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Jack Dempsey (fish)

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The Jack Dempsey (Rocio octofasciata (Regan, 1903), formerly Nandopsis octofasciatum and Cichlasoma octofasciatum) is a cichlid fish that is widely distributed across North and Central America (from Mexico south to Honduras).[1][2] Its common name refers to its aggressive nature and strong facial features, likened to that of the famous 1920s boxer Jack Dempsey.[citation needed]

The fish is native to Mexico and Honduras[3], where it is found in slow-moving waters, such as swampy areas with warm, murky water, weedy, mud- and sand-bottomed canals, drainage ditches, and rivers.[1] It is also established as an introduced species in Australia, the USA and Thailand (presumably as an aquarium escapee).[4]

The Jack Dempsey natively lives in a tropical climate and prefers water with a pH of 7-8, a water hardness of 9–20 dGH, and a temperature range of 22–30 °C (72–86 °F). It can reach up to 25 cm (10 in) in length. It is carnivorous, eating worms, crustaceans, insects and other fish. It can eat platies when it is three inches long. [1]

Jack Dempseys lay their eggs on the substrate (the bottom of the aquarium or pool). Like most cichlids, they show substantial parental care: both parents help incubate the eggs and guard the fry when they hatch. Jack Dempseys are known to be attentive parents, pre-chewing food to feed to their offspring. However, it is not uncommon for them to eat their fry when the breeding pair are overly disturbed or something in their environment is wrong.