Care Level: Easy
Live Plant Safe: No
General Description: The Convict Cichlid is one of the most ubiquitous cichlids in the aquarium trade, with a large distribution across various environments throughout Central America. One of the most inexpensive, hardiest, unfussiest and easiest cichlids to breed, the Convict cichlid sounds like the whole package. This low maintenance however comes at a price, as Convict cichlids are extremely violent when in breeding behavior. Convicts have been observed to take on fish four times their size in order to defend their territory and/or fry. Because of this, Convict cichlids are best kept in a “species only” tank or with specific tank mates (see ‘Care Requirements’ below). Convicts are rather plain in color, having an overall grayish-blue appearance with several dark stripes. In this species, female Convicts are actually more colorful than the males, having a bright orange-yellow color spot on the side of their bodies; this intensifies during breeding. Males grow larger than females, and their dorsal and anal fins get more pointed. If interested in breeding, it is best to keep a single male – female pair unless the aquarium can accomodate multiple pairs. If the Convicts are juveniles and cannot be sexed, be prepared to separate them as they mature. If breeding is not of interest, only acquire a single Convict cichlid unless their sex can be absolutely determined. An adult Convict cichlid can reach a size of approximately 5 to 6″. Most Convict cichlids at Aquatics Unlimited are raised by local hobbyists here in Wisconsin.
Diet Requirements: In the wild Convict cichlids are omnivores. In the aquarium, a Convict will accept just about anything. A diet made up of various high quality vegetable and protein based flake foods and sinking pellet foods are ideal, in addition to offering frozen foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp that contains spirulina algae and other mixed freshwater preparations. Freeze-dried Tubifex worms are also a favorite. Variety is the spice of life in order to maintain color, immune function and longevity of your fish.
Care Requirements: A minimum 55 gallon aquarium is ideal for a pair of Convict cichlids. A larger group of individuals will require more space, or if the pair is already quite large, size up accordingly. Given their hardy nature, Convict cichlids can endure the initial break-in cycle of a newly set-up aquarium. Biweekly water changes are encouraged to keep water parameters up to standard for most large cichlid aquariums (Nitrates < 30 ppm). An adaptable species, Convict cichlids can tolerate various water parameters and aquascapes. The aquarium can be decorated with driftwood or other natural looking furnishings to provide some hiding and spawning areas. Convict cichlids do best when kept with other semi-aggressive Central American species in a very large aquarium. Recommended water conditions, 76-82° F, KH 5-25, pH 6.0-8.0.
Purchase Size: Medium: 1-1/2” to 2-1/2”
Note: Your item may not look identical to the image provided due to variation within species. Purchase sizes are approximate.