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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i have never had Jack Dempseys before but i got 2 them for free from a guy on craigs list. they are in a 75gal tank. they were in a 40gal. the male is about 6 in and female is about 4in. she is really beat up. at first they got along good in my tank then at night after the lights go out i would hear splashing and my thinking was that he is attacking her again, like he did in the last owners tank. i guess my question would be how can i stop this as i would like them to spawn and get some babies. should i add other fish? i know Jack Dempseys are very aggressive so what could i add? does a fishes diet affect their aggression? like if i feed them more meaty foods with they be more aggressive? Any advice for a new Jack Dempseys owner would be helpful. i have had another 75gal with African Cichlids for years so I'm not new to fish at all just Jack Dempseys.
 

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Give your tank plenty of sight breaks and hiding spots. Add dithers (giant danios ,yoyo loach) something fast they can't catch. That will spread some of the agression. If your female ends up in the top corner begging to get out seperate or get a divider. Good luck and keep us posted.
 

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I’m new to Jack Dempseys as well & basically trying to do the same thing as jason081180 & breed them (by the way I’m from El Dorado, KS). I don’t want steal the thread, but think a bit more detail and we can help each other out. I collected my JDs from three different stores hand picking each of them for what I thought was the ideal shape, fin, color etc. I have also successfully kept & bred a number of cichlids, I’m just changing gears.

I have had the JDs for about six weeks now. The first two weeks went as expected & the JDs hid a lot. Then they decided to come out and play when I added the dither fish. The tank had an Ich breakout because I wasn’t cautious when I added the dither fish. I treated the Ich with CopperSafe from Mardel, along with Freshwater Aquarium salt & increasing the temp to 84 degrees. Four days later all the spots gone, did a vacuum & big water change, added another CopperSafe & salt treatment, and then allowed the temp to slowly drop. Seven days later still Ich free, did another vacuum & big water change, this time I only added the salt.

So this got me to where I’m at now. My JDs range from 1.75 to 3 inches; my main question is simply this, â€Å"Why are all my JDs so washed out from color?â€Â
 

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Also, would anyone say "never keep JDs with an open top aquarium"? I currently have the front six inches of my tank wide open. I haven't read anything that's says JDs are regular jumpers.
 

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Generally when the JDs are very light then they are stressed. Two things come to mind, the copper safe may have been harsh on them and it stressed them out. Also what are you ammonia, nitrite and nitrate reading? It could be that the meds did something to all the beneficial bacteria in your tank and the bad water quality is stressing them. Another thing is I find JDs take a long time to get comfortable and since you've had them, they've had a rough time in your tank. I would give them some time and I would think they would darken up. Just curious, what color and what kind of substrate do you have? I find my JDs are pretty light over riverstone gravel and if I used black or blue substrate, they really darken up.

Also I would get rid of the flake food for the JDs, switch to a high quality cichlid pellet. I personally prefer Hikari and Omega One.

Anyway good luck with them and keep us posted on your progress.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
i have been wondering about the open top as well the whole top of my 75gal is open. fish get more color when they are happy and not stressed. i would not add salt anymore. does the place they come from have salt? i asking here, not being an ass. i need to know. also what do u mean by "dithers"? i haven't heard that before. sounds like you did the right thing with the Ick. your water temp might be a little high but i don't know. I'm new to this and currently keep mine about 75 degrees. My JDs love to hang out in the rocks more that the fake plant part of the tank so maybe you could try adding some rocks to make them more comfortable. i forgot to get some pictures but I'll try to remember tonight.

i use Hikari cichlid pellet, beef heart and freeze dried bloodworms.
 

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jason_nj said:
Also what are you ammonia, nitrite and nitrate reading? Just curious, what color and what kind of substrate do you have?

Also I would get rid of the flake food for the JDs, switch to a high quality cichlid pellet. I personally prefer Hikari and Omega One.
Ammonia: reading 0 ppm
Nitrite: reading 0 ppm
Nitrate: reading less than 5 ppm, but I need a new test kit so I'll bump it to less the 10 ppm

Substrate: is the silica free sand from the hardware store, with some moon sand mixed in to darken it up a bit more

New Life Spectrum is high quality & I have an unopened bag of Hikari Cichlid Gold sinking pellets, ready to go when they finish the flakes.

I hope you're right about the CopperSafe treatment & I think I'll add more moon sand to the mix & make the substrate even darker if they don't begin to turn in the next month.
 

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jason081180 said:
i would not add salt anymore. does the place they come from have salt? also what do u mean by "dithers"? I'm new to this and currently keep mine about 75 degrees. My JDs love to hang out in the rocks more that the fake plant part of the tank so maybe you could try adding some rocks to make them more comfortable.

i use Hikari cichlid pellet, beef heart and freeze dried bloodworms.
Salt is in all water even freshwater, just a much more trace amount than what I have added for the Ich treatment. I intend to slowly dilute it down to 1/2 cup for the entire 150 gallons of actual water volume. Yes, Central America has trace amounts of sodium chloride.

"Dither" fish are fish that are active all the time & swim in open water. This activity makes the other fish feel safe to come out of hiding. Trust me a lot of us do it, because it works. :wink:
 

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jason081180 said:
what fish work well with Jds?
These dithers are great for the juvenile to young adult stage of JDs life. They all could/will end up as food sooner/later.

1)Giant Danio
2)Buenos Aires Tetra
3)Tiger Barb

If you want something for the long haul then maybe a single convict. BTW I said
DIYhunter said:
I’m new to Jack Dempseys as well...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
jason_nj said:
They look male and female to me. In the first picture, the female is in front. The 2nd picture is your male dempsey.
yes that's what i was told when i got them about 2 weeks ago. any idea how to help them have babies? what temp? kind of food? maybe more or less salt in the water? more often water changes?
 

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jason081180 said:
yes that's what i was told when i got them about 2 weeks ago. any idea how to help them have babies? what temp? kind of food? maybe more or less salt in the water? more often water changes?
As far as I know, you don't need salt for dempseys. I don't have any salt in any of my tanks with them. Just high protein foods like a good quality pellet, with either bloodworms or brine shrimp as a once in a while treat.I've had dempseys breed in water temps between 77-82 degrees, lots of water changes help with adding water at a slightly lower temperature usually helps them to spawn. Also make sure there is a breeding spot for them, a piece of flat rock like slate or a clay flowerpot or a pvc pipe. I also find if you put those things in a secluded place, like surround it with rocks or plants where they can feel more secure or its a more defensible position, they'll feel more comfortable spawning.

Now other than that, it just a matter of being patient. Good luck with them.
 

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jason081180 said:
any idea how to help them have babies? what temp? kind of food? maybe more or less salt in the water? more often water changes?
jason_nj is correct you don't NEED any salt, I don't know how new you are to fish keeping but I may have confused you just a bit. I run salt as a preventive to fish disease, parasites, fungus, etc. Also it helps maintain a balance, sort of like people taking vitamins. It has very little effect, if any, to trigger breeding in a Central American Cichlid.

Temp: I have been able to trigger spawning by adding ice or just cold water to an aquarium. This is to simulate a heavy rain. You're wanting to add about 1-3% water volume, not a water change more a water top off. I usually did this after a heavy (5-6 very small feedings per day) three day feeding then fed heavy for about two more days. Bam! spawn activity overdrive. This method work great for many of my pseudotropheus socolofi.

Food: It's roly poly season up there in Wichita, you know what I'm talking about, right? Get out in the yard, look under them rocks & bark, rinse 'em, them feed your JDs. They feed just like pellet food, but they're so much better for the JDs. Also, you'll have baby crickets coming soon up there; if not already. I have 'em already in Texas. But my point here is you have all the food you need just mix it up, but sustain your basic staple. Live bugs work great for defining colors, the roly polys worked wonderfully for my Salvini's when I had 'em.

Water Changes: Many people think/believe that more frequent smaller volume water changes, triggered a spawn, so they'll suggest to do so. In fact what happen was they eventually got lazy, though they won't admit it, and added a much cooler water temp than normal, thus simulated a heavy rain fall. Some will argue that the frequent water changes got the tank to a higher water quality & the water quality stimulated the spawn. Then I respond with "Why are you running your aquarium at a poor water quality to begin with? " It's true dilution is the solution to a healthy aquarium, but if you have to do daily 3-5% water changes then your tank is overstocked/under filtered.

To sum it up
1) be sure you JDs have a place to call home; i.e. one cave per fish; nothing plastic because the eggs won't stick
2) feed often & feed light for three to four days
3) top off with cold water or some ice
4) :popcorn:

Lastly it just takes some time, remember fish are instinctive critters and cichlids are great parents.
 
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