How to Tell if a Jewel Cichlid Is a Male or a Female

Yellowish fins frame a reddish-orange body speckled with numerous dots, making the jewel cichlid (Hemichromis bimaculatus) a colorful addition to your tank that is easy to keep. Cichlids usually don't bother fish from other species of similar size, but are often aggressive to same-sex members of their own species, especially during breeding season. Although juveniles look identical until they develop adult colors, the fish are easy to sex once they mature.

Keeper of the Family Jewels

A male jewel cichlid is larger and more deeply colored than the females of the species. While both the male and female are covered with small spots all over their bodies, the male's spots are iridescent, often shimmering in shades of aqua and yellow where the female's appear white or silver. In addition, a male jewel cichlid has a large black gill spot on each side of his body just behind his head. A second, slightly muted dark spot lies midway along both sides of his body just below the dorsal fin. A male's fins are more pointed, with a female's fins having a rounded edge.


A former world-class swimmer, J.T. O'Connell shares her love of adventure travel, extreme sports and pets through thousands of published articles. O'Connell studied journalism at Grand Canyon University, and brings professional experience as a tour guide and travel consultant. She authors the blog, Traveling With Large Dogs.