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Fish Guide

Jewel cichlid

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Jewel cichlid

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Cichlidae
Genus: Hemichromis

Hemichromis is a genus of fish from the family Cichlidae, known in the aquarium trade as Jewel cichlids. Jewel cichlids are native to west Africa. Within west Africa Hemichromis species are found in creeks, streams, rivers and lakes with a variety of water qualities.

Jewel cichlids can reach lengths of 7-13 cm (6inch) in some species brightly coloured. Brighter body colouration is generally evident during breeding. Sexual dimorphism is limited, though male jewel cichlids are typically more brightly coloured and in some species have more pointed anal, ventral and dorsal fins. Like most cichlids, jewel cichlids have high developed brood care. Hemichromis species typically form monogamous breeding pairs and the female spawns on a flat surface such as a leaf or stone. Both parents guard the eggs, and participate in fry raising.


  • Hemichromis angolensis Steindachner, 1865
  • Hemichromis bimaculatus Gill, 1862
  • Hemichromis cerasogaster (Boulenger, 1899)
  • Hemichromis elongatus (Guichenot, 1861)
  • Hemichromis exsul (Trewavas, 1933)
  • Hemichromis fasciatus Peters, 1857
  • Hemichromis frempongi Loiselle, 1979
  • Hemichromis letourneuxi Sauvage, 1880
  • Hemichromis lifalili Loiselle, 1979
  • Hemichromis stellifer Loiselle, 1979

Aquarium care

Jewel cichlids are neither suited to beginners, nor the usual community tank. Several young specimens may be kept in a spacious aquarium, with stones and wood for cover until a pair forms prior to breeding. Their innate aggression makes them good candidates for keeping in a monospecies aquarium.

Jewel cichlids are omnivorous and will eat both live foods and fish flakes.


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