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The majestic Blue Dempsey. (FEB 98) More Images

Name: Nandopsis octofasciatus
Size pHGHTemp
Origin: Guatemala, Belize, Mexico
20 cm 7.0 10 27oC

This is a beautiful color variant from the original Jack Dempsey, which is usually dark brown with many metallic blue spots. Blue Dempsey juveniles are basically white with black and brown stains, the wonderful blue gets stronger as they grow. Sexing them also gets easier then...the male develops long, pointed dorsal and anal fins, and also a thin, dark red stripe on top of the entire dorsal fin.

My couple is about 2 years old. The male is currently ~13 cm long and the female ~10 cm. Unlike most Dempseys I hear about, these two are surprisingly mild tempered and get along pretty well with their tankmates. The male occasionally gives other fish a chase (including the female) just to remind everyone who's the boss. But he has never physically attacked anyone. When someone invades his favorite cave, he opens his mouth wide, looks real threatening, but then just "nudges" the invader out of his territory. They also tend to be very moody fish: one day they'll rush up front to greet me when I approach, the next day they'll run for shelter when I do exactly the same.

When they were young they would accept any kind of food I offered, but nowadays they're becoming more picky eaters. They hardly ever go for flakes anymore, prefering to eat only when I offer live brine shrimp and tubifex, or freeze-dried foods. They also accept Tetra Bits but without too much enthusiasm.

The couple's mating behavior is a treat for the eyes! They nudge each other gently, dance, dig, clean up hatching sites, and several other interesting rituals. A typical courtship position can be seen by clicking on More above. Another one I like is when the female stands absolutely vertical (heads up) while the male stands still beside her. They've already attempted to spawn a few times, but the eggs failed to hatch. I'm still trying to figure out why.