Jewel Cichlids -- Out of Africa
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This 4-inch jewel fish and the one below may be different sexes. Nice hoplos behind.
Origin. Jewels come from some of the west African rivers, not the Rift Lakes. Jewels kick bootie. Do not mix them with community fishes. We have here an African cichlid that mixes best with North, Central, and South American cichlids. In the wholesale listings, we find them listed with the American cichlids (ditto the kribensis). Jewels stand up to oscars twice their size. They cannot, however, stand up to Rift Lake cichlids. Mbunas skin ’em alive.
Name. “Jewel” refers to the little iridescent sparklies (the maculatus or “spot” in their scientific name) that cover their bodies -- not their colors, and certainly not their personalities.
These little rowdies spawn about as easily as a Dempsey, but have fewer
fry because they stay smaller. Jewels would spawn as easily as
convicts if you could sex them as easily. You can’t tell the sexes
apart by color or finnage -- even by size. You have no clue to their
sexes until you see your pair defending a clutch of eggs. You pretty
much have to let several of them pick their own partners. Put some
ceramic (excuse me, they’re all resin these days) caves in a cichlid community tank and watch them whale on the
Dempseys for possession. Put in several caves and rocks to avoid
serious battles for spawning territories.
tjarosh, January 28, 2009
You have a very informative site. One thing I notice on many sites is the statement that Jewel Cichlids are difficult to sex. In fact they are easy. I have been spawning them for over 30 years.
The tail is the key. Females have a red edge and a bit of color on the top of the tail which fades out about half way down to a yellowish gray. Males have a latticework of red and sky blue markings throughout the tail, top to bottom, and in all the way to the body. The difference occurs while the fish are still very young.
A: Alright, good to know. I'll add it to my jewel page. Thanks. LA
Conditioning. Give your jewels a variety of foods to plump them up. “Ve vant to plump zem up!” Flakes and pellets first, then give them the right size frozen foods. Small earthworms contain secret secretions that puts a surge in their urge to merge. Ditto on mealworms snipped in half. You’ll see a change in color, belly size, and aggression level. If you see their breeding tubes appear, get ready to pass out cigars. Chances are, you’ll miss the whole process and find them protecting a patch of wigglers by the time you know what’s happening.
Parental Care. Zip on over to convicts to learn what to expect as egg-laying nears. Many American cichlids (and this African cichlid) follow this same script. If yours deviate a bit, that just means they didn’t read the book or their dogfish ate their homework.
Color Strains. Turquoise jewels definitely sport a different color. Is it turquoise? Perhaps. They seem to blotch out the jewel’s regular sparklies and make them less red (or blue) and more of what some call turquoise. The colors in the turquoise below exist in the regular jewels. When the two strains cross, we’ll see more variations. Not in the betta, platy, or guppy rainbows but definitely more colors.
LA Pic Possible pair inspecting potential bridal suite.
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February, 2006: Still no spawns. LA
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