FAQs on Convict Cichlid
Related Articles: Convicts,
Freshwater Angels, Discus, Juraparoids, Neotropical Cichlids, African Cichlids, Dwarf South American Cichlids, Asian Cichlids, Cichlid Fishes in General,
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 Disease, Cichlid
Convict; repro. mostly; comp.
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
<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.>
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Convict cichlids; repro., beh.
I am new at keeping convicts cichlids.
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.
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
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Convict cichlids 9/28/17
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.
<Ah, thank you. BobF>
Convict fry (From single parent?) Parthenogenic cichlids
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.
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
<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>
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
<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
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
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.
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
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
<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
<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
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
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
Convict babies attacking parents - Overcrowded Perhaps?
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
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
Let me give some basic stats and info about these fish and their
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
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
<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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
Its sad to see how humans can ruin and destroy any living thing we want.
Thank you for your time,
<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:
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:
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,
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?
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
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
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
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
IT WOULD BE APPRECIATED! Pretty please? I read on your sight by
one crew member (i wont mention names)
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
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
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>>
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.
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
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
<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
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
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.
<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,
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?
Should i remove them into one of my other tanks?
<IF there's apparent damage, and/or one cowering/hiding from the
And will the fry be ok by themselves now?
Any answers to these questions would be greatly appreciated.
<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
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
Could that be attributed to 1-sided vision?
< Partially sighted fish react strangely to everything, shadows,
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
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
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!
< Thank you for your kind words.-Chuck>
Convict Cichlid comment, repro. beh.
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.
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
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.
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
<All fair points. Of course not all expressions of personality are
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
Hello I bought some cichlids a few months ago and they have
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
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
<... Please look up these species on WWM and READ re their
Convict Cichlids, repro.
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
<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
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%
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
Females don't tend to be aggressive, but I'm sure it
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
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
Anything that will go with a full grown Oscar and a bichir and will
effectively help keep the sand clean will be acceptable, any
<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.>
Re: Convict: Male or female? 8/30/11
Thanks for the help! I do think I will go after a Featherfin or
<Not necessarily gregarious, so do watch for aggression.>
and yes I know they won't eat the actual debris... Poop moldy food
<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
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.
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
The fry are gone!? ?
Ok. So I'm guessing my female convict cichlid had some eggs some
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
<Moving the one parent perhaps... any activity in the system...
Mass Convict Breeding
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
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
stops vision but allows water movement next to the dividers if need
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
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
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
Also, the adults would be fed earthworms, pellets and flake, the fry
crushed flake of min 30% protein. Does this seem adequate?
<Welcome, Bob Fenner>
Wigglers in the
Hi im Skye. My wigglers have wiggled down in the gravel.
<Wigglers? Some sort of worm, insect larvae... placed as
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
My cichlid laid eggs.
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.
<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.
Convict Cichlids, fry and tank mates
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
and 2 Bala Sharks.
<Hope this is a REAL big aquarium.
These are big fish with very specific needs.>
Every one gets along great!!
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
<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
Also when is it ok to remove the fry to another tank and they not
<Any time you like. The parents will re-spawn within the
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.
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
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
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
<No clue, Zack. On so many levels! Are the two females TURTLES by
<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
<Why do you have a heater in the water? Turtles don't need
<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
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
<I'd put the separator twixt these two for a week or two as
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
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/convictreprof.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Convict Cichlids spawning!?!
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
<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
Sorry about any miss-spelled words.
<I see our reputation precedes us'¦>
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
<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
<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
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
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
<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.>
Breeding Young Convict Cichlids
Hello wet web media! Let me take a moment to say what a wonderful sight
< 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
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
< 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
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
<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 10/8/2010
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
Convict Babies Without Stripes
Firstly thanks millions for a great site, I fins myself reading peoples
queries just to become more educated in keeping my fish healthy and
anyway my question is this..
I have successfully bred a batch of young convicts what a great
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
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
<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
Re Convict Babies Without Stripes 19.01.09
Many thanks for your rapid response, your explanation was very
<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
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
Oscars routinely grow to fourteen inches or so, and are incredibly
Again, the one you have is likely not "large," and merely a
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:
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
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
Thanks a lot
Convict cichlids breeding information
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
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.
Re: convict cichlids breeding information
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
< 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
keeping is all about.-Chuck>
Rescued 7 pink convict cichlid... sys.
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
I have been reading on the breeding of them and no one has ask about
<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
<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
Re: rescued 7 pink convict cichlid
wow thank you for your very fast response and thanks for having a site
<Happy to have helped. Cheers, Neale.>
Amatitlania nigrofasciata, breeding
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.
I was wondering if it is ok to separate the male from the female and
<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
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
Re: Feeding Convict Fry; Somewhat Urgent!
Feeding Cichlid Fry II
Thank you, Chuck!
Is what the adults chew and spit out enough for the fry, or do they
<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
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
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;
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
<Stay observant and no, not natural>
On a happier note, how should I get the food to my Convict fry when
<Read... on WWM re their reproduction, that of other Neotropical
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
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
<Almost guaranteed, posted here:
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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>
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>
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.
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,
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>
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,
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.
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>
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
|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.>