Jack Dempsey Fish: Guide to Breeding, Diet & Behavior

Jack Dempsey fish are exemplary huge cichlids in the aquarium business for the most valid reasons. They are very lovely, with blue, gold, and green spangles.

Jack Dempsey Fish

Furthermore, they are exceptionally strong fish that can endure an extensive variety of water conditions. What’s more, it’s not in any way hard to breed these fish, permitting you to observe the intensive care that cichlids give their eggs and their young ones.

In general, the Jack Dempsey fish may be the best large cichlid to start off with.

Jack Dempsey Fish Facts & Overview

Scientific name:Rocio octofasciata
Common namesJack Dempsey cichlid
Distribution:Belize, Honduras, Mexico, and Guatemala
Size:10–15 inches
Life expectancy:8–10 years
Color:Blue, purple, green, pink, or gray, with bright specs
Minimum tank size:80 gallons
Temperature:72–86°F (22–30°C)
Hardness:9–20 dGH
Care level:Intermediate

What more to know about Jack Dempsey Fish

The local habitat of Jack Dempsey fish is in Southern Mexico and Central America as far south as Honduras.

They are firmly connected with numerous Central American cichlids, including Convict Cichlids, and they have comparative care requirements.

Jack Dempseys are a decent choice for aquarium hobbyists who need something with a touch of greater character and size.

They are huge fish however don’t develop to be unmanageably so. Also, they are aggressive fish – however not so forceful that you can’t keep them with perfectly-picked tank mates.

So, what else might there be to be familiar with the Jack Dempsey fish?

For what reason are they named Jack Dempseys?

The Jack Dempsey fish has a fascinating name: it was taken from the unbelievable boxer Jack Dempsey, who was known to be exceptionally aggressive in the ring. As a matter of fact, Jack Dempsey was the world heavyweight boxing champion from 1919 to 1926. He likewise had areas of strength for exceptionally includes and assuming you take a look at the fish’s head you could see some similarity. Hence, somebody concluded that the fish species helped them to remember the renowned fighter.

Regardless of that, Jack Dempsey doesn’t exactly satisfy its name. Back in the mid-twentieth century when this fish species entered the aquarium world, they were the absolute most lively fish around.


Jack Dempsey fish have a bellicose appearance, with strong facial elements and a gigantic head and body, suggestive of the 1920s warrior Jack Dempsey.

This fish has long, dainty blades and a long, slight body. Males have longer blades and be greater. The male’s blade is longer and more pointed than the female’s dorsal fin.

They have an earthy colored generally variety with black spots on the highest point of their bodies that get bigger around their tail balance locale.

This fish’s name comes from the distinctive yellow tones that run the length of its blades while staying more obscure at the ends.

Golds, blues, and pinks are the most well-known tints, and their variety will differ as they age.

More youthful fish has a light green color with green spots initially. Their color goes to distinctive green-blue bits as they age.

Variety can change for various reasons, not simply age. At the point when they are restless or mating, they turn a lighter tone.

The electric blue variety conspires Since the variety’s underlying name was “Jack Dempsey,” a famous variation of this species called “Jack Dempsey” has ascended in prominence.

This assortment is less forceful and more modest than the standard Jack Dempsey.

Average Behavior

Jack Dempseys are noted for being regional and forceful.

They regularly fight with other fish of similar species and will kill any fish that undermines their food or domain.

Subsequently, numerous people are turned off by them, and we wouldn’t recommend them to amateurs.

Since it’s harder for them to single out and go after solitary fish in thickly pressed aquariums, they’re less forceful.

Jack Dempsey Fish Size

Male Jack Dempsey fish develop to be about 10-15 inches long, while females are somewhat more limited.

Electric Blue Jack Dempsey

A freak variant of the normal Jack Dempsey.

It has similar necessities and demeanor just like all more normal cousins, however, is less forceful.

Actually important they’re very scant in their local climate, making them much more alluring to aquarium owners!

They additionally have distinctive yellow spots and stripes around their blades, which recognize them from different varieties of jack Dempsey fish.

Females of the Electric Blue might grow up to 15 creeps long, while guys normally 12-13 inches.

They require an aquarium with a limit of no less than 100 gallons, so ensure you have sufficient room for them prior to adding any water, as these fish might become rather enormous.

Environment and Tank Conditions

What Size Aquarium Do They Need?

For one Dempsey, a 55-gallon fish tank is suggested as a negligible least.

In the event that you have the choice, consistently go bigger. A bigger tank, for example, a 80-gallon tank, is consistently ideal.

Tank Setup

The water temperature ought to be kept between 74°-85° degrees Fahrenheit (23-29 Celsius).

pH levels ought to go from around 6 to 7 and the hardness level under 100 ppm.

  • Temperature: 74°-85°F (23°-29°C)
  • Ammonia/Nitrite: 0
  • Nitrate: <40 ppm
  • pH: 6.0-7.0
  • GH: 3-8 dGH (50-133 ppm)
  • KH: 4-6 dGH (72-107 ppm)



The significance of filtration in any aquarium couldn’t possibly be more significant. Dempsey Fish are huge, untidy eaters who abandon a ton of junk.

Certain individuals suggest going with a bigger filtration system, yet the best idea is to have a satisfactory stream for the size of your tank.

That implies assuming you have a 55-gallon tank, make sure the filtration rate (gph) is adequate for the channel’s gallons each hour rating (s).

Canister or sump tanks are the best channels to use since they give prevalent water quality and oxygenation without occupying an excess of room in your home.

Filtration will assist with limiting nitrates, which can amass over the long haul.

It likewise offers spotless, healthy water, which supports the advancement of rearing ways of behaving and the decrease of pressure on fish populations.

Plants, Substrate, and Decor

In the event that you, similar to me, partake in a wide assortment of aquarium plants, the Jack Dempsey fish isn’t the best species for you.

Since these fish are known to be antagonistic towards plants, you ought to stay away from any stem plants, particularly those with long leaves.

It’s possible that you’ll get some Dempsey fish that aren’t as damaging, yet it’s hard to say on the grounds that each of them is unique.


Since Jack Dempsey fish abide in the warm oceans of South America and Africa in the wild, duplicating these circumstances in their aquarium is basic.

It’s generally really smart to get a bigger heater than you suspect you’ll require on the grounds that the fish will be more agreeable and less inclined to drop dead.

Ensure your heater is set up far enough away from any sharp stones or different things in the tank since this could cause harm over the long run.


As far as substrate, you might utilize fine rock or sand – anything you pick – yet ensure it’s dull in variety so it doesn’t appear through the hue of your fish.

It’s likewise really smart to go with an inactive substrate. Substrates named “cichlid sand” should be kept away from.

An established soil substrate is certainly not a reasonable decision for Dempsey’s since they appreciate digging and would split it up.


It’s desirable to copy the normal appearance of profound water with regards to brightening, and LED is a fabulous choice.

LED lights last far longer and consume considerably less energy than radiant bulbs, pursuing them a fantastic decision for aquarium lighting. LEDs likewise give an aquarium a more sensible appearance.


Furthermore, on the grounds that they are regional species commonly, you’ll require a few stones as well as wood to embellish your tank.

Enormous rocks or driftwood pieces that they might conceal under make extraordinary concealing spots whenever they’ve finished mating.

Tank Mates

It’s pivotal to match the sort of fish in a tank accurately, but since Jack Dempsey fish are famously forceful, this can be a difficult errand.

Different species can’t be kept in a similar tank as Jack Dempsey fish since they will assault and kill them.

The main exemptions are an exceptionally forceful “alpha” sort of fish that is bigger than your Jack Dempsey, or a lot more modest beta-type species that won’t cause the Jack Dempsey any regional forcefulness.

The following are a couple of great models:

  • Firemouth Cichlids
  • Blue Acara
  • Angelfish
  • Plecos
  • Comedian loaches
  • Silver Dollars
  • Convict Cichlids

Diet and Feeding

In the wild, the Jack Dempsey will eat all that fits in its mouth, including little fish, worms, bugs, and shellfish.

They don’t have a particular sense of taste and will devour frozen, new, or live food sources.

The following are a couple of dishes that they will appreciate:

  • Bloodworms
  • New or frozen shrimp
  • Fruit flies
  • Saltwater shrimp
  • Crickets
  • Grasshoppers


Inferable from their inconceivably aggressive personality, Jack Dempsey fish is a well-known choice because of their interesting characteristics. In any case, they may not be the best species for novices.

Remember that this fish doesn’t coexist with different species and is best held together.

Keep up with as a main priority that males don’t manage everything well, so keep one male for each tank.

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