As the moniker suggests, jewel cichlids are simply stunning to look at. And as you probably know, jewel cichlids are, in fact, a genus of jewel cichlids native to African lakes.
11 different species belong to the species, and each of them is more stunning than the other. In this piece, I will tell how big do jewel cichlids get and how to grow them fast naturally.
Because it’s crucial to know the full-size potential of your fish to give it the best life possible. After all, the fish’s size is directly linked to how big the tank should be and what tankmates you can add.
So, without further ado, let’s dig in!
How Big Do Jewel Cichlids Get?
Depending on the species, jewel cichlids can grow anywhere from 2.5-10.5 inches (6.5-26.5 cms) long. The maximum potential size in the aquarium is a lot smaller than in the wild.
In captivity, the average jewel cichlid size is usually no more than 6 inches. However, in the wild, some species can grow over a foot.
How Big Do Blood Red Jewel Cichlids Get?
Blood red jewel cichlids (Hemichromis lifalili) grow up to 4 inches (10 cm) long in captivity. Blood red jewel is the most recognizable cichlid species with brilliant red coloration and iridescent scales.
How Big Do Banded Jewelfish Cichlids Get?
Banded jewelfish cichlids (Hemichromis elongatus) grow pretty big. They’re known to reach over 10 inches long. Also known as five-spot cichlids, these fish should be kept in at least a 55-gallon tank.
How Big Do African Jewelfish Get?
Natives of Western Africa, African jewelfish cichlids (Hemichromis bimaculatus), grow up to 6 inches long in captivity. In the wild, they can grow a couple of inches longer.
How Big Do Turquoise Jewel Cichlids Get?
Turquoise blue cichlids (Hemichromis bimaculatus) grow up to 5 inches long. However, with the proper diet and ample exercise, they’ve also been reported to grow to 6 inches.
How To Grow Jewel Cichlids Fast?
There’s no magic formula to grow jewel cichlids fast or any other fish for that matter. However, you can definitely encourage healthy growth at the best rate nature allows by providing a big tank and healthy diet, maintaining water quality, and creating a stress-free environment for the fish.
On YouTube and Google alike, I came across several ‘hacks’ and ‘secrets’ that claim to grow rapidly over a few days. But, unfortunately, they’re nothing but clickbaits.
Put Your Jewel Cichlids In A Big Tank
The fish grows to the size of their tank – this is the consensus among hobbyists. However, this statement is debatable since there’s no scientific backing yet.
A fish housed in a small tank will have stunted growth for several reasons. First, it cannot swim as much as it should. As a result, the muscles will not develop properly, and the fish won’t have the bulk and muscle tone it would have if it were fully fit.
Also, the smaller the tank, the more volatile it is. Toxic buildup of elements like nitrate, ammonia, and nitrite will happen a lot sooner in a smaller tank. And a dirty tank is a foolproof recipe for sick fish, isn’t it?
It will compromise their immune system and make them susceptible to various diseases, which ultimately will stunt their growth.
Conduct Frequent Water Changes
All fish release hormones and prohormones in the water. And in a closed system such as a tank, these chemicals build up in the water. In the wild, they would have been washed away or diluted in a jiffy due to water flow.
And the point is that certain hormones released into the water are known to inhibit the fish’s growth.
For example, this study carried out in 2000 concluded that gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) released by goldfish inhibited their growth.
And unfortunately, goldfish aren’t the only fish to produce this chemical.
So, significant and frequent water changes are keys to diluting or removing growth-inhibiting hormones.
Also, as it goes without saying, frequent water changes will help eliminate toxic ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate buildup. And naturally, clean water promotes growth, good health, and ultimately development.
Create A Stress-Free Environment
One might wonder what a fish has to stress about. But oh boy, are we wrong! An aquarium fish is always highly susceptible to stress, stemming from lack of space and resources, bullying, and mating.
And when stressed, fish are known to excessively produce a hormone called cortisol, which has been linked to reduced growth. This hormone suppresses the fish’s appetite and hinders their ability to convert food into energy.
So, even though we can never emulate the natural living environment for our aquarium fish, always make a point to create a stress-free zone.
Always watch for stress-inducing factors like aggression, malnourishment, poor water quality, overcrowding, and inappropriate decor.
Provide The Right Diet
Like most cichlids, jewel cichlids are greedy eaters. They will continue eating even when they’re full to the brim. And of course, overeating comes with a plethora of disadvantages like bloating, obesity, and stunted growth.
But interestingly, underfeeding has become ubiquitous these days for the sake of maintaining water. While it’s true that you shouldn’t overfeed your fish, it’s also true that underfeeding will severely impact their growth.
If your jewel cichlid is underfed, naturally, it will not gain enough nutrients to grow properly. As a result, the muscles, bones, and internal organs will not develop as healthy as they should.
For best feeding frequency, style, and recommendations, check out this in-depth article!
Here’s a quick look at what will happen to your jewel cichlids if they suffer from nutritional deficiency:
Lack Of Vitamin A
Lack of vitamin A causes eye problems, appetite loss, internal bleeding, dropsy, anemia, and weakened gills.
Lack Of Vitamin B (Complex)
Vitamin B (complex) deficiency results in muscular wasting, poor vision, fragile blood vessels, anemia, loss of appetite, flaring of gill covers, and over pigmentation.
Lack Of Vitamin C
If your jewel cichlid lacks vitamin C in its diet, this could lead to grave consequences like intramuscular hemorrhage, kinked tail, deformed spine and cartilage, eye hemorrhage, and appetite loss.
Similarly, lack of nutrients like biton, choline, and niacin can cause skin lesions, fat buildup in the liver, muscular wasting and spasm, skin hemorrhage, and convulsions.
If you are interested, here’s a link to African cichlid food I give my cichlids:
What I love about this product is that it’s made by someone who’s bred and raised African cichlids for decades.
Made in the USA with all-natural ingredients, this product is formulated with essential vitamins, minerals, and proteins with African cichlids in mind.
Final Words: How Big Do Jewel Cichlids Get?
There are 11 species of jewel cichlids known to us as of now. So, depending on the species, they can reach anywhere between 2.5-10.5 inches long. Captive-bred and raised jewel cichlids are often a couple of inches smaller than their wild cousins.
When it comes to growing cichlids fast, there’s no magic formula or diet that will work overnight. Instead, just maintain the correct water parameters, feed the right diet, perform water changes to remove growth-inhibiting hormones, and channel plenty of patience!