Friday, February 12, 2010

Convict Cichlid

Convict Cichlid are commonly know as zebra or convict in the aqua world there scientific names are cryptoheros nigrofasciatus. They originated in the river Central America from Costa Rica to Panama. They are terittorial and aggressive fish but they are very easy to keep and breed in aquariums and is therefore an ideal beginner’s fish and especially suited for those who want to keep their first cichlid. The name convict cichlid describes these beautiful fish and its black stripes on a white background very accurately.

Convict cichlids is a hardy species that can adept to just about any water condition which is one of the reasons behind this fish suitability as a beginner cichlid for all aquarist how can offer them an aquarium of at least 100l/ 24gallon You should however know that Convict cichlids can sometimes be white aggressive towards other fish which means that they shouldn’t be kept with other to small or timid fishes. Suitable tank mates to keep with convict cichlids are instead fish species that are large enough to stand their ground or hardy species that are fast enough to avoid the convict’s aggressions such as some barbs. Another good option is to keep a pair of convict cichlids alone in an aquarium without any other species in the aquarium. Keeping them alone will make it easier to observe their fascinating breeding behaviour including the rearing of the fry.

Convicts are one of the most commonly available fish in the hobby. With their ease of breeding, these pocket-sized monsters from Central America are often referred to as the "rabbits" of the fish world. One male Convict plus one female Convict equals babies on a regular basis, usually every 4 to 6 weeks, for the rest of your original pairs life. Pound for pound, Convicts are one of the most aggressive of all Central American cichlids, but this is often overlooked, due to their small size. Spawning time is when you will see the most aggression, and I have heard of Convict pairs taking down full grown Oscar's more than twice their size. These are n ot community fish and cannot be considered safe unless a very large tank is involved.

The Convict Cichlid is probably ranked number 3 out of all cichlids as far as popularity goes, with Angelfish and Oscars being 1 and 2 respectively. They have the common name of "convict cichlid" because of the white and black contrasting patterns they sport. Males may be larger than females of the same age and the females may have a pink or orange tint to the belly region. There is an Albino Convict Cichlid as well. This fish can get to be about 4 inches (10 cm) and should do fine in a 20 gallon (78 liters) or larger aquarium.

This is a fascinating species that is known as being a profilic breeder. If you have a male and female, chances are you're going to get some baby convicts soon. All they need are stable water parameters and a cave or flower pot for securing the eggs. They will get quite aggressive in protecting their territory and they should not be kept with peaceful community type fishes. The great part about breeding convict cichlids is watching the parental care given to the fry. This can provide hours of enjoyment.

Keeping a pair in a community tank is just asking for trouble. If you have only one, you may be able to get away with keeping them with peaceful species but caution is still advised.

They should eat nearly everything offered including flakes, frozen and live foods. Look for cichlid pellets which can give them all the vitamins and minerals they need.

An aquarium intended for convict cichlids should be decorated with a few flat stones and perhaps a cave or two. Plats are not necessary and most plants will be destroyed by the fish. There is however a number of hardier plants that can be kept with convict cichlids such as Amazonian swords plant and java fern. Using plants of this type can be beneficial by making the fish feel more at home and by making the aquarium more beautiful to look at. The fact is that convict cichlid will make them selves feel at home however you decide that you want to decorate as long as you avoid using harmful or toxic things in your aquarium decoration.

They will accept a very wide temperature range and pH level range as long as it keep relatively stable but is best kept in 20-28C/ 68-82F and pH 6-8.

Feeding convict cichlids is very easy since they accept any food you may choose to give them and can without any problem be kept and bred on foods such as flake food and pellets.

There are several colour variants of the convict cichlid such as an albino variant often sold as ivory cichlid and a pink variant. These variants can sometimes be a little harder to breed then the regular convict cichlid but you should be able to succeed as long as you keep the water clean, the fish well feed and have patience.

Good luck with your convicts cichlids!