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Old 02-01-2006, 06:48 PM   #1
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Blue Jack Dempsey

I'm sold on blue dempseys now. I've talked to several people including those that have sold and kept them for years. I may keep 2 - 4 in a well-filtered 55 gallon tank. According to those I've spoken to, the less aggressive blue JD will do fine if kept with others of it's own kind. Like keeping most cichlids, individual fish act differently so I'll sell some if I have to if keeping them together doesn't work out. You actually have to worry about other fish hurting these guys more than what they will do to other fish. So I've decided just to keep blue jacks alone. Do you think they will do well in a bare-bottom tank? I'm gonna put some terra cotta pots and vases in there for cover but I was planning on leaving out a substrate b/c the tank is easier to clean and I was planning on keeping them much like one would keep discus, with several water changes a week and the whole deal. Maybe not as intense as discus though. My water is about 7.6-7.8 pH so I think I'm good there. It is fairly hard water too. Is CA cichlid salt from Seachem a good thing to use? Any thoughts and advice are welcome.
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Old 02-01-2006, 11:28 PM   #2
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Four dempseys in a 55 gallon tank, blue or not is too much. Once they mature and decide to breed...someone is getting killed. Best to keep a single pair by themselves as breeders if you intend on breeding. If not, then a single dempsey is best especially if you want other fish. Not many tank mates available for these guys...especially if they are already residing in the tank. Though they are said to be less aggresive than the regular dempseys...I don't buy this at all. They are cichlids...they are Jack Dempsey cichlids and blue or not can go onto killing sprees just the same. I've had dempseys...can ya tell??? LOL. Best tank mates would be fish of about the same size or bigger that are not cichlids and are fast and not so much in direct competition with the dempseys. A bottom feeder like plecos are suitable. Larger species of catfish. Larger species of rainbow fish, giant danios, and tinfoil barbs make ideal tank mates. If you can introduce other fish first before the dempseys you could maybe get away with fish like the larger gouramis, congo tetras, and even tiger barbs....the semi aggressive type fish that may or may not be fast swimming.

Substrate in a tank has it's benefits. Most of all it harbors more beneficial bacteria than a filter alone. Plants will get ripped up with or without any substrate with cichlids of most kinds...dempseys are no exception...blue or not.

Cichlid salt is not made to be used on South American Cichlids. Those salts are made for African Ciclids from the Rift Lakes and can hurt South American fish. The tank's pH can be buffered down a bit too...make it around 7.0- 7.4. Try to keep it from going higher.

Good luck. They're beautiful fish!!
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Old 02-02-2006, 05:55 AM   #3
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I used to keep JDs and can agree with everything TCTfish says. The larger they get, the more aggressive they become. Things can be going fine and all of a sudden one will go on a killing rampage. So you are best to pick a single pair. That being said, they are still worth keeping.

Being a discus keeper I'm a fan of bare bottom tanks. However, these fish love to dig in gravel. I think they might be happier with a substrate. As long as you do your pwcs and gravel vacs you shouldn't have any problem.

Feeding. Avoid the temptation to feed feeder fish. IMO, unless you're raising your own, it's the surest way to introduce pathogens into the tank. If the JDs are large enough, whole earthworms are especially relished.
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Old 02-02-2006, 11:39 AM   #4
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cricketsa are also a cheap healthy alternative to feeder fish
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Old 02-04-2006, 05:39 PM   #5
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Thanks all. I appreciate the comments.
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Old 02-04-2006, 09:02 PM   #6
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Ive kept blue JDs in a 60 gallon for years. They are not aggerssive fish, even for cichlids. They cant breed with themselves, you will need a regular jack dempsey. Sorry, but your blue JDs are not hardy and you WILL lose some.
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Old 02-05-2006, 08:29 AM   #7
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I know about the hardiness so I'm ordering 6-8 juveniles. It's gonna cost $$$! If I end up with too many I'll sell some of them. A 5" one will go for $70-100. I'm really not so much interested in breeding as I am having an impressive show tank with fish that are not only beautiful, but unique and different as well.
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