Banded Jewel Cichlid (Hemichromis elongatus)

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Banded Jewel Cichlid
Hemichromis elongatus
Banded Jewel Cichlid (Hemichromis elongatus)
Name Banded Jewel Cichlid
Name Lat. Hemichromis elongatus
Family Cichlids
Family lat. Cichlidae
Order Cichlids
Order lat. Cichliformes
Origin Africa
Habitat Streams, rivers, ponds
Diet Carnivore
pH 6.0-7.8
Behavior Aggressive
Keeping Pair
Care Level Difficult
Reproduction Substrate spawner
Breeding Difficult
Life Span 5-8 years
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 10-15 cm
Temperature 22-25 °C
Hardness 5-15 °dH
Aquarium 120 cm / 240 l
US Units
Size 3.9"-5.9"
Temperature 72-77 °F
Hardness 89-267 ppm
Aquarium 65 gal

Distribution and habitat

Five-spotted jewel perch are common along the west coast of Africa, from Guinea to Angola. They live in shallow, slow-moving and stagnant waters with sandy bottoms, roots and stones, occasionally in the brackish water of estuaries


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) 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 offer consists of live food, such as daphnia, artemia, mysis, tubifex, mosquito larvae and shrimps, which is also accepted without problems in frozen form, supplemented with commercially available frozen special food mixtures for cichlids. High-quality dry food for cichlids (granules, pellets) is also accepted, but should not be the main component of their diet

It is recommended to feed small portions several times a day. Regular and varied feeding promotes health and prevents deficiency symptoms. Only as much should be fed as is eaten immediately (in a maximum of 10 minutes).

Behaviour and compatibility

These extremely territorial fish should be kept in pairs. Especially at spawning time they behave extremely aggressive. Keeping several pairs is only possible in a much larger and richly structured tank. A socialization is only recommended with larger and very defensible fish.

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

Sex dimorphism

The sexes are difficult to distinguish. The males are slightly larger and more intensely colored than the females

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 800 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). In community tanks breeding is hardly possible, because the fry are easy prey.


They are voracious predators, burrow heavily and are among the most aggressive cichlids.

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

The well-being of the fish should be monitored regularly. Temperature should be checked daily, pH, hardness and nitrate levels at least every 14 days. 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: Franz Lowak

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