Rocio octofasciata
(Cichlasoma octofasciatum)



    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.



Quick stats:
Listed tank sizes are the minimum
Size: 10 inches  (25.0 cm)
Tank: 48 inches, larger for adults
Strata: Bottom, middle
PH: 7 to 8.5
Hardness: Medium hard to very hard
Temperature: 77° to 82°F  (22 to 30°C)


Order: Perciformes
Suborder: Percoidei
Family: Chiclidae
Genera: Cichlasoma


Common name:

    Jack Dempsey


    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 bump.


    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.


    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.

Biotope:Slow moving stretches of water in Central America.


Courtesy of Shari, from the message board

Breeding: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.


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