Jewel Cichlids – All Grown Up

January 31st, 2008

Remember back in the summer when I brought home the wild Jewel cichlids from Florida, and they immediately spawned? The fry were so tiny back then.

Jewel Cichlid Male with Fry

Now, only about 6-7 months later, the then fry, are now nearly as large as the adults. What may be even more amazing is that the two parents are living peacefully with their 2 remaining children in a 20H. I gave the other fry away when they were only an inch or two.

Jewel Cichlid

While not quite as large or colorful as their parents, they are starting to look fairly decent. The “jewels” are becoming more visible and intense on their face, and their body is staying a nice dark cobalt color.

Jewel Cichlid

I imagine that they won’t ever look as good as their dominant parents until they move on to a tank of their own. I’m trying to maintain the peace by regularly feeding them large meals of blackworms, spectrum, or the occasional feeder guppy. They’re voracious eaters, but don’t seem to fight each other for food.

Jewel Cichlid

When we went on our short weekend trip for four days, I didn’t line up a special feeding regimen, however, and they didn’t beat each other up, so I must assume that they’ve worked out a living arrangement amongst themselves. Hopefully that’ll last for a long time. I imagine that if they ever spawn again, trouble might result. Until then, they’re a fun, and personable group of fish that seem to recognize me, and watch me from the right corner of the tank, whenever I’m in the room.

25 Responses to “Jewel Cichlids – All Grown Up”

  1. Holy G Says:

    Wow! I hope I get the same luck as you, on my next net fishing trip. I am considering getting a better net, any suggestions?

  2. guitarfish Says:

    The net we used was like a crab net on a pole, but with a finer mesh. Unfortunately, I don’t know where they got them because they weren’t mine. Just note, if you get any Jewels, make sure to keep them in a tank by themselves because they will kill your other fish.

  3. wujimon Says:

    Thanks for the update on the jewels! I’ve been thinking about setting myself up a tank of these after I’ve had a taste of cichlid life with my kribs 🙂

  4. guitarfish Says:

    Just like Kribs, prepare for lots of babies if they settle into a tank. 🙂 I’ve been lucky with mine that I haven’t had a ton, but I’ve heard some stories of people ending up with hundreds of fish from just a couple pairs.

  5. Rob Says:


    This is the version of Jewels that I have, also have one thats similar to yours in another tank that I received from someone that couldnt keep him anymore. My Jewels have had no problems with other fish in the tank, although they are in a 75 gallon with Ameca Splendens and a few other similar sized cichlids. My breeding pair is in a twenty long with about ten of their offspring without problems. The ones in the 75 are from the first batch of offspring. Mine are slightly smaller, more the 4-5 in range.

  6. guitarfish Says:

    Rob, thanks for the info! Your fish are quite pretty too! That’s encouraging to hear that your jewels coexist in a 75G. I imagine that if you have enough space, and enough similarly sized cichlids, the aggression will be dispersed enough. I just know that any smaller fish I’ve put into my Jewel tank, it promptly hunted and exterminated.

  7. Rob Says:

    The Ameca Splendens are smaller but I think they breed prolifically enough to outperform any hunting. There are only two or three other cichlids in the tank. Probably about a dozen Jewels in the tank. The ameca splenden babies also come out 1/2′ right out of the gate which gives them an advantage as well.

  8. guitarfish Says:

    Sounds like a nice setup! I’ve never kept Ameca splendens. Do they do a good job on algae like I read?

  9. Rob Says:

    Too a point. I leave the lights on too much in that tank because its at my parents but I have had them a long time and they are pretty good algae removers.

  10. Holy G Says:

    I just started getting involve in the cichlids. Any advice you could give me. And actually, I have understood there are two kinds of the lake malawaki cichlids. I have a royal blue with yellow fins and a complete electric yellow cichlids the regular once any one can get in Petco. Could you tell me the scientific name?

  11. Bob Says:

    Hi Chris! I was searching the Web for locations of jewel cichids and came across your post. What part of Florida did you catch them in?


  12. guitarfish Says:

    Holy G, unfortunately, I’ve never kept Lake Africans, so I really haven’t a clue. I’d imagine that they’re relatively common if they’re from Petco, so you should be able to find your answer on one of the cichlid forums on the net.

    Bob, we found ours in some of the canals around Miami. I really don’t remember the exact location, but we did find them in multiple places, so they’re definitely distributed.

  13. jay uk Says:

    hi i have a pair of jewels in a 3ft x 2ft x15in an i have 4 other jewels in the same tank so all together i have 6 i fink they are 2 pair. 1 red female an a blue male which have about 200 fry an the other pair are blue an the 2 pair are about 4 an half inch an 2 1 inch young an i love your jewels why are they brown tho?

  14. guitarfish Says:

    Thanks for the comment, Jay. My jewels were never brown, but did turn a dark gray/purply color depending on their mood. It was really amazing seeing all of the different colors these fish would turn from mating, to aggression, to feeding, to just hanging out. I don’t have these fish any longer, but they’re in the good care of another local hobbyist here.

  15. Sonny Disposition Says:

    I’ve got them now. I combined them with about 6 other jewels I brought back from a trip to Pembroke Pines, Florida. All are the dull gray/purply color, except for the dominant male, who has turned mostly bright blood red, especially on the underside. They’re really shy fish, especially considering their ferocity. I know they need structure, so I arranged an apartment complex of bricks and slate for them in a 20 gallon high. Everyone seems to be getting along, but I haven’t seen any fry yet.

  16. guitarfish Says:

    Thanks for the update Sonny! I’m glad that they’re doing well. For me they were shy, until they saw the blackworm container, and then they were anything but!

  17. Ruben Says:

    I once caught some on bare hook so I took them home one day, but it was only five of them. So I put them in my pool that we never used, and months later there was hundreds of them in the pool! I kept some in my tank but they always tried to jump out. But they killed my other fish as well. They can also get territorial.

  18. Joe Says:

    I have a breeding pair of jewels that pump out a new batch of fry about once a month,, my question is will the adults kill the old fry when the new fry hatch???

  19. guitarfish Says:

    Joe, a lot of it depends on the specific personality of the fish you have. In my experience, the parents left their own offspring alone until either the tank got too crowded, or the offspring reach maturity themselves. Even then, they were sometimes okay, but that’s usually when problems occurred for me if they were going to.

  20. stuart Says:

    G’day All,
    I have a couple of Jewells in a 300L aquarium with a mixture of other Cichlids. For the most part they all get on very well (excepting the occasional chase). Anyway the smaller of the Jewells (about 3 inches) is a beautiful red/yellow/orange, while the larger (3.5 inches) is very dark all over with only the blue ‘Jewells’ as colouring. Any ideas why one is colourful and the other isn’t. They both eat well and appear to be happy and healthy. BTW the larger is the dominant fish, sometimes chasing the smaller. Thanks. Stuart

  21. guitarfish Says:

    stuart, are you sure both of the fish you mention are males? The coloration you describe is similar to the differences I saw between my male and female fish. Beyond that, coloration can vary greatly between spawning colors, dominance in the hierarchy, gender, etc…

  22. stuart Says:

    I don’t know how to tell the difference in gender. All I have read so far says you can’t tell until they pair up. I have wondered if I had one of each by their behaviour sometimes. While there is a chase every now and then, sometimes they are very close and will rub their bodies together.

  23. guitarfish Says:

    That’s what my pairs did when I had them.

  24. stuart Says:

    G’day all,
    Been a while since I was asking about my Jewels. Thought I’d give an update if anyone is interested. Turns out I do have a male and female. A week or so ago I noticed that they had layed eggs on a few rocks in their corner. The next day they were mostly gone so I assumed that the Bristlenose had cleaned them up overnight. Anyway a few days after that I found they’re looking after about 50 fry. I have seperated most of the fry and I’m attempting to keep them alive into adulthood. (Or at least till they’re saleable).
    Guitarfish, I see what you mean about the colours. The male is alot lighter now than he was, and now that the fry are gone the female isn’t as bright but more of an even pink. With the fry gone only a few days they are already back into the old routine – alot of high speed chases around the tank and then a bit of smooching – here we go again.

  25. Shizue Finkenbiner Says:

    Hey ppl w/ 3 names (Edward James Olmos, etc.) 2 names is plenty. I’m sick of wasting my time saying all your freakin names.