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Jewel Cichlids | Mid Size Tank Terrors

Updated on November 8, 2009

Jewel Cichlids are a type of African Cichlid with bright red coloring and pretty blue spots and an all around awesome appearance. In theory. In reality, Jewel Cichlids are aggressive little psychopaths who will spend half their time trying to kill fish in your tank and the other half trying to suicide on the floor.

When faced with Jewel Cichlids, many keepers will coo and aww over them, saying how lovely they look. I would advise staying away from them. I have kept two females of this species. One is dead, because after seeing how mercilessly bullied she was getting, I moved her into a separate tank, only for her to leap out of it onto the floor. Idiot fish. She died because she did this when we were out, though for all I know the fall killed her. Idiot fish.

The remaining Jewel Cichlid (aka, idiot fish Mk II) is currently doing its best to leap out of the 70 gallon it calls home. I know no real reason for why it would try to do this, the water parameters are okay and the water is clean. It's not being bullied, being the biggest fish in the tank, and yet all it wants to do is hurl itself out of the tank. I have been wondering why she is trying to do this, but the reality of the situation is that many cichlids like to jump and a well fitting hood is essential for any fish, no matter what kind of fish it is. Even if the fish looks too big and cumbersome to jump out, don't trust it.

From what I can tell, Jewel Cichlids just like to jump, and probably jump more when they're hungry. So if you insist on getting these mid sized terrors (Jewel Cichlids usually top out at 15 centimeters, or occasionally 10 centimeters,) make sure they are well fed and have a hood that fits properly. They can easily clear a jump of 5 inches.

The other piece of information you should be aware of is that the brightly colored pictures of Jewel Cichlids are usually pictures of a certain species of Jewel Cichlids in its breeding colors. Most Jewel Cichlids commonly available are not bright red, if anything they tend to be a pale pinkish color with red finnage and blue / red sparkles.

Is there anything else you need to know about these cichlids? Well, like most cichlids, they are filthy eaters and will happily strew waste from one side of your tank to the other, mine is so bad that the Synodontis catfish actually follows around after it at feeding time, eating the vast amounts of food which escape this fish's mouth.

You have been warned.


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