Name: Hemichromis bimaculatus
Origin: Guinea to Liberia
The Jewel Cichlid grows around 10-15 cm. It is an African cichlid that can be quite fierce, especially when it is breeding - spawns on flat stones. It maintains a large territory - to be kept in large tanks with rocks and hiding places. Its water requirements are not demanding as long as it has a pH from 6.5 - 7.5 and either slightly soft to hard water. The Jewel Cichlid is usually dull in pet stores. When in full colour, they are orange to red with several rows of blue irridescent flecks the body has two black dots - one on the gill cover and one on the mid section of the body. Fins are yellow to pale green edged with black. Males are more colourful than females, slightly larger than females and females are rounder. They tend to dig into the substrate. They can be kept with large, tough fish only - it is a very hard fish to combine with others. Eats flake food but will enjoy live food. Jewel cichlids are generally robust with an oval shape.
Hemichromis species are almost always mixed up in large chain stores and sometimes good ole' LFS's, so after some research and personal observation, I figured out basically how to tell them apart. Hemichromis guttatus is actually the most commonly seen IME. They usually have the reddish color but they may be lacking the body spot or it may come and go with moods. Also the gill spot may appear green and/or irridescent. H. bimaculatus, I've noticed, looks a little duller and the body spot is clearly visible. H. lifalili can be told apart by having almost completely black eyes, whereas the others have pretty much normal eyes. There a few more species in the genus, but these are not normally for sale. I personally have a female H. guttatus, but I've only had her for a few months so hardly have any good expereience yet. What I can say is that these fish grow very fast (3 cm in 2 months), are very aggressive to most heterospecifics, and are very beautiful.
I have this fish in a 100 L tank with other Cichlids. This fish seems to be more shy than my other Cichlids, yet my Tiger Loaches don't mess with this fish like the other Cichlids. I am hopeful that the shyness will go away because this is a beautiful fish to look at.
I have a Jewel Cichlid. She is a great fish. She comes to the top of the tank when I open it because she likes to be fed that way. These fish seem to be very mellow. She is in a tank with a Clown Knife, a Zebra Cichlid, and a Shark. I have had no problems with fighting. They all seem to know where everyone's own space is. I would definitely recommend this fish. They also seem to be friendly. Although I do not stick my fingers in the tank. They will bite.
I currently am breeding these fish and I use a temp of 27°C and a pH of 8.2. The pair lays the eggs on a clean surface and after three days the eggs hatch. The parents move the babies to a safe place and start feeding them now. Even though these fish are great parents, like a lot of cichlids in a community aquarium with other cichlids, accept heavy losses.
I have two of these. They're nice to keep and stubborn enough to try to fight my convicts. Although they always loose they keep trying. If you're a cichlid fan and want some cool cichlids try these.