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One of the all time favorite aquarium fish. The Jack has been around
for many years and seems to take the "test of time" very well. Pugnacious
and intolerant of other fish, they are best suited for a species tank.
Listed tank sizes are the minimum
||10 inches (25.0 cm)
||48 inches, larger for adults
||7 to 8.5
||Medium hard to very hard
||77° to 82°F (22 to 30°C)
Central America, Honduras, Guatemala and the Yucatan.
General Body Form:
Somewhat elongated with lateral compression. In the males the Dorsal
and Anal fins are pointed and can reach a length to the middle of the
Caudal fin. In the females they are shorter and more rounded. The Caudal
fin is fan shaped. In older males the forehead swells to a telltale
The male "Jack" base color is a dark Brown to Gray Brown, which when
spawning or in top condition becomes dark Blue or Blue Black. On the
scales on the sides there is a beautiful shinning Blue or Blue Green
dot. The young have a series of seven or eight faint up and down bars
that usually disappear in adults unless they are stressed or excited.
A long Black Longitudinal band runs from the rear edge of the gill covers
to a large Yellow edged Black spot in the middle of the side. There
is also a similar spot at the start of the Caudal fin. The cheeks and
gill covers themselves are covered with Blue dots and the lips are a
pale Blue. The Dorsal fin is dark and has a thin Red border. The females
are paler in color and the Blue is not as intense.
The new Electric Blue variety
Typical to most Cichlids the "Jack" is a Hardy and easy to care for
fish. They will accept all types of food and relish anything live. The
tank should have plenty of caves and nooks to hide in with driftwood
and rockwork. Jacks like to dig so use artificial plants or Java Fern
anchored on the driftwood. Provide good filtration and do frequent water
changes, they are very temperature tolerant and can even live in water
temperatures in the Sixties.
Slow moving stretches of water in Central America.
Courtesy of Shari, from the message board
A typical open breeder which can spawn in large pits dug by the parents.
They will dig vigorously during spawning so be prepared. The substrate
should consist of fine gravel or sand. Provide a layer of floating
plants if desired. They are very prolific and a pair that has spawned
together usually will do so again and again. They are excellent parents
and will provide intense brood protection. The spawns can be quite
large and the eggs can number in the high hundreds. For more info
on open breeders please visit the
breeding info page.