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FAQs on Convict Cichlid Reproduction

Related Articles: Convicts, Freshwater Angels, Discus, Juraparoids, Neotropical Cichlids, African Cichlids, Dwarf South American Cichlids, Asian Cichlids, Cichlid Fishes in General

Related FAQs: Convicts 1, Convicts 2, & Convict Identification, Convict Behavior, Convict Compatibility, Convict Selection, Convict Systems, Convict Feeding, Convict Disease, & Cichlids of the World, Cichlid Systems, Cichlid Identification, Cichlid Behavior, Cichlid Compatibility, Cichlid Selection, Cichlid Feeding, Cichlid DiseaseCichlid Reproduction,

Convict; repro. mostly; comp.       4/2/20
Hey there I actually have a question on my one single female convict that I have in a tank. In my tank there are also five ghost cat fish a few tetras two twig catfish, And only one single female convict.
<Not a combination I'd recommend. Twig Catfish, Farlowella spp., need strong water currents, relatively low temperatures, and an abundance of green algae. Otherwise they end up dead. Very few people keep them alive for long, sadly. No idea what your tetras are, but Ghost Catfish, Kryptopterus spp., are sensitive fish that are easily bullied. Again, not obvious companions for a hard water cichlid species know to be highly aggressive.>
So my question is would she be able to lay eggs even though there is no male?
<Unlikely, but can happen. Remove the eggs. They will be unfertilised, of course, and will rot and go fungussy within a few days. Once that happens, it's no better than leaving a dead fish in the tank -- one more source of ammonia for the filter to deal with.>
There are eggs in my tank that she started to protect do you think it is one of the other fishes eggs that she is protecting?
<Defensive Convicts can be extremely troublesome, so keep an eye on this tank. If it's 100 gallons you'd probably be fine, but 20 or 30 gallons, I'd be getting that female out ASAP. Frankly, Convicts aren't community fish, and shouldn't be kept as such.>
Thanks Vee
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Convict cichlids; repro., beh.       9/27/17
Hi there,
<Hello Natasha!>
I am new at keeping convicts cichlids.
<Neat animals>
With my luck I landed up getting a male and a female. They spawned and there are about 32 Fry. Within 2 weeks they had a new batch of eggs, but the existing fry ate them.
<Ahh! Happens>
I move the fry to a grow out tank and cleaned the cichlid tank. Upon putting the pair back in, the male started attacking the female to a point of almost killing her. So I separated her from him and put her with the  fry.
<Sometimes one sex will "blame" the other for early spawn mishaps>
When would it be safe to put them together again and how should I go about doing so?
<Best to put a perforated separator between the two, allowing them to see, smell each other but not get to... for a week or more. Barring this, a plastic, floating colander (yes, for draining pasta et al.) can be used, placing the aggressor (the male in this case) in for a few days for a "time out", then watching carefully on reintroduction for signs of overt aggression>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Convict cichlids        9/28/17

Hi Bob!
Thanks so much for the advice :)
I will definitely give it a try and I will let you know how it goes.
Have a fantastic day further.
Kind regards,
<Ah, thank you. BobF>

Convict fry (From single parent?) Parthenogenic cichlids       8/17/17
I have been searching unsuccessfully to find an answer to this question;
is it possible for a single convict to lay eggs and then fertilize them?
<Not as far as I'm aware. IS possible for a single Convict to lay eggs, or two females to lay eggs... but they will be infertile>
With GREAT SURPRISE I fed my convict this morning and saw 2 fry swimming around in the tank.
<?! Mmmm>
The original fish is around 6-7 years old and has been living solo in a 10 gallon tank for about 5 years. This has blown my mind to the point I photographed 1 of the fry because I couldn't believe my eyes. Help I'm baffled!.....
Thank you,
<I fully suspect this is some other life. Bob Fenner>

Re: Convict fry     8/18/17
<Please do NOT send megabytes of files... we have limited space /ISP. Instead either re-size, or place elsewhere and just send links>
​Dear Bob,
Thank you for your quick response! I have included some photographs I took when I got home, a couple of the parent which as it turns out is more like 10 years old and a couple of photos of the fry. The parent fish came to me
when my son bought his own home and sold his 150 gallon aquarium. This parent fish was a baby from a mating pair he had, I used to sit for hours and watch the school of fry....It is as impossible for these to be another specie (there has been no other fish in this tank for 5 years) as it would seem for this one fish to have parented them.....However, I spoke with my daughter who has a degree in animal science and she explained that when she was in Australia studying at Macquarie University in a genetics class they studied species that in fact when they where close to extinction or feared for their survival, would change gender.
<Yes; some fishes are known to do this... but as far as I'm aware, Cichlids are never functionally hermaphroditic>
Apparently, this is common in reef
<A few families, yes: Labrids, Serranids, Amphiprionines....>
So, with all of this said I'm still shaking my head in disbelief but photographed it for proof. I probably would have never noticed them but the light one stood out and got my attention, so of course I looked for more and found one more that as you can see from the photo looks like the parent. My daughter also explained the genetics of the light one.... (way beyond me)
Now I would like to do all that I can to save these two babies.....(miracles in my eyes)
Thank you again,
<Does appear to be a juvenile Cichlid of some sort. Do you have other species present? A mystery for sure. Bob F>

What do you think? Looks like a pink Convict to me!

Re: Convict fry      8/19/17
No, this fish has been living SOLO in this 10 gallon tank for about 5 years. I know this is the craziest thing.....I have searched the internet for 2 days now trying to find anybody that has seen such a thing with cichlids.....
<Mmm; am going to ask our resident cichlid expert, Chuck Rambo, to chime in here. Chuck, are there such parthenogenic events in Convicts? Bob Fenner>

convict cichlids, repro. beh.; plus water trtmt.        9/19/15
My convict cichlids are raising their second set of young. The fry are about 2 to 3 weeks old already. Mom protected the young for the most part
by herself. Then a week ago dad finally started to help with the job.
Both mom and dad have had the same blue with dark black stripes while raising the young.
However, today I noticed dad has the same colors and is the only one protecting the young chasing mom away as if she were any other fish. Mom's colors are lighter with no defined stripes, however she has an orangish color where the fins meet the body and her tummy isn't its normal red, it is more gold colored. She isn't protective of any specific location as if she was trying to lay more eggs either.
<All natural behaviours>
The only change I've made in the last 3 weeks was a water change last night. I only removed about 17 gallons out of a 55 gallon tank. I normally remove more water as I always forget to clean the filter using the pressure from the vacuum. I added water conditioners to remove the chlorine and heavy metals just like I always do.
<I strongly suggest you store the water to be changed out a week or more ahead of use. Municipal water is not a consistent product.... sometimes has a great deal more sanitizer, floc et al. in it. READ here:
and the linked files above>
This time I also put the decorations back in the same place. I did not clean the decorations or rocks near the babies.
They did not do this last time and they had about 40 fry, this time there's only around 10 - 15 fry. Is dad rejecting mom now?
<Doubtful; attentions are traded, shared; like birds watching a nest>
I love to watch them raise their young for me it's like watching the animal channel.
Thank you for your help and for actually answering people's questions.
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>
Re: convict cichlids      9/21/15

Thank you for your quick response. I'm glad it's normal behavior.
I did read the link regarding municipal water. I use Aqueon water conditioner (contains polyvinyl compounds) at .5 ml per 5 gallons when adding water.
<This is a good copy/formulation>
I also have a Fluval C4 filter with a 2 stage mechanical sponge filter, carbon (Sea Chem Matrix Carbon), ammonia removing c-nodes, & bio screen 5 stage filter.
I add the water conditioner as I aerate the water when filling the bucket.
I always clean the bucket out prior to use by running it through the rinse cycle only in the dishwasher. No rinse aid is used in the machine at all, I use Lemon Shine (crystallized lemon acid for calcium removal and spotless dishes) with my detergent. We have very hard water that is high in calcium. So, we get lots of calcium deposits on the tank filter and light lenses.
<We call our water "liquid rock" in San Diego>
I don't really have anywhere to store water in a way that would keep parasites, bad algae, dirt (sand from dust storms), other contaminates, or pollutants out of the water until it's used. I usually do changes every 2 weeks but waited 1 week longer due to the fry.
Is what I'm doing sufficient to keep them healthy and prevent them from getting sick from the chemicals in the water or should I be doing more? I didn't mention that the tank also is home to my Plecostomus.
<Unfortunately, the periodic "pulsing" (adding a multiplied dose) of sanitizer (Chloramine) is still a threat. The best way to guarding against this is the use of a test kit for it... to monitor just ahead of using the treated water. Bob Fenner>

convict cichlid finding a new mate
Hello, my question is if a convict cichlid loses its mate will it mate with another? The reason I ask is because I’ve read that they mate for life.
<This species; all Neotropical Cichlids can/will form a new relationship. Bob Fenner>

Convict babies attacking parents - Overcrowded Perhaps? 10/25/12
I have a pair of Convict Cichlids and a couple dozen fish babies that are about 2 months old. I recently noticed the babies eating the parents fins.
I thought maybe I wasn't feeding them enough but even after increasing the feedings they still attack the parents. I am not sure what to do being separating them is not possible till i find them homes, advise would be greatly appreciated.
<Convicts are notoriously aggressive and can start forming pairs at about two inches.  One thing you did not mention is how big a tank all this is happening in. I suspect you are over-crowded.  The parents will also be getting into the spawning mood again very soon and carnage will then ensue.
 The only viable option is to start moving out the new generation, either by rehoming or by additional tanks. Unfortunately, convicts are so common that moving them out can be problematic.  If you intend to keep breeding convicts (and merely having a male and a female makes this almost certain) then additional tank space is going to be a necessity for you. - Rick> 

Convict Cichlid sexing   10/3/12
Hello WWM crew!
I am very confused on 3 convicts we have owned for around six months now.
Let me give some basic stats and info about these fish and their behavior.
They reside in a 75 gal tank with an 8 in Oscar, a 6 1/2 in Oscar, a 5 in Flowerhorn, 3 male 3 1/2 in Firemouths, 3 female 2 1/2 in Firemouths, and a 5 in Pleco.
<Yikes; you/they need larger quarters>
We are growing the smaller Oscar and the Flowerhorn for a 150 gal tank that is practically bare with an 11 in Oscar, 3 6 in silver dollars and 2 6 in 3 spot gouramis. Two convicts are about three inches long the other is about two and a half. The largest is very dark colored (stripes and background very close in color) with a bold orange patch along it's belly and blue unpaired fins. It's dorsal fin point extends past it's tail. This fish is highly aggressive with all but the four largest of it's tankmates but I have yet to see it nip anyone.
<All these fishes crowded together is likely dissipating such aggression>
 The aggression seems to be territory oriented. I believe this fish to be a male regardless of it's orange patch. The two smaller convicts look almost exactly the same aside from size and a few small details. Their stripes and backgrounds are exactly the same:  black stripes on a light grey background. And I mean exactly the same. They both have orange on their bellies but it is more like spots of orange which is more concentrated in the smaller of the two fish. Their dorsal fins are again exactly alike. They are iridescent blue and the point extends only as far as the tail. I do believe the smallest is female based on size and behavior. Now my question is about sexing these little guys. I thought at first the medium size convict was male because it and the small convict "hid" in the fake tree stump decoration I have in the tank. But what confuses me is their extremely similar appearance. Who is what?
<Mmm, well; both males and females may show the orange abdomen; typically smaller, less concentrated on males; which are usually much larger, w/ longer, more pointed dorsal and anal fins... but inbreeding, time has blurred these differences... and it may well be that the crowded conditions here have altered the looks...>
 Why are their appearances and behaviors so contrary? I hope I have provided enough info and that I am not just being long winded (ha ha). Also I would like to thank All of you for all of the hard work and effort you put into help those of us less experienced.
<The only way/means to further figure out who is what here is to place these Convicts in their own or more spacious system. Bob Fenner>
Re: Convict Cichlid sexing    10/4/12

Hi Bob!
Did I forget to mention that the Pleco is a rubberlip? For shame! Our common Pleco resides in the 150 gal tank and is 8 in long. Also I have two filters running on the 75 gal: a hang on MarineLand rated to 75 gal and a Rena canister rated to 75 gal. My Sushi (smaller Oscar) and Flower(Flowerhorn) will be upgraded to the 150 as soon as they reach a big enough size to defend themselves against Hitler (the large Oscar in the 150). I was trying to curb the aggression by crowding the little convicts and Firemouths. Also, I do have a special needs fish in the 75 gal. The bigger of the two Oscars in this system is blind in one eye and as a result cannot be placed with Hitler (actually Hitler earned his name by brutally attacking the blind Oscar). This is the biggest problem facing the system.
Red (the blind one) is hand fed Cichlid pellets, sticks, freeze dried shrimp, and frozen bloodworms because the other fish get to it before he can aim. He has learned to fetch pretty well though.  I am also entertaining the idea of switching the tanks altogether.
<Yes; I would>
But, I am just playing it by ear for the moment, keeping up with the size of the fish I wish to move, and making plans for a big move. Thanks again so much Bob!
<Thank you for this further input. BobF>
Re: Convict Cichlid sexing   10/14/12

Hi again. I wanted to update you on these two tanks. I have switched inhabitants. I was dreading this and with good reason. Red jumped out of his bag and flopped on the floor for a few seconds but escaped this incident relatively unscathed. Hitler fought me for at least 30 minutes.
<Use two nets! One to guide the other to capture>
 I tried to herd him into a pitcher large enough to contain him using a net but he kept turning around at the last minute and trying to swim though the net I was using. Finally he got tired and went into the pitcher and I was able to bag and tag him. Luckily the remaining fish (except one convict who jumped out the net and into the bucket of water I had set up) came along quietly. Hitler is now pouting and hides from me and is refusing to eat. He sustained minor scrapes from our fight. He lost a few scales but none of his fins were ripped. Red is not hiding but also not eating. He sustained no visible injuries in his ordeal. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I did not move the Plecos due to their max sizes. I feel that they are in the tank that they need to be in. I would like to get three more convicts for the 150 gal, and one silver dollar
<A schooling species... get a few>
 and two female three spot gouramis for the 75. Two questions though. Is there enough filtration on the 75 to handle these 3 extra fish and should I add another filter to the 150?
<Extra filtration is always a plus>
 I do 25 to 50% bi-weekly water changes depending on if nitrate and nitrite levels are zero or above zero. Another question I have involves and antique bubbler I found at an antique shop that I wish to refurbish. What kind of glue is safe for aquarium use and should I use glass beads instead of plastic ones?
<Silicone/Silastic is best for many materials... plastic beads are far better than glass, which is too smooth to be of functional use>
 It is an old treasure chest and the "jewels" are and have fallen out and getting lost.
Also the hose is much smaller than those used today. I cannot take it apart without breaking it so I was thinking of sliding a newer hose on the existing hose and gluing it in place.
<Just grade up from/with flexible... no solvent or glue necessary>
 I know one of the silicone hoses made now will fit over the old hose so I believe this will work.
Your opinion is? Well thank you for all of your help and experience. I look forward to your response and am going to end my long rambling.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Breeding convict cichlids    7/18/12
Hey crew! Let me start out by saying i love your site! I am 12 years old and i have been in the fish hobby for 6 years, and the most amazing thing (to me) is to watch cichlids breed! I have breed convict cichlids before, and i wanted to change the way i breed them now, i want to special breed them. I wanted to get the marble convict, because i plan on breeding a pink and regular stripped one. How do i do this?
<Just get a male and female of one, the other... really; very easy to breed>
 I also would like to enhance the blue in convicts to make a , say electric blue convict? How do i special breed this trait to?
<Look for the bluish individuals you can find...>
Please explain this to me.
  Thank you so much!
 P.S ( i wish to be like you guys someday)
<You already are my young friend; just keep studying, observing (and keeping good notes), enjoying.

Bob Fenner>
Re: Breeding convict cichlids – 07/18/12

And how do i breed to get the marbled color?
<Mmm, such patterns do "just pop up" genetically... gots to keep your eyes open and keep breeding for individuals that display variation in their barring>
I hear you cannot just cross a pink and a stripped one,
<Mmm, no; one can... easily. It's done "all the time"... they are the same species>
 you have to do something different, is this true? I plan on putting five or six in my 30 gallon tank and  have them pair off naturally. Also, should i buy zebra danios, or should i buy them when they start to breed?
<Zebra Danios?>
Im tired of the washed out inbred cichlids in my lfs, i want something richer that will make people want to buy these fish again, because they are truly wonderful. And something that's off subject, when I'm older i plan to make almost a new race of angelfish, ones that actually care when breeding.
Its sad to see how humans can ruin and destroy any living thing we want.
 Thank you for your time,
Tavian ><>
<And you for yours. BobF>
re: Breeding convict cichlids – 07/18/12

Im sorry, zebra danios for target fish.
<To spur on reproduction... ala "whipping boys?"... I'd use something more sturdy. Have you read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/convictreprof.htm
Re: Breeding convict cichlids    7/21/12

I have read the link you gave me, but i read it again anyway. I understand how to breed these fish, i guess i crave more information :). Can you list some other affordable species?
<There are many... please read here:
and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/afcichselfaqs.htm
 I have purchased 3 pinks and 3 stripped for my tank, and it took them a few hours to already have territories. I have 3 skittish zebra danios, and 8 small white cloud minnows which are not eaten YET because most of the convicts are a little over an inch.
  I also got some blue sandstone from the garden center, washed it off, and it looks beautiful in the tank. Will this harm the fish?
<Not likely; no>
 One last question, are the albino convicts crossed with Severums?
<Not as far as I'm aware; no>
 I can't help but to think so because of there rounded front.
<They are simply xanthistic varieties... genetic sports. Not albinos...>
 Will there albino trait readily cross with regular stripped ones?
<Not albino... have dark pupils in the eyes... will cross>
 I am scared because the regular convicts are already defending territory, while the
<? BobF>
re: Breeding convict cichlids    7/21/12

Sorry, my last email was cut off. I will continue:
  The small pink ones swim around with no care in the world.
<Time... they're small...>
 How do i break up an existing pair?
<Move one>
 Tank one of the fish out the tank for a few hours? Rearrange the tank?
Thank you lots!!
<Take care. B>
Re: Dither fish... breeding Convicts. (RMF, you may want to chip in here)<<Mmm, no; you've done an admirable job>> – 07/27/12

Hello crew!
I have asked this question multiple times, and although you don't have to answer, I really want to know of some good target fish dither fish, whipping boys, or what ever you want to call them.
<I think you're misunderstanding the point to dither fish. They are ABSOLUTELY NOT fish that are going to get chased, bitten or any way interfered with. Is that CRYSTAL CLEAR? Dither fish are fish that swim about peacefully at the top of the aquarium. They are used to help shy cichlids (such as Keyhole Cichlids or Kribs) to feel more secure. If the dither fish get nervous, e.g., by being attacked by an aggressive cichlid (such as Convict) they would end up failing completely in their task.
They're swim nervously, and that would convey "danger" to the shy cichlids in the tank. So equating "dither fish" with "whipping boys" tells me you don't understand what dither fish are for, and therefore you must go and read some more about them. Do you have Paul Loiselle's "The Cichlid Aquarium"? That's the prime source for background reading on dither fish.>
I have been sent link after link, and each one says " follow this link here to find target fish" and the go here, and here, and here , and here, and here!! Don't get me wrong, your site is very useful, but can you please take a minute to list some "sturdy" species that I can use in a convict cichlid breeding tank?
<You would not put dither fish in with Convicts. They are much too aggressive. They don't need dither fish either, especially not if breeding.
Now, there may be a situation where a "target fish" could be used to strengthen a pair bond, but a target fish would tend to be something like a Leporinus or another cichlid, but in either case, only in a very large aquarium. If the target fish can't swim out of the way, it'll get damaged, and conversely, any sufficiently robust target fish has the potential to harm the Convicts if it feels threatened. Again, read Loiselle.>
IT WOULD BE APPRECIATED! Pretty please?  I read on your sight by one crew member (i wont mention names)
<Why not?>
that zebra danios are great target fish.
<Zebra Danios can make excellent dither fish, but not target fish.
Regardless, Convicts could easily kill them. You really must try and understand that dither fish and target fish are different things. Dither fish are about making shy fish calm; target fish are about strengthening pair bonds by providing a focus for their territorial behaviours. Dither fish must be small, peaceful, schooling species that stay at the top of the tank. You'd keep dither fish with shy cichlids like Angels, Discus, Apistogramma, Shell Dwellers, some of the Geophagines, and so on. Target fish are singleton fish that are fast-moving, robust fish but not normally dangerous. They are supposed to elicit pair-forming behaviours by encouraging the cichlids to work together. You'd use species that move rapidly and you'd keep them in an aquarium that has oceans of space, so the target fish can get clear out of the cichlids territory. So if you'd keep a target fish with Convicts, you wouldn't keep them all in a 20 or 30 gallon tank, but in 75 or 100 gallons. Anything smaller and either the Convicts would harm the target fish, or else the target fish would fight back and harm the Convicts. Typical target fish are things like Leporinus, the larger Epalzeorhynchos, Gyrinocheilus, Distichodus, etc., It should be noted that these are big, strong fish in their own right, and some can be extremely aggressive and/or territorial, which underlines the need for a large aquarium.>
Then when I email, they say go for something sturdy, read here. Than that link says, go here, no here, then here, its like the never ending knot!
Please, list a few strong species and my head ache will go away and you will make my day. Best regards, Tavian
<Do suspect you're really asking us to justify adding another fish to a small (20, 30 gallon tank) with a mated pair of Convicts. There is no such beast, any no, you shouldn't add anything extra. Convicts are mean, aggressive, incredibly fertile fish that spend all their time breeding, and in a small aquarium anything with them will end up harassed if not killed.
Want to experiment with dither fish? Get some Shell Dwellers and some Endler's Guppies! Cheers, Neale.> 
Re: Dither fish (RMF, you may want to chip in here)<<Mmm, nope. My opinions re Convict Cichlids are about the same>>    7/27/12

Im sorry, i meant target fish.
<Ah, so my comments helped clear that up.>
And by the way, I do do research, I own countless guides and encyclopedias on keeping cichlids, not to mention other species of fish. You are the first to give me a straight answer, I appreciate that.
<Most welcome.>
I plan to keep my convicts for less than a year, because there aggression will grow as they mature.
<Indeed it will.>
I purposely destroyed view points, added countless rock, cave, and plant formations for territory, and many floating plants for the zebra danios and white clouds swimming at the surface.
<Both these species are "minnows" in the scientific sense, and actually prefer open water, though overhead shade is welcome.>
I don't understand why everyone "hates" these  fish, they have vivid colors, easy to breed, hardy, and just so much personality.
<It's not so much that I "hate" Convicts, it's that I far more of them are sold than hobbyists really need, so most end up in the wrong tanks where they do bad things. You are quite right that they have a lot of personality, and as lab animals, they're superb animals. But on the flip side -- as you've said -- they aren't attractive pets in the long run. Cute when small, but much too aggressive as adults. I've kept a group in a 200 gallon tank with some other Central American fish and they were charming.
But few aquarists have that sort of space, so from my end of the hobby, you see a lot of aquarists having to deal with Convicts wrecking the decor and terrorising their tankmates.>
I've bred rams, labs, and various African cichlids and NONE are (in my opinion) as fun convict cichlids.
<Each to their own.>
Yeah, you barely get anything selling them, but I'm not looking to get rich, I'm looking to have fun in this hobby. I don't care if I get weird looks when the lfs bags 6 of em, I don't care one bit. I care of the end result, happy, healthy fish.
<Good to hear. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dither fish/Cichlids to spawn (RMF, you may want to chip in here)<<Mmm, no>>     7/29/12

Ahh. i see you have survived my ranting. anyway, one question if you do not mind. after i get sick of convict cichlids, what other fish should i breed?
<Depends what you're in to. If cichlids, then a good way forward is to find a relatively rare species that you can make some money with. An Apistogramma species perhaps (A. cacatuoides is by far the easiest to keep, and available in lots of tank-bred forms like "Double Red" that sell well).
There's a dearth of good quality Dwarf Gouramis, so if you can breed these at home, you'll have no problems selling the offspring. Being Bubblenest-builders, they're a nice change from cichlids. Halfbeaks are relatively difficult livebearers, so again, a challenge. For something easier, perhaps a premium variety of Angelfish or Endler's Guppy, to give two obvious examples. Corydoras are another fun species to breed, some easy (like the Bronze) others more tricky (like the Pandas) but all will be easy to sell. So it all depends.>
i have tried rams, but I'm interested in Firemouth cichlids. i hear they love sand, and my tank has a sand bottom.
<For sure. Firemouths (and indeed other Thorichthys species, like T. ellioti) are not aggressive in the same way as most Central Americans. They're territorial, yes, but they don't fight because they have delicate, sand-sifting jaws. Instead the males do threat displays, and given space, one male will back off. It's fun to watch, and good quality Firemouths and
even more so Thorichthys ellioti are very, very pretty fish.>
i was wondering if the tank bred ones have washed out colors because their young, their stressed in the pet store, or they are inbred. or are they all of the above?
<A combination of all the above. Thorichthys ellioti are less inbred (so far) and colour up nicely; good quality Firemouths are available, but you do need to hunt them out.>
i want to breed some that look pretty. and also, would they fit in a 30 gallon tank (a pair?) also,
<Just about a pair, yes. They do get quite large.>
what is the difference between u.s and imperial gallons?
<10 US gallons is 8 Imperial (i.e., UK) gallons, so if a UK source recommends 40 gallons for a species, you need to multiply that by 1.2 to get the US gallons. So an Imperial gallon tank is 20% bigger than a US gallon one, which is quite a lot. Make sense? Google will do this for you; type in "10 Imperial gal in US gal" and you get the answer; reverse or change the numbers as needs be. Or simply use metric!>
does it matter?
<Yes, in some cases. If a US source says a fish needs 40 gallons, then a 40 gallon tank in the US or the UK will be fine. But if a UK source says it needs 40 gallons, then a 40 US gallon tank might be a bit small, so you'd want to get the next size up if you can, 45 or 50 gallons. Alternatively, if it's about stocking a community tank, you'd be more conservative with the US gallon tank than the Imperial gallon quote, knowing the Imperial gallon one will be about 20% bigger. So fewer tetras or catfish or whatever. For what it's worth, the old "inches per gallon" rule works well with either unit, insofar as it's very much a conservative approximation for small (Neon-sized) fish.>
when they say fish like Oscars need 75 gallons do they mean imperial?
<Does depend on the source. Obviously if it's a US publisher like TFH, then they mean US gallons. If it's a UK publisher like PFK, then they mean Imperial gallons. But many publishers put litres (often in brackets) and so it may well be easier to go with that.>
thank you so much Neale.
best regards,
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Convict Cichlid Mom In Danger – 06/14/12
Hello, I recently adopted two convict cichlids that were already paired.
I've had them for about a few weeks and on the 7th of this month they had fry. Everything was going great until this morning when I found the mom by the top of the filter looking very beat up. I don't know if she has Ich or if the dad is attacking her because he aggressively chases her around the tank until she hides and he fins look torn. I've moved the mom into another tank we have but I'm worried about her and the babies. What's wrong and how an I go about fixing this? Thank you so much for your time.
<Cichlid pairs aren't as stable as we often believe, especially after being moved. One factor is the lack of a target that unites their aggression, and thereby strengthens their pair-bond. In aquaria it's too easy, so casually bonded pairs lay eggs rather than pairs who've worked together a while defending their territory and scaring away predators. Some authors, such as Paul Loiselle, suggest using "target fish" to form a focus for their aggression, but unless you have a big aquarium (some 100+ gallons) this is risky, even with cichlids as small as Convicts. In any case, you can use egg crate to divide the tank into two, and this allows male and female to see each other (and smell each other) without either being able to harm the other. If you plan on reintroducing the female, that's the way to do it, and only if they seem very mellow together should you remove the egg crate.
But before you do that, feed her up well for a couple weeks, and medicate for Finrot and/or Fungus if you suspect either. Convicts are biparental spawners which means both parents normally look after the fry, and with luck, whoever is left with the eggs or fry will look after them if the other is removed for whatever reason. Given the market for Convict fry is
basically non-existent, I wouldn't worry about the fry too much, unless you particularly want to remove a few and rear them yourself. Cheers, Neale.>

Aggression/breeding convicts   3/20/12
Hi WWM, i just want to say, first of all that i love your website, its helped me a lot with my convicts, as I'm fairly new to owning them (had them for about a month). Ok my question is, I have a female and Male convict and they're currently looking after their fry which are now free swimmers, and probably around maybe 2 weeks old. I was just wondering why my male and female are attacking each other?
<Mmm, actually quite common...>
 is it because they're getting ready to breed again?
<Could be>
Should i remove them into one of my other tanks?
<IF there's apparent damage, and/or one cowering/hiding from the other, yes>
And will the fry be ok by themselves now?
<Likely so>
Any answers to these questions would be greatly appreciated. Thank-you
<Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/convictreprof.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> 

Female convicts + wussy EBJD = fry disaster?
EBJD and Convict Breeding     2/15/12

Hello, I have a almost 5 inch long EBJD residing in the tank with 3 female convict cichlids. I'm certain that none of the convicts is a male. However, convicts are laying eggs constantly, taking turns occupying the large porcelain decorative skull. LFS mentioned that convicts could be reacting to presence of a male EBJD and that eventually they may breed with him. Is it true?
<When the female convicts are ready they lay eggs at will with or without a male.>
 Note that EBJD is incredibly wussy and somewhat disabled, to the point where I doubt he could successfully breed.
  I had saved him from an LFS tank full of aggressive cichlids with his left eye damaged and chunks out of fins and body.  Six months later he is up from at original 3.5 inches of length, eye healed, but the pupil is misshapen and he acts as if cannot see anything on that side. I feed him by hand (hand is large and easy to find, once he is there, the tasty pellet is only a couple of chomps on fingers away).
 He displays none of aggressiveness of regular JDs or even EBJDs (I kept both). He does not dig, does not hold a set territory in the tank and swims very slowly around any plants or decorations, slowly moving his head left to right, taking a careful scan of where he is about to go. He is capable of fast runs but prefers to progress slowly, when food or anything scary (net, syphon, convict, new plant) are not involved.
Could that be attributed to 1-sided vision?
< Partially sighted fish react strangely to everything, shadows, movements, etc...>
 So, I don't see how he can possibly breed with anything, being that cichlids rely on visual cues and JDs rely on certain amount of fighting to select and pair off with the female of species.
Am I in danger of creating EBJD-convict hybrid fry ?
< Probably not.>
 Should convicts be placed into another tanks?
<The eggs will not be fertile. You could lower the water temp so they don't breed so often.>
 All named reside in a 55 gallon tank with Eheim filter, 2 heaters, and no additives except for crushed oysters and corals that I'm adding a cup-per-water change to raise hardness. Ammonia - 0; nitrate - 0; all fish are fed mixed died of frozen Mysis jumbo shrimp, frozen bloodworms, occasional house fly and  - mostly - cichlid pellets)
 Since I'm raising the dH, however slowly - could that and not presence of EBJD male cause convicts to go into a egg-laying mode?
<When fish are healthy and well fed they tend to breed. Your conditions are very good and probably motivating your fish to breed.>
 When water was softer they didn't. Thank you for your information, I'm a daily reader of WWM and your collective knowledge never fails to impress!
Elena E.
< Thank you for your kind words.-Chuck>

Convict Cichlid comment, repro. beh.   2/14/12
I've seen some information that says Convicts may adopt fry from other spawns and I just want to confirm that this is true.
<Never heard of it, and sounds like something evolution would actively select against.>
I have 4 convicts in my 55gal and one female spawned (and chased the father out, apparently) and went through full brooding behavior. Then another female spawned (with the same deadbeat dad) - they were only a few weeks apart at most, and in terms of size weren't very far off from each other.
<I see.>
At some point the 2nd spawn was eaten/abandoned/whatever, but I noticed that lots of the 2nd spawn were now with the 1st spawn and the mother raised both. In fact she carried on with brooding behavior for quite some time.
Now I have to get rid of these fry (and probably the adults too, they are a PITA and have been a nightmare ever since I accidentally introduced a male). They are so difficult to catch without completely dismantling my plants/decor though.
<Indeed. You'll see that I (strongly!) don't recommend Convicts and often wonder why they're still so widely sold in the US. There are many, MANY more rewarding cichlids in the hobby. A singleton is fine, I suppose, in a rough-and-tumble cichlid community, but pairs breed incessantly and the fry are essentially unsellable. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Convict Cichlid comment  2/14/12
I think the reason Convicts are so popular here in the US is that they are relatively cheap, low maintenance, and have a lot of personality.
<All fair points. Of course not all expressions of personality are helpful€¦>
I've kept fish a long time (since I was a kid) and never had success with fish breeding, so the idea of a fish that will breed readily is exciting.
<Quite so.>
Especially given that they are care giving parents, unlike most fish out there which eat their young - egg layers or not.
<Again, a fair point. Nonetheless, there are fish that breed just as easily, but have more sellable young. Danios for example, or Bronze Corydoras. Even among cichlids, Angelfish may be more rewarding. I wouldn't ever recommend Convicts purely on the basis of being breedable.>
They're not bad fish per se - the excessive breeding (and thus breeding aggression) just makes them very frustrating - as well as the stress of knowing I have to rehome a bunch of fry and potentially adults.
Fortunately I have an LFS that will take them as a donation.
<That is helpful, though how many of those fry end up in good homes is a whole other question. Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Cheers, Neale.>

Central American cichlids, info. re convicts <<RMF>>   1/15/12
Hi, my name is John. I came across your page during a Google search. I was looking up some information on why my male nicaraguensis cichlids mouth was stuck open. After reading on your site that it was most likely a dislocated jaw from a fight. This was all that I needed and wanted to thank you for the information.
<Thanks for the kind words!>
But I did see a couple things that were incorrect on the central American cichlid page. One being the photo of the "convict cichlids", those are actually nicaraguensis.
<Which page is this? Sounds a silly mistake to make! We'll fix this.><<URL please>>
And secondly its stated that male nicaraguensis are bigger than the females. This is actually opposite The females usually grow a couple inches bigger than males.
<Really? Many reports to the contrary. Perhaps there's no hard-and-fast rule. But Bob will add your comments to the CA Cichlids FAQs for others to read and consider; thank you.><<Not so as far as I've ever encountered; females are always smaller, often w/ orange patching on their sides>>
Thanks for your time and all of the information you have given.
<And thanks for writing. Cheers, Neale.>

Convict cichlid baby    1/11/12
Hello I bought some cichlids a few months ago and they have baby's.
<Very common>
 I was wandering how long it took for the babies to get to reasonable size so I can get rid f of them.
<Depends on feeding, water change-outs mostly... More frequent, faster growth... can likely move at 0.5-1" ideally w/in a month or two>
Also I have some neons in there to that look like there about to have baby's should I move them or keep them in there.
<Not compatible. Have to live elsewhere>
I also have some goldfish
 and a sucker fish
 and an eel I was wandering if I should move them into a different tank to protect them from the parents should u do that or does it matter?
<... Please look up these species on WWM and READ re their requirements.
Bob Fenner>

Convict Cichlids, repro. mostly     9/2/11
Hi WWM, I recently bought a male and a female Convict Cichlid for a 20 gallon grow out tank. For the first few days or maybe the first week they didn't pay any attention to each other, then one morning I woke up and they were swimming together, and chasing a very juvenile male convict cichlid I also have in the tank (not for long).
I figured they had paired up and were going to breed soon but they haven't dug pits, staked territory, or any other mating ritual that I am aware of.
I was treating the tank with some Pimafix for a small outbreak of Ick on the female, and sometimes the she would turn so her side that I believed had Ick was facing the male and he would nip it, not hard and only once I saw them do this. That was a few days ago and the Ick seems to have subsided, but they still haven't done any of the mating procedures.
<Patience... and careful observation, daily. There can be quite a ruckus here once things really get going>
I also have a very juvenile female Jack Dempsey in the tank but she stays in the corners of the tank without a care.
<Be ready to remove this fish at a moment's notice>
I am looking into a tank 55 gallons or larger as we speak so everyone can have there space. Do you know what the male and female Convicts are doing?
Thanks for your time. -Ryan
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/convictreprof.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Convict: Male or female? 8/30/11
Hello WWM crew, once again, thanks for all your help in the past.
I have had two convicts for a long time now, one probably twice the size of the other. I have to keep them separated because the larger one beats up the smaller one, relentlessly.
<Yes, very common.>
The larger one has a definite orange belly, but also long rear fins and a slight hump on the forehead. The orange belly does not mean 100% female correct?
I should look at the fins and hump as they are more reliable? Or do I have a female on my hands, just an extremely aggressive one? Any help would be appreciated.
<Look at the genital papillae; on males, this is longer and more pointed.
Females don't tend to be aggressive, but I'm sure it happens.>
In an unrelated topic, in a separate 100 gallon tank I have, I have a brand new baby 2 inch black and white Oscar, and a 7 inch female Senegal bichir.
I need something that will help the Senegal bichir clean the sand substrate. Would a clown loach or two be accepted?
<Clown Loaches need to be kept in groups, at least three, and many would argue 5+.>
Or a Featherfin catfish?
<An excellent species; would be ideal. As would any medium-large Synodontis species. S. ocellifer is a nice species that could be kept in a group, being less territorial than most members of the genus. If you were deep of pocket, S. angelicus would be a star. South American thorny catfish would also work extremely well, as would suitably large Horseface Loaches.>
Anything that will go with a full grown Oscar and a bichir and will effectively help keep the sand clean will be acceptable, any suggestions?
<Do bear in mind that livestock aren't cleaning the sand, but turning it over, so that the filter removes the debris. If there isn't enough water current at the bottom, then these animals won't have a huge impact.>
Thanks -Jesse
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Convict: Male or female? 8/30/11
Thanks for the help! I do think I will go after a Featherfin or two,
<Not necessarily gregarious, so do watch for aggression.>
and yes I know they won't eat the actual debris... Poop moldy food etc,
<Cool. You'd be surprised what we deal with here! Folks who think loaches eat faeces, that feeder goldfish are useful food, that Plecs get rid of algae'¦ you name it, folks have been told it.>
I clean those out regularly, sand makes it so easy!
<I agree. It's a change to have to deal with debris sitting on the sand instead of getting hidden in the gravel, so many people think sand is dirtier. But as you've seen, it's more about the visibility of debris, and how much easier it is to remove.>
I just see a lot of random blood worm, brine shrimp, and even earth worm pieces that are missed or fell in places the bichir can't really get to and just become more work for me. In my community tank I have 8 Corydoras that polish off the sand wonderfully. I guess I'm just looking for something like a few Corydoras... But are big enough to not be food and tolerates warmer 80 ish degree temp. Anyways thanks for your suggestions!
<Synodontis would be ideal. Horseface Loaches perhaps even better. I've found Tylomelania snails work great with my Pike Characins. Cheers, Neale.>

male convict?   7/25/11
Convict Pair? Spawning

I recently rehomed a pair of my stepfathers Convict Cichlids, he informed that they were a pair and have spawned. He has never had them successfully hatch any babies because they were in a community tank and the eggs often had gotten eaten by other cichlids in the tank. Upon inspecting the fish I had noticed BOTH fish had orange/pink coloring on the stomach, having bred convicts in the past I suspect they are both females. The fish are around the same age and one is a good deal larger than the other. Is it possible one could be a male with slightly odd colorings? They are now homed by themselves in a 30 gallon aquarium. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, Tiffany.
< Sounds like two female convicts trying to breed. It is not unusual to get one female larger than the other. One becomes more dominant and gets more food. It is rare to see a male with so much color but with new foods with color enhancers it is entirely possible. Let them try a few more times. If nothing happens you will know for sure.-Chuck>

The fry are gone!? ?   7/23/11
Ok. So I'm guessing my female convict cichlid had some eggs some time ago.
But now they are or were free swimming but today they disappeared. They were in the tank with the mom all day. I took the dad out because they were fighting. Anyway is there anything I might have done to cause his?
<Moving the one parent perhaps... any activity in the system... BobF>

Mass Convict Breeding    7/17/11
Hey WWM!
I'm fairly new to this but I've done some research and I'm planning on making Convict Cichlids a feeder for a new tank. What is the best way to maximise potential offspring?
<Heeeee! Are you sure you want to? Read here:
and the linked files above>
I had a few ideas for this but please include any others you recommend.
Mine all include using a 4ft tank, (or any other large one I can get cheaply second hand) placing dividers in so I can use the single filter/heater and a pot/removable breeding spot. I can place something that
stops vision but allows water movement next to the dividers if need be.
First would be having x sets of mating pairs and removing the fry as they become independent (as feeders).
<I'd go this route myself... being lazy, wanting to observe>
The second is having x females and moving a male from female to female right after the fry hatch, later removing the fry as the become independent.
The third is the same as the first, but moving the eggs (2-3 days after being laid) or newly hatched fry into a small tank for just the fry.
Also, the adults would be fed earthworms, pellets and flake, the fry crushed flake of min 30% protein. Does this seem adequate?
<Should be>
Thanks, Guy
<Welcome, Bob Fenner>

Wigglers in the gravel?    6/30/11
Hi im Skye. My wigglers have wiggled down in the gravel.
<Wigglers? Some sort of worm, insect larvae... placed as food?>
what if anything do I do or will they get out of it? it looks like there stuck in there. thanks for your time.
<I'd siphon out. Bob Fenner>
Re: Wigglers in the gravel?   6/30/11

No my baby convict wigglers just before fry stage. they wiggled into the gravel.
<... See WWM re the species, reproduction. BobF>
Re: My cichlid laid eggs.    6/30/11

So my convict cichlids laid eggs and now I think I'm gonna put them into a different tank my only worry is that the mom mite forget about them and leave to hide. Will the dad eat them if the mom hides. Thanks.
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/convictreprof.htm
Bob Fenner>

My cichlid laid eggs. 6/27/11
Ok my convict cichlid laid eggs but I think it wasn't paired up. It was one that was in a different tank than the breeding tank. I was just wondering how long it takes a female convict cichlid to lay more eggs. Thanks.
<Potentially within a week or two, but for obvious reasons it's a good idea to separate the female from the male, feed her up for a good two weeks, and only then put her back with the male. A tank divider is useful here, allowing the two to maintain their bond without actually spawning or fighting. Females forced to spawn continually can quickly become exhausted.
Cheers, Neale.>

Convict Cichlids, fry and tank mates   6/9/11
This is my first time writing, but your website and been pretty much the best I could find on the internet for my fish. I have 5 Convict Cichlids (1 female and 4 males). 1 Tiger Barb, 1 Silver Tip Shark,
<Do you mean Sciades seemanni? The Colombian Shark Catfish?
You do understand this is a brackish/marine fish that gets to about 30 cm/12 inches under aquarium conditions? It's a top predator as well. Can't humanely be kept in freshwater indefinitely, and most kept thus die eventually from Fungus, Finrot, etc. On the other hand, if you do plan on moving this fish to a brackish or marine system, then that's great. They look stunning in big FOWLR marine systems alongside Damsels, Marine Angels, Tangs, Lionfish, etc. Forgive me for stamping on this point so hard, but you'd be surprised how many people keep these lovely fish in freshwater tanks; breaks my heart.>
and 2 Bala Sharks.
<Hope this is a REAL big aquarium.
These are big fish with very specific needs.>
Every one gets along great!!
<So far.>
Despite what I have been told about mixing communities.
<From hard-earned experienced, if you were told it by me!>
Now the female and larger Convicts have made fry.
<Oh, too bad.>
My question is, Is it ok to leave the fry and parents in the tank with the other?
<They'll get eaten, if you're lucky. But if you aren't lucky you'll be stuck with hundreds of juvenile Convicts that'll need rehoming. I'm only being slightly facetious here.>
Also when is it ok to remove the fry to another tank and they not die?
<Any time you like. The parents will re-spawn within the week.>
Will they eat Convict flake food or is their something else better?
<Yes, they will take finely powdered flake, but you may get better results with brine shrimp nauplii for the first few days.>
I have had a lot of my question answered from reading other postings. But do to the Bala Sharks and we both know they like to eat. Just would like a little bit of guidance with the situation since this is the first time they have had fry since have them for only 3 months.
<Ah, this is part of the problem with Convicts -- they breed when very small, and breed very readily. Unfortunately rehoming Convicts is difficult because most shops won't take them. There's no market for fish that are this aggressive and lacking in bright colours. They aren't community fish either.>
Any help would be greatly appreciated!!
<Good luck, Neale.>

What happened? <not> Turtle repro. beh.    6/9/11
Hi. Its Zack.
<Hiya - it's Darrel here>
So first about a week ago my small female laid eggs.
<Probably not female elephants because elephants don't lay eggs>
Two days later they disappeared any idea what happened to them?
<Your two females disappeared?>
There was two males and one more female.
<That's '¦ um .. add 3 carry the 1 '¦. FOUR of something!>
I don't know if they were paired. Second I have the big female and big male in a tank together. They've been together for a week
<That's longer than Kim Kardashian has had a relationship '¦.>
and now the male has scared the female to the point were she hides behind the heater.
<Sounds like being married if you ask me>
I took the smaller male and female out.
<To dinner? Or a movie? Did they enjoy it?>
They were being attacked by the bigger ones. But now the big ones have turned on each other.
<Now it sounds like you're describing the Democratic Party>
What happen?
<No clue, Zack. On so many levels! Are the two females TURTLES by any chance?>
<Where did the female lay the eggs? In the water? On a basking area? In some form of dirt or sand? When you ask what happened to them '¦ you're there and I'm not. If they were broken, I'd expect particles of them laying on the land or fouling the water.>
<Why do you have a heater in the water? Turtles don't need heaters>
<This time of year we see a bit more aggression in turtles as it's the middle of their mating/laying seasons. Oddly, the females get aggressive with the males as in "leave me alone." Females rarely get aggressive with other females except over shoes.>
What happened?   6/10/11

Hi. Its Zack.
So first about a week ago my small female convict cichlid laid eggs.
Two days later the eggs disappeared any idea what happened to them?
<... someone ate them>
There was two males and one more female.
<I'd remove the "odd male out">
I don't know if they were paired. Second I have the big female and big male in a tank together. They've been together for a week and now the male has scared the female to the point were she hides behind the heater.
<I'd put the separator twixt these two for a week or two as well>
I took the smaller male and female out and put them into another tank. They were being attacked by the bigger ones. But now the big ones have turned on each other.
What do you think happened?
Sorry about that last e-mail. I forwarded it to you from something else.
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/convictreprof.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Convict Cichlids spawning!?!   3/10/11
Hi. Recently I bought two small convict cichlids at a local PetSmart. Judging by their size, the look to be 2-3 months old.
Today I tried to tell their sexes apart but when I tried to net one (that appeared to be in a small ditch of rocks) the other one appeared to be defending it.
They're are as big as balloon mollies. Is it possible they are spawning?
<Not likely yet. Females need to be about 8 cm/3 inches long before they'll breed, though there's some variation. Do think very carefully before breeding these fish. The market for Convict fry is tiny, and pet stores aren't likely to take many or any of them. Pairs can produce thousands of offspring per year given the chance. Plus, these two may well be siblings if they are all juveniles from the same tank, and needless to say crossing brothers and sisters will lead to inbreeding problems and very low quality offspring. Unless you have an extremely good reason to do so, DO NOT breed Convict cichlids. By all means spawn them if you must, but remove the eggs afterwards and rinse away.>
Sorry about any miss-spelled words.
<I see our reputation precedes us'¦>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Sorry... Sexing convict cichlids, releasing non-natives into the wild... !  3/11/11

Sorry I didn't get this in last time, but is there any possible way to tell the sex on my convicts right now because the vent doesn't work.
<Sexually mature females tend to have more colour, while males tend to be much larger at full size and often have longer, more pointed fins. But among the poor quality inbred convicts sold across the US especially, it's hard to see these features.>
And when I say cichlid I mean the real vicious kind, like Jack Dempsey and Convict.
<What do you mean by "vicious"? All cichlids are territorial and protect their offspring very carefully. In a breeding tank you'll have just a pair, and if they're very aggressive, that can actually mean the two parents turn on one another. Very many cichlid breeders keeping things like Central American cichlids end up keeping the parents in separate tanks. So if this is your first breeding attempt, a small, relatively mild species is what you want.>
I actually had Jack Dempsey that we released in a lake,
<What!!! Apart from being illegal, what you did here was incredibly irresponsible. Even if the fish died, which it surely did unless you live in the tropics, it can still release diseases from fish farms into the wild. Anyone interesting in fishing or a healthy aquatic environment will be furious to hear about what you did here. Aquarists like me already have to deal with lawmakers cutting back on the variety of species we can keep, precisely because a few irresponsible people like you have released unwanted fish into the wild. I'm being as polite as I can be here, but trust me, I'm very, VERY angry.>
came back about two years later and I hooked a weird looking fish that had a cichlid shape but the belly of a pumpkin seed sun fish. It is in my tank other tank right now cause I wanted to figure out what it was. I say it is a hybrid.
<Not a hybrid from your Jack Dempsey.>
Anyway I was thinking of breeding Corys but right now they are like 2-3 bucks!
<The going rate, even for the really cheap varieties like Peppered Corydoras. If you're wanting to breed fish, you don't want the cheapest parents, you want the BEST. I fear that you're completely missing the point here.>
<Cheers, Neale.> 

Breeding Young Convict Cichlids   11/12/10
Hello wet web media! Let me take a moment to say what a wonderful sight you have.
< Thank you for your kind words.>
However, I have been noticing some weird things going on with my convict cichlids. Since my eleventh birthday was coming up my dad took me to two different pet stores so I could get some convict cichlids. I purchased 4 convict cichlids (2 females and 2 males) and put them in the same tank. A few weeks later the female and the male started to dig a nest and laid about 100 eggs.
Well then a few days later all the eggs were white and had strings coming out of them and the male wouldn't stop chasing her away. I was frustrated to find them not to be mating again. then a few weeks later him and my other female convict cichlid laid eggs together and when a few days past you could see little bodies inside the eggs. Then later that day I came home and the eggs were gone and he was chasing that female around. A few days later he was digging a pit with the other female and I had to remove the other. I'm very surprised with what's been happening, could you shed some light on what's happening? Thanks a lot,
< Young pairs take a little practice to get this breeding thing down pat.
The white eggs were probably unfertilized and became covered with a white mold. Many think this is a fungus but it is not. The second time one of the parents probably ate the fry when they hatched. Keep the parents well fed in a clean warm (82F) tank and they will soon spawn. After three days the eggs will hatch and the fry need to be fed with baby brine, finely crushed flake food and Microworms. After a week they should be removed because the parents will be getting ready to spawn again and the fry may become food for the parents.-Chuck>

Moving convict Cichlids and fry
Moving Cichlids With Fry   10/17/10

Have 3 convicts 1 Texas and 1 Pleco in a 100 gal. 2 of the convicts paired up and being new to cichlids I did not see the eggs in the cave and I did not know that the convicts would tear up my Plecos tail and fins. I have not had a problem with them before but now the tank is a major war zone.
Can I move the breeding pair and the fry to a temp tank to protect the other fish? How might I be able to get the fry into a bag for transfer to a temp tank? What would happen to the fry if I remove the parents? I did not want to raise convicts and I thought I had all female convicts.
< If you move the pair with the fry the parents will probably eat the fry and spawn again in a couple of weeks. You have found out that breeding cichlids can be a joy as well as a curse. Cichlids do a very good job of defending their eggs and fry. This sometimes creates the "war zone" effect that you so accurately described. You can remove the eggs by simply removing the item that the eggs were laid on. The eggs can be moved to another aquarium with the same water as the original tank. Supply some heat and aeration and the eggs will usually hatch in a couple of days. The eggs have an egg sac attached that feed the fry. After a few days the eggs sack is absorbed and the fry become free swimming. At this time they need to be fed finely crushed flake food or baby brine shrimp. When they become free swimming it is best to remove them from their parents. Getting rid of baby convicts can be a challenge. They are usually too aggressive in a community aquarium.. Try cooling the water down to the low 70's to prevent cooling.
Without the parents the fry will eaten very quickly by other fish. Small fry can be removed by using an airline as a siphon hose to place the fry in a smaller container that can be poured into a bag for transfer

Texas and Convict Cichlid  10/8/10
Sent from my HTC on the Now Network from Sprint!
<Uh, okay. But why are you sending us this image? And to whom? Without a salutation or a message of some sort, there's not much we can do to help.
If this was for Chuck, then a simple "Dear Chuck, thanks for your last message, and here's the photo I promised" would help. Good manners serve a purpose! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Texas and Convict Cichlid  10/8/10
Sorry I sent an email right before I sent the picture. I was supposed to attach the picture to the email but I made a mistake and sent without. You should have my email message. It has the subject Convict and Texas. I would very much appreciate your advice. Thanks!
<Nope, nothing came through. No message of any kind. Obviously this one came through, but nothing else. Do please send a NEW message with the text AND the photo attached. Sending separate messages is a bit hit and miss.
There are half a dozen people volunteering here at any one time, and if one person gets one message, and another the other message, things get messy real fast. Chuck R. is the cichlid guru, so if you need his help for a cichlid-related issue, feel free to add a salutation that helps us forward your messages to his inbox. Cheers, Neale.>

Re Texas and Convict
Texas and Convict Cichlid Cross
Hi Chuck I have a dilemma that maybe you can help solve. For starters I have 55 gallon tank with 3 convicts 2 female and 1 male. In this tank is also a Texas. The older one of the female convict has laid eggs in a tank ornament. Before she laid the eggs her and the Texas stayed by each other.
The Texas helps the Convict fight off the other 2 Convicts from coming on their side of the tank. The other Convicts never get past this tag team duo. Now the Convict goes inside the ornament (barely) because she almost to big to fit I guess to keep an eye on the eggs. The Texas can't fit inside the ornament, but it has an opening at the top that he swims over.
Could the Texas possibly fertilize the eggs even though they are 2 different fish?
< Yes, it happens often.>
I researched this but came up with nothing. I did see where the eggs should be tan in color if they have been fertilized, and they are tan. I am attaching a picture of the 2 and their nesting ground (the ornament) please tell me what you think.
< They have paired up. The fry will probably survive. The babies look like spotted convicts. Not very attractive.-Chuck>

Convict Babies Without Stripes   1/18/10
Hiya WWM
<Hello Sandy,>
Firstly thanks millions for a great site, I fins myself reading peoples queries just to become more educated in keeping my fish healthy and alive...
anyway my question is this..
I have successfully bred a batch of young convicts what a great experience!
I have about 30-40 babies about 2months old now. They are growing at a very healthy rate, they have recently developed their black and grey stripes with the exception of about 4 of them who have remained a creamy/white
color. Is it possible that I have different species from the same breed I'm a bit concerned. can you shed any light on this for me please?
<Simply genetics. The stripyness (is that a word?) of Convicts varies enormously, and there are indeed colour forms created in captivity that lack stripes. What with all the random breeding in aquaria, oftentimes you end up with fry from one parent who had stripes and another parent who didn't. While I'm not familiar with the genetics here, I'd assume the lack of stripes is a recessive gene, so that while the offspring of such a pairing would all have stripes, some of their grandchildren might not. In other words, you could have a male and female who're both stripy, but if both parents are heterozygous (one stripy gene and one no-stripes gene each) then a portion of their offspring would homozygous for the recessive no-stripes gene, and so wouldn't have any stripes on their bodies. But that's just a guess.>
Regards sandy xx
<Cheers, Neale.>  

Re Convict Babies Without Stripes 19.01.09
Hiya Crew
Many thanks for your rapid response, your explanation was very reassuring.
Regards sandy....xx
<Happy to help! Cheers, Neale.>

Convict Breeding Question -- 01/17/10
I have a 40 gallon tank with a large variety of Cichlids. I bought them all young and they all get along great even though they are of varying sizes.
I have a large Red Pacu,
<Not a Cichlid -- in fact, is a Characin, and one which grows very, very large. The one you have is likely not "large," considering the ultimate size of these fish (three feet long, and a foot and a half tall!!!), but merely a baby who will need to be accommodated for in the near future. If you choose not to, all of your fish will suffer as this fish grows to gigantic proportions and fouls water quality. Also, the stories I've heard of Pacu turning bad -- that is, aggressive and mean -- always seemed to be linked to keeping them in confined quarters.>
a large White Oscar,
<I would not even recommend one Oscar in a tank this size, all by himself.
Oscars routinely grow to fourteen inches or so, and are incredibly messy.
Again, the one you have is likely not "large," and merely a juvenile.>
3 Firemouths, 4 convicts and two Jack Dempseys.
<This is working right now because these fish are all juveniles. Soon, the Jack Dempseys will become a very big problem, and the breeding convicts aren't going to help. Add in the gargantuan sizes of the Oscar and Pacu, and this tank becomes another sad story of misinformed fishkeeping. Please take the time to read on each of the fishes you keep using the Google search bar available on WWM. I think you'll find that the majority of these fish need to be rehomed, or that you should begin working on a much, much larger aquarium/pond (think five hundred gallons or so, minimum).>
My two convicts had fry about two weeks ago and I went to pet store right away to ask what to do and they gave me a breeding net to put them all into. They all died by the next day so I did my own research and saw that was a bad idea. I do not have another tank but I would like to save a few of the fry as they are about to have more any day now. I did buy a new plastic breeding tank but wasn't sure if I should put them in there.
The two breeding convicts have the whole corner of the tank to themselves as they keep everyone away.
<They are terribly stressed in this overcrowded tank. The only chances of success you're going to have raising the fry is to take them out of the tank.>
Should I just leave the fry there and see what happens or put some of them into this plastic breeding tank that I hang on the side?
<Please read here on Convict breeding:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/convictreprof.htm. Placing them in the breeding trap gives them more of a chance of survival than leaving them in, but water quality must be suffering here due to overcrowding, and
that's going to affect your fry more than your other fish. I'd focus on providing a suitably-sized home for the fish you have. If you wanted to cycle a separate tank and keep it bare-bottomed and raise the fry there, you'd have a better chance.... it's really up to you. Please read on Convicts and breeding. Review water quality, including Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate levels, and check that the temperature you keep the water at is conducive to raising fry. The fry will need to be fed, so check out that information in that link I'm sending you. If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to ask.>
Thanks a lot
<You're welcome.>

Convict cichlids breeding information  11/05/09
This is Pavan (India).
<Hello again, Pavan,>
I would like the details of how to breed convict cichlids at home.
<Pretty much just add water! Seriously though: provided you give them good quality water and space for a pair to settle down, they will spawn. They are extremely good parents, and raising these fry is easy.>
And i like to raise a good bunch of fry.
<Do it right, and you'll have hundreds.>
What are the requirements needed and the food.
<Convict cichlids need hard, basic water at middling temperature. Aim for 10-20 degrees dH, pH 7.5-8, 25 degrees C. A pair can be kept in a tank around 100 litres without problems. As with all cichlids, 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite are critical, and nitrate levels should be as low as possible, certainly no more than 20 mg/l. Convicts are omnivores and eat flake, pellets, wet-frozen bloodworms, live brine shrimps, cooked peas, sushi Nori, cooked spinach, etc. Newly-hatched Convict fry will take finely powdered flake food (e.g., Hikari First Bites) and liquid fry food (e.g., Liquifry).>
How to distinguish between male and female. what are the cares to be taken to not to hurt any of the pair.
<Juvenile fish are difficult to sex. When sexually mature, males are much bigger than the females. Males also tend to have longer anal and dorsal fins. Males sometimes develop a "nuchal hump". Sexually mature females are usually more colourful, with yellow and blue markings on their dorsal fins and anal fins.>
Pls do the needful. I have a good male which is very aggressive in nature and it bullies all other fish in my tank.
<Normal. These are not fish for community tanks, and should be kept with larger cichlid species that are similarly aggressive. I kept my Convicts in a 750 litre aquarium with a Red Devil, a Jaguar Cichlid, and some very big catfish species.>
Help me out. Cheers for the answers.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: convict cichlids breeding information  11/6/09
Thanks dude for the info.
<I assume being a "dude" is good! Cheers, Neale.>  

New Pink Convict
Black and White Convict Mating  10/25/09

Chuck, We just added a new pink convict to our 30 gal. tank that already housed a Black Convict and a Blood Parrot. My question is, can these two convicts mate and if so how long would it take for the eggs to hatch?
< They can mate if you have both a male and a female. Females tend to have orange yellow bellies and males are larger with longer fins. The eggs will hatch in about 3 days at 80 F.>
Also I wanted to thank you very much for your suggestions on getting our nitrites and nitrates under control, your advice was very helpful and I am very happy to report we now have a very healthy aquarium and even have live plants now growing that really make it a pleasure to look at. Thanks again,
John & Anika
< Glad to hear you are having fun with your aquarium. This is what aquarium
keeping is all about.-Chuck>

Rescued 7 pink convict cichlid... sys.  10/2/09
Hello Crew
<Hello Mike,>
I just rescued 7 pink convict cichlids from a 10 gal tank 3 are 1-1.5 in size and the rest are smaller all the same age and all bothers and sisters.
I have been reading on the breeding of them and no one has ask about in-breeding.
<What's the question? Yes, it happens. No, it's not a good thing. Inbred Convicts, like inbred cichlids generally, tended to be smaller, more likely to have deformities such as twisted fins and non-functional swim bladders, exhibit lower fertility, etc. Since retailers don't want Convict cichlids (they aren't terribly good aquarium fish, to be honest) I'd encourage you NOT to breed your fish. Remove any eggs you see on sight!>
any info that you can share with us. also what kind of sand can I use for the substrate?
<Plain pea gravel is probably the optimal thing, but if you want to use sand, then smooth silica sand from the garden centre is the best and cheapest option. Stir in some coral sand at a ration 4 parts smooth silica sand to one part coral sand. This will add some carbonate hardness and raise the pH.>
and also the size difference is that because they where all in a small tank?
<No. Like all fish, they grow continually, but while cichlids don't "stunt" when kept in small tanks, poor conditions may compromise their health, reducing overall growth rates.>
they are all currently in a 55 gal tank now. Thanks for the help Mike
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: rescued 7 pink convict cichlid
wow thank you for your very fast response and thanks for having a site like wetwebmedia.com
<Happy to have helped. Cheers, Neale.>

Amatitlania nigrofasciata, breeding  9/17/09
Hi I have a pair of white convict cichlids and the have been breeding but i have concerns that the male is eating the eggs.
<Does happen.>
I was wondering if it is ok to separate the male from the female and eggs?
<Yes, this is fine. The female may be able to rear the fry on her own. Otherwise, pull the eggs out, put them in another tank (e.g., 10 gallon breeding tank) and add a little anti-fungus medication, typically Methylene Blue. Install a sponge filter nearby to keep the water moving. The fry are easy to rear on finely powdered flake foods, such as Hikari First Bites. As always with Convict cichlids, be sure you have a market for the fry first: most pet stores don't want them, and you don't want to be stuck with a thousand fry you can't rehome! Cheers, Neale.>

Feeding Convict Fry; Somewhat Urgent! 05/23/09
Feeding Cichlid fry
Hey WetWebMedia crew! Thanks a lot for all your past help, but now I need help again!  My convicts, as you know, recently laid eggs. A few days ago, the eggs disappeared, and I assumed they grew fungus and were eaten.  However, today I noticed fry in a corner of the tank away from the cave. The eggs had hatched!  Today is the first time I saw them, but they are already free-swimming, and I assume that they have been for at least a few days. They don't seem to have food sacs any more.  I'm wondering how to feed them. I have already tried crushed flakes, and it seemed to work, only I could not figure out a good way to get the food to them. I tried to do it with a very fine net, but it moved the water around the fry so much that they flattened to the ground, and most of the food was lost on the way anyways.  The fry are at the very back corner of my 30 gallon, and all the way on the bottom.
I'd rather not move them, since I want the parents to learn parenting.
So how do I get the food to the fry?
Also, how often to feed them? Thanks! Respectfully,
< Take a fish food that is fairly high in protein (30+%) and crush it into a fine powder. Mix a small amount in a small bowl with aquarium water. Suck up the powdered liquid with a turkey baster and squirt the mixture into the mass of fry. The fry will eat what they want and the extra will be carried away and eaten by the parents or taken out with the filter. I would use a fine sponge filter in the same tank. The fry can feed off the food particles stuck on the sponge in between feedings.-Chuck>
Re: Feeding Convict Fry; Somewhat Urgent! 09/19/09

Feeding Cichlid Fry II
Thank you, Chuck!
Is what the adults chew and spit out enough for the fry, or do they need more?
Regards, ~Babale
<In order to make sure that they all get enough food I would recommend adding the crushed food water mixture. If you leave it to the adults then you will get fry of different sizes.-Chuck>

Skittish Pl*co and Feeding Fry, reading  5/12/09
Hey guys! Me again.
First of all, thanks for the help with my convicts; they are doing fine, and the eggs are noticeably brown now. I am hoping for fry by tomorrow!
Anyways, I have a couple new questions.
First, my pl*co: He's becoming very skittish now. There was a time when he was very aggressive, latching onto one of my gouramis, but not the other; ever since the picked on Gourami died (of unrelated causes; the pl*co left him along for the last few months of his life) the pl*co has been peaceful.
He even made progress towards being more of a day fish; for the last few weeks, he was more active during the day. But now he's regressing, becoming skittish whenever I go to check on him. An worse: He's developing a few bite marks on his dorsal fin and tail.
At least I think that they are bite marks; there are no color changes, just missing pieces, and a few at that. I probably shouldn't worry, but I do anyways. I don't know why this would happen; I've never seen him
attacked during the day. My one guess is that he strayed too close to the Convict cave, and was bit;
<Very likely>
but the missing pieces are too big for a tiny Convict,
<More than one bite>
so I don't know. In fact, no fish in the tank is really big enough to take a bite that big at once. What do you
think happened, and what should I do? Is this normal? (The rays are just fine, and aside from some skittishness, he seems happy enough.)
<Stay observant and no, not natural>
On a happier note, how should I get the food to my Convict fry when they hatch?
<Read... on WWM re their reproduction, that of other Neotropical Cichlids... http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstkind2.htm>
I've read to take a plastic bag with a small hole, fill it with ground-up fish food, and squeeze some out when near the fry. Is this right?
And won't the parents be annoyed?
Thanks again, and eagerly waiting for an answer;
<Keep reading. Bob Fenner>

Convict breeding: Reading\Using WWM. 4/6/2009
<Hello, whomever you are...>
First of all my fry are about 1/4 of an inch long and the mom is about 2 days pregnant again.
<Common with Convicts>
What are the chances that she will eat the old fry once she lays her new eggs?
<Almost guaranteed, posted here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/convictfaqs.htm >
Secondly, both parents are pink and I was wondering what are the chances that there will be a mix of pink and black cons?
<Impossible to tell>

Forced Convict Pairing 2/11/09 All knowing WWM crew, I have recently come into owning a tank and a 5 year old female Convict cichlid second-hand from a friend who could no longer care for her. She had never been in heated water so when I bought a heater she started becoming more active and colorful. I decided to buy a male and see if she would accept a mate. The biggest male I could find is about half her size so I figured that since the males are more rough on the females that they would have a better chance of not hurting each other. I brought the male home and started acclimating him when I noticed that the female had already laid eggs all in her cave. I let the male out and she was in defense mode and chasing him so I put the male into a separator net. After she ate the eggs I let him out and she is still chasing him around constantly. I made him a little cave that she can't fit into and it seems to be fine with him. Is this pair just not going to work? I know you guys suggest buying six at a time to see which pair off but since I already have the big female what would you suggest? I would love to be able to find her a mate but like I said its hard finding a male close to her size, at least in Oklahoma. Thanks, Casey < She views the male as a threat to her eggs. Cichlids often lock jaws in a test of strength to determine if a mate is suitable or not. When the male is large enough to challenge her, then you have a chance of them pairing up. It is true that they may not ever pair up, but when he gets larger the chances do improve.-Chuck>
Re: Convicts Paired Up   2/17/09
Dear WetWebMedia Crew, Thanks for the response to my questions. Three days after I got my reply from you guys I noticed the male was out more. That then changed to him being more active with the female which progressed into lip locks and nesting. Today the female started laying her eggs in a flower pot I had placed in the tank and they are both guarding that whole side of the tank. Now I got to figure out what I'm going to do with a bunch of baby convicts. Deal with that when the time comes. Thanks again, Casey < Congrats on being a cichlid breeder and welcome to the wonderful world of cichlids. The eggs will hatch in three days at 80 F and will become free swimming in another three and will require feeding at that time. They will eat baby brine shrimp, Microworms and finely crushed flake food.. Good luck moving the fry.-Chuck>

Breeding Convicts - 4-11-08 Hey Chuck. I have a female convict and its about 2 inch big, and a male which is an inch. I was wondering if they can breed at that size? <Usually the male needs to be a little bigger than the female, but if she is ready to breed then a smaller male may be acceptable.> The female is chasing all the other fish away, while the male is digging rocks, so far the male made a flat surface. Can the male fertilize at that size? < It is possible for them to pair up but his sperm may not be very viable.> What size does the male have to be, to fertilize eggs? <I have seen them spawn at about an inch and a half.> What size does the female have to be to lay eggs? < I have seen a one inch females lay a few eggs. Bigger females tend lay more eggs.> How do you know when they are ready to breed? <You usually see some sort of courtship like flaring fins and some jaw locking. Then they begin to defend a territory.> What I said before, does that mean that they are ready to breed.? It seems like they are getting along with each other. < You could be very close to having a breeding pair.-Chuck>

Sizing Convicts - 4-11-08 Hey Chuck. its Eric again. I was wondering how big can convict get in size.? < Males can get up to 6 inches while females rarely get over three inches.> The male that is an inch big. Can it fertilize? The female is only 2 inch in size. Can she lay eggs? <A larger male would do a better job of fertilizing the eggs. She is big enough to spawn.-Chuck>

Re: Convict Cichlids With Fry  4/17/08 Hey Chuck, Thanks heaps again, my convict manage to lay 50 eggs. I have got about 30 fry. I don't know if I should separate the male? The female won't allow the male go near the fry. She will always chase him away, if he gets close? What should I do? He isn't eating them or attacking anyone. I think he is really harmless. Should I take him out? Please get back to me. Thanks heaps chuck . Eric. thanks heaps hey. < If you really want to keep the fry then I would recommend that you pull them out, especially if they are free swimming. It is just a matter of time when one or both parents may decided to go after the fry. You could always let them stay with both the parents. If they eat them they will probably spawn again in a couple of weeks.-Chuck>

Convicts breeding & whatch you gonna do? I have a 55 gallon tank. There is a Pleco, two clown knives, <What? This fish gets about the length of this tank... four feet... in the wild http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=2078&genusname=Chitala&speciesname=chitala> 2 tiger barbs, 4 giant Danios, and 3 zebra Danios along with two female convicts, and a pair of convicts. <What a mix!> The pair's eggs hatched out on Christmas day. They have been doing really great, there were 130 eggs or so, and there ended up being about 30 fry born. So after they have guarded these babies well, and they have not been too rough on the other fish because they stay on one side of the tank and my knives on the other. <Eventually the Knives will eat all these other fishes> They don't even pay attention to the other fish at all because they are not really too much of a threat to them I guess.     Anyway, to make a long story short here, there have been quite a few fry that have disappeared. I know it is bound to happen and am not to worried about that. However, the daddy fish has decided to kick out the mommy fish. He won't let the mommy near the babies anymore at all. <Happens> And instead of them being black and white. Especially the male, he is dark black and dark grey striped. <Good description> He doesn't like the other two females either. Why in the world is he doing this? <Uhh, because he can? Likely a behavior that has survival value eh? Maybe he would mate with another female next time/s... a mix of genes, mates would benefit the species through space and time> Is it because the babies are not all there? <Maybe... it is possible he "blames" the female> And should I remove him from the tank for a few days so that mommy can take over watching over the fry again or just leave them the way they are? thank you for your input I really do appreciate it. <Depends on what you want to do... become a breeder/supplier of convict cichlids? In this size system (w/o the Knives... you should trade them in, otherwise move them to other quarters), your convicts should continue to spawn, the young be mostly consumed... You can separate the eggs, raise elsewhere, take the fishes out... Bob Fenner>

BABY CONVICTS!!! Hello, I just had a bunch of convict fry. Today is the first day that I see them and they still look like little tadpoles. The female is still fanning them. How long shall I leave them in there before taking them out? Is there a sign that the female wont care for them or when they can survive on their own?  Please advice. I am very excited!! < Your convict fry will be in this wiggler stage for about three days at 80 degrees until their egg sac is absorbed. They will then start to swim around looking for food. At this stage they should be fed baby brine shrimp and newly hatched brine shrimp. I would siphon them out in about a week. The female convict will be getting ready to spawn again soon and may eat the earlier fry.-Chuck>

CONVICT CONCERNS My friend has a breeding pair of convicts that are brother & sister. Their mother was a pink con & dad was a striped. When my friends bro-sis pair had fry, I took two of the pinks hoping they'll breed. I have them in a 15 gal w/a small school of baby zebra Danios. One of the pinks is 1/2 inch long, & the other is about a centimeter long. Being so small I know it's difficult to sex them, but I'm hoping because of the size difference I'd be certain to have a pair. My questions are- Since these two pinks are from the same hatch & their parents are bro & sis is this WAY too much inbreeding for convicts? < No not really.> Would their fry be retarded if they were to breed? < No.> How good are my chances of HAVING a male/female pair since it's so hard to tell by their small size? < You convicts are sexually dimorphic by size, so a large one and a small one could be a pretty good sign that they are a different sex.> Would I simply be better off feeding these guys to my grown cichlids in my 30 gal & getting a breeding pair of pinks from my LFS? < If you want a guaranteed pair then you would be better off at the LFS and getting a pair of fish that were larger and easier to sex. The ones at the store have probably been inbred for over twenty years so I don't think that would be a problem.> I don't want to inbreed these fish if it's going to cause a problem, even though I plan on using any future fry as feeders for my 30 gal. What are your thoughts about using cichlid fry as feeder fish to larger cichlids? <The convicts are easy to breed but sometimes outsmart the larger fish and learn to hide.> Considering they're such prolific breeders, I know I'd never find homes for all the babies, but I don't want to compromise the health of my other cichlids if you think this is a bad idea. < Actually raising your own fry for food is a good idea since they won't carry any weird diseases into the main tank.> Plus, my husband thinks that the baby pink cichlids will be "friends" w/ the baby zebra Danios since they will grow up together. Is that really possible? < I am not aware of fish making "Friends " with other fish.> I'm thinking once the cichlids get big enough those Danios will become "dinner"!!! <These convicts will indeed look upon your zebra Danios as dinner when they get bigger.-Chuck>

Texas/Convict Cross Interracial dating??? Hi, I have a 30 gal aquarium with one Texas (about 4"), two convicts (about 2"), and one Koi (about 5").  I recently noticed one of them has spawned inside a tipped over pot I put in there as 'territory'.  I watched for a while, and to my amazement realized it was the Texas cichlid who laid the eggs and the convict (who is about half the Texas' size) who was in there with her, fertilizing.  They both take turns guarding the nest and do so aggressively.  Has anyone run into this before??? < Yes, it happens all the time.> Now I know they prooooobably are NOT going to successfully breed (LOL), but what's the deal??? < Fish have a need to reproduce. When the proper mate is not available they choose the next best thing.> Do they often form weird, cross-species pair bonds like that... or do I just have some seriously crazy fish? < This normally does not happen when both sexes of the same species are present.> And with Texas Cichlids forming pair bonds, will I be able to intro a male Texas (later, in a larger tank, of course) and will they realize and form their own pair bond? < If a male Texas is introduced it will probably pair up with the correct female. The sooner the better.> Will she dump her little felon man for a hearty Texan???? < Hopefully and probably.> Will her ex con try to murder her by slipping rat poison in her drink???? lol, OK, just going a little Soap Opera here... ; )  But seriously....  Can someone help me out with my weird fish?  Kim < Get the proper sexes to pair your fish up and hopefully nature will take care of itself.-Chuck>

Convict Breeding I have 3 black convicts that I have had for a few weeks (2 females and 1 male) and I hope to get 3 pink convicts but the ones I have will not spawn. I have done water changes and bumped up the temp. about 4-5 deg. But they WILL NOT spawn is there anything else I can do to fool them. Thanks. Ty <Please be careful here. Convict Cichlids are one of the most aggressive cichlids we keep. One mated pair per tank. When they do breed that's all that will be left alive anyway. Breeding is very easy. Just feed a good, varied diet. No feeder fish, but live earthworms, insects, spiders and such along with a good flake or pellet. Lots of fresh water changes will be needed. Make sure they have a few flat rocks set up at different angles. They'll choose the one they like. Once they start you will be overwhelmed with fry. Make sure you think this through. Are you able to house hundreds of fry? Don>

Saving Convict Fry Hey Bob (or who ever reads this) <Mike G reading this now. :-) Thanks for helping people with their pets. <You're very welcome. Everyone on this crew deserves thanks like that. Anyway I got a 625 gallon and holds 2.oscars 1.reddevil a pair of Flowerhorns (no babies yet) 2.plecos 2.parrots 3.jacksdemseys 3.pacus and a pair of convicts. <Sounds like a wonderful set up! Anyway my convicts had babies today and I had went through this before but the female ate the babies. <That's odd. Convicts are known as the best parents in the cichlid world.> Anyways since I discovered it now I'm just afraid that when those fish hatch they will go into the gravel because they didn't dig the gravel under where they laid the eggs. Will the parents be able to find them when they start moving them???? <I assume the parents will be able to locate their fry. If you're really serious about raising the fry, try setting up a separate rearing tank and remove the eggs to it. See the following link for more info on convict cichlids. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/convictfaqs.htm

BABY CONVICTS Hi, I have a pair of Convicts they spawned and now I have about 100 little guys swimming around. right now there in a 10 gallon, and yes I know that the tank is to small for them I just wanted them to grow more before I put them in my 30 gallon. My question was when do I take the babies out? As far as I can tell they haven't started to pick them off yet, so are they fine for now or do I need them out ASAP?  Thanks - Halisha <They can actually be taken out at any time. If they are free swimming then siphon them out with some airline tubing and feed them baby brine shrimp. After about two weeks the parents get ready to spawn again and will eat the fry.-Chuck> 

Convicts pt2 Yes I do have housing for 100s of fry. I have 9 tanks. You said the most aggressive fish we keep. Can you send me a pair and if so at what price if any other than shipping. Thanks, Ty <By "we" I did not mean "me". Sorry, have not bred Convicts in years. I don't have the room. But they are usually very common and cheap in fish/pet stores. If you do not mind paying for shipping check out www.aquabid.com Don>

MOVING MATED CONVICTS Hi guys. First off, I just wanted to say again that you guys are awesome. I have a pair of convicts that just began breeding - about 2 week old fry right now, and it looks like they're guarding some more eggs.  The tank they are in was intended for an Oscar (he is in there with them now)... it was supposed to be a temporary home for the convicts and then they would be moved to their own tank - but they were too quick for me. I have 2 questions... 1 - Can I move them safely to the other tank, without disrupting the fact that they have started breeding? (I'm pretty sure that since they are already breeding, they will continue to, but just want to be sure) < Move the pair to one tank and then move the fry or eggs to another tank of their own if you want to save them.> 2 - The "nest" they have set up is inside the hollow leg of a somewhat large tank decoration. Should I be moving this decoration with them? Or will the decorations/hiding places in their new tank be ok? (I would like to keep the one they are using in the current tank, but will move it if necessary) < Convicts are pretty adaptable and will soon find another suitable ornament or rock to spawn on.-Chuck>

Hybrid Convicts Hi. We did not intend for our fish to inter breed. But they did and now we have babies. The parents are to our surprise are the Convict and Topaz. Both of them seem to be good parents so far. But what kind of fish are we going to end up with? And is there a site where you can watch the growing stages of fry? From egg to young adult? Have you heard of these two fish breeding before? Thanks Dena & Tom  < A cross between these two fish is not unusual. They usually happen in mixed Central American tanks. The fry don't look very good. Sometimes stores will carry them because they are an oddity but after a while they stop because they don't sell. I don't know of any web sites that show a progressive cichlid growth sequence. There are a couple of series in angelfish and some discus books so there are probably a couple web sites with some photos on it.-Chuck> 

Crossed Convicts Hi I did notice that there were questions about convicts and interbreeding. We have a 55 gal. tank and have a topaz and convict, fire mouth and a Krib[ensis]. We noticed yesterday that there are babies all around the flat rock in the tank. Looks as if the Topaz and convict have bred. They both seem to be caring for the fry and doing a good job at it. We removed all the other fish to a different tank . So that the convict and topaz can't hurt them. The topaz turned out to be aggressive so we can only imagine that this combination will be very aggressive. Any suggestions on the combination . <No , you will just have to wait and see how the fry turn out.>  We thought that we would like to raise a few to see what they are going to look like. We had no idea that this could happen. Should we leave the fry with the parents? < If you want to keep some then take them out when they become free swimming.>  Noticed that the convict doesn't want the topaz around the babies that much. and the topaz seems to be trying to be a parent as well. < The cross may be interesting but after a week or so the parents may be ready to breed again and will eat the fry so it is best that they be removed .-Chuck> 

Convict Breeding Question I have a 40 gallon tank of 8 convicts, <Convicts> 3 black, 1 pink and 4 albino. Only one of the females is "sexually active". She had paired up with the largest (black) male for about a week but no fry. Her current mate is the pink and things look more promising but I'm having trouble understanding which stage in the process they're in. For 4-5 days the male (smaller than her) has not left his post at all. I assume he is guarding eggs but they should have hatched by now. The nest looks ideal and the other convicts don't bother them at all. When and how does the fertilization take place? Thank You for your expertise. <Mmm, these cichlids will fight in a system of this size, crowded together... would be better to have just a/the pair in a twenty by themselves... Much you can learn by observing them... Bob Fenner>

Convict Breeding Question - II - 09/16/2005 Since I'm retired, about all I do all day is take part in this interesting hobby. <Sabrina here, in Bob's stead, and envious of your use of time!  Wish I could do that.> 14-16 inches of (cichlid) fish in a 39 gallon tank doesn't seem like a lot. <A mating pair can terrorize and even kill the other fish.  Even if none pair up to spawn, these guys will really peat each other up.> I have a carrying Yellow lab in my only extra tank so I would have to buy another convict breeding tank. But like I said, it's a pretty peaceful environment with the other convicts rarely venturing 3/4 the way across the tank. But since convicts don't have "egg spots" like their African cousins, if you could just tell me how the fertilization process is accomplished, I'd surely appreciate it.   <These are not mouthbrooders, hence no egg spots.  The female will lay part of the clutch, and the male will fertilize....  they usually will spawn in a cave, under an overhang, or in a pit if no other suitable structure is available.  If a pair successfully spawns in this tank, the remaining fish are likely to be quite damaged.  I'm not confidant that a pair can/will spawn, however, with the increased stress of having so many conspecifics about.  Keep in mind, a single pair's territory in the wild can consist of several square feet of surface area....  Pack them in like this, and they're not going to behave naturally.> Thanks Again !! <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Convict Breeding Question - III - 09/17/2005 Sabrina, don't get me wrong. I really appreciate your comments but be prepared to be blown away. I got interested in Cichlids ONLY because they were the only fish that could stand up to my 2 red slider turtles. <Oh, my.> Yes, this same tank was originally a turtle only tank but I wanted more color, hence I experimented with some fish. At one time I had 2 Pseudotropheus Socolofi, 4 Pseudotropheus Estherae and 4 Convicts, (2M/2FM). <Plus two red sliders?  That must've taken daily water changes....  Yikes.> One day my wife noticed lots of little fish swimming around and it was easy to tell a pair of convicts had bred.   <The resilience and procreative tendencies of these fish never cease to amaze me, and I am quite surprised.> None of the fish or turtles were harmed except for the babies. <You mean aside from the fact that their water requirements are all quite different, namely temperature for the turtles?> Four baby convicts survived as I let nature take it's course. Now that was a crowded tank!!!  Soon after,  I got rid of the turtles and now I'm obsessed with my new cichlid hobby. Suffice to say that my tank is now a very natural environment compared to the days of 4" turtles lurking around like great white sharks!!   <Indeed....  A major improvement.  Yet, we do try to recommend giving our captive fish as close to a natural environment as possible; you have fish from two vastly differing environments with differing water parameters, in confines that are perhaps less than optimal....  much to consider, here.> I'll let you know how I fare. Thanks Again. <Sure thing.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina

Convict Breeding Question - IV - 09/19/2005 Sabrina Writes, "you have fish from two vastly differing environments with differing water parameters, in confines that are perhaps less than optimal....  much to consider" Your above comment is in the present tense so I assume you're not talking about my old turtle environment. <Correct.> In my original post, I said I had 8 convicts (+ a couple Chinese cats) in a 40 gallon tank (39). Just how is that "differing environments with different water parameters in less than optimal confines? <Pseudotropheus estherae are a fish from Lake Malawi, in Africa, with a preferred (some would argue required) pH of well over 8.0.  Archocentrus are from central America, and fare best in a pH less than 8.0.  The social structures and environment these fish are inclined toward are quite different.> Remember total length of fish is about 16 inches, with 4 of the 8 being those 4 babies that survived in my convict breed about 6 months ago. <Size isn't so much the issue as compatibility; though as you said, their environment is worlds better than with the turtles looming over them - I'm just letting you know that there are options to consider, should you with to make other changes.  The first things to consider with a fish tank are whether the fish are compatible with the system, and whether they're compatible with each other.  Aggression is not the only thing to think about with regards to compatibility.  Obviously, though, what's working for you is working.> Why do you feel my captive fish have it so bad? <I don't.  I'm just calling it like it is.  I would state the same if someone told me they had an angel in with Frontosa, or Kribs with Julidochromis.  Their requirements differ.  I would think it wrong of me to overlook this and not say anything; I'm not saying it is bad of you to keep them together, or I'd've said "It's bad of you to keep them together".  I'm just offering some facts; what you do with them is your call.  And again, what works for you, works.> It's description is certainly not any worse than most other posts I've seen on this board. <Don't get me wrong; I absolutely agree.  Again, I'm just here to dispense information and offer my opinion.  You decide what you do with it; not I.  I'm not here to pick fights, light fires, start battles or even launch a thousand ships (I haven't the face for it!) - just to offer what I've got to offer.  All the best,  -Sabrina>

Convict Breeding Question - V - 09/19/2005 Sabrina, <Tony, let me first apologize for this very belated reply.  I had been rather ill for a while, and now that I'm better, it's been a bit of a stretch to get the messages answered that were in my inbox.  Please accept my deepest apologies.> I will say it again. In my original post I gave you the contents of my tank. 8 convicts. PERIOD. (and a few Chinese cats). I must have confused you because we're still talking about Pseudotropheus estherae. <Ahhhhh, I see now.  Not sure what had given me the idea that the Pseudotropheus were still in there.  Assuming the "Chinese cats" are Gyrinocheilus sp. (we tend to call them Chinese algae eaters around here; common names vary among folks), then yes, I agree that you have no real compatibility issues with regards to water parameters.  I do still feel that you have too much fish volume, but again, I will reiterate, this is my opinion, and I will not change it.  What works for you, works, and ultimately, only you can decide what works for your tank.> I mentioned those fish and others including 2 red slider turtles ONLY in response to your view that my tank may be too overcrowded to breed. I was trying to inform you that I used to have an awful environment for my convicts and they STILL BRED successfully. <They are a resilient fish....  to be sure....> At that time I really didn't care a lot about my fish because I was "into" my turtles. When I found my tank full of baby convicts, it gave me a whole new outlook, and I got rid of the turtles and bought another tank for the Africans. Now I have 5 tanks much to the displeasure of my wife. (Our house is only 685 square feet). <Find a fish she likes!  Then she'll agree, you need another tank or two <grin>.  My husband is finally mildly interested in fish, since he discovered, of all things, fancy guppies.  Sigh.  At least they produce food for my other fish!> Anyway I think I ended up getting you confused by mentioning the turtles and Africans. <Doesn't take a lot to confuse me, I assure you.> BUT GUESS WHAT?  My pair of convicts finally had babies!!!   <See?  You need another tank or two ;) > But the female doesn't seem to be a very good mom. She is constantly away from the nursery trying to rekindle her relationship with the dominate male of the tank. She tried unsuccessfully with him before. <Mm, I think this may be due in part to the volume of fish....  if she is not confidant the young have a good shot at growing up, she might just not try raising them.  Or maybe she's just a flirt, who knows.  In her eyes, the dominant male may be a really hunky-lookin' fish!> Meanwhile, the male parent is visibly upset and often doesn't let her come into the cave. <She's left him for another man!  Well, joking aside, if he is perceiving her as a threat to the young at this point, then he will guard them from her.> Question Please,  Which gender stays close to the fry and which one patrols the outer perimeter? <The female usually stays near the young and the male fends off predators/other fish.  If the pair has "split", I am not sure how the remaining parent will act.  Sounds like the male, in your case, is sort of playing both roles, yes?> Thanks Sabrina. <You bet.  Again, I apologize for the delay in reply.  Fortunately, I'm all caught up now!  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Strange Convict Breeding Behaviour  9/20/05 Hi, thanks for reading my post. I have a female convict that has been with 3 males over the past 2 months but nothing has ever happened after they each pair up, dig a site, and presuming after they lay and fertilize eggs. Since I doubt there is anything wrong with the 3 males. IS IT POSSIBLE THAT THE FEMALE IS DROPPING FLAWED EGGS? Currently, the poor male spends his entire waking hours with eyes glued on the eggs, as if the eggs are going to hatch any second. But it's been 8-10 days now.  Also, the female has now started to engage in some "two-timing" by getting very friendly with her "Original" male mate. CAN SOMEONE COMMENT ON THIS SITUATION? Sabrina? Thank You so much. Tony < Males are usually larger than the females and have longer fins. Most females have an orange patch on the belly areas. At 82 F the eggs should hatch in three days. Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Pick one male and leave her with the female. Feed them heavily with black worms or small washed earthworms. After they spawn the eggs should hatch in three days. Unfertilized eggs turn white and soon fungus. The newly hatched fish resemble a small wiggling mass for an additional three days. After that they absorb their egg sac and become free swimming and require small food like newly hatched brine shrimp. If you don't get any fry with this male then swap him out for another after a couple of attempts. I suspect that the males are so busy fighting over the female that none of them has the time to fertilize the eggs.-Chuck>

Breeding Convicts   1/26/06 Hi crew. I have two questions? 1) I have a pair of a convicts. A pink male and black female. They are about 3.5inches long. They have spawned about 5-6 times. The LFS keeper says that they won't spawn again as the number of fry has decreased in the last spawn. Is it true? < They will spawn again. It is just a matter of time and conditioning.> I love my convicts and want them to reach the max. size of 6inches. Should I separate the pair and grow them separately as they are 1.5 yr old and have not reached their maximum size? < Your convicts will either put their resources towards reproduction or growing. Separate them and they will grow faster than if you kept them together and they continued to spawn every few weeks.> 2)Will feeding large amount of live brine shrimps to the fry cause gill flukes or any other disease? <No.-Chuck> Any help will be greatly appreciated. thanking you.

Getting the babies... Convict Cichlids  12/16/05 Hey Bob, nice website you got. I was just wondering, how do you get the babies out of the tank? <Usually just netting them, sometimes they can be siphoned... sometimes removing the parent/s, other livestock instead...> Right now they're in a 40 gallon tank with the parents and another convict. They don't really bother each other, only till they get near each other, that when they start to bug each other. But I did look at the article about convict cichlids, and I read that you have to use an airline tubing to get the babies out of there and into their own tank. Can I use the same tubing I use to clean the tank with? <Yes... but with Convicts, best to remove the parents, leave the young in place till they're larger... dime-sized or bigger> Or do I use airline tubing? And how big does the tank for the fry have to be? Can I use a one and a half gallon? Or do I buy a 5 gallon? <"Bigger"... the better> Well I hope I did not ask to much for just getting the babies out. And your site still rocks!!!!! Sean <Because of folks like ourselves writing back and forth. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Convict fry care, helping oneself  12/17/05 Oh and one more thing, what do the fry eat? right now I'm feeding them crushed flakes. But they don't seem to eat the crushed flakes... <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm See the Articles and FAQs re cichlids, reproduction, feeding... Bob Fenner>

Sexing Convicts - 11/24/2005 Hi, I have a question about my pink convict cichlids that I haven't been able to answer.  I have two of them, and am having a hard  time telling if they are both female or not.  They have engaged in what  I've read to be typical mating behavior, with one chasing the other around, as  well as some aggressive fin nipping, culminating in an odd sort of act where they  face each other and puff their gills out (I have no idea what this means).    <Just something they, and other cichlids, "do".  Makes them look bigger, meaner, tougher....> This ended ultimately with one of the two laying eggs; I believe it was the larger of the two, which had begun to swell a bit at the belly, and is now back to normal size. My question is do males sometimes have some orange on them?   <They can....  This unnatural color morph has been selectively bred for quite some time; a little bit of orange isn't surprising.> I cannot tell by fin length, as this fish's fins got nipped off during the chasing phase. (They are growing back now, however)  The fish I know to be female has a lot of orange spreading across the majority of her body and dorsal fins,  while the other has only a tiny few scales on its belly.  They both spend a lot of time near the eggs, which are cloudy with a white dot near one end.  I'd really like if they were viable, but, I'm not sure.   <You'll know soon if they're not.> Thanks very much,  -Jenny <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Convict Basics  10/6/05 I have tried to find book on how to breed convict cichlids, I am not a beginner on aquariums, however I want to expand and start breeding tropical freshwater fish! I want to find a book containing atmosphere, tank size, temperatures, "decorations", and basically all I need to know on breeding these  "Tank Criminals", if you could help in any way please email me back with some response, thank you very much for you  time. < To breed convicts you need a pair. Males are larger than females with longer fins. Females often have a orange patch on the belly area. When they are about 2 inches you can feed them very well on some live or frozen food. Do big 50% water changes. Keep the water around 80 to 82 F. This will get them to spawn. The eggs hatch in three days and the fry become free swimming in another three. At this stage they need to be fed baby brine shrimp, micro worms, and crushed flake food. They should separated from the parents at this stage. Good luck.-Chuck. Reed

Breeding Convicts - 05/16/2006 Hey love your page, I look at it a lot. The reason I am writing you all is I just got a pair of convict cichlids. When I 1st added them to the tank they stuck close to each other, now its been 1 week and the larger of the 2 has gotten darker. The larger one doesn't do anything but chase the smaller one around. The smaller one tries to hide but The larger one looks for him/her. I know that the smaller one is a female, Because she has the pinkish red coloring on the stomach. But is it normal behavior for the larger one to get darker? Do you think the larger one is trying to breed and the smaller one is not ready yet? Also is it normal for him to search for the smaller one like that? I've found that she hides close to the surface and when he comes near she tries to back away so she isn't seen. thanks, David < This is pretty normal for young convicts. The male is chasing the female and trying to get her to breed. She is not ready and needs a hiding spot where she can rest and build up some body fat. Try some live or frozen food to get things going. Floating plants, either plastic or real will give some cover. Zoo Med now has a floating aquarium log out that will allow picked on fish a place to hide and recover. It works great.-Chuck>

Breeding Convicts - II - Female Convict Hiding From Male  - 05/17/2006 Thanks, for your advice. I just got the floating plant and she doesn't even go near it. She just sits by the filter and doesn't move. You think she will be okay? <  This is strange because in your first letter you said she was at the surface trying to get away from the male. She has probably never seen a floating plant before and needs a few days to get use to it. If the male convict can still see her then you need more vegetation/rocks/caves for her to hide. Ultimately you could move her to a different tank, use a tank divider or add numerous cut pieces of PVC pipe for her to hide in and around.-Chuck>

Convicts Breeding? - 05/06/2006 Hi!  I have 2 female convicts and I am seeing a lot of aggression towards each other.  The larger Convict is hovering near a rock formation and guarding it ferociously.  Could she be laying eggs?  What will happen without a male to fertilize them?  Thanks!  Sharon < It has been documented that a female convict will lay eggs even if there is no male available to fertilize them. Females usually have yellow-orange coloration on the belly while males tend to be larger with longer fins. Unfertilized eggs usually die after 24 hours, turn white and are soon fungused.-Chuck>

Convict fry   6/11/06 Hi, First just want to say your website is so informative but I need to know this one question PLEASE help. We have three black convicts 2 male 1 female. Two have paired off and spawned quite a few times. Over Easter 2006 we removed quite a few babies (approx 1.5 to 2 weeks old) and put into a smaller tank we did lose quite a few as I think the new tank wasn't conditioned enough but we have managed to keep approx 20 babies. My question is this "Out of the 20 approx 4 have their stripes already and the rest are still a whitish colour the majority of all the babies are about 1cm long. Is the fact that some are stripy and the rest not an indication of whether they are male or female? < There is a white form of convict that has been going around for at least 40 years. I suspect that your convicts are genetically linked to these and some of your fry are showing those white color characteristics. It has no bearing on which ones are male and which ones are female.-Chuck> We also have in the babies tank 2 different lots of baby bristle nosed cat fish. The first lot transferred into the same tank a couple of days after the baby convicts and the second batch were put in there on 7th June 2006. The same parents of catfish bred both those batches. Anyway would just love an answer about the convicts with/without stripes Thanks for reading my email Tracie Sunshine Coast Australia

Breeding Convict Cichlids   6/3/06 WHASSUP WWM! I have to thank you guys and your site! your site is soooo useful! Thanks for helping people out with their pets! Back to my question, I have a twenty gallon that has two convict cichlids and two dojo loaches. I'm trying to breed my two convicts. It says on the topic about convicts that the male has longer fins and a little hump on the forehead. While the female has orange on its belly and gets more color at breed season. Well I tried many methods for these small creatures to breed, I tried raisin the temp to 82 degrees, and keeping the tank crystal clean, and it said on one site to feed the convicts  four times a day. Not much but only a few pellets or sticks or whatever food that the owner feeds the fish. And it also said to fit in some blood worms or shrimp. I tried it and nothing happened, the convicts just became more fatter when they eat. I got them one week ago. Do you think it's just because they're just getting used to their new surroundings? Or do I just wait a few days longer? I hope you can really help me one this problem! THANK YOU! Xavier <Give you cichlids at least a couple of weeks to spawn. If they are a pair then you should see something by then. Ideally you should have gotten six fish. This almost always guarantees you a compatible pair.-Chuck>

Breeding Size for Convict Cichlids   5/27/06 Hello. Your site is most amazing! I have a question though. My question is about the size of a convict. What is the minimum size of a convict to start breeding? < Around one inch.> Right now I have a 20 gallon that is bare with only a few big rocks. I will be adding rocks soon. I bought my Convicts today and the male is already trying to breed with the female, but the female flares back and follows a short distance to the males cave, but trails off for some algae to graze on. I'm thinking that the male is about one inch, and the female is also one inch. Is this size suitable for both male and female to breed at this size? < Get ready for a spawning.-Chuck> Thanks for your big help. Sean

Convicts Breeding, Aggression, Behaviour - 05/15/2006 Hi, I'm a newbie and I found your site and love it! I've learned a lot about the fish that my husband and I have but I haven't been able to find the answer or advice I need for this particular situation. <Then perhaps I can help.> We bought a pair of black (zebra) convicts and a Jack Dempsey. We had all 3 fish in a 55 gallon tank - they are all small, the female convict is about 3 inches and the male convict is about 4 and a half inches. Jack Dempsey is bigger at about 5 and a half inches.  The convicts had babies and they kept them away from the Jack. We noticed that the convict parents were getting very tired constantly protecting their babies from Jack so we put Jack in a 30 gallon tank. Right after we moved the Jack to the other tank, the male convict started being really mean to the female and wouldn't let her near the babies. It was like he was chasing her and fighting her. We took her out and put her in with the Jack for about a week. We then tried to put her back into the tank with the male and the babies and he tore after her. <This behaviour is rally not uncommon.> We decided to take the male convict out and put him in with the Jack and they seem to be ok with each other. There's a lot of chasing but it seems to be like they are playing.   <Trying to establish territories in too small a space; it could get ugly.> So now we have the female convict and the babies in the 55 gallon tank and the Jack and the male convict in the 30 gallon. The babies are about 4 weeks old now and we will be giving most of them away in about 3 weeks.  My questions: if we decide to keep some of the babies, how many would be ok to keep in the 55 gallon tank? <They WILL grow up, and they WILL breed.  I would not try for more than three adult pairs, and that only if the tank is heavy with plants or decor for establishing territories.> Would it be ok to keep the mother in with the babies and have that tank be just a convict tank? Or would it be ok to introduce some dither fish in too?   <I would wait until most of the young are of a saleable size, pick the "best" to keep, sell, trade, or give the rest, add some dither fish - a friend of mine swears by rainbow fish for dithers for many of his cichlids - and reintroduce the male once the female's fully recovered.  Chances are, the next spawn, they'll be more amenable to chasing dither fish than each other.> I'm thinking that the Jack and the male convict would be ok in the 30 gallon tank. <The jack Dempsey may outgrow it, and the two in the tank together may spell trouble before long.> And that the babies that we decide to keep (and the mother) would need the 55 gallon tank.  Thank you so much for your answers/advice and for all the work you all do in helping people like me - clueless but loving the fish!  -Jackie <Glad to be of service.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Breeding Convict cichlids  9/15/06 Hey, I have two  convicts in a 29 gal tank with neon tetras, swordtails and a painted glassfish. Well.  I asking if you could help me with helping them to breed. All the male does is  chase the female around until she hides. Well if you can help me  thanks < Do a 50% water change and clean the filter. Make sure the water temp is up around 80 F. Feed them lots of live foods. Females  usually have yellow on the body so make sure you have a pair.-Chuck>

Re: Breeding Convicts II   9/16/06 Thanks Chuck. I  been doing all of the things that you have suggested, but all the male does is chase her and he seems to want to kill her. So can help me with more info pls. Thanks <The male has set up a territory within your aquarium. He will only allow a female that is ready to spawn into this territory. Usually when spawning these fish I recommend getting at least six. You have a very good chance of getting a pair but more important is that they are more compatible then if you were to force a pair together. lower the water temp to the mid 70's. This should take them out of the breeding mode and make the male less aggressive. If he is still after her then remove one of them from the tank. Feed them with live food and keep the water very clean for at least two weeks. Then reintroduce them and then raise the water temp slowly back up to 80 F. After two weeks the female should have developed some eggs and be more likely to spawn. Just because they have spawned does not make them a very compatible pair. The male may eat the spawn and be after the female to spawn again in just a couple of days so watch them closely.-Chuck>

Convict Cichlid Questions   9/6/06 I read most of the questions on the site and Googled the question and still can't find an answer. My male and female convicts one had stripe and one was all pink (or albino?) anyway they had babies, the pink one which I assumed to be  the mother took care of the babies mostly chasing the one with stripes the  father) away until eventually he killed her. So I got rid of him and was left with the babies. Now they are getting bigger some of the biggest ones being about four times the size of the smaller ones all have stripes. None of them are pink like their mother and some of them now have an orange color on their fins and on their bellies, are they sick? is this coloring normal? and why  aren't any of them pink? Please help Christine < The pink coloration is a recessive gene that normally only shows up when a pink convict is mated with a pink convict. If you were to mate your fry together, they would probably have some pink fry. Female striped convicts usually have more color than the males on the belly area. This is normal.-Chuck>

Breeding Convicts  7/9/06 Hi, new to keeping fish. I have a tank with 5 small convicts and a large 4 in male. The male has started cleaning a pot over the last 5 days and he and a female very colourful orange belly and green fins have dug a pit outside the pot. They are constantly cleaning the pot and the pit , and chase any fish that come near , but when I feed the leave the pot and the other fish do not bother them , but as soon as feeding is over they return to cleaning and chasing the other convicts , are my convicts breeding , if so how long will it be for them to spawn ? Many thanks. Dave (McNaught) < Do a big water change. Raise the water temp to 80 F. Feed them well with some black worms or brine shrimp and I bet they spawn within a week.-Chuck>

Keeping Convicts With Their Fry - 10/11/06 I have 2 convict cichlids in a tank. They have always been together and have had about 6 sets of babies . But they always eat them. Right now they have 25 that are 11/2 months old that are doing great. But they just had more babies. Will they eat the older ones? What can I do to keep the older babies safe ? Also since they have been having babies how can i keep there tank clean without bothering them? < When cichlids are paired up and ready to breed they will spawn almost every two weeks. In three days the eggs hatch. In another three days the fry become free swimming and need to be fed. After another week the parents get ready to spawn again and the fry are now looked at as a threat to the new eggs and fry. If they are not chased away then they are usually killed or eaten. They should be removed to a bare tank with a sponge filter and fed baby brine and crushed flake food. The bare tank is easy to clean and the fry can be seen feeding off the sponge filter.-Chuck>

Sexing White and Black Convicts    1/21/07 I have a 29 gallon freshwater tank with a pair of Convict Cichlids I acquired from my neighbor about 3 months ago.  The pair spawned within a week of introducing them to their new home.  I now have a 3 inch female, a 4.5 inch male, and at least a hundred+ babies (blacks & pinks) ranging in size from 1/2 inch to 1.25 inches.  This is the only tank I have, so I plan on relinquishing  most of the fry to a local fish store.  I do, however, want to keep a few pair, probably a pair of blacks and a pair of pinks.  My problem is that I have read all of the sexing tricks for convicts on every web site that Google has provided, and I still can not sex even the largest of the babies.  None of the fry are showing any orange or yellow belly markings, and I think the whole males have longer dorsal fins than females thing is a hoax because my female's dorsal fin goes farther past her tail fin than my male's.  The only variance I have seen at all are that some of the black's pectoral fins are very dark like my adult female's, and the other's are the same gray tone as their bodies like my adult male's.  Could this be the determinative trait I am looking for, and how do I sex the pink's at all at this size??? Thanks for any help. Steve <Here are some generalities in sexing Central American cichlids. Size, males are almost always larger than the females considering that all the fish are the same age. Finnage, dominant males seem to always have longer fins. If they are dominant then they rule the tank. Smaller males usually get beat up by the largest male so they will not show any sexual characteristics until they get to be sexually mature and are ready to challenge the male. Breeding males may have their fins bit off by the female during courtship, but they usually grow back. Coloration, Male convicts usually have more bluish coloration in their fins and the females may have orange yellow coloration in the belly-stomach area. Not all convicts have this coloration but seems to be prominent in the fish being bred in Florida and very common in the hobby. Look at them with a flashlight from the side and see if any of these colors are starting to show up. Usually the fish have to be at least an inch long before you start to see anything. Body shape, very large males get a hump on their forehead where they store fat. females don't have a hump. The last resort would be to vent them. This is a technique in which you turn over the fish and look at the ventral area. There are two openings. If the openings are the same size then it is usually a male. In females one of the openings is usually larger that the other.-Chuck> Baby Convicts With Big Fish II Ok I get your point but I really think they won't eat them. <Your fish must be very well fed.> I was able to raise 100 s of convicts in the tank under the same conditions it was the same kind of situation I bought 3 convicts and they never got bugged and well in time they had babies never ate any. They had like 6 more batches in the next 3 months. Man I had babies of all sizes and not a one got eaten. So that's where I am stuck. Was your guesstimate on the fact you know that they would get eaten cause they are jack d. and not convicts? < Cichlids are opportunistic predators. This means they are pretty smart and won't pass up an easy meal. Just about 90% of the time the smaller convicts would be eaten or killed. You may be lucky. But on this website I still can't recommend placing smaller fish with much larger fish and expect them to survive.> Or  that tiger Oscars will eat anything? < Oscars are not as smart as the convicts and the smaller fish might get away with it. If they get eaten by the Oscars you are out four fish.> Second of all if they did survive do you think having 4 jack s with my Oscars would work when they are full grown? <When cichlids breed they pretty much take over the entire tank. You fish will go together for awhile, but if they breed you tank will not be big enough.> And thanks for taking time to answer ... Tyler < Next time correct your grammar. Spent way too much time fixing this email so it can be printed.-Chuck>

Convicts Taking Care Of Fry  4/8/07 Hi guys, Thanks for the info it really helped and now I have at least 30 baby convicts in a seashell. But how long do the parents take care of the fry until they try to eat them? <Usually a week after they are free swimming they are going to be eaten because the female is now getting ready to lay eggs again and she will need a nutritious meal so she can lay lots of eggs.-Chuck>

Convict Cichlid Egg Color - 03/25/07 Hi again guys and thank you for the info before my convicts now have little white eggs on a seashell in my tank. I was wondering if the eggs are supposed to be this color <Dead eggs turn white, live eggs are a translucent brown color.> and I was wondering if after the fry is born will my male convict go back to swimming with my Oscar fish? they did before. < After spawning the male convict should be guarding the fry. Once the fry are gone the pair bond could be gone too and the male convict might not pair up again.-Chuck>

Keeping Cichlid Eggs Viable  03/26/07 Thank You yet again but I have one more question. What can I do to keep the eggs brown? And I swear this is the last email for a while. <When cichlid eggs are first laid they tend to be a translucent clear brown color. If the eggs are not fertilized in 24 hours they will turn white and begin to be taken over by a white water mold. This use to be commonly referred to as a fungus but recent work at Sacramento  State have shown this to be actually a water mold. The adults should be able to stay with the eggs and remove and dead or diseased ones. Clean warm water goes a long way to keep eggs healthy. The addition of some Methylene blue helps retard the water mold. If you continuously get no eggs to hatch then you could have a male that is not fertilizing the eggs.-Chuck>

Breeding Convict Cichlids   03/23/07 Hi Guys,         I have two convict cichlids, one female and one male, and the females underbelly colors are almost like a rainbows color. She seems to be getting bigger and they always dig holes in my tank gravel together they really get along. <Convicts usually present few problems for breeding once they've formed a pair. They usually make excellent parents.> I was wondering if the female holds the eggs in her belly and if so how long until she lays them? <She'll spawn when she's ready. Two things: be sure and raise the temperature slightly above normal (25C/77F+) to encourage spawning and also pay attention to diet. These are omnivores, so a mix of greens (chopped spinach, blanched lettuce, algae) and insect larvae will get the female in best possible condition. Alternate regular and vegetarian flake. Constipation is very common in omnivorous fish given exclusively carnivore diets, and will cause abdominal swelling that might be mistaken for eggs. Beyond that, breeding convicts should be straightforward and rewarding. They exhibit lots of parental behaviours such as parent-to-fry signals when alarmed. Enjoy! Neale>

Convicts and Oscars, repro.   3/14/07 Hi, <Hello> I stumbled across your website during a Google search and I found it very informative, however there are questions that I would like to ask about our convicts and Oscar fish. <Okay> Firstly, we have an adult size Oscar and recently introduced a much smaller Oscar into his tank.  These two fish interact with each other extremely well and we were wondering how we can determine if we have a breeding pair... <Mmm, they'll make this known in time... by successfully reproducing... There is such a thing as two females laying eggs together...> they seem very playful to each other and are always rubbing against each other but we would also like to know how we can tell the difference between a male and female Oscar? <Posted... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/oscarreprofaqs.htm and the linked files above>   A friend told me that you can tell the male from the female if their tale fin and dorsal fin overlap.....I have done heaps of research online and I have never come across this information....is their any truth to it? <Mmm, some... the unpaired fins on most Cichlid species are longer, more pointed in males than females... but individual care, early life history can alter appearances...> Secondly, we have a pair of convicts which every couple of weeks lay eggs that never hatch.  This has happened about 4 times now.  The first couple of times the female ate the eggs but more recently the some of the eggs turned a "yellow" colour and then these little worm like creatures appeared all over the eggs.  The eggs have since been eaten but the wormy things still remain.  Can you tell me what this means and what we need to do to get our convicts to breed properly? <Mmm... May be that there is some creature in your tank interfering here... I would move these fish to another system, and dump, clean the present tank... Perhaps bleach wash it and its contents... See WWM re> Thanks so much for your time... Peta and Simon <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Convict Cichlid Aggression    5/12/07 I put 2 convicts together but the female keeps running away but she has yellow all over her?????????? Blake <Male convicts are larger with longer fins. Females usually have some yellow coloration on the stomach area. Males will usually dominate other fish, especially other convicts. Until the female is conditioned and ready to spawn he will continue to chase her and may even kill her if there are no places for her to hide.-Chuck>

Convict fry capabilities    5/7/07 Hello! WetWebMedia has help me tons on breeding my pair of convicts (THANK YOU!!!!) But I'm having a problem. I have had a breeding, as I was planning for. I have moved the mom into a holding tank for the period. My brother is getting rid of 2 Dojo Loaches, will those 2 be fine in my tank of fry? < If they will fit in the dojo's mouth, then they will be eaten or the dojo's will attempt to eat them, depending how mobile they are.> They are messy eaters, but with the loaches in the tank will eat the leftover droppings. So whatcha guys say? Hope these 2 will do well! -Sean < Dojo's are always eating. When the food is gone, they will go after the fry.-Chuck>

Hi, I have got a male and female convict who have babies which are about 3-5cm long and there are about 20 of them.    5/11/07 <Well done.> What should i do with them and when how big till I can sell them? <Ideally, rear them in another tank to a marketable size, but if you must keep them with the parents, double the rate of water changes. Cichlid growth is slowed down by dirty water, and so the more often you change the water in an overcrowded tank, the faster the baby fish grow. As for selling them, ask your retailer! Usually, 5 cm should be fine for them.> Is it true that you can put them from cold water into warm water will it make the female have more babies? <Never heard of that and sounds dubious. Cichlids hate cold water, and many will go into shock even if you pour too much too-cold water into their tank.> Thanks Jamie <Cheers, Neale>

Baby convicts...    5/11/07 Thanks Neale for the reply but I forgot to ask you a question. You said to put the babies in another tank last time they kept on dying one at a time. <Greetings. Baby convict cichlids are generally easy to rear. If you're losing them, there's a few things that could be to blame. Water quality is obviously important, just as with adult fish. Don't dump them in an uncycled tank and assume they'll survive. If you need to, remove some mature filter media from the main tank and put in the filter in the breeding tank. A simple air-powered box filter is adequate and can be easily filled with filter floss or ceramic media from the mature filter. Regular water changes are *essential* when rearing baby fish. Diet is another issue: baby fish invariably need lots of small meals, at least 4 per day, often 6 is better still. Baby fish can easily starve to death. Many baby fish are tricky to feed, but convicts (like most cichlid babies) are easily reared on powdered flake food and liquid fry food. That's because they're somewhat omnivorous and don't need live baby brine shrimp or infusorians. The next issue is infections. At least until they are free swimming, newborn baby fish can be subject to things like fungus. Very small fry can even be attacked by things like snails and planarians, so keeping the tank clean is important. All things being equal, Convicts make *excellent* parents, so if you can, let them do the work for at least the first 2-3 weeks. In most cases, cichlids are better at looking after their eggs and fry than we are! Cheers, Neale>

Convictssss  7/8/07 Hi WWM Crew! I recently bought 3 convicts (2 females, 1 male) and put them in a tank. The tank is clean with relatively new water. The male kept chasing the females viciously and seemed like he was biting them. Finally, i removed one of the females and put her into a secluded tank and she DIED !! after 3-4 hours...I quickly removed the other female also. Right now they are separated. My question is: Should I keep them separated until they show signs of breeding (i read about how to do "train" them) or should i put them together and just bear with the chasing and do water changes? Thanks! Frank Ye <Hi Frank. What you describe is 100% normal for convicts. Please have a read of the Convict FAQs over here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/convictfaqs.htm . And yes, you do need to separate them until the female is ready to spawn. Even then, introduce them carefully and watch for problems. A good tip is to use a divider of some sort (such as egg crate) with a hole cut in it big enough for the female but too small for the male. This allows her to swim to safety. There's really no way to "train" cichlids to do anything other than their normal breeding behaviours whether you approve of them or not. Much like humans really! Cheers, Neale>

Re: convictssss  7/8/07 Sorry, just one more question. I know you guys are busy replying to other people's emails. What kind of signs do they show when they are ready to spawn besides coloration on female? and also, coloration on males too? Thanks, Frank <Hello Frank. There are no obvious signs that the female is ready to mate. All you can do is feed her well ("conditioning") on the best foods available. Live foods such as snails and mosquito larvae ideally, but also (wet) frozen bloodworms or similar. Once she is "in condition" she will look healthy and have a nice round abdomen. You can assume that any male in good physical shape and sexually mature will be willing to assume. Introduce the two fish into the breeding tank, the female first, and the next day the male. Watch closely. The bigger the breeding tank, the better your chances of a stable pair forming. I'd suggest 30 gallons for an as-yet unmatched pair of fish. Once a stable pair is formed, these fish breed readily and the fry are easy to rear. Be 100% sure you have somewhere to get rid of the fry. Most tropical fish shops can only accept a certain number of Convict cichlid juveniles. They are aggressive fish, and the quality of much of the stock in the hobby is poor, lacking the lovely colours (and impressive size) of wild-caught fish. You can easily end up with 100+ juveniles, and few retailers will take all of them from you. Cheers, Neale>

Re: convictssss 7/9/07 Do convicts have "good memory"? I had my male in the breeding tank for a little while and he seemed to have set up a territory. I removed him because he was attacking the female. When I put him back, will he remember? Thanks. Frank <Cichlids generally don't remember their territories *if* you move all the rocks and ornaments about. But simply taking the fish out and then putting him back a week later isn't certain to work. As I've said repeatedly, what you're experiencing here is normal with convicts and there's really nothing you can do to prevent it. You need to condition the female to the point where she is ready to breed, and *then* introduce her to the male. Anything else is likely to end in tears. Please, there are lots of good books on cichlids generally and Central Americans specifically. Go buy or borrow one of these. Cheers, Neale>

Re: convictssss-- 7/10/07 One quick question. I don't have time to borrow books. What does it mean when the cichlid is wagging its "tail" at another one? <Frank, don't take this the wrong way, but if you don't have time to sit and read a book, you probably don't have time to look after animals properly. Reading and learning isn't an optional extra, it's an essential part of the hobby. Anyway, cichlids waggling tails can mean various things. If accompanying other threat behaviours, like gaping and gill flaring, it's likely a sign of aggression. If the female is doing this in front of the male, it typically means she's inviting him to mate. If two males are doing this to each other but not otherwise being threatening, it's a dominance thing, and they're using the strength of the water current from the tail to judge who's the strongest. And so on. There are several books about fish behaviour out there, and many are focused on cichlids. Cheers, Neale>

Convict cichlids   8/19/07 Hello WetWebMedia crew, I find your site very useful. I have a pair of convict cichlids, about 2.5 inches, and right now they are moving around gravel and digging pits and redecorating an area in the tank. And the female likes to stay in this little cave rock thing that I have set up. Does this mean that they're going to breed soon? do you know how long? Frankie <Yes, they're likely going to spawn soon. Spawning usually occurs within a couple of days of the fish pairing off and decorating their cave. But often cichlids will eat the first batch of eggs, almost as if they're "practising". But convicts generally make superb parents, and before too long you will have more baby cichlids that you'll know what to do with! Cheers, Neale>

Re: convict cichlids -- 08/22/07 Hello WWM: Yay, my convicts spawned yesterday! Why is it that the male convict doesn't really display his stripes or his "colors" as much as the female does? is it because there are no other fish/predators in the tank? (they are in a tank by themselves) <Well, male convicts are less colourful than females anyway. But also remember the colours aren't there for your amusement, but for communication. When fighting over territory or flirting with potential partners, the colour patters will be used in different ways. When communicating to one another while guarding the fry, and eventually when communicating with the fry themselves, different colours are used. So for now, just sit back and enjoy cichlid behaviour. Cool behaviour is, after all, why anybody keeps these cranky, violent animals! Cheers, Neale>

Growing convict fry -- 09/01/07 Hi WWM! How fast do convicts grow (if all conditions are normal)? I have a lot of fry from a spawning from a couple weeks ago! they are doing well. I'm just wondering how fast they will be growing. Thanks! =D <Greetings. Cichlids generally reach a "saleable" size in 3-4 months, and will be at least sexually mature if not adult sized within 6-9 months. This varies somewhat from species to species, but other factors, specifically diet, aquarium space (i.e., water quality and aggression), and water temperature are also very important. But your convict cichlids will fit into this range, all being well. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: convict fry - 9/3/07 Dear WWM, I read somewhere that convicts breed every 2-3 weeks? Will they breed again even if the last batch of fry are there? or will they keep on taking care of those fry? <Convict cichlids, like most other cichlids, will spawn within days of their fry or eggs being removed. If they are left with their fry, then they will extend care to them for about 3-4 weeks, after which point the parents will become increasingly short-tempered towards the fry. Eventually the fry will swim away (or be killed, if the tank is too small) and the parents will spawn once more. It isn't a good idea to let the cichlids breed constantly because it will wear out the female especially. So leaving them with the fry for a while gives you a few weeks to "fatten up" the female before she breeds again. Cheers, Neale>

Female Convict non-male companion   7/25/07 Dear WWW Crew, 5 or 6 wks ago a co-worker had convict cichlids that were breeding out of control (go figure). He netted up the babies and got them sold/given away. He missed one little female and was going to just flush her. Sigh. Sounded heartless to me so I took her & set her up in a spare 20 gal. I always keep spare bio-wheel filters hanging on my main tanks so I can have a fully cycled tank for quarantine or for emergencies such as this (learned that the hard way). I used water & gravel from a cycled tank and she's doing great, about 2 1/2" long. I've become pretty attached to the little orphan, her name is "Lifer". I wanted to name her "20 to Life" but was out-voted. My sister told me about your web site and told me to search 1st, which I did. But it seems most people keep convicts as pairs and most the information was about breeding. I don't want babies but would really like some suggestions as to a 'companion fish' for her. (will be quarantined of course). Maybe one of the smaller catfish? How about another female Convict? Also, do you think a 20 gallon would be big enough for another fish? If not I'll just leave her in there by herself. Thanks for reading this and thank you for your undying dedication to this web site. No doubt you've saved thousands of fish with your advice! Amelia <Hello Amelia. Territorial fish like Convicts don't become "lonely" in the way humans do. We're sociable animals that have evolved to live in groups, and when we're alone, we feel sad. Territorial cichlids, on the other hand, have evolved to defend their "patch" fearlessly from potential competition, and view any other cichlids as rivals to be expelled at once! So unlike humans, they get unhappy when forced to live cheek-by-jowl with other cichlids in a too-small aquarium. The only time they break this rule is when the find a mate, and even then the truce is often only temporary! So, your female Convict is just fine by herself. I personally wouldn't recommend adding any more fish to a 20 gallon tank containing a Convict, since they have the potential to be pretty waspish. But is she's still a baby and pretty docile, you could add an Ancistrus sp. catfish of similar size, just making sure there were caves aplenty so each fish could set up home comfortably. Cheers, Neale.>

Convict parents, repro.  10/14/07 Hello WWM, <Frank> My pair of convicts bred a little more than a month ago. The fry are doing well, as I have removed them from their parents and put them in a separate tank. However, now that the parents are by themselves (which they have been for about 2 weeks), they are starting to chase each other. Actually, just recently, the male has been fiercely chasing around the female. Is something wrong? <Mmm, no... they're just spawning again> Should I remove the female? There are no other fish in my tank. Thanks! Frank <Well... do you want to produce more young? It may seem cruel, but if the successive batches of eggs, young are left with the parents, this will slow down their rate of reproduction... Bob Fenner>

Pink Convicts... repro./beh.    2/19/08 Hello WWM Crew, I was given 6 pink convicts and when 2 paired off I gave away the remaining 4 to LFS. Approximately 3 weeks after spawning and raising the fry, the male killed the female and I don't know why, <Tank not big enough; Convict cichlids are notoriously rough when overcrowded, and being so much bigger than the females, the males can seriously harm females that do not respond to their overtures to breed again.> yet he does not bother any of the fry. <Yet.> I now have about 30 fry left from the spawn that are growing nicely (about 2-3 months old). Could it be because they are so much smaller than he is? <He won't attack them until he views them as rivals (in the case of the males) or females that won't mate with him. In any case, you will need to get rid of the fry soon.> I like these fish and would like to have more but due to the aggression I don't know what to put in the tank with 'Periander', nor do I know what size tank would be acceptable. <Convicts aren't community fish by any measurement, and keeping them with tankmates is always difficult. When I kept half a dozen of them, I did so in a 200 gallon tank with a similar number of Firemouths, a Jaguar cichlid, and a Red Devil. Also some catfish -- a smallish channel catfish and a Gibbiceps catfish. Adult 'Chinese Algae Eaters' (Gyrinocheilus aymonieri) also work well, being extremely fast but also quite nasty animals themselves. Large Botiine loaches might work, too, provided the loaches were kept as a school (for protection) and had ample hiding places. In other words, your best choices for tankmates are larger and more aggressive cichlids, very fast Cyprinids, and armoured catfish. This does rather depend on the size of the tank though; there's absolutely no point trying to keep *anything* in a 20 or 30 gallon tank containing a mature male Convict. Even a 55 gallon is pushing your luck, and adding tankmates will be a bit of trial-and-error.> I am hoping you could make some generalized suggestions to try. <Cheers, Neale.> Thank you for your time.

Sexing Convicts 3/10/08 Hi guys I read on your website about convict cichlids, and I was wondering if you guys could tell me if I have a male and a female. The first picture I am pretty sure is the female with the orange tummy, the second I am pretty sure is a male, and the third picture is them together. I appreciate the help thanks! < If your fish are the same age then I would think that the male would be a little bigger, but according to the color they look like a pair.-Chuck>

Convict Cichlid babies  03/04/2008 Hello I recently bought 2 convict cichlids and now a month later I have babies! They are being held in a 29 gallon tank[ all by themselves of coarse ]. And I am going to buy a 125 to raise them, is this a good idea <A very good idea, though perhaps overkill if all you are keeping is the Convicts. A 30-40 gallon tank should be fine for the parents, and you can easily rear the offspring to sellable size in a 20-30 gallon tank. Do check with your local retailers about whether or not they want Convict cichlids, and if so, how many. While it is fun to breed fish, you do need to plan on what to do with the offspring. Anyway, well done! Neale.>

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