African Jewel Fish (Hemichromis letourneuxi)

From Pet Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
African Jewel Fish
Hemichromis letourneuxi
African Jewel Fish (Hemichromis letourneuxi)
Name African Jewel Fish
Name Lat. Hemichromis letourneuxi
Family Cichlids
Family lat. Cichlidae
Order Cichlids
Order lat. Cichliformes
Origin Africa
Habitat Streams, rivers, lakes
Diet Carnivore
pH 6.0-7.8
Behavior Semi-aggressive
Keeping Pair
Care Level Moderate
Reproduction Substrate spawner
Breeding Difficult
Life Span 5-8 years
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 10-12 cm
Temperature 22-26 °C
Hardness 4-15 °dH
Aquarium 200 l
US Units
Size 3.9"-4.7"
Temperature 72-79 °F
Hardness 71-267 ppm
Aquarium 50 gal

Distribution and habitat

The Jewel Cichlids are widely distributed from Guinea in West Africa through the Central African Republic to Sudan. There they live in slow flowing streams and small rivers as well as in lakes and ponds with sandy bottoms, roots and stones.


The aquarium should be equipped with hiding places (crevices and caves) from stones and roots, as well as robust planting. A soft, diggable substrate and slightly subdued light (floating plants) and oxygen-rich water is ideal

No ammonia, ammonium or nitrite should be detectable, and the nitrate value should not exceed 100 mg/l. To ensure the water quality and oxygen content, a filter and heater adapted to the aquarium size is required, as well as lighting for the species-appropriate day-night rhythm of the animals.


The food supply consists of live, frozen and dry food. For a balanced diet, feed once a day with a high-quality dry food for cichlids (flakes, granules, pellets) as well as daphnia, artemia, tubifex, mosquito larvae or mysis (live or frozen). In addition, they need some vegetable food, such as blanched spinach, algae leaves or dry food with vegetable ingredients (e.g. spirulina)

Only feed as much as will be eaten within a few minutes. A regular and varied diet promotes health and prevents deficiency symptoms.

Behaviour and compatibility

They must be maintained in pairs. Only during the spawning season they behave aggressively. Keeping several pairs is only recommended in a much larger and richly structured tank. They can be socialized with larger African tetras and cichlids as well as catfishes (e.g. Synodontis, Loricaria).

Basically, only compatible fish species with similar demands on water condition and water temperature should be socialized.

Sex dimorphism

The sexes are difficult to distinguish. The males are more intensely colored and have dark spots.

Reproduction and breeding

They are substrate spawners and practice intensive brood care (parental family). Once a harmonizing pair has been found, the female usually spawns up to 300 eggs on a well-cleaned, smooth stone. After about 48 hours, the fry hatch and are then housed by the parents in a bottom pit until they swim freely after another 2-3 days. The fry are intensively guarded by both parents and led to other prepared bottom pits before brood care ends after about 4 weeks.

Fry must be fed several times a day with special rearing food (Artemia nauplii). Breeding is hardly possible in community tanks, as the fry are easy prey.


Especially at spawning time they burrow heavily

Feeding with live food promotes the color intensity of the fish.

The well-being of the fish should be checked regularly. Temperature should be checked daily, pH, hardness and nitrate levels at least fortnightly. Regular partial water changes are recommended, even if the contaminant level has not yet reached the upper limit. Sudden changes in water quality should be avoided. Newly introduced fish must be accustomed slowly to the water in the aquarium.

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: petdata; Image: petdata

Source: BMELV (1998): Tierschutzgutachten - Haltung von Zierfischen (Süßwasser); BAENSCH & RIEHL (2004): Aquarien Atlas Bd. 2, Mergus Verlag; ENGELMANN (2005): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Fische, Verlag Harri Deutsch

  • Gemäß § 21 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF