41 am

      they will be fine..just dont put convicts are red jewls with them ……cuz they more aggressive ..trust me i know i have a 20 gallon with red jewls and fire mouths and terrrorss and oscars and the red jewel r abuse n all of them….but i have two jd in my 10 gallon with a rubber lip they do fine in there but they stay all black with different colors….

      • Bean

        November 22, 2010 at 5:18 am

        they’re prob picking on the jewel so much cuz u have so many aggressive fish in a tiny tank!! poor fish!!

        • Red Devil

          July 7, 2011 at 9:55 pm

          Seriously, not even one of those fish should be in a 10 gallon! You should get 2 big tanks & divide them in 1/2.

      • doomiedee

        October 15, 2011 at 5:58 pm

        @big Dawg that’s not necessarily true , I have 5 black convicts, 6 firemouths and 4 blue gene jack Dempseys n the dempseys are more aggressive toward each other then the convicts or firemouths

    • conner

      August 12, 2011 at 4:22 am

      derek kearns, green terrors look to similar to jack Dempsey they will fight. Texas maybe not

    • mark

      November 20, 2011 at 12:54 pm

      read up on the fish your going to keep before you buy , make sure you have the right size tank and the right fish , a lot of knowledge is a good thing

  • Mathew

    August 6, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    I have a pair of Jack Dempsey’s and it spawned 3 times in the last 7 months. Last week Dempsey’s ate all of their babies. Do you know why?

    • Barbarann

      January 18, 2010 at 9:54 am

      This has happened a few times with our fish as well. I have 2 mature JD’s and they have been a pair for as long as I have had them – i took them in when it’s previous owners had to move out of state. This was about 3.5 years ago. I knew very little about thier breeding habits and was very surprised to see tiny little semi translucent eggs deposited on the rocks. A few days later, I had my wigglers and was thrilled. My kids were thrilled as well and had thier faces pressed up to the glass half the day to see the fry.
      What we didnt seem to pay attention to though, was the adult female charging towards our faces and puffing up her gills !
      within a few short day all the fry were gone and we didnt kmnow why. It was a good year or so before they had more fry. this time I started to frantically search all over the internet as soon as the eggs were deposited … looking for ways to ensure these fry would survive. Never did I suspect that the parents had eaten thier babies- I assumed they just died and mysteriously dissapeared somewhere. These fry lasted a wee bit longer- we went on vacation 2 days after they were hatched- unfortunately the pet sitter ( for my cats and fish) wasnt paying a whole lot of attention to my fish care instructions, she WAY overfed them – I mean WAY overfed them- their entire 10 oz.container of pellets was dumped into that tank in a week- when we got home we were horrified to see the tank so filthy and the water so brown and cloudy that we could barely see our 2 mature fish, so I am pretty certain that the water quality is what did it that time…. next time was about 6 months ago. We had a pretty successful run, and after about 4 weeks we had 5 fry left- robust and healthy. we were looking into getting them their own tank, but we were too slow and by week 5 just one remained. this is around the time that momand dad fish had more fry. mom and dad became super agressive towards my singular young fry that was left. I mean, really really aggressive. to make matters worse, my kids had themselves parked a few inches in front of the glass, again to watch the new fry . within 24 hours of the new fry hatching they were all gone- EATEN by mom and dad!
      I was horrified! as it turns out, 2 factors were involved. the first one, the kids were aggitating them- and making them feel extra territorial and extra protective – thats why the momma fish was charging at my kids faces.. and puffing up her gills-she looked at them as a threat to her new fry.. and having the older fry in there was a threat too which is why the parents were being so aggressive (if not homicidal !) towards the one remaining older fry. As it turns out, feeling very threatened can cause so much hostility and agression that the parents will actually eat thier own fry. I am thinking that the first fry that they ever had ened up being eaten as well because of all the extra attention that was being givin via my kids having thier faces pressed against the glass constantly!

    • conner

      August 12, 2011 at 4:24 am

      Mathew, they are simply preparing for next spawn

  • Dave

    August 26, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    Brilliant write up Jack, I have been researching Jack Dempsey’s for some time now, This is the best I have seen so far.
    Very informative and easy to understand for the reader.
    Thank you.

  • Sharyn

    September 13, 2009 at 10:01 am

    Why do they bite each other? I have 4 jack Dempseys and one of them always chases and locks lips with another one. Poor fishy looks stressed! Why do they pick on that one? Please help!

    • john

      June 9, 2010 at 4:14 am

      Jack Dempsey males are very territorial. you might try and add some large decorations and or caves to make an area for the fish to call their own this will cut down on the aggression. i use broken pots from the garden. also keeping the temperature lower will cut down on aggression as well. the lip locking is a show of power your fish are trying to establish territory. if you do not have sufficient room for the fish they will dominate and eventually kill the weaker fish. for 4 adult Jack Dempsey i would say you need 150 gallons or larger tank.

    • bigdawg

      October 4, 2010 at 7:37 am

      lol thts funny…..

  • Gene Saunders

    September 21, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    My favorite fish. I have loved these since the 1960’s. I used to have a male Dempsey that I kept in his own tank. He would “dance” around excitedly whenever I came into the room and jump 1/2 inch out of the water to take food out of my fingers! Very beautiful, very smart, and very hardy fish, but not recommended to be kept except with other large Cichlids.

  • Amber

    November 18, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    This article makes the raising of a Jack Dempsey sound very difficult. Had I read it before purchasing mine, I might have selected a different species and missed out on a great fish. I don’t intend that as criticism. Readers should be aware that many of the statements are generalizations; don’t be afraid to take on a JD.

    I am a complete novice when it comes to Cichlids; my partner is nearly so. About ten months ago, we bought a couple of Firemouth Cichlid–about 2.5 inches long–and put them in a 29-gallon tank with rocks, wood, and a heater. They did very poorly for the first several weeks, spending most of their time cowering in the bottom of the tank and barely eating. We installed a pump on the undergravel filter and an aerator, and we added a few other non-Cichlid fish. One of the Firemouths died, and we replaced it with a JD.

    The JD was very aggressive from the moment we put it in the tank, and it dominated the other Cichlid. We had read that Cichlids would establish territories, and we thought that perhaps our Firemouth was a defective fish, so we then added a Green Terror. The GT turned out to be “defective” too. Long story short, over the months we have cycled through many fish, but that JD has persisted and is now 7+ inches long. Nearly all of the other fish we’ve added have disappeared (probably down the JD’s gullet), but the JD is still going strong.

    I acknowledge that our tank is on the small size and will eventually need to be upgraded, but for the time being it seems to be sufficient. The JD shares it with a 4-inch Plecostomus, and they don’t get in each other’s way. The tank has several plants in it, and the JD has not molested them. In addition to the undergravel filter, heater, and aerator, the tank is equipped with a waterfall filter. I change about 5 gallons of water once a week.

    The JD is very active and appears healthy. His diet consists of brine shrimp, earth worms, and the occasional scrap of chicken, beef, or mussel; he consumes everything with gusto and does not require any time to acclimate to new food items. He bites fingers and test-strips and anything else that is introduced suddenly to the surface of his tank.

    This is my first and only JD; perhaps he is abnormally robust and intrepid. I think that the bottom line is that JD’s are not hard to raise as long as you give them plenty of space to themselves; don’t expect to have a diverse community tank, and don’t expect a JD to behave itself in mixed company. They don’t necessarily require a mondo tank, and you shouldn’t be afraid to add plants. Just keep the JD’s tank clean and warm, and don’t get attached to any other living things that you add to it.

  • paul miller

    January 13, 2010 at 10:50 am

    i myself am torn between three fish as my favorite, the depsey ,red devil and last but certainly not least the red tail catfish. i will say dempseys and red devils do make a hell of a pair as long as u get them young and around the same size the red devil is a tad more agresive but dont evr put them in with the cat they eat everything my red tail ate two full grown oscars before i got him out of my tank leaving me with only my dempsy red devil and red belly paranah in a 250 gallon tank but for a dempsey u want to get big fish and very agresive fish and hope for the best they like their space but red devils are a good way to go it makes for a very active tank i will tell u that lol

  • fish man

    March 1, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    i had a pair of jd that were in the process of mating and
    mysterusly they got ich two days later she laid the eggs the
    eggs turn white she moved them then they hatch wil they suvive

    • conner

      August 12, 2011 at 4:26 am

      you might loose the eggs but medicine is needed

  • scot

    July 21, 2010 at 1:44 am

    How many Jack Dempseys can I put in a 90 gallon tank? I’d like to do a tank with just Dempseys but want more info first.

  • apple

    August 24, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    i had 4 jd and ended up with one large one after i moved not sure if she killed them or they died from the move…weeks later i had over 30 little things swimming with mom mean and protective as ever they are fine ive even givin 7 away im in love with cloe (mommy) and cant wait to change them to a bigger tank to one day b a grandfish mom…..

  • Bob

    October 20, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    Right now i have a 75 gallon that contains a common wolf fish and i dont mean dovii, also have a sveni pike, clown knife fish, and a 5 inch female jack dempsey. I was wondering if I could add a 7-8 inch jd into the tank. Also i know the wolf and knife can be mean and they will be removed if needed when i setup my larger tank. Fish are fed every other day but feed 3 times a day. Could this work

  • Garrett

    December 7, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    I have a 55 gallon comunity take for a year but the were origanally in 20 gallon tank so now I want to use the 20 gallon tank to house a JD but will that be big enough and if it is is there any other fish I could house with it

    • jackarthur46

      December 8, 2010 at 1:50 am

      Hi Garrett… A 20 gallon tank is okay for your JD providing it isn’t much more than 4 or 5 inches in size. To add another fish with it would be asking for trouble.

  • Rachael

    December 12, 2010 at 7:58 am

    im considering starting a tank of jack dempseys… just wanting to know a few things:
    Do they grow depending on the size of the tank? or do they grow no matter what?
    How many could i keep in a 6ft x 2ft x2ft tank?

    • jackarthur46

      December 12, 2010 at 9:19 pm

      Hi Rachael,
      As with all fish, they will obtain maximum size based on several factors. The size and population of your aquarium are major factors. How many you can keep would depend on how good your filtration is and offering a good diet. Crowding any fish tank will cause stress and thus diminish their ability to fight off disease and parasites. I hope this helps Rachael and good luck. Let me know how it works out for you.

      Jack Lamountain / The World of Jack Dempsey Cichlids

  • skyler

    January 2, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    hi i have a 40 gallon eclipse tank and was wondering if i could kep a breeding pair of JD’s in it i have a blood parrot in there with it and only have one JD right now that is about 3.5 inches long and was hopeing someone could awnser the question for me.

    • conner

      August 12, 2011 at 4:30 am

      skyler, the blood parrot will be attacked when and if they breed. the if in them breeding can bee taken care of by putting a 4×4 mirror on the outside of your tank, leave the mirror there for about a week. for more info about the mirror technique there is a tips and tricks link at top of page go there

  • Phi

    January 17, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    is it bad to keep 5 JD’s in 1 tank?

    • jackarthur46

      January 17, 2011 at 4:41 pm

      Hi Phi…
      Keeping 5 JDs in one tank is fine providing your aquarium is large enough and you don’t have many other fish in there also. I’ve kept as many as 25 juveniles (3 to 5 inches) in a 40 gal tank but I had lots of filtration and bare bottom. I cleaned the bottom of debris daily and changed about 5 % of water daily. No one wants to do that much work but I was breeding them at the time. Give me more information about your setup so that I may better advise you Phi. Thank you for checking out the website. Good luck.

      Jack Lamountain / The World Of Jack Dempsey Cichlids.

  • rsherb

    January 19, 2011 at 5:00 am

    Had 30 Electric blue fries ina 70gal by the time they all grew up 3″ plus there was one male that whitted the clan down to 17 had 2 hathes to produce some fry 10 have survived introduced a 4″ JD all Eb’ are gon except the male EB have observed them both discretely and they get along like brothers wierd one is twice the size of the other but they respect each others space and get along. The Eb chid is prime colours temperment and all he is a wonder at least worth $80 + the JD the same. There a happy pair

  • maxine

    February 26, 2011 at 12:24 am

    I have 2 of these fish one male one female. They have pair bonded and bred a few times in my friends tank. Sha had said he was very aggressive towards this female. I have had the male here at home for about a month now and because he seemed lonely we thought we would bring his wifey home lol and now he is beating her up bad again. Thanks for all the info on the tank and habbits as i was a goldfish owner before my son fed him a banana and killed him. I have given my girl a salt bath and given her a new home and added some copper sulfate to the water to help her heal does anybody have any ideas on how to make him not so mean ????? Oh and my water temp is room temp so about 73f I have given her a new home what else can i possibly do to make their living arrangements much more docile.

    • jackarthur46

      February 26, 2011 at 1:58 am

      Hi Maxine,

      To begin with, some males are just mean ole guys who like to beat up on girls. About the only thing you can do is give her a secure place to run off and hide so that he can’t get at her. She’ll probably spend a lot of time in that hideaway and maybe eventually he’ll calm down a bit. Regarding her wounds, a bit of salt is okay but I’d not put much copper sulfate in her water unless you see parasites developing. The best thing you can do for her is keep the water pristine clean for a few weeks and feed her lots of high protein foods. PH should be 6.6 to 7.2 for best healing. Temp. of 73F is good. Higher temps make these fish more aggressive. Clean her filter often for a few weeks: you don’t want any bacteria flourishing in the tank that could infect her wounds. Keep the lights dim while she’s recouping. If you see any signs of infection, redness, cottony growths or swollen areas, get the proper meds immediately. Don’t add medicine unless you need to. All meds put fish in stress so avoid if not needed. Good luck Maxine and thank you for visiting “The World Of Jack Dempsey Cichlids”.

      Jack Lamountain / owner and website designer.

    • conner

      August 12, 2011 at 4:05 am

      try putting a 4×4 mirror on the outside of your tank. the male will think there is another male and leave her alone, this also might induce them to spawn

  • Becky

    March 9, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    I have a Jack Dempsey that is about 4 months old or so and is starting to move his rock substrate into piles. He is in a tank by himself so was wondering why he does this. He is very healthy and is growing rapidly to about 3″ long now. Was also wondering if he can go into my 55 gallon tank later with my pair of Severums that are about 4″ long each since my JD is in a tank that is only 18 gallons right now. Thanks for any reply. God Bless.

    • jackarthur46

      March 9, 2011 at 9:02 pm

      Hi Becky . . .

      Putting your 3″ JD in an aquarium with 2 larger Severums is probably asking for trouble. It’s my guess that the Severums would chase the JD around and force it into hiding. I’d wait to the JD is at least 4″ before moving him in with the others. The 18 gallon is fine for now as long as he is the only fish in there. Feed him a veriety of quality foods and he should grow quickly. The fact that he is moving rocks around is simply his/her instinct to build a nest. You’ll see this done often when JDs are alone or with very few other fish in the aquarium with them. Good Luck Becky.

      Jack Lamountain / The World Of Jack Dempsey Cichlids

      • donald

        March 18, 2011 at 12:36 am

        I AM A BEGINNER ITS MY FIRST TANKK i just got a used 30 gallon setup pretty clean.i have a 7 inch jack dempsey a 5 inch firemouth 6 gold fish about 3inch and a 2inch algae eater.these fish came with the setup.
        my question should i take out the JD ?am i asking for trouble?
        also have an aquatech 30-60 filter that noisy.do know a quiter replacement?
        i am not a big fan of the gold fish

        • Tk

          April 13, 2012 at 8:24 am

          Get rid of the gold fish. The dempsy needs to me moved to a bigger tank but the firemouth and you could get away with a yellow lab cichlid (electric yellow cichlid)

          • Tk

            April 13, 2012 at 8:26 am

            Also a penguin bio wheel or and aqua clear for a filter

  • crystal

    April 28, 2011 at 12:40 am

    i have a 55 gallon tank with a jack demsey in it and it killed a few of my other fish, my oscar,convict,and a jack just like him!

  • Sue

    May 1, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    I have jack dempsey fry that hatched 2 days ago. The male (I think) has been protecting them from day one. This morning the male seems to not be paying attention at all to the fry and is hanging out on the other side of the tank. Should I attempt to put up a divider to keep the other fish from eating them? If she is the mother, I am not sure which one is the dad, he or she is the biggest one in the tank and is the most territorial. Advice is appreciated. Thank you.

    • conner

      August 12, 2011 at 4:10 am

      sue, the bigger is probably the male. and if you want to keep the fry another tank is necessary, the parents will eat them to prepare for the next spawn

  • bill wooldridge

    May 4, 2011 at 9:23 am

    at what age can i start feeding my lil jack live food an what is the best thing to give him so he will grow big an fast i konw about micro worms an krill but i want to feed live food to my lil jack thank you billy wooldridge ps how many inchies should he be

    • conner

      August 12, 2011 at 4:16 am

      bill, if you feed him goldfish as long as they are small enough it don`t matter what age he is same with other live food, as long as its small enough it don`t matter.

  • Bilal Sharper

    June 26, 2011 at 1:32 am

    I have two JD’s. Male 3 Inches and female 2inches. They’ve been mating for a while now and have already two sets of baby fry’s. They had their second set last week. I isolated them from the rest of my cichlids(Mixed Africans and Oscars that are in the 75G and put them in a 55G. Just today they were mating and I noticed that the female is taking a pretty bad beating. Do I need to seperate them?? If it came down to that one of them would have to go in the 75 with my Oscars and Mixed africans. So which one of them would I put in there??? Thanks alot:)

  • Paula Sheldon

    July 4, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    Me and my boyfriend have 2 jds’ we have had them in a 75 gallon tank together for a couple years now.. Just rececently our male jd has been very aggressive and has been beating up on our female. She has now been trying to hide and we have many caves and a large log for all the fish to have their own spot. Our temperature is set at 76 degrees and still he wont leave her alone. Someone please help us. What should we do to try and calm him down to the way he used to be.

    • conner

      August 12, 2011 at 4:17 am

      try putting a 4×4 mirror on the outside of your tank. the male will think there is another male and leave her alone, this also might induce them to spawn

  • Adam

    July 26, 2011 at 3:32 am

    I love jack dempseys and i just got a 55 gal tank im hopeing to get some tank mates for him too useing “Intelligent Freshwater Aquarium Stocking Calculator” i have planed out a few friends for him 3 pictus catfish,1 Opaline Gourami,1 rainbow shark,1 rubberlip pleco i was also going to get lots of plants and caves for them to hide and make there territory’s any one know if this would be a good idea ? im new to these fish and i hope it turns out :S also what should i get fist and second ect ect

    • conner

      August 12, 2011 at 4:19 am

      if you plan on getting pictus cats you will need lots of plants or they will die.

  • Nick

    August 4, 2011 at 3:10 am

    hi, i have a 55 gallon with 3 angels 1 large and 2 small and 4 corry cats and i want to add a jd there. Is that a good idea?

    • jackarthur46

      August 4, 2011 at 9:07 am

      Hi Nick. Adding a single, small Jack Dempsey to your group may work out okay, then again, maybe not. The Angels may get beaten up if you get a real aggressive JD. Do not get more than one JD or you’ll be asking for certain problems later on as they mature. Good luck.

  • DeJuan

    August 4, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    I just added two 3 inch jack dempseys in a 55 gallon tank with a 8 inch oscar. At first the oscar would chase the two around but after a couple hours of that they started to nibble back at him. Now the oscar is on one end of the tank and the jds stay on the other side. Should i take them out of there or will they be ok?

    • jackarthur46

      August 5, 2011 at 12:33 am

      Hello DeJuan. If the JDs are 3″ and the Oscar is 8″, the Oscar can take care of himself for now. Eventually the JDs will grow larger and then you might have a problem. But by then, they should be accustomed to each other and settle down. Good luck with that. … Jack Lamountain / The World Of Jack Dempsey Cichlids.

  • devin

    August 26, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    ok so i want my jack dempseys to breed ive got a 35 gallon tank and there are 6 jds in it ive seem to have 2 pairs but if they do spawn should i pute the fry in my 10 gallon tank all i have in there are 2 goldfish and ipute golden mollys in there as feeder fish for my jacks is this a good idea or should i lev\ave the fry in with the jacks. thanks for any reply

    • Tk

      April 13, 2012 at 8:31 am

      Keep the fry with the parents for a few weeks then seperate them

  • jake thomas

    September 7, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    hey, i have a 55 gallon tank and i have one jack dempsey who is around 5 inches, a 3 inch electric blue jack dempsey, and a 5 inch tiger oscar. i have the aquarium set up so that each fish can have its own territory, but it seems that the jack dempsey wants to own the whole tank. i was going to add more caves to see if that would help out and i also wanted to add more fish, but i bought the JD around 2 weeks ago. should i not buy anymore fish or should i just give the JD time to get used to the tank.

    also, i know that the JD thinks that other fish that look like itself is a threat so it will fight with the other fish, so what would you reccommend me getting if i were to get a couple more fish?

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  • Eddie

    October 14, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Hi I have a Jack Dempsey who awhile back did some damage to his lip (almost like a chunk is missing) and he gets cotton like growths on in. I believe this is fungus and have tried PimaFix and Maracyn-plus, and Maracyn-Oxy. The Oxy seemed to help a bit but then it came back. Sometimes he flips out and shakes off the cotton like growth, but even then I can’t get his lip to heal. Any help would be greatly appreciated as I fear it is getting worse and really want to help him but don’t know what else to try. Thanks.

    • jackarthur46

      October 15, 2011 at 12:39 am

      The meds you used should have rid the JD of the infection. The only thing I can think of is that your water isn’t as clean as it might be. Clean your filters more often and perform more water changes. If you have a UV light, use that also. The wound should heal eventually but you want to keep the cottony growth from forming. Good Luck.

      Jack Lamountain / The World Of Jack Dempsey Cichlids

    • Tk

      April 13, 2012 at 8:40 am

      Try Melafix and pimafix by api you can use both products att the same time. Remove your carbon treat with both products at the same time every day for 7 days and on day 8 do a 50% water change. Add new carbon and add some stress coat

  • marie

    October 22, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    I have a forty gall. and I thing my filter is too small …I have two jd’s in there and they are starting to look weak and not moving around as much as they use too..I dont want to loose them..what should I do ??? :v(

  • blow blu

    October 24, 2011 at 2:25 am


  • Johnny 5

    October 31, 2011 at 5:54 am

    Can someone tell me y my jd has really green lips and head ?

  • Jessi

    November 23, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Hi, I have 1 JD and I need some other fish in the tank. Its a 45 gallon. Im looking at getting 1 Yellow Bellied Cichlid, 1 Rainbow Shark, 1 Turquoise Cichlid, and 1 Jewel Cichlid, and 2 Purple Spotted Gudgeon, Do you think this is a good mix? My JD is about 4-5 inches long. I know I need some fish to match his agressiveness.

  • Madmanss13

    December 6, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Why does everyone who comments says the same stupid thing shhh your poor poor fishies r overcrowded then here it comes (you should get a bigger tank)this kills me,ok u busted me I have the $for a bigger one but I was waiting for the next rocket scientice tell me my tank is small

    • Ruben

      December 10, 2011 at 6:34 am

      I have no more room for tanks, my wife wont let me get anymore. I think the next step is a pond :)

  • bobby gaither

    December 15, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    can u couach me on rasing my jack new at the game dont know much about em

  • tammy

    January 27, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    hiya i have a male and female jd i have just recent moved them in to a new tank which is bigger. but after getttin up 2day my female looks like she dyin. is there sum1 that can help me pls.

  • Molly

    April 11, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    Hey there I just introduced a 7in JD into a 95 gal tank. This tank has 2 blue crayfish, two 4in convicts, a 10 1/2in sucker fish, and a 5in goldfish….. Surprisingly the gold fish has held his own previously with two 6in oscars and later the convicts! But I am wondering despite the gold fish dose this tank sound reasonable or should I remove some fish and put them in a separate 55gal that I have available?! The current 95gal has some plants, caves, and a sandy bottom, it’s kept at aprox 75*f, has a under tank filter and 100gal bio wheel filter and lots of airation….. Please help?!?!

  • Tk

    April 13, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Try a Melafix and pimafix combination , be sure to remove your carbon and follow directions on both bottles. Its fine to use in combination. Use those for 7 days and do a 50% water change on day 8

  • peril

    April 21, 2012 at 5:49 am

    Hi there. I got two tanks at home, a 75 gallon and a 50 gallon, plus a tiny planted tank for fry. My problem is the 7.inch jd I adopted. He grew two inches since I picked him up from a 20 gallon tank where he lived alone since he killed 3 other jds. I kept him in the 75 gallon first with turtles since he would try to kill any fish he saw, but now that I sold the turtles he is living alone in a 50 gallon and I moved all my fish to 75 g.instead. My question is, how can I cheer him up and companions for him? He barely swims and seems bored and.depressed in the tank alone, but the moment a new fish goes.in he tries to kill.it….what can I put in with him? A female maybe?

    • Brian Schafer

      June 19, 2012 at 3:07 pm

      i whould try a female ive been told when ya buy fish to buy more than one just a word for thought

  • Mo K Gandhi

    April 24, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    I have a year old JD, male I believe. I am being told to release him into a 1/2 acre pond that is eight feet deep in most parts. I live in Michigan and the pond does freeze over in the winter to about four inches deep. There are plenty of gold fish and minnows, frogs, plants, water bugs, and algae to eat. Would he be able to survive the winter? I will not release him there if he can not. His tank is too small and my main tank is filled with non-aggressive fish that he eats when I put him in there. He’s a great fish with a great personality. Never knew a fish could be this personable.

    • jackarthur46

      April 25, 2012 at 5:38 am

      Mo K You’re Jack Dempsey would NOT survive the cold water. I put some JD’s in a koi pond (about 1500 gal) and as the water dropped into the 60’s, the Jack Ds got very quiet and they all died as the water temp was dropping lower than 60F. Don’t even attempt it. He would love that pond in the summer with all those critter to chase and eat. *wink*.

      • Mo k Gandhi

        April 27, 2012 at 1:58 am

        Thank you very much jackarthur46. I do not want to put him into the pond, but guests at my house are insisting that I do because his tank is way too small. Putting him into a pond to die is much worse in my book. Thanks again. Jack will live out his years in an aquarium, a much bigger aquarium very soon.

  • Brian Schafer

    June 19, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    when is it a good time to take mom and dad dempsey out of the tank i am afraid that they will eat the fry. my fry are going on 4 days after being hatched daddy was being really agressive to female so i tiiok him out

  • michael davis

    August 5, 2012 at 7:39 am

    hi I have a 5-7 inch female jack and a 5-7 inch male jewel. they seem to be trying to spawn/mate…. is it possible? they lock lips and the jack digs but the jewel goes to the flower pot I put in tank…. they slap each other with there tail fins….(shake next to each other) and this has been going on for about 2-3 weeks they are in a 20 gal.. there colors are great and water temp seems to be around 78-82 Fahrenheit…. any ideas what they mate into or can they even do it ?

    • f1shg33kz

      August 13, 2012 at 1:26 am

      Jack Dempseys and Jewel Cichlids can not interbreed. Jewel Cichlids are an African Cichlid.

      20 gallons is way too small for those fish. You’re cutting down their life span by keeping them in something that small. Jack Dempseys can live for 10+ years and really need a 55 gallon tank. I hope you can appreciate the needs of this fish.

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