Hemichromis bimaculatus
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Hemichromis bimaculatus

Common Names: Blue Jewel
Family: Cichlidae
Category: Cichlids
Distribution: Africa; Zaire, Africa.
Main Ecosystem: Stream; Stream
Temperament: Reclusive; Territorial and at times vicious. Controlling this fish's temper requires careful stocking plans. When not actively breeding they are often relatively peaceful, causing non-cichlid species of equal or greater size few problems, with only a slight hint of dominance at feeding times. Rather amusingly, they sometimes guard food, or actually grab it and run away with it.

Seldom the first fish to fight unless housed with conspecifics. All jewel cichlid species may fight and attempt to hybridise as if they are all one species,and in this respect guttatas can be particularly aggressive to other jewels.

Other african cichlids common in the hobby like kribiensis should be excluded from jewel tanks, unless the tank is large, say over 55 galllon. The fighting over territory could be vicious, and although a smallish fish, hemichromis have significant bite power, and they can and will cause significant midbody and facial wounds. Should they liplock with other small species, the hemichromis is easily capable of damaging the jawbones of these species, and this is often a fatal wound.

Sublimated specimens may become reclusive and fail to feed. Do not overstock tanks with this species. A good choice however for an african river community tank with a diverse selection of suitable sized non-territorial, non-cichlid fish.

In any event , a given hemichromis species should be kept seperate from other hemichromis species to keep genetic species lines seperate and distinct. There is no advantage in hybridisation.
Diet: Ominvore; Omnivore with carnivorous tendancies, will eat most flake and granular food,even some prepared vegatable formulas and algae wafer may be accepted into the diet. Particularly fond of bloodworm, and tubifex, and small pieces of fishmeat , shrimps, and chopped shellfish will be taken. This species shows its colour best when given regular livefoods.Does well on most cichlid formulas as a staple as long as some livefood is included.
Care: This is a river fish and as such prefers slightly acidic soft conditions with high oxygenation, often sold in shops among malaxi cichlids, but do not keep them with such fish. A typical clearwater african river setup will suit them well, with plently of structures, plants and sheltered areas. Keep the oxygen high, and the nitrates low and these fish do well.The author has seen many specimens struggling for breath in tanks suited to south american cichlids, this species really does require a decent level of oxygen saturation. Better for lightly stocked tanks perhaps with a few of the smaller african catfish like schilbe marmoratus. You include other cichlid species at your fish's risk. Fine gravels, sands and other substrates will allow this fish to dig and forage to its hearts content, but choose inert substrates that do not increase water hardness. One pair is sufficient for midsize tanks like a 30 gallon.
6.5 - 7.5
21°C - 25°C
70°F - 77°F
4 dH - 16 dH
Potential Size: Male: 13cm (5.1")
Female: 13cm (5.1")
Water Region: Middle, Bottom; Middle-Bottom
Activity: Diurnal; Diurnal
Gender: Difficult to determine. Colours , build and finnage is not as indicative as behaviour, so observe specimens closely before purchase. If you see established pairs in your LFS try to purchase them in pairs rather than as individual fish, doing this will prevent a whole array of social issues. Jewel cichlids are difficult to identify accurately for species , let alone gender, and shop displays often have different species mixed in the same aquarium, so make sure you do not mistake what might be percieved as a different sex for what may actually be a different species. Do not make the mistake of purchasing unsexed specimens in number, as either balances of predominantly males or females may cause severe fighting. Aim for perfect pairs.
Breeding: Use a pH of 7.0 and a higher temperature of 27°C. The eggs are laid on a carefully cleaned rock and then moved to pits dug behind the rocks.
Comments: Quite peaceful for an african cichlid.
Main Colours: Pink, Blue
Markings: Spots Small
Mouth: Normal
Tail: Convex
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Submitted By: Adam
Contributors: longhairedgit, ACIDRAIN
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