Five Star General Aquarium Care, Feeding and Native Habitat Information
Native Habitat and Species Information
Banded Jewels or more commonly, Five Star Generals, are well known for their nasty tempers and for being highly territorial; they are avid predators (shaped accordingly) and should be kept with Cichlids that have a similar disposition (they can hold their own with Oscars and other larger Cichlids). Five Star Generals are a hardy species, native to streams and rivers of Western Africa and are named for their five, black, lateral spots; starting at the operculum and ending at the caudal peduncle. Five Star Generals are much larger than other Jewel Cichlids and have iridescent, gold to bronze scales with occasional red highlights. They also have translucent fins with iridescent, gold to bronze markings which can be outlined in red. The mature males of the species will grow to be larger than the females.
Five Star Generals require an aquarium of at least 45 gallons and should be provided with a sand or gravel substrate and multiple places where they can find shelter (bogwood, cave-like rock structures), but have been known to dig, which can cause uprooting in regard to live plants; live plants should have strong root systems or be placed in pots within the substrate. Since Five Star Generals are such a predatory, aggressive and territorial species; tank mates should be considered carefully and should be comparable in size.
Feeding & Nutrition
The Five Star General is a carnivore and should be fed a variety of foods, such as live or frozen ghost shrimp, minnows, bloodworms, blackworms, mealworms, and crickets. They may also be conditioned to accept freeze-dried foods and prepared Cichlid pellets.
Five Star Generals are egg-laying, substrate spawners that practice brood care; a breeding pair will become extremely aggressive and will attack all other tank inhabitants while breeding. The female Five Star General will lay around 600 eggs in a carefully cleaned location (bogwood, flat rocks, large plant leaves, etc.) within the aquarium. The eggs will hatch in 2 days and the fry will be relocated to pre-dug pits in the substrate. The fry will be free-swimming within several days and then be removed, or left with the parents for up to 4 weeks (at which time brood care will cease). The newly hatched fry can be fed a diet of baby brine shrimp and moved to other foods as they mature.