Jack Dempsey Rocio octofasciata

Jack Dempsey (Rocio octofasciata) is a popular species of cichlids named after an American heavyweight boxing champion of the 1920s who was renowned for his overpowering style of boxing. The species was one of the first cichlids to become established in the aquarium hobby. This large ( up to 25 cm in length) cichlid species is widely distributed in North and Central America: Atlantic slope from southern Mexico (Papaloapán River) to Honduras (Ulua River). Jack Dempsey is found in slow-moving waters, such as swampy areas with warm, murky water, weedy, mud- and sand-bottomed canals, drainage ditches, and rivers. This cichlid is also established as an introduced species in Australia, the USA and Thailand.1

Jack Dempsey Rocio octofasciata
Jack Dempsey Rocio octofasciata
Photo by Larysa Johnston

Jack Dempsey is a territorial and aggressive fish that belongs in a species aquarium or with other large cichlids, otherwise it will harass other species. The ideal water temperature is 72 to 77 Fahrenheit. Like other chichlids, Dempseys are good parents and produce many offspring per pair. They are hardy and easy to rear. The ideal water condition is neutral or hard. The preferred substrate is coarse river sand.2


  1. EOL. Rocio octofasciata Jack Dempsey
  2. Freshwater Aquarium Models: Recipes for Creating Beautiful Aquariums That Thrive. John H. Tullock
  3. Fishes of the Continental Waters of Belize. David W. Greenfield, Jamie E. Thomerson

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