19 Best Jack Dempsey Tank Mates - Tiny Underwater (2022)

The Jack Dempsey cichlid earned the famous boxer’s name because of its extreme aggressiveness. If you want to add this beautiful cichlid to your tank, then you will need to know which fish are compatible with the species. We have some tank mate suggestions for you!

Jack Dempsey Cichlids generally co-exist best with other South American Cichlids. Suitable tank mates for them are oscars, blind cave tetras, green terror cichlids, tinfoil barbs, fire mouth cichlids, jaguar cichlids, convict cichlids, plecos, and silver dollars.

You’ll definitely want to look up the compatibility of all your aquarium fish before you put them together. This will prevent fighting, food aggression, and territorial behavior.

19 Best Jack Dempsey Tank Mates - Tiny Underwater (1)

Even though a Jack Dempsey isn’t the easiest fish to get along with, these cichlids can coexist with a variety of tank mates. Just make sure the others are ready to deal with these aggressive fish! We’ve compiled this list of the 19 best fish friends (or at least neighbors) for your Jack Dempsey.

1. Oscars

19 Best Jack Dempsey Tank Mates - Tiny Underwater (2)

These fish have aggressive personalities, so they can easily be a tank mate for the Jack Dempsey because they both have bold personalities.

2. Blind Cave Tetras

19 Best Jack Dempsey Tank Mates - Tiny Underwater (3)

These fish do well with Jack Dempsey fish because they are too large for them to eat!

3. Green Terror

19 Best Jack Dempsey Tank Mates - Tiny Underwater (4)

These fish are great tank mates for the Jack Dempsey because they have pretty similar personalities. They typically will not fight with one another unless their tank is too small. I have a list of other fish they get along with here.

4. Tinfoil Barbs

19 Best Jack Dempsey Tank Mates - Tiny Underwater (5)

These fish grow just as long as the Jack Dempsey fish! Although they may be thinner in size they are fast and will avoid aggression with other fish.

(Video) *ELECTRIC BLUE* Jack Dempsey's Get A NEW Tank

5. Fire Mouth Cichlids

19 Best Jack Dempsey Tank Mates - Tiny Underwater (6)

Fire mouth cichlids are a lot smaller than the Jack Dempsey, although they will be good tank mates as long as they have enough space to swim around (they need at least a 55-gallon tank).

6. Jaguar Cichlid

19 Best Jack Dempsey Tank Mates - Tiny Underwater (7)

These cichlids are even more aggressive than the Jack Dempsey. The main reason they do so well with Jack Dempsey Cichlids is because they get even bigger than the Jack Dempsey fish in size. They will need a 180-gallon tank or bigger.

7. Midas Cichlid

19 Best Jack Dempsey Tank Mates - Tiny Underwater (8)

This species is similar in size to the Jack Dempsey fish. They have a very thick build and like to threaten other fish, but will generally stay in their own territory.

8. Common Plecostomus Catfish

19 Best Jack Dempsey Tank Mates - Tiny Underwater (9)

This is an armored catfish and their size is what makes them a good tank mate for the Jack Dempsey. Sometimes they will nip and chase other fish but will keep their peace at most times.

9. Convict Cichlid

19 Best Jack Dempsey Tank Mates - Tiny Underwater (10)

These cichlids may be smaller than the Jack Dempsey but they have very bold personalities and can be ferocious. In other words, they can stick up for themselves.

10. Blue Acara

19 Best Jack Dempsey Tank Mates - Tiny Underwater (11)

These fish are similar to the Green Terror and work well as a tank mate for the Jack Dempsey. They usually tend to be aggressive when they are breeding. You can see other fish they get along with here.

11. Red Blood Parrots

19 Best Jack Dempsey Tank Mates - Tiny Underwater (12)

These fish are either very aggressive or laid back. They make good tank mates because they are generally calm and they are large in size.

12. Peacock Cichlid

19 Best Jack Dempsey Tank Mates - Tiny Underwater (13)

These cichlids also match up to the size of Jack Dempseys and sometimes grow even bigger. They are territorial and swim quickly. Because they are just as aggressive, they will designate their own space in the tank and co-exist well with one another.

(Video) Jack Dempsey Fish Facts - Growth & Tank Size

13. Red Devil Cichlid

19 Best Jack Dempsey Tank Mates - Tiny Underwater (14)

The Red Devil Cichlids have very aggressive behaviors and are backed up with a very strong jaw and sharp teeth. You will likely need to have a male and female together so that they do not pick on all of the other fish in the tank.

14. Jack Dempsey

19 Best Jack Dempsey Tank Mates - Tiny Underwater (15)

Most experts say that you can pair Jack Dempsey fish with the same type of Jack Dempseys. When you put a male and female together, they will likely breed though. Make sure you’re ready to deal with a lot of mini Jacks if you choose a male a female pair!

15. Salvini Cichlid

19 Best Jack Dempsey Tank Mates - Tiny Underwater (16)

These fish are equally aggressive and will be very territorial just like the Jack Dempsey fish.

16. Texas Cichlid

19 Best Jack Dempsey Tank Mates - Tiny Underwater (17)

The Texas Cichlids get large in size as well and match up to the Jack Dempseys. They can grow to be as big as 12 inches long. Because they are also an aggressive species, they will make suitable tank mates for a Jack Dempsey.

17. Pearl Cichlid

19 Best Jack Dempsey Tank Mates - Tiny Underwater (18)

This fish measures up in size as well, usually, when full-grown it will be about 11 inches. They too are a territorial species and will like to stay in their own space.

18. Striped Raphael Catfish

19 Best Jack Dempsey Tank Mates - Tiny Underwater (19)

This Catfish is also armored and will make for a good quality tank mate with a Jack Dempsey.

19. Silver Dollars

19 Best Jack Dempsey Tank Mates - Tiny Underwater (20)

If you have a lot of tank space these fish are a great addition to your aquarium with Jack Dempseys. They may be small, but they travel in a large school and have very strong teeth.

How to Choose Tank Mates for Jack Dempseys

Petco commonly carries Jack Dempsey fish due to their popularity. People love their vibrant colors and fiery personalities, so they’re a common fish for employees to deal with. We contacted an employee and asked for their wisdom when it comes to caring for a Jack Dempsey and other tank mates.

(Video) Electric Blue Jack Dempsey Care

Generally speaking, the associate said that, in addition to the species listed above, you can get away with pairing a Jack Dempsey and a catfish. This is a suitable option because they are an armored fish and they are similar in size to the Jack Dempsey.

In most cases, you will want to keep aggressive fish with other fish that are also aggressive. This prevents the unnecessary deaths of weaker fish.

The Jack Dempsey Cichlids are aggressive and territorial fish and they should generally be mixed with other fish that share those same traits. They will eat anything that fits in their mouth, so you must think about the size of fish that you will be purchasing for your tank.

Some of the more peaceful cichlids will probably be bullied by the Jack Dempsey, so be aware of that. They may be goners if they are not in a large school of fish.

The employee also mentioned that a Jack Dempsey needs to be kept in a large tank (at least 80 gallons). Depending on the size of the other tank mates, you may need to make accommodations and purchase an even bigger tank.

If they are living in close quarters, even compatible tank mates can become aggressive and kill each other. A larger tank also helps prevent sickness and disease.

The video below shows a fight between a Jack Dempsey and a Red Tiger Oscar. Keep an eye on your fish so you can spot rising tensions and aggressive behavior early. The fish may need to be separated or re-homed if problems don’t stop.

Jack Dempsey Habitat Necessities

Hosting a Jack Dempsey aquarium will require you as the owner to give them plenty of space to call their own. Because so many of these fish are territorial, they need to have enough room so that they will not fight with one another.

(Video) Electric blue jack dempsey in community tank

An employee who worked at Fins, Feathers, and Fur shared that a lot of the complications of owning Jack Dempseys and other tank mates depends on the size of the tank. If you put them in a tank that is too small, it will stunt their growth and likely cause more fights because they have to compete for living space.

Everyone needs personal space, including fish. If you were trapped in an overstuffed apartment, you might lash out too!

Jack Dempseys will try and bite other fish if they get in their way or invade their territory. These fish will probably establish themselves at the top of the food chain in your tank.

This employee also said,

“Most fish don’t mess with Jack”.

-Todd miller

When it comes to choosing a substrate, consider using gravel or other large pebbles. These won’t become stirred up and muddy the water, plus you can choose a fun mix of colors and sizes. Gravel is a great substrate for the tank and you should also have good LED lighting.

Make sure to keep a lid on the tank at all times, as many of the cichlids will jump and could fly out of the tank. This could happen because of agitation, curiosity, or just by accident.

It is also important to have lots of decorations, plants, places to hide, and caves. Fish like their privacy, and you can prevent aggressive behavior by giving them something that can occupy their attention span. Plus, it makes the tank look nicer!

Advice from Jack Dempsey Owners:

Aquarium owners have a lot of personal experience when it comes to dealing with Jack Dempsey Cichlids. I went to a Facebook group that’s dedicated to this topic and asked, “What other types of cichlids can be a tank mate with the Jack Dempsey Cichlid?”

(Video) NEW *RARE* Jellybean Convict & Jack Dempsey Cichlid added to Turtle Tank

Various people shared their input on this question, but the general consensus was that Jack Dempseys could be partnered with “…pretty much anything that it won’t kill or kill it”.

Everyone agreed that you need to give them plenty of space in the tank. They are large fish and need the room to not only move around but to find hiding spots and areas to claim as their territory. It is important to pair it with other fish that will stand up for themselves if approached or engaged with the Jack Dempsey.

FAQs

What can I put with my Jack Dempsey? ›

Together if they have plenty of rock caves. And driftwood pieces in the tank to give them their own

How many Jack Dempseys are in a 55 gallon tank? ›

They're big and fierce, with bright colors and great personalities. But, they're not for everyone. It's important that they have enough space since they are a fairly humongous fish. I really wouldn't recommend putting a single Dempsey in anything under a 55 gallon, and that's if it's the only fish in the tank.

What catfish can live with Jack Dempsey? ›

Hoplo Catfish

Corydoras are popular community tank fish but would be little more than snacks for an adult Jack Dempsey. Fortunately the closely related Hoplo Catfish is an extra large species that will do well with Dempseys.

How do you pair a Jack Dempsey fish? ›

Breeding Jack Dempsey Cichlids | Baby Fish Growing in a Classroom ...

Do Jack Dempsey fish like light? ›

Choose hardy plants like anubias and Java fern to prevent the fish from pulling the plants out of the substrate. Floating plants like hornwort can be used to mimic the low-light waters in the wild, providing shaded areas in sections of the tank. Avoid bright lighting in the tank, which causes Jack Dempsey fish to hide.

Can angel fish live with Jack Dempseys? ›

Angelfish

The angelfish can be a teeny bit aggressive when it comes their territory, but if you house them with a Jack Dempsey Cichlid in a really big tank, there should be no issues. Generally speaking, the Jack Dempsey Cichlid and the angelfish get along just fine.

Can you mix African cichlids with Jack Dempsey? ›

Generally, the answer is no – it is not a great idea to mix these species. Particularly considering the size difference, a Jack Dempsey is likely to harass, bully and pick on the smaller African Cichlids, who may not be able to defend themselves leading to injury and in some cases, death.

Can Jack Dempseys live with blood parrots? ›

Aggressive South American Cichlids: If your tank is big enough, Blood Parrots should fit in a tank with similar sized Oscars, Firemouths, Jack Dempsey's and other Cichlids with similar temperaments. Avoid: Do not mix blood parrots with Malawi Cichlids or extremely aggressive cichlids.

Can 2 Jack Dempseys live together? ›

Many aquarists looking for a large fish will think of keeping the Oscar or Jack Dempsey cichlid. But can Oscar and Jack Dempsey fish live together? Yes, Oscar and Jack Dempsey fish can live together. However, both these freshwater cichlid species can be highly aggressive.

Can a Jack Dempsey live in a 40 gallon tank? ›

It depends on the dimmensions of the tank. You will need at the very minimum of a 4ft tank for the fish that is atleast 12" wide. Standard 55G tanks are a good size, however you could also work with a 40G long which is just a shorter 55G.

What fish live with Electric Blue Jack Dempsey? ›

Top 9 Electric Blue Jack Dempsey Tankmates
  • Firemouth Cichlids. Firemouth cichlids have a self-explanatory name. ...
  • Acara Cichlids. Acara Cichlids are yet another Cichlid variety that will do well with your Jack Dempsey Tank. ...
  • Convict Cichlids. Convict Cichlid. ...
  • Jewel Cichlids. ...
  • Gourami fish. ...
  • Severum Cichlids. ...
  • Rainbowfish. ...
  • Angelfish.

Can flowerhorn and Jack Dempsey live together? ›

Jack Dempsey (Rocio octofasciata)

Of all the fish listed, the Dempsey is most compatible with the flowerhorn in terms of water temperature.

Why do my Jack Dempseys change color? ›

Feeling Low. Not unlike human beings, fish experience both highs and lows in their spirits. If a Jack Dempsey cichlid's coloration abruptly and seemingly out of nowhere turns paler, it could be a sign of a fish who is unhappy or irked about something.

What temperature do Jack Dempseys like? ›

Ecology. The Jack Dempsey natively lives in a tropical climate and prefers water with a pH of 6-7, a water hardness of 9–20 dGH, and a temperature range of 22–30 °C (72–86 °F). Males can reach up to 10in length. It is carnivorous, eating worms, crustaceans, insects and other fish.

How quick do Jack Dempseys grow? ›

Although the environment can affect growth rates, Jack Dempseys tend to grow quickly, and could gain as much as 3 inches in around 6 months, or even more. They are big, aggressive fish that get to around 6 inches long by the time they are a year old.

Do Jack Dempsey fish eat shrimp? ›

Jack Dempsey fish are entirely carnivorous. They will eat other fish if they are small enough but they are mostly opportunistic predators. Worms, insects, insect larvae, small snails, shrimp, crayfish, tadpoles, and anything else small enough to eat is fair game.

How big do Jack Dempseys get? ›

Size: Perch-like in shape, the Cichlasoma octofasciatum is a large cichlid, reaching seven to eight inches (18-20 cm). Behavior: Its common name refers to the boxer, Jack Dempsey, because of its fighting demeanor. They are extremely aggressive and excitable; schools are formed only when young.

Do Jack Dempseys have teeth? ›

The predatory Jack Dempsey cichlids have fang-like teeth that help them grab a moving prey. They also have strong jaws and sharp teeth on their lower and upper jaws.

Can Jack Dempseys mate with Oscars? ›

Dempseys make relatively good Oscar tank mates because they are about equal in size and aggression. If you plan to keep these two together, make sure to watch closely for aggression in the beginning.

How many African cichlids can I put in a 40 gallon? ›

So, How Many Cichlids In A 40-Gallon Tank? You can raise 5-6 mid-sized cichlids or 10-12 dwarf cichlids quite easily in a 40-gallon tank, given that there's a reliable filtration mechanism in place. The rule of thumb is 2 gallons of water for every inch of fully grown fish.

Can Frontosa live with Jack Dempsey? ›

In truth, Jack Dempseys can be somewhat territorial but they aren't nearly as mean as the majority of Central American cichlids. And when kept with Frontosas and other sizeable fish, Jack Dempseys are on the tame end unless spawning.

What can you mix with cichlids? ›

Types of Fish You can put in Tank with Cichlid

Rafael Catfish, Plecos, Synodontis catfish and Larger Rainbowfish. They will eat smaller fish like Tetra and Cory Catfish but should be compatible with larger fish such as Hoplo Catfish, Medium to large size Plecos, Bristle-nose.

Can you put Jack Dempseys with Oscars? ›

Yes, Oscar and Jack Dempsey fish can live together. However, both these freshwater cichlid species can be highly aggressive. Therefore, conditions like aquarium size, the environment inside the tank, fish size, and tankmates must be ideal for both these fish to stay together.

Can Jack Dempseys live with blood parrots? ›

Aggressive South American Cichlids: If your tank is big enough, Blood Parrots should fit in a tank with similar sized Oscars, Firemouths, Jack Dempsey's and other Cichlids with similar temperaments. Avoid: Do not mix blood parrots with Malawi Cichlids or extremely aggressive cichlids.

How aggressive are Jack Dempseys? ›

Behavior: Its common name refers to the boxer, Jack Dempsey, because of its fighting demeanor. They are extremely aggressive and excitable; schools are formed only when young. Diet: They are omnivorous, feeding on worms, crustaceans, insects, fish and plants.

Do cichlids prefer sand or gravel? ›

For cichlids, a sand substrate is considered the best. That's because cichlids love to dig and move the sand around, and they exhibit the same behavior in nature which serves many purposes, such as scavenging for food or making nests for laying eggs. The pinnacle of sands is aragonite sand.

What do cichlid like in their tank? ›

Cichlids prefer warm water with a high pH. While cichlids tend to be able to tolerate a wide variety of temperatures and water types, their colors will appear brighter and more vibrant in water with a pH of around eight. Many pet and aquarium stores sell aquarium additives that are designed for cichlids.

Do cichlids like high water flow? ›

Members. If you are talking about water flow in a cichlid tank, more flow won't hurt. If you keep planted or labryinth fish tank, more flow can drive off CO2 or bubble nesting fish crazy.

Can angel fish live with Jack Dempseys? ›

Angelfish

The angelfish can be a teeny bit aggressive when it comes their territory, but if you house them with a Jack Dempsey Cichlid in a really big tank, there should be no issues. Generally speaking, the Jack Dempsey Cichlid and the angelfish get along just fine.

Can Peacock cichlids live with Jack Dempseys? ›

It is pretty popular to house each species with their own kind – Jack Dempsey living with Jack Dempsey, and African Cichlids living with African Cichlids. They're generally matched in size and aggression so will often leave one another alone.

Why do my Jack Dempseys change color? ›

Feeling Low. Not unlike human beings, fish experience both highs and lows in their spirits. If a Jack Dempsey cichlid's coloration abruptly and seemingly out of nowhere turns paler, it could be a sign of a fish who is unhappy or irked about something.

What temperature do Jack Dempseys like? ›

Ecology. The Jack Dempsey natively lives in a tropical climate and prefers water with a pH of 6-7, a water hardness of 9–20 dGH, and a temperature range of 22–30 °C (72–86 °F). Males can reach up to 10in length. It is carnivorous, eating worms, crustaceans, insects and other fish.

What is the most aggressive Cichlid fish? ›

Many of the Cichlid varieties are aggressive freshwater fish, but the Wolf Cichlid or Dovii is the most hostile one.

What is the lifespan of a Jack Dempsey fish? ›

These stunning fish species have a life expectancy of about 8 to 10 years. But optimal care and a healthy environment can make the fish have a lifespan of about 15 years. It would be best to note that Jack Dempsey fish is a carnivore.

What fish live with Electric Blue Jack Dempsey? ›

Top 9 Electric Blue Jack Dempsey Tankmates
  • Firemouth Cichlids. Firemouth cichlids have a self-explanatory name. ...
  • Acara Cichlids. Acara Cichlids are yet another Cichlid variety that will do well with your Jack Dempsey Tank. ...
  • Convict Cichlids. Convict Cichlid. ...
  • Jewel Cichlids. ...
  • Gourami fish. ...
  • Severum Cichlids. ...
  • Rainbowfish. ...
  • Angelfish.

Videos

1. FISH RESCUE! Saving our Jack Dempsey!
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3. Jack Dempsey Cichlid: Amazing Fish
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5. Electric Blue Jack Dempsey Cichlid Care & Information - Rocio octofasciata
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6. 15 Inch Arowana in a 215 Gallon Tank and Tank Mates, Datinoid, Leporina, Jack Dempsey
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