Common Name: Electric Blue Jack Dempsey, EBJD
Scientific Name: Nandopsis Octofasciatum
Average Adult Fish Size: 10 inches / 25 cm
Place of Origin: Wild Jack Dempsey cichlids can be found in North and Central America where they inhabit a region that stretches from the Papaloapán River in southern Mexico to the Hondurian Ulua River in Central America.
Typical Tank Setup: A mostly open aquarium with some rock work. Rocks should be placed so territories are spread out. 3 inches / 7.5 cm or more of medium sand or gravel is required as they like to dig.
Recommended Minimum Aquarium Capacity: 45 gallon / 180 litre for one, 75 gallon / 300 litre or larger for a full grown pair
Compatibility: Best if kept with other cichlids of the same size and temperament.
Temperature: 72 – 86 Deg. F / 22 – 30 Deg. C
Water Chemistry: pH 7.0-8.0
Feeding: Flaked, frozen, and pelleted food when smaller, and larger pellets along with chunks of frozen food when larger. Will eat smaller fish, but this is not recommended as a consistent diet.
Sexing: Males are almost always more colourful and larger, but venting is the only sure way to determine gender with the Jack Dempsey.
Breeding: In the wild or in an aquarium, potential mates spar. Female against male for the sole reason of determining if one or the other is capable or “worthy” of being a mate and breeding. In the wild, this sparring may be to the death. Cichlids do not tolerate weakness, and the weak soon die. Once a mate is chosen the process of bonding and courtship begin. This is a period where the female beings to develop eggs and the male is tasked with preparing a home. Cichlid females often go in search for a mate and part of the attraction is how the male builds a home or cave. This is one reason why cichlids dig up the aquarium and spend all of their time redecorating.
Breeding the average cichlid is fairly easy. Breeding Electric Blue Jack Dempsey Cichlids is a little more difficult than breeding most other kinds of Cichlids. Earlier I mentioned Mendel and his pea. Mendel is credited with discovering genetics. The reason that Electric Blue Jack Dempsey’s are so hard to breed is because they are a mutation of the species. One would think you could mate two electric blues and find a gold mine of wealth from producing these beautiful fish. The reality is that you can not. They will mate and produce wigglers, and then the wigglers will die. A wiggler is a fish, newly hatched from the egg and still attached to the yolk.
To breed Electric Blue Jack Dempsey you need to breed a regular Jack Dempsey with a Jack Dempsey that has the blue gene. Then only about 25% of your fry will be Electric Blue Jack Dempsey Cichlids. Even then the process is not over. The fry that are born as Electric Blues are very fragile and slow growing. They often become food for the other “normal” Dempsey fry. It takes an experienced fish keeper to breed Electric Blue Jack Dempsey Cichlids successfully because you have to be able to spot and separate the Electric Blues from the normal fry. Then you have to become mother to these little guys and make sure they eat, clean their aquarium, and that they are healthy. The mutation in them may mean that some will not live very long despite your best effort. Those that do become the beautiful and highly sought after Electric Blue Jack Dempsey.
Additional Information: Due to the delicate nature of the Electric Blue Jack Dempsey gene it is often rare to see them live past a size of 2-3 inches so it may be worthwhile to purchase these only at over 3 inches although you must be prepared to pay a premium for them at this size as they are extremely rare!
Although the Electric Blue Jack Dempsey is often thought of as a hybrid tropical fish or as a result of cross breeding – man made if you will. This is not the case and these cichlids appear in the wild and pass on the blue gene in their natural habitat.
These Cichlids who are native to Central America will thrive in at least a 55 gallon aquarium, though they do best in larger tanks like a 120 gallon aquarium. The Jack Dempsey Cichlid has a wide range of temperaments. They are named after the legendary boxing champion Jack Dempsey because they can be that aggressive. On the other hand, they can be very mild mannered and gentle. The electric blue variation is typically a gentle fish. One of the greatest things about the Jack Dempsey Cichlid and the Electric Blue Jack Dempsey Cichlid is that they both are full of personality. They will learn to recognize the hand that feeds them, and if you start them out when they are small they will eat out of your hand. Besides their beauty, their personality will win your heart. In smaller tanks, (55 gallons-90 gallons) they are best kept alone. Cichlids by nature are territorial and crowding larger Cichlids is a recipe for fighting. In short their beautiful coloration and their personality make them a great pet.