The convict cichlid is a very popular aquarium fish among the aquarium hobbyist which is also known as zebra cichlid. It occurs along the eastern coast of Central America from Guatemala to Costa Rica and on the western coast from Honduras to Panama. It is frequently found in moving water of stream and lakes of shallow rocky areas where cracks and crevices are available.
The Convict Cichlid was described by Albert Günther in 1987. It belongs to the family Cichlidae under order Perciformes of class Actinopterygii. The common name convict cichlid is derived from the vertical black stripes on the body which are reminiscent of the striped prison uniforms of British convicts while the species name ‘nigrofasciatus’ literally means black-striped. At present this species is not listed on the IUCN Red List.
The cichlid convict is a very popular fish due to their good coloration and personality. It is very easy to care for and it is best for beginners due to their hardiness. It requires 20 gallons tank with plenty of space for swimming. The tank should have sandy substrate with rocks, roots and pieces of driftwood. They enjoy plants, especially floating plants to help subdue the light. The tank should also have good water movement and efficient filtration with wide range of pH that ranges from 6.0-8.0. The Convict Cichlid is an aggressive cichlid that should be kept with similarly sized or larger fish with same temperament. Suitable tank mates include the Blue Acara, Rainbow Cichlid, Jack Dempsey, Green Terrors, Jewel cichlids, Salvini, catfish, plecostamus as well as other convict. It should not be housed with fish that are peaceful, semi-aggressive and small sized fish. 25 – 50% of the tank water should be replaced at least once a month. If the tank is densely stocked 20 – 25% should be replaced weekly or every other week.
Check out recommended plants for Convict Cichlid
The convict cichlid is an omnivorous fish and in wild condition it takes a wide variety of foods such as crustaceans, small fish, insects, worms, plants and algae. In captive condition, it accepts most prepared and frozen foods like cichlid flake food, pellets and vegetable based foods with Spirulina, blanched lettuce or other veggies. It also eats beef heart, freeze-dried bloodworms, Tubifex, plankton and worms. Feed should be supplied 2-3 times a day.
The convict cichlid is cave spawner and it is one of the easiest fish in the world to breed in captive condition. Breeding tank water should have suitable temperature and pH which range from 77-82 0F and 6.0-8.0, respectively. Parents should be conditioned with live foods, such as bloodworms, Daphnia and brine shrimp to prepare for spawning. Feed should be supplied continue until spawning takes place. The mature female lays 100-300 eggs on the walls or top of the flower pot. After laying eggs, the female fans the eggs while the male keeps an eye on the nest and patrols the outside of the nest. The eggs hatch within 3-4 days. Within another 6-8 days the fry becomes free swimming. Newborn fry should be fed with crushed flake food, Daphnia, baby brine shrimp and pellet food for omnivorous cichlids.
It is relatively easy to make differences between the male and female. Males are larger than females of the same age. The body of the male Convict is bluish gray in color with 8-10 black vertical stripes along the body. The female convict have bright colorful bodies and intense black stripes, while the male’s stripes are somewhat dulled. Females also have pink or orange belly and dorsal fin while the males have longer dorsal fins and more rounded head profile.
The Convict Cichlid is readily available both in fish stores and online with moderate price. You can buy it from online aquarium fish shop from your home by ordering them. To buy this fish, look below online vendor and ask them for details.
- Convict Cichlid
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