Native Habitat and Species Information
Nandopsis octofasciatum, commonly known as the Jack Dempsey, also has a less common, natural variant which is specifically known as the Electric Blue Jack Dempsey. The Electric Blue Jack Dempsey is an intensely colorful and extremely hardy Cichlid native to still and slow moving bogs, lakes, ponds and swamps in Central America. They are one of the most popular species in the hobby and are known for their territorial instincts as well as the intense coloration they can bring to any aquarium. They have a gray-blue base color with vivid, iridescent, electric blue to purplish scales mosaicked with dark to black coloration. Electric Blue Jack Dempsey can also have (to varying intensity) black splotching on their lateral lines. Males will also grow out to be much larger than the females.
Electric Blue Jack Dempsey require an aquarium of at least 55 gallons and should be provided with multiple places where they can find shelter (driftwood, rock structures (especially caves), and dense vegetation). In addition to a good hiding place, Electric Blue Jack Dempsey appreciate clean, acidic to neutral water as well as live plants, but have been known to dig, which will cause some uprooting. They are quite territorial and aggressive, which can lead to the weaker fish being bullied as well as the small fish being eaten. Tank mates should be considered carefully and should be comparable in size.
Feeding & Nutrition
As an omnivorous species, the Electric Blue Jack Dempsey should be fed a variety of foods, such as live, frozen or freeze-dried ghost shrimp, minnows, shrimp, crickets, bloodworms, blackworms, earthworms, flake food, and Cichlid pellets.
The Electric Blue Jack Dempsey is an egg layer, who also practices brood care. For the ideal breeding environment, the water temperature should be raised to and maintained at 84-86° F and the pH stablized on the more acidic side. The female Electric Blue Jack Dempsey will lay around 650 eggs in a carefully cleaned location (driftwood, rocks, stones, slate, large plant leaves, etc). The eggs will hatch in 2-3 days and the fry should be free-swimming within a week. The newly hatched fry should be fed a diet of baby brine shrimp or crushed flake food and then moved to other foods as they mature.