The Jack Dempsey Cichlid is native to areas such as Mexico and Honduras, where it enjoys being in murky and cloudy slow moving waters. The Jack Dempsey Cichlid can grow up to 9 inches in length, however 7 inches is more common. The trick to keeping these guys in a community tank is knowing what fish they can be housed with. So, what are the best Jack Dempsey Cichlid tank mates?
The Jack Dempsey is one of dozens of variations of the Cichlid species. Right off the bat, what needs to be said is that these guys are fairly aggressive when housed in a smaller tank with just a few other fish. Most people would recommend keeping them with a multitude of fish mates, and to keep them in a tank of no less than 100 gallons.
Our Top 10 Best Jack Dempsey Cichlid Tank Mates
Now that we have talked about the Jack Dempsey Cichlid, let’s talk about some ideal tank mates for them. The most important thing to consider is the size of the other fish when compared to the Jack Dempsey Cichlid. The Jack Dempsey Cichlid is fairly aggressive and likes to pick on smaller fish. Since the Jack Dempsey Cichlid is around 7 inches long when fully grown, you don’t want to have any fish under 4 or 5 inches long in the tank. Rocks are also important for Cichlid's, we have covered them in detail here.
1. Clown Loach
The clown loach is a good choice to go with. They grow up to 6 inches in length, so the Jack Dempsey Cichlid will not be a threat to them. The clown loach can be kept on its own or in small groups too. These guys are very colorful and will add a lot of beauty into the mix of things. Their gold and black stripes are really nice to look at. They are not picky eaters, so that is not a problem either.
Now, there are various kinds of goldfish, not all of which are ideal to keep with a Jack Dempsey Cichlid. There are smaller goldfish, such as the fancy goldfish which is not ideal to have together with a Jack Dempsey Cichlid. However, a regular old goldfish, like a koi, is good to house with a Jack Dempsey Cichlid because they can grow up to 14 inches in length.
The big size of the goldfish will keep the Jack Dempsey Cichlid from attacking it. On that same note, goldfish are pretty peaceful, so they won’t disturb your Jack Dempsey Cichlids either.
We have also covered a detailed Goldfish care guide here.
Rasboras are very hardy, resilient, and easy to take care of fish. They do best in schools of 4 or 6, which you will have to keep in mind. There are larger and smaller species of rasboras, with the biggest ones growing to around 7 inches in size. These guys are really peaceful, so they won’t cause a problem for your Jack Dempsey Cichlid, and their size means that the Jack Dempsey Cichlid won’t bother them.
Other cichlids can be somewhat problematic to house together with the Jack Dempsey Cichlid, but not all the time. The thing to remember with cichlids is that they like to have a lot of room. So, if you are housing multiple cichlid species together, you need to make sure to have enough room for them all.
Due to their fairly large size, species such as the Oscar cichlid, the green terror cichlid, the Acaras cichlid, and the Firemouth cichlid are all ideal choices to house together with the Jack Dempsey Cichlid. If there is enough room, they will all get along just fine.
A pleco is more or less herbivorous fish, that may eat some smaller insects, but generally speaking, they are just big old suckerfish. Feeding them is not really a problem because they are great at cleaning the bottom of the tank, so they mostly eat uneaten fish food and algae.
The pleco can grow up to 12 inches long, which means that the Jack Dempsey Cichlid will definitely not attack it. Moreover, the pleco is extremely friendly as well, so there is no problem there.
6. Kissing Gourami
This is a very peaceful fish that will definitely not attack the Jack Dempsey Cichlid. Also, the Kissing Gourami can grow up to 8 inches in length, so it won’t have a problem defending itself against a Jack Dempsey Cichlid. These guys like a big tank, just like the Jack Dempsey Cichlid, and they like to eat pretty much the same foods too.
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.
They like more or less the same foods and the same water parameters, so that is no issue. Moreover, the angelfish can grow to be around 6 inches in length, so the Jack Dempsey Cichlid is not going to mess with it or try to eat it.
The cascarudo is a type of catfish species, most of which tend to be fairly peaceful. This type of catfish is an omnivore and will eat pretty much everything and anything. Due to their size, growing to around 7.9 inches in length, the Jack Dempsey Cichlid will not pose a threat to the Cascarudo. These guys are fairly easy to take care of.
9. Banded Corydora
The Banded Corydora will grow to around 4 inches in length, which is an ideal size to house with the Jack Dempsey Cichlid. They are fairly peaceful, they are easy to feed, and pretty easy to take care of too. They do pretty well in a community tank.
10. Cave Tetra
Generally speaking, Tetra fish would be too small to house with a Jack Dempsey Cichlid and would normally get attacked and eaten. However, the cave tetra is a fairly rare tetra species, one of the only ones that can grow close to 5 inches in length.
These guys like to hide, they like being in the dark, and as their names imply, they like being in caves, which means that they won’t get in the way of the Jack Dempsey Cichlid. Also, their size keeps them safe from the jaws of the Jack Dempsey Cichlid.
You might also like our post on aquarium sumps and refugiums which you can find here.