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Jack Dempsey

Scientific name: Rocio Octofasciata 

Family: Cichlidae

Difficulty: Easy 

Temperament: Aggressive 

Minimum Tank Size: 55gallon for a single, 90gallon or more for tank mates 

Average Size: 8"

Water Perameters: 75-80F, 6.5-8PH

Diet: Omnivore

Origin: Central America 



The Jack Dempsey is a medium sized cichlid Native to the Atlantic slope of Central America in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras, known for its incredible bright spangled coloration and its aggressive nature. A very popular choice in the aquarium hobby due to its striking appearance, named after 1920's world heavy weight champion boxer William Harrison "Jack" Dempsey. The average size for a Jack Dempsey is 8" in the aquarium but not uncommon to reach up to 10". With proper care and feeding the average growth rate for a Jack Dempsey is around a half inch per month. Jacks are also notoriously easy to visually sex them, females will have spangles coming along their lower jaw/gill plate and under the chin, a male will have a clear lower jaw, also common for females to have much less bright body colouring although not always the case. There is also a colour variant of the Jack Dempsey, it is more of a sky blue with black splotch type markings, which is much slower growing, generally more docile and tends to have a high young mortality rate.


Minimum Tank Requirements, Setup and Tank Mates:

For size and water quality it is advised to have a minimum of 55 gallon aquarium with a footprint minimum of at least 48x12 inches for a single jack dempsey, and 90 gallon or more for Tank mates, depending on the tank mates size and requirements as well. The aquarium should be setup with multiple hide spots as occasional hiding is common for a jack, and will also help establish territory and help limit aggression. Using rocks or wood to make caves and covered hides is the easiest way to accomplish this while keeping a natural look to the aquarium. Tank mates for the jack dempsey can be difficult to establish as each jack is different, some are placid and can live with almost anything, but more common is a high rate of aggression so tank mates are advised to be generally larger then the jack and Also in the semi-aggressive to aggressive range, common tank mates include oscars, gold saum, jaguar cichlids, Texas cichlids and black convicts.



A quality staple omnivore pellet, mixed up with live or frozen meat for treat foods, this can include crickets and other insects, worms, frozen blood worm, shrimp and other good protein sources. While a jack dempsey will eat feeder fish, this isn't necessary due to the risks of infection from poorly bred feeders, and the little nutrition they offer.