Native Habitat and Species Information
Red Forest Jewels have some of the most intense, red coloration that can be seen within any natural, fresh water Cichlid species. They are native to acidic streams and rivers of Central Africa (Congo and Ubanghi tributaries) and have iridescent green to blue spotting on an bright red base coloration; they also have a black, lateral spot as well as a black, ocellus spot on their operculum. As juveniles, the species may exhibit a black caudal spot, but it will vanish as the fish matures. Red Forest Jewels have translucent fins with the same color markings as their bodies and although the females will usually have much brighter colors, the males of the species will grow to be larger.
Red Forest Jewels require an aquarium of at least 30 gallons and should be provided with a sand or gravel substrate and multiple places where they can find shelter (bogwood, cave-like rock structures), but have been known to dig, which can cause uprooting in regard to live plants; live plants should have strong root systems or be placed in pots within the substrate. Red Forest Jewels also appreciate and will thrive in acidic, clean, and soft water. Red Forest Jewels are an aggressive and territorial species and tank mates should be considered carefully and should be comparable in size.
Feeding & Nutrition
The Red Forest Jewel is an omnivore and should be fed a variety of foods, such as live, frozen or freeze-dried ghost shrimp, baby minnows, bloodworms, blackworms, flake food, and Cichlid pellets.
Red Forest Jewels are egg-laying, substrate spawners that practice brood care; a breeding pair of Red Forest Jewels will become extremely aggressive and will viciously attack all other tank inhabitants (as well as human fingers) while breeding. The female Red Forest Jewel will lay around 300 eggs in a carefully cleaned location (bogwood, flat rocks, large plant leaves, etc.) within the aquarium. The eggs will hatch in 2 days and the fry will be relocated to pre-dug pits in the substrate. The fry will be free-swimming within several days and then be removed, or left with the parents for up to 4 weeks (at which time brood care will cease). The newly hatched fry can be fed a diet of baby brine shrimp or crushed flake food and then be moved to other foods as they mature.