Tim's Tropical Fish






Jewel Cichlid

African River Cichlid

Malawi African Cichlid Gallery

Jewel Cichlid Hemichromis bimaculatus

The Jewel Cichlid originated from the rivers in Africa in the Zaire region.  It is one of the most aggressive tropical fish and is not suited for a community tank.  It is also known as the Jewelfish and the Two Spotted Jewel Fish.  The scientific name Hemichromis bimaculatus refers to the two large spots along its body.  Hybrid varieties may not show these spots.  The basic coloration is yellow/olive, but colors become intense red with iridescent blue/green spots during breeding.  A common hybrid is the Blue or Turquoise Jewel.  There is also a red forest variety known by the scientific name Hemchromis lifalili.

The Jewel Cichlid is used to digging for food in sandy and muddy substrate.  It will destroy most plants, so donít hope to retain any plants for show.  It will eat flake foods, algae flakes and pellets.  The tank should have caves.

The Jewel Cichlid is not difficult to breed, however obtaining a pair can be a challenge.  One method of obtaining pairs is to keep a group of juveniles together and watch for pairings.  When they reach adulthood, you canít reasonably keep more than one pair in a tank though.  At breeding time, both sexes become more colorful, with the male taking on a brilliant red.  Care should be taken to watch the pair closely, as the male may kill a female who is not ready to breed.  Providing hiding places can help.

Both parents will work to clean a surface for the eggs, preferably a flat rock with a 45 degree angle from the substrate.  If they canít find a surface, they may use aquarium glass or make a shallow dugout area on the bottom.  Parent should be left in the tank after spawning, as Jewels are great parents.  They will remove (by eating) any eggs that arenít fertilized. The fry will hatch in one to two days and can be fed brine shrimp when the yolk sac is depleted.

Scientific Name: Hemichromis bimaculatus
Family: Cichlid
Temperature: 21 - 25 C; 70 - 77 F
pH: 6.5 -7.5
Size: 10 cm; 4 inches
Life Span: 5 - 10 years
Breeding: Normal, Egg Layer


Compatible with less aggressive Mbunas and similar sized Peacock and Haplochromis African Cichlids. They are known to kill Plecos and New World Cichlids, such as Jack Dempseys and Green Terrors.