Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons
Care Level: Easy
Water Conditions: 78-82° F, KH 5-12, pH 6.5-8.0
Max. Size: 10"
Color Form: Black, Blue, Clear, Green, Tan
The Jack Dempsey Rocio octofasciata (previously Cichlasoma octofasciatum) is a large and magnificently colored South American Cichlid. It is stocky and compact in shape but can grow to almost 10 inches (25 cm) in length.
A mature Jack Dempsey is a beautiful fish, but It it takes over a year for the full coloration and patterning to develop. The adult will have a dark purple-gray background contrasted with iridescent light blue, green, and gold spangle spots all over its body. Male Jack Dempsey's tend to have more of these brilliant spots than females, and also present bright red edges on their dorsal and anal fins. In addition to the baseline coloring, many captive bred color varieties have also been developed and are available today. One of the most notable and exotic is the Electric Blue Jack Dempsey.
The names of this cichlid, both scientific and common, all have a story. When first introduced to the aquarium hobby this fish was considered quite ferocious, though today it is known there are quite a few other cichlids which are far more aggressive than the Jack Dempsey. However, because of this perceived hyperaggression its common name became "Jack Dempsey" after the 1919 Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World. Its genus name Rocio was named after the wife of the describing author, Regan, and its Spanish interpretation means "morning dew," an allusion to the sparkling scales on the cheeks and sides.
This cichlid is a very attractive show type fish. It will do well if provided with adequate space and compatible tank mates. It likes to burrow and have plenty of places to hide, so provide a tank bottom of fine deep sand and use rock and sunken driftwood decoration to form caves and hiding places.In addition, it likes to have a floating cover of live plants to help diffuse direct lighting and to swim among, though it will also tend to pick at and eat any live plants in its tank. Providing it with some lettuce and blanched cucumber can help ameliorate this tendency, however it is still recommended to always keep an eye on the status of any live plants in the tank.
The Jack Dempsey is a popular freshwater fish that originates in the murky warm waters of Central America. It has a base color of dark brown to gray, and displays many iridescent blue and green spots, giving this fish a spectacular look. When breeding, these colors will intensify. The dorsal fin is lined in red, and the female's overall coloration is subdued compared to the male.
The Jack Dempsey requires an aquarium of at least 55-gallons, with a fine sand bottom. There should be rocks and roots for them to hide among. The plants should be hardy as the Jack Dempsey will burrow around and attack them. The aquarium should be divided into territories using hardy plants, if possible. They are territorial and will eat smaller fish that they can swallow.