Jewel Cichlid Care 101: Tank Setup, Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases & More!

If you’re looking for an aquarium fish that is both beautiful and easy to care for, the Jewel Cichlid may be just what you’re looking for. This stunning fish is native to Africa and is known for its bright colors and distinctive markings. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about caring for Jewel Cichlids, from setting up their tank to feeding and maintenance.

Jewel Cichlids require a tank size of at least 50 gallons, water temperature between 72-82°F, and a pH range of 7.0-8.0. They are omnivores and need a varied diet of high-quality pellets or flakes, vegetables, and occasional live or frozen foods. They also require hiding places and a substrate that allows them to burrow. Regular water changes and tank maintenance are important for their health.

As an aquarium owner, I’ve found that Jewel Cichlids are one of the most rewarding fish to care for.

Not only are they visually striking, but they have a lively and engaging personality that makes them a joy to watch. However, like all fish, they require specific care to thrive in their environment.

In this guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of Jewel Cichlid care to ensure that you can provide the best possible home for your fish.


Species Summary

If you’re considering adding Jewel Cichlids to your aquarium, it’s important to know as much as possible about these beautiful fish. Here’s a brief summary of everything you need to know about the species.


Jewel Cichlids come from Africa, where they’re found in rivers and lakes throughout the continent. They’re particularly common in Lake Malawi, where they’re known for their bright colors and distinctive markings.


With proper care, Jewel Cichlids can live for up to 10 years in captivity. However, their lifespan may be shorter if they’re not given the right conditions and care.


Jewel Cichlids are known for their striking appearance. They have a bright, metallic sheen and are typically red or orange with black markings.

Males tend to be more colorful than females, but both sexes are beautiful fish.


Adult Jewel Cichlids can grow up to 5 inches in length, with males typically being slightly larger than females.

Growth Rate

Jewel Cichlids grow relatively quickly, particularly when they’re young. However, their growth rate will depend on a number of factors, including water quality and diet.

Behavior & Temperament

Jewel Cichlids are generally peaceful fish, although they can become territorial during breeding season. They’re also known for their intelligence and can be trained to recognize their owners.

Male vs Female

Male Jewel Cichlids tend to be more colorful and larger than females. Additionally, males will develop a nuchal hump on their forehead during breeding season, which females do not have.

Personally, I’ve found Jewel Cichlids to be fascinating fish to watch.

Their bright colors and unique markings make them a great addition to any aquarium, and their intelligence and trainability make them a fun fish to interact with.

Tank Setup

Tank Size

Choosing the right tank size is crucial for the health and happiness of your Jewel Cichlids. For a pair of adult Jewel Cichlids, a minimum tank size of 30 gallons is recommended.

If you plan on keeping more than two, you’ll need a larger tank. Keep in mind that these fish can grow up to 6 inches long, so make sure your tank is spacious enough for them to swim around comfortably.


Jewel Cichlids prefer low to moderate lighting. Too much light can cause algae growth and stress out your fish. Consider using a timer to keep the lighting consistent and mimic their natural habitat.

Filtration & Aeration

A good filtration system is crucial for maintaining a healthy tank environment. A canister filter or a hang-on-back filter is recommended for Jewel Cichlids.

You’ll also need an air pump and air stone to provide proper aeration and oxygenation for your fish.


Jewel Cichlids are tropical fish and require a consistent water temperature of 76-80°F. A good quality heater is essential to maintain the right temperature in your tank. Make sure to place the heater near the filter to distribute the heat evenly.


A sandy substrate is ideal for Jewel Cichlids as they like to dig and burrow. Avoid using sharp or rough substrates that can damage their delicate fins. A depth of 2-3 inches is recommended.


Jewel Cichlids love hiding spots and caves to explore. Use rocks, driftwood, and PVC pipes to create a natural-looking environment for them. Make sure to secure the decorations properly to avoid any accidents.


Live plants can help maintain a healthy tank environment by providing oxygen and absorbing nitrates.

However, Jewel Cichlids are known to uproot or eat plants, so choose hardy species like Java Fern or Anubias that can withstand their nibbling.

Overall, a well-planned tank setup is essential for the health and happiness of your Jewel Cichlids. Make sure to research and plan accordingly to provide them with a comfortable and stimulating environment.

Water Quality

Jewel Cichlid Care

Proper water quality is crucial for the health and well-being of your Jewel Cichlid. In this section, we will discuss the different factors that affect water quality and how to maintain them.

Water Temperature

The ideal water temperature for Jewel Cichlids is between 75-80°F (24-27°C). Maintaining a stable water temperature is important, as sudden fluctuations can cause stress and illness in your fish.

Use a reliable aquarium thermometer to monitor the temperature and consider using a heater to maintain a consistent temperature.

Water pH

Jewel Cichlids prefer slightly acidic to neutral water with a pH between 6.5-7.5. It’s important to test the pH regularly using a reliable test kit and make adjustments as needed. Avoid sudden changes in pH as this can cause stress and harm your fish.

Water Hardness

Jewel Cichlids prefer moderately hard water with a hardness between 8-12 dGH.

You can test the hardness of your water using a test kit and make adjustments as needed. Adding a substrate such as crushed coral or limestone can help increase hardness.

Water Changes

Regular water changes are important for maintaining good water quality. Aim to change 25% of the water in your aquarium every 2-4 weeks.

Use a gravel vacuum to remove any debris from the substrate and replace the water with fresh, dechlorinated water that has been brought up to the same temperature as the aquarium water.

Overall, maintaining good water quality is essential for the health and well-being of your Jewel Cichlid.

By monitoring and adjusting water temperature, pH, and hardness, and performing regular water changes, you can ensure a healthy and thriving aquarium environment for your fish.

Personally, I have found that maintaining consistent water temperature has been crucial for the health of my Jewel Cichlids.

I use a reliable heater and thermometer to ensure that the water temperature stays within the ideal range, and I have noticed that my fish are more active and vibrant as a result.


If you want your Jewel Cichlid to thrive, then you must pay close attention to their diet. Here’s everything you need to know about feeding your Jewel Cichlid.

What To Feed

Jewel Cichlids are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and animals. You can feed them a variety of foods, including:

  • High-quality fish flakes or pellets
  • Frozen or live foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia
  • Fresh vegetables such as spinach, zucchini, and peas

It’s important to provide a balanced diet to ensure your Jewel Cichlid gets all the necessary nutrients.


You should feed your Jewel Cichlid 2-3 times a day, but be careful not to overfeed.

Overfeeding can lead to health problems such as obesity and bloating. Only give them as much food as they can eat in 2-3 minutes.


Here are a few tips to keep in mind when feeding your Jewel Cichlid:

  • Remove any uneaten food after feeding to prevent it from fouling the water.
  • Feed them a variety of foods to prevent boredom and ensure they get all the necessary nutrients.
  • Consider using a feeding ring to prevent food from scattering throughout the tank.

Remember, a healthy diet is essential for the overall health and well-being of your Jewel Cichlid.

Tank Maintenance

Maintaining a clean and healthy tank is crucial for the well-being of your Jewel Cichlid. You should perform regular maintenance to ensure that the water quality and environment are optimal for your fish.

One of the most important aspects of tank maintenance is performing regular water changes.

You should aim to change 20-30% of the water in your tank every two weeks. This will help remove any harmful substances that may have accumulated in the water and keep the environment clean and healthy for your fish.

Another important aspect of tank maintenance is cleaning the filter. The filter is responsible for removing waste and debris from the water, so it’s important to keep it clean and functioning properly. You should clean the filter once a month by rinsing it in aquarium water to remove any buildup of debris.

It’s also important to keep the substrate clean. The substrate is the material at the bottom of the tank and can accumulate uneaten food and waste. You should use a siphon to remove any debris from the substrate during water changes.

Finally, it’s important to monitor the temperature and pH levels in your tank. Jewel Cichlids prefer a temperature range of 76-82°F and a pH range of 7.0-8.0. You should use a thermometer and pH test kit to regularly monitor these levels and make adjustments as necessary.

Personally, I find that performing tank maintenance is a relaxing and rewarding experience. It’s a great way to bond with your fish and ensure that they are living in a clean and healthy environment.

Tank Mates

Compatible Fish Species

If you’re planning to keep Jewel Cichlids, it’s important to choose compatible tank mates.

Some good options include other Cichlids, such as Convict Cichlids, Firemouth Cichlids, and Green Terror Cichlids.

Other good options include larger Tetras like Buenos Aires Tetras, Silver Dollars, and larger Rasboras. Plecos and other bottom feeders can also be good tank mates.

Incompatible Fish Species

While there are many compatible fish species, there are also some that should be avoided.

Fish that are too small, like Neon Tetras or Guppies, are likely to be eaten by Jewel Cichlids.

Other aggressive fish, like Oscars or Jack Dempseys, should also be avoided, as they may fight with the Jewel Cichlid.

How many Jewel cichlid should be kept together

When it comes to keeping Jewel Cichlids together, it’s important to have enough space in the tank. A good rule of thumb is to have at least a 55-gallon tank for a pair of Jewel Cichlids.

If you want to keep more than two, you’ll need to increase the size of the tank accordingly. It’s also important to provide plenty of hiding places and territories for each fish to avoid aggression and territorial disputes.

Overall, choosing the right tank mates for your Jewel Cichlids is important for their health and well-being.

By following these guidelines, you can create a happy and healthy community tank for your Jewel Cichlids and their tank mates.

I’ve found that my Jewel Cichlids get along well with my Firemouth Cichlids, and they all seem to enjoy their spacious 75-gallon tank.

Common Diseases


Jewel Cichlids are generally hardy fish, but they can still suffer from various diseases. Some of the most common diseases that affect Jewel Cichlids include fin rot, ich, and dropsy.


Fin rot is characterized by the deterioration of the fins, which can become frayed and discolored.

Ich, also known as white spot disease, is caused by a parasite and results in the appearance of small white spots on the fish’s body. Dropsy is a bacterial infection that causes the fish to become bloated and swollen.


If you notice any of these symptoms in your Jewel Cichlid, it’s important to act quickly to prevent the disease from spreading.

Treatment options include using medication, increasing the water temperature, and adding aquarium salt to the water.


Preventing disease is always better than treating it. To prevent diseases in your Jewel Cichlid, make sure to maintain a clean and healthy environment for your fish. This includes regular water changes, keeping the water pH at the appropriate level, and avoiding overfeeding.

I personally had to deal with fin rot in my Jewel Cichlid and it was heartbreaking to see my gorgeous fish suffering.

After seeking advice from my local aquarium store, I was able to successfully treat the disease and prevent it from spreading to my other fish.

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to keeping your Jewel Cichlid healthy and happy.

Signs of a Healthy Jewel Cichlid

When it comes to keeping Jewel Cichlids, it’s important to know what signs to look for to ensure that your fish is healthy and happy. Here are a few things to keep an eye out for:

  1. Bright Colors: A healthy Jewel Cichlid will have bright, vibrant colors. Their body should be a deep red, with blue and green accents on their scales. If your fish looks dull or faded, it may be a sign of poor health.
  2. Active Behavior: A healthy Jewel Cichlid will be active and alert. They should swim around their tank, exploring their environment and interacting with other fish. If your fish is lethargic or spends most of its time hiding, it may be a sign of illness.
  3. Clear Eyes: A healthy Jewel Cichlid will have clear, bright eyes. They should be free from cloudiness, swelling, or discoloration. If your fish’s eyes look abnormal, it may be a sign of infection or disease.
  4. Healthy Fins: A healthy Jewel Cichlid will have strong, intact fins. Their fins should be free from tears, fraying, or discoloration. If your fish’s fins look damaged or unhealthy, it may be a sign of poor water quality or disease.

Remember, the best way to keep your Jewel Cichlid healthy is to provide it with a clean, well-maintained environment. Regular water changes, proper filtration, and a balanced diet will go a long way in ensuring the health and happiness of your fish.

Personally, I always keep an eye out for any changes in my fish’s behavior or appearance. If I notice anything unusual, I take action right away to prevent any potential health problems. It’s always better to be proactive than reactive when it comes to fish care!

Signs Your Jewel Cichlid is Sick

If you’re a responsible fish owner, you’ll want to keep an eye out for any signs that your Jewel Cichlid might be feeling under the weather. Here are some common signs that your fish might be sick:

  1. Loss of appetite: If your Jewel Cichlid isn’t eating like they used to, it could be a sign that they’re not feeling well.
  2. Strange swimming patterns: If your fish is swimming erratically or struggling to swim, it could be a sign of illness.
  3. Changes in color: If your Jewel Cichlid’s colors are looking dull or faded, it could be a sign of stress or illness.
  4. Visible signs of illness: Keep an eye out for any visible signs of illness, such as white spots, cloudy eyes, or damaged fins.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to take action right away. The first step is to check your water quality to make sure that your fish isn’t suffering from poor water conditions.

You should also check the temperature of your tank to make sure that it’s within the appropriate range for Jewel Cichlids.

If you’ve ruled out water quality and temperature as the cause of your fish’s illness, it’s time to take a closer look at your fish.

Check for any visible signs of illness, and consider taking your fish to a vet who specializes in aquatic animals.

Remember, the sooner you can identify and treat an illness, the better chance your Jewel Cichlid has of making a full recovery.


Jewel Cichlid Care 2

If you’re interested in breeding Jewel Cichlids, it’s important to create the right environment for them to spawn. Here’s what you need to know:

Breeding Setup

To encourage breeding, you’ll need to set up a separate breeding tank. This should be at least 20 gallons and have a pH level of 7.0-7.5. The water temperature should be around 78-82 degrees Fahrenheit.

You’ll also need to provide a suitable breeding substrate, such as a flat rock or slate. The female will lay her eggs on this substrate, and the male will fertilize them.

How To Breed

Once you’ve set up the breeding tank, you’ll need to introduce a male and female Jewel Cichlid. The male will display his breeding colors and try to attract the female.

When the female is ready to spawn, she’ll lay her eggs on the substrate. The male will then fertilize the eggs, and both parents will guard the nest.


After spawning, it’s important to provide the right care for the eggs and fry. Keep the water temperature stable and ensure that the tank is clean and well-oxygenated.

Once the fry hatch, they’ll feed on their yolk sacs for the first few days. After that, you can start feeding them small amounts of brine shrimp or crushed flake food.

It’s important to note that Jewel Cichlids can be aggressive during breeding, so be sure to monitor them closely and remove any eggs or fry that are being threatened.

Personally, I’ve found breeding Jewel Cichlids to be a rewarding experience. Watching the parents care for their young is truly fascinating. Just be sure to provide the right setup and care to ensure a successful spawn.

Product recommendations for Jewel Cichlid:

  1. Hikari Cichlid Gold – This specialized food is perfect for Jewel Cichlid, providing a balanced diet that is high in protein and essential nutrients.
  2. AquaClear Power Filter – This powerful and efficient filter is perfect for Jewel Cichlid, keeping the water in your tank clean and clear.
  3. Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum – This substrate is perfect for Jewel Cichlid, providing a natural environment that promotes healthy growth and reproduction.
  4. Aqueon LED Aquarium Light Fixture – This high-quality LED light fixture is perfect for Jewel Cichlid, providing bright and energy-efficient lighting that will help your fish thrive.
  5. Fluval FX6 High Performance Canister Filter – This high-performance canister filter is designed for large aquariums and is perfect for keeping the water in your Jewel Cichlid tank crystal clear.
  6. API Aquarium Test Kit – This comprehensive test kit is perfect for Jewel Cichlid owners, allowing you to monitor the water quality of your aquarium and ensure that your fish is healthy and happy.
  7. Penn-Plax Large Castle Aquarium Decoration – This aquarium decoration is perfect for Jewel Cichlid, providing a fun and interactive environment for your fish to explore.
  8. Hydor Koralia Nano Aquarium Circulation Pump – This circulation pump is perfect for Jewel Cichlid, providing a natural current that will help your fish thrive.
  9. Tetra Whisper Air Pump – This powerful and reliable air pump is perfect for Jewel Cichlid, providing a steady flow of oxygenated water that will keep your fish healthy and happy.


If you’re considering adding Jewel Cichlids to your aquarium, you likely have some questions about their care. Here are some common FAQs:

Q: What size tank do Jewel Cichlids need?

A: Jewel Cichlids require at least a 30-gallon tank, but a larger tank is recommended if you plan to keep them with other fish. They are territorial and can be aggressive, so you’ll need to provide plenty of space for them to establish their territory.

Q: What do Jewel Cichlids eat?

A: Jewel Cichlids are omnivores and will eat a variety of foods, including pellets, flakes, frozen or live foods, and vegetables. You should feed them a balanced diet to keep them healthy.

Q: Can Jewel Cichlids live with other fish?

A: Jewel Cichlids can be aggressive and territorial, so they may not be suitable for a community tank. However, they can be kept with other fish if you provide enough space and hiding places. Avoid keeping them with small or slow-moving fish that they may see as prey.

Q: Do Jewel Cichlids need a heater?

A: Yes, Jewel Cichlids require a heater to maintain a stable water temperature between 76-82°F. They also prefer a slightly acidic to neutral pH between 6.5-7.5.

Q: How often should I clean my Jewel Cichlid’s tank?

A: You should perform partial water changes every week to maintain good water quality. You should also clean the filter regularly and remove any uneaten food or debris from the tank.

Overall, Jewel Cichlids can be rewarding fish to keep, but they require specific care and attention. By providing them with a suitable environment and diet, you can help them thrive in your aquarium.


Congratulations on making it to the end of this comprehensive guide on Jewel Cichlid care! By now, you should have a good understanding of what it takes to keep these beautiful fish happy and healthy in your aquarium.

Remember, providing a suitable environment, a balanced diet, and proper maintenance are key to ensuring the longevity of your Jewel Cichlids. It’s also important to keep an eye on their behavior and make adjustments as needed.

If you’re new to the world of fishkeeping, taking care of Jewel Cichlids may seem daunting at first. But with a little patience and effort, you’ll soon find it to be a rewarding and enjoyable experience.

Personally, I have found keeping Jewel Cichlids to be a great hobby. Watching them swim around and interact with each other is both relaxing and fascinating. I hope you’ll find the same joy in caring for these amazing fish!

Reference: Wikipedia.


Hi there! My name is Jacob, and I'm the founder of this Pet people blog that talks all about aquarium and fishkeeping. I've been passionate about fish and aquatic life since I was a kid, and I've spent countless hours learning about different species, their habitats, and how to create the perfect environment for them to thrive in.

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