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Electric Blue Jack Dempsey (Cichlasoma octofasciatum)

Electric Blue Jack Dempsey (Cichlasoma octofasciatum)

The Electric Blue Jack Dempsey (Cichlasoma octofasciatum) also known scientifically as Archocentrus octofasciatus, Nandopsis octofasciatum, or Rocio octofasciata is found in northern and Central America from the Papaloapan River in southern Mexico to the Ulua River in Honduras.

Although it has become somewhat more common in tropical fish keeping shops, it is a somewhat rare natural variant of Nandopsis octofasciatum.

Electric Blue Jack Dempseys are aggressive carnivores that live in the warm, murky, slow moving waters of their range and prefer soft substrates with plenty of places to hide and ambush their prey.  They are aggressive diggers.

Electric Blue Jack Dempsey (Cichlasoma octofasciatum)

Electric Blue Jack Dempsey (Cichlasoma octofasciatum)

The Electric Blue Jack Dempsey is a smaller and less aggressive counterpart of the common Jack Dempsey cichlid.   It is a slightly elongated, laterally compressed, brilliantly colored species that has a base color of electric blue to gray, mottled with iridescent blue to blue/green spots that give it a spectacular appearance, especially when breeding.  The dorsal fin is lined in red. The dorsal and anal fins of the males are exceptionally pointed, and are often long enough to reach the middle of the caudal fin.  Mature males can also exhibit a nuchal hump.

Females are shorter, more rounded, and have fan shaped caudal fins.  They are also attractively colored with a deep green blue base color, that is covered with lighter colored flecks or spots and vertical bands down the flanks.  The bottom lower portion of the face on the females will always be colored blue.

In an aquarium environment, Electric Blue Jack Dempseys need at least a 55 gallon tank with a sandy or fine gravel substrate, some rock work, and some driftwood roots or bogwood for them to hide among.   Because of their proclivity for aggressive digging, only artificial plants, plants like Java Fern that are rooted to the decor, or other hardy potted plants should be used in their tank to set up designated territories.  They are highly territorial and will eat any smaller fish that they can swallow.  Although they are very tolerant of water temperatures, good filtration and frequent water changes are a must for this species

All Jack Dempseys are exceptionally prolific parents once a pair has formed, and Electric Blue Jack Dempseys are no exception.  Although proven pairs can breed in most water conditions; neutral soft to medium hard highly oxygenated water, at a temperature of 78-82°F, and a pH of 7.0 is recommended.

They are open breeders and will dig a pit or burrow into the substrate where they will lay up to 500  eggs.  The pair will ferociously guard their eggs and their offspring until they are ready to fend for themselves.  Once a pair has successfully mated, they will continue to spawn and produce up to several hundred offspring on a regular basis.

Neutral water with soft to medium hardness, a pH of approximately 7.0, and temperatures of  is recommended.

The Electric Blue Jack Dempsey is a carnivorous species that will eat most prepared and frozen foods, including high quality Cichlid pellets, bloodworms, brine shrimp, ghost shrimp, crickets, earthworms, tubifex, ocean plankton and other live or frozen foods, including any small fish they can fit into their mouths.  Feed them a couple of small portions a day rather than one large portion.  An occasional “treat” of blanched vegetables or a vegetable based flake food will also benefit these fish.

Although the Electric Blue Jack Dempsey is not common to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts, they are occasionally available for purchase at a size of 1-1/2″ to 2″.

Electric Blue Jack Dempsey (Cichlasoma octofasciatum)

Electric Blue Jack Dempsey (Cichlasoma octofasciatum)







Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Very Hardy
Water Conditions: 71.6-86° F, KH 5-12, pH 6.5-8.0
Max. Size: 10 ″
Color Form: Blue, Green
Diet: Carnivore
Compatibility: Single species tank
Origin: Central America
Family: Cichlidae
Lifespan: 8-12 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

Posted in Central American Cichlids, Cichlids, Featured Articles, Freshwater Fish, Tropical Fish SpeciesComments (1)

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