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.
It is difficult to distinguish between the male and female Jack Dempsey. The females are less brightly colored and usually smaller then the males. Neutral water with soft to medium hardness, a pH of approximately 7.0, and temperatures of 78-82°F is recommended. Jack Dempsey's are open breeders that need well-oxygenated water. They spawn in burrows, laying up to 500 eggs. The fry are well protected by the parents, and once mated, they will continue to spawn once the fry have grown.
Jack Dempsey is carnivorous and will eat most prepared and frozen foods, including freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex, and ocean plankton, as well as live fish.
Approximate Purchase Size: Small: 1/2" to 1"; Large: 1" to 1-1/4";