The Jack Dempsey Fish: Popular Aquarium Choices

The Jack Dempsey fish is one of the most popular aquarium fish. It is a freshwater fish native to Central America.

The majority of this type of fish inhabit sandy or rocky areas with some exceptions such as those found near mangrove roots or coral reefs. The Jack Dempsey Fish are considered omnivorous which means they eat both plants and animals.

They have been known to feed on small fish, invertebrates, and even algae making them a very popular choice for aquariums around the world. 

The species is popular when it comes to aquariums because of its impressive size and its fighting nature.

It’s typically recommended that only experienced fish owners with large tanks own this type of fish. This article will explore its history, diet, care, breeding, and habitat.

Jack Dempsey Fish Appearance And Colors:

Jack Dempsey Fish Appearance And Colors

The Jack Dempsey, in addition to having a very large mouth, has the typical appearance of all cichlids.

They are generally deep-bodied with an oval shape – when viewed from above. Colors range from dark gray to brownish-black for adults, while younger fish are typically lighter in color and have stripes on their sides.

Both the male and female have similarly-colored markings, although the male will typically be a bit more colorful.

The Jack Dempsey can reach up to 9 inches in length, with females typically being slightly smaller than males. What’s more, is that both sexes display a nuchal hump (a protrusion of skin on top of the head) when mature. Colors are typically more vivid in males, who will also have longer fins, as well.

In addition to their large mouths and aggressive behavior, Jack Dempsey Fish is one of few species that exhibit “mouth brooding”.

This brood care technique allows parents to carry their young inside their mouths for a time after birth, protecting them from potential predators.

This behavior is particularly common in cichlids and helps to ensure the survival of their young. In terms of variety, the Jack Dempsey Fish is far from limited. There are many different color combinations and patterns available in the aquarium trade.

Some are even bred to have fluorescent colors, making them a real standout in any tank. One of the most popular varieties of this fish is the electric blue jack Dempsey. This fish is easily recognized by its bright blue body and black markings. It’s a beautiful addition to any aquarium!

Jack Dempsey Fish 101 Care:

Jack Dempsey Fish 101 Care
Tank Conditions:

If you are thinking about getting a Jack Dempsey Fish, one of the most important things to remember is that you need at least 60 gallons of water for them. This being said, it is advised that you have between 70 – 90 gallons.

They are not small fish by any means! Their care requirements are relatively easy so long as you can provide them with the proper environment.

The Jack Dempsey Fish is a hardy fish that can adapt to a wide range of water conditions, but they prefer a pH of 6.5 to 7.5 and a water temperature of 73 – 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

so you will need to make sure your aquarium heater can accommodate this range. When setting up your tank, be sure to provide plenty of hiding places for your Dempsey Fish, as they like to feel secure in their surroundings. Without hiding places, these fish can become stressed and may exhibit behavior that is not desirable to the aquarist.

The Dempsey will eat almost any type of food given to it, but make sure to give it a good variety. The Dempsey Fish is also known for its temper, so be sure there are no small fish or shrimps in the tank with your Dempsey.


As omnivores, Jack Dempsey Fish are not too particular about their diet. They will eat small fish, invertebrates, and even algae. This being said, you should provide them with a varied diet to ensure they are getting the right nutrients.

Some good food options include freeze-dried bloodworms, brine shrimp, and tubifex worms. You can also give them pellets or flake food designed for carnivorous fish. As always, consult with your pet store to get the best advice for your specific fish. Feed your Jack Dempsey Fish twice a day.

Tankmates for Jack Dempsey Fish:

One thing to keep in mind when owning a Jack Dempsey Fish is that they can be quite aggressive, especially when it comes to feeding time. It is therefore not recommended to keep them with other fish that are small enough to be considered prey.

Tankmates for Dempsey Fish can include other large fish such as cichlids, Oscars, and tilapia.  In general, Jack Dempsey Fish has a lifespan of around 10 years.

With proper care, they can live even longer! With a little bit of knowledge and preparation, taking care of a Jack Dempsey Fish can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience!

Be sure to do your research and provide your fish with the proper tank conditions and diet, and you will have a healthy and happy Dempsey for years to come!

Breeding Of Jack Dempsey Fish:

Breeding Of Jack Dempsey Fish

Breeding a Jack Dempsey can be difficult since it is a cichlid and the process takes months. Breeding this fish is one of the most difficult to accomplish out of all other cichlids because you have to recreate the conditions found in their natural habitat, which consists of peat water with specific pH levels.

If you plan on breeding your Jack Dempsey fish, you will need to provide them with a tank that is at least 60 gallons and include some rocks and caves for the fish to hide in.

The breeding process begins when the male and female fish start to exhibit mating behavior. The male will then start to build a nest out of gravel near one of the cave entrances.

Once the nest is complete, the male will start to guard it aggressively. The female will then lay her eggs in the nest and the male will fertilize them.

After the eggs are fertilized, they will start to hatch in about three days. The newly hatched fry will then be guarded by the male until they are able to fend for themselves.

Also, you can remove the eggs from the nest and place them in an egg incubator. This will allow you to hatch the eggs artificially and then raise the fry yourself.

If you decide to do this, it is important to keep a close eye on the eggs, as they are very delicate and can easily die. Once the fry has reached a size where they can be safely housed in an aquarium, you will need to begin feeding them.

They can be fed baby brine shrimp or powdered fish food that is designed for juveniles. It is important to keep a close eye on the fry and make sure they are getting enough to eat, as this is a time when they are very susceptible to disease.

Additionally, if you remove the fry from the egg incubator, make sure they have access to a constant supply of clean water.

Raising baby Jack Dempsey fish can be challenging and should only be attempted by those with plenty of experience in caring for young fish.

Where Can I buy Jack Dempsey Fish?

The best place to buy a Jack Dempsey Fish is at your local pet store. They will have a variety of fish to choose from and can offer you advice on what type of tank and food is best for your Dempsey.

You can also find Dempsey Fish for sale online. Just be sure to do your research before making a purchase to ensure the fish you are getting is the right size and temperament for your tank. Good luck and happy fishkeeping!

What Are Some Of The Risks Associated With Jack Dempsey Fish?

One of the risks associated with keeping Jack Dempsey Fish is that they can be quite aggressive and territorial. They may become aggressive towards other fish in the tank, and even attack you if you get too close.

Another potential risk is that Jack Dempsey Fish can be quite messy eaters. They can produce a lot of waste, which can create problems for the other fish in the tank.

It is also important to remember that Jack Dempsey Fish can grow quite large, so you need to make sure you have a tank that is big enough to accommodate them.

Before buying a Jack Dempsey Fish, it is important to be aware of the risks involved and make sure you are prepared to handle them.


How Much Does A Jack Dempsey Fish Cost?

In general, Jack Dempsey Fish costs anywhere from $10 to $30. The price will depend on the size and age of the fish, as well as the retailer you purchase it from. It is important to do your research before buying a Dempsey Fish to make sure you are getting a good deal.

Where Did The Jack Dempsey Fish Get Its Name?

The Jack Dempsey Fish was actually named after the world-famous boxer, Jack Dempsey. It’s believed that a Los Angeles aquarium owner first decided to name the fish after the boxer because of its fighting nature. However, some people believe that the name is actually a reference to Dempsey’s aggressive behavior outside of boxing.

How Big Does A Jack Dempsey Fish Get?

A fully-grown Jack Dempsey will typically measure between 8 and 9 inches long. The species can also weigh up to five pounds (2.5 kg). The Jack Dempsey Fish is typically larger than most other fish of the same genus because it feeds on smaller fish and invertebrates for food, leaving enough food behind for another member of its own species to grow quickly.


So, should you take on a Jack Dempsey Fish? In general, they make great pets and can be very fun to watch. They are generally considered easy to care for and can be a great addition to any aquarium. However, it is important to keep in mind that they are aggressive fish and should not be kept with smaller or more delicate fish. If you can provide a healthy and safe environment for them, then a Jack Dempsey Fish can make a great addition to your home aquarium.