African Jewelfish (Jewel cichlid) – Complete Guide

African Jewelfish

African Jewelfish, also known as Jewel Cichlid or Jewelfish, is a type of freshwater fish from the Cichlidae family.

It lives in muddy and sandy canals, away from the coast, and is found near forests. This fish is popular among aquarium enthusiasts because of its beauty.

Researchers also study it for animal behavior and physiology.

African Jewelfish are aggressive and hence should be kept in pairs with a tank size of at least 100 cm (about 39 inches) to maintain harmony in the tank.

African Jewelfish Interesting Facts

  • African Jewelfish are beautiful, aggressive fish that thrive in tropical climates with a pH range of 6.5 to 7.5 and temperatures between 70°F to 77°F (21°C to 23°C).
  • They grow up to 2.95 inches (7.5 centimeters) long and weigh up to 10 grams, with distinct features such as three black spots on their sides and single-pointed teeth in both jaws.
  • This species’ boundaries within the Hemichromis genus are unclear, allowing them to live in both brackish and freshwater environments.
  • These fish have unique coloration such as olive-brown bodies with yellow or blue spots forming bands on cheeks and gill regions, along with reddish lips and fins.

African Jewelfish Habitat

African Jewelfish is from West Africa and is found in many river basins.

It lives in forested areas, as well as some coastal regions of Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Nile basin. However, its presence in Cameroon is not confirmed.

The species boundaries within the Hemichromis genus are unclear.

African Jewelfish can live in both brackish and freshwater environments. It swims near the bottom and moves within rivers (potamodromous).

This fish prefers a pH range of 6.5 to 7.5, a water hardness (dH) range of 4 to 16, and temperatures between 70°F to 77°F (21°C to 23°C).

It thrives in tropical climates around latitudes of 11°N to 4°N.

Water Temperature:70°F to 77°F (21°C to 23°C)
Water pH:6.5 to 7.5 pH
Water Hardness:4 to 16 dH

African Jewelfish Physical Characteristics

Size: 2.95 inches (7.5 centimeters)

African Jewelfish can grow up to a maximum length of 5.3 inches (13.6 centimeters) but usually reaches around 2.95 inches (7.5 centimeters) long.

The maximum weight of this fish is 10 grams. It has 14 to 15 dorsal spines, 10 to 12 dorsal soft rays, 3 anal spines, and 8 to 9 anal soft rays.


  • Three black spots on the sides,
  • Convex or straight snout profile,
  • Teeth are single-pointed in both jaws, with incomplete rows,
  • Two-pointed pharyngeal jaw teeth,
  • Micro-gill rakers are present, and
  • The scales are smooth.


  • Olive-brown body with three black spots on each side, one on the gill cover and the last one at the base of the tail fin,
  • Yellow or blue spots form bands on cheeks and gill region,
  • Green border around gill spot,
  • Reddish lips and chin,
  • The dorsal fin has a red edge with a light band below it,
  • The anal fin is light in front, turning reddish towards the back,
  • Caudal (tail) fin is yellowish near the body, and bright red at the end; the top edge is red with a light band below it,
  • Pectoral fins are clear or slightly yellowish, and
  • Pelvic fins are pale with either a red or black front edge.

African Jewelfish Scientific Classification

Scientific Name:Hemichromis bimaculatus
Also Known As:African Jewelfish, Jewel Cichlid, Jewelfish
Conservation Status:Least Concern

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