Electric Blue Jack Dempsey
The Electric Blue Jack Dempsey is the slightly smaller version of the Jack Dempsey Cichlid. Reaching a maximum of 20cm compared to the 25cm in length reached by its larger cousin. The 'Electric Blue' describes the highly vibrant blue pattern covering its body. It's notably different from the greener pattern present on the larger Jack Dempsey. Another slight difference between these two fishes worth noting is that the Electric Blue Jack Dempsey does appear to be much more tolerant towards other fish in the same aquarium. That being said, to achieve success with these gorgeous cichlids, certain care requirements must be met.
You will find the Electric Blue Jack Dempsey in warm slow-moving muddy waters in North and Central America; Southern Mexico, Guatemala, Yucatan, and Honduras. To create the best environment for any fish, we must all try to understand the natural environment of the species and aim to replicate this in the home aquarium as best we can. But without going too technical, there are a few simple rules we can follow to help offer them a healthy and happy life.
Setting up the aquarium:
First of all the tank size is the most important element in keeping tropical fish. The minimum size should be no less than 150l (40 US gallons). This allows you to keep only one Electric Blue Jack Dempsey. Keeping more requires a much larger aquarium due to their territorial behaviour.
Next, the substrate should provide a natural appearance and feel. So it's best to go for a dark colour as opposed to white or light-coloured gravel. Crushed coral is one of the best types of substrate as it adds calcium and buffers pH level changes in water. A good to decorate with a substrate that buffers any type of change in this parameter, which can lead to stress and disease. Natural decor conststing of wood, rock and aquatic plants can be used to create a layout around the edges of the aquarium with an open space in the front/centre area for swimming. An ideal plant species is Sagittaria or giant vallisneria.
Although the Electric Blue Jack Dempsey is a fairly hardy fish, there is a difference between surviving and thriving and with that in mind, you should aim to maintain your water parameters within the following ranges.
- Temperature: 0 to 86.0° F (22.2 to 30.0° C)
- pH level: 6.0-8.0
- Hardness: 8-12dGH
An established aquarium that is regularly maintained will give your fish a stable environment to live in.
These large cichlids are not fussy when it comes to food. They will eat all day long in the wild and regularly consume insects, fruits and plants along with small fish when the opportunity presents itself. In the home aquarium, we never promote live feeder fish due to the high risk of parasites. Luckily we have a wide range of food to suite the diet of large cichlids like the Jack Dempsey.
- Frozen bloodworm, mussels, beefheart etc
- Live earthworms or small insects (nutrient packed)
- Dried foods (pellets, flake, granules, tablets)
We recommend feeding 3 or 4 times a day, a mixture of veg & meat based foods and in all of the above forms. It is important to remember, fish cannot produce their colour unless they are provided with the correct foods. By feeding your fish high quality foods, you will get a much more vibrant fish.
Although a predator, the Electric Blue Jack Dempsey can be kept successfully together with the following fish.
- Jewel Cichlid
- Oscar Fish
- Firemouth Cichlids
- Silver Dollars
Before adding fish to the aquarium, make sure they can thrive in the same water conditions and require the same diet.
Breeding in the aquarium:
To stimulate breeding, it is very wise to place a pair into an aquarium of their own due to the increase aggression from parents at this time. The Electric Blue Jack Dempsey is a cichlid and like many other cichlids, they will lay eggs on rock or wood surfaces. In the beginning to condition your fish, increase the water temperature to 30° C and perform more water changes.
As soon as the eggs have hatched and are free swimming, the male must be removed. At this point the aggression levels will be high and could cause adverse consequences for the fry. during the first couple of days fry are susceptible to disease so we recommend increasing the temperature to 32° C to help avoid disease.
After 5-6 weeks, the temperature can be gradually returned to the normal 28° C as the young fishes grow in size.
Successful breeding is difficult (but not impossible) and often only achieved by experienced breeders.
Almost all Electric Blue Jack Dempsey Cichlids available in local fish shops have been captive bred which involves a lot of time and is a costly process. As a result of this, these fish can often be priced higher than average Cichlids and are not always available to buy.