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Jack Dempseys are a popular breed of Cichlid that can be a great addition to your tank. They’re very hardy fish that will thrive if they are given enough space and care. Mated pairs will easily populate your tank, and Jack Dempseys are remarkable parents.
Assuming you have a mated pair of Jack Dempseys, how often do they breed? Jack Dempseys are capable of reproducing regularly and in large numbers. If you are breeding these fish, it’s important to have a plan in place for the juveniles, as they have the potential to produce hundreds of fish and quickly overwhelm your aquarium. It takes hatchlings about four to six weeks to be independent, at which point the parents can breed again. It’s possible to have a new fry of Jack Dempseys every four to six weeks.
Jack Dempseys are very predictable when it comes to breeding, so it’s easy to predict when they are going to lay eggs. This predictable behavior can be helpful for aquarium owners looking to expand their Jack Dempsey population.
How do Jack Dempseys breed?
As substrate spawners, Jack Dempseys breed in the open. They will often breed without any intervention, but they can be conditioned by feeding live foods prior to spawning. The parent fish will clean a flat space on a rock or the aquarium glass before depositing between 500 and 800 eggs on the surface. These eggs will be guarded until hatching, at which time the parents will move the fry to a pit for continued guarding.
Jack Dempsey’s parents will attempt to feed their fry, but they will need specialized food. They can be fed fry infusoria for up to 48 hours before being switched to baby brine shrimp or micro worms. Commercial fry food can also be purchased at your local pet store and is perfectly acceptable to feed your fry.
Cichlid parents are famous for consuming their first few offspring, after which they become diligent parents. It often takes several spawning cycles before they begin “parenting” and stop eating their fry.
Caring for Jack Dempsey eggs and hatchlings
If your mated Jack Dempseys are the only fish in your tank, you can allow them to care for their young as they see fit. These fish are generally very good parents. As long as you provide adequate food and housing conditions, you will not need to interfere with the eggs or the fry. Once the fry reaches six weeks of age, you can move them to a different tank.
If your Jack Dempsey eggs are in a tank with other fish, you will need to move them as the other fish will eat the fry. There can also be concerns about the aggressiveness of the mother, Jack Dempsey, once eggs are laid. These fish can become incredibly aggressive to other tank members who threaten their offspring.
How long do Jack Dempseys take to grow?
Parent fish will care for their fry for about six weeks. At this point, the hatchlings are grown enough to care for themselves.
Do Jack Dempseys eat their babies?
It is not uncommon for Jack Dempseys to eat their first few broods. They are, however, known for being very attentive parents, even chewing food up to feed to their offspring. If the parent fish are disturbed, or there is something wrong with their environment, they will eat their fry.
How often do you feed juvenile Jack Dempseys?
Juvenile Jack Dempseys should be fed two to three small meals a day to help their growth in development. Adults, on the other hand, should be fed only one to two times per day. They should be allowed to feed for two minutes, at which point any excess food should be removed from the tank.