วันพฤหัสบดีที่ 20 กันยายน พ.ศ. 2555

Fish Data : Convict Cichlid


Common name:
Convict Cichlid , zebra cichlid 

Central America: Guatemala, El Salvadore, Costa Rica & Panama

General Body Form:
General cichlid body type

    Also known as the "zebra cichlid"; both this and "convict" are good descriptions of this species. It has black vertical bars on it's bluish-lavender body. There is usually a pink tinge to it's belly, and well-kept fish will have an iridescent pattern on their fins and sides. Both the dark stripes and pink belly become more pronounced during breeding. Males usually have darker stripes and pointier fins (in addition to their usually larger size), and fully mature ones will sometimes have a bit of a hump on their head. Females have pinker bellies and are usually rounder. There is also a pink albino strain. 

Distribution:  The Convict Cichlid, also called the Pink Convict or Zebra Cichlid, was described by Günther in 1867. They are found in Central America on the Pacific slope from Costa Rica to Guatemala and on the Atlantic slope from Honduras to Panama. The rivers they inhabit are the Tarcoles, Aguan River, and Guarumo River. They like waters that are flowing from smaller streams to larger fast flowing rivers. There they dwell among the shallow rocky areas where they hide in cracks and crevices, feeding on worms, insects, fish, crustaceans and plants. They can also be found in the warm pools of springs. 

Status:    This species is not listed on the IUCN Red List.

Description:    The Convict Cichlid has a blue-gray, cream, or blue-lavendar base on the body with 8 to 9 dark bands that run vertically. They have a break in the vertical bands in the area behind their head, almost forming a "U" shape. The fins are clearish to light yellow. With in-line breeding there are now several color varieties, and some of the cream and "pink" varieties lack the vertical bars.
   All cichlids share a common feature that some saltwater fish such as wrasses and parrotfish have and that is a well-developed pharyngeal set of teeth that are in the throat, along with their regular teeth. Cichlids have spiny rays in the back parts of the anal, dorsal, pectoral, and pelvic fins to help discourage predators. The front part of these fins are soft and perfect for precise positions and effortless movements in the water as opposed to fast swimming.
Cichlids have one nostril on each side while other fish have 2 sets. To sense "smells" in the water, they suck water in and expel the water right back out after being "sampled" for a short or longer time, depending on how much the cichlid needs to "smell" the water. This feature is shared by saltwater damselfish and cichlids are thought to be closely related.

Size - Weight:    Male Convict Cichlids grow to a length of 5 - 6" (13 -15 cm), with females reaching 3 - 4" (8 -10 cm). 

     This is perhaps one of the most forgiving fish in the pet trade... they are amazing survivors and adaptors! However, they are not for the weak of heart and for those fishkeepers with peaceful community tank fish. These fish are NOT known for their gentle dispositions, and need to be kept with other aggressive, larger fish that will hold their own (it can and will harass some fish to death). They have been known to pick fights with Oscars more than 3X's their size, and win! Best kept alone or with their own kind, but fascinating fish to watch.

    Convict are among the easiest bred fish in captivity, but watch out, make sure you know what you are getting yourself into when you get a pair (see below). This fish has no special requirements at all and is extremely hardy. It is great for beginners who are having trouble keeping more delicate species alive, but they must be prepared to see this territorial fighter in action if they want to keep them with other species, even other bad-attitude cichlids like red terrors and jack dempseys. If kept in the right setup, you will really see their amazing colors and behaviors come through--they are very entertaining fish. They can be fed a variety of foods, including flakes, cichlid pellets, frozen/live brine shrimp, blood worms, and vegetables like chopped-up spinach leaves. They are omnivorous, and not picky eaters, but very greedy. 

Care and feeding:    The Convict Cichlid is an omnivore that can be fed any foods for omnivorous cichlids, vegetable based foods with spirulina, blanched lettuce or other veggies, beef heart and worms. Feed 2 to 5 small pinches of food a day in smaller amounts instead of a large quantity once a day. This will keep the water quality higher over a longer time. All fish benefit from vitamins and supplements added to their foods.
   A pair can be put in a 20 gallon tank, but it is not suggested that they be in a tank that small once they become full grown. A full grown pair will survive and get along in a 50 gallon tank much better. They do fine with good water movement and efficient filtration. They like a warm tank and can tolerant a wide range of pH, pretty much anywhere from 6.0 to 8.0, though it needs to be kept reasonably consistent.

   The Convict Cichlid is a rewarding specimen for the aquarist as it is easy to keep. Provide a sandy substrate with rocks, roots, and pieces of driftwood. They also enjoy plants, especially floating plants to help subdue the light. They will re-arrange the aquarium so make sure substrate plants are anchored down. Normal aquarium lighting works fine if there are floating plants, and low to moderate lighting if no plants. Do water changes of 15-20% every 2 weeks to a month, depending on stocking numbers.

   They are subject to infections as well as other diseases that ail all freshwater fish. One common problem is Ich. It can be treated with the elevation of the tank temperature to 86° F (30° C) for 3 days. If that does not cure the Ich, then the fish needs to be treated with copper (remove any water conditioners). Several copper based fish medications are available for Ich. Copper use must be kept within the proper levels, so be sure to follow the manufacturers suggestions. A copper test also can be used to keep the proper levels. You can also combine increasing the temperature with an Ich medication treatment. Intestinal disease can be treated with metronidazol. 

Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom:    These fish will swim in the middle and bottom areas of the aquarium. 

Acceptable Water Conditions:   They like a warm tank and can tolerant a wide range of pH, pretty much anywhere from 6.0 to 8.0, though it needs to be kept reasonably consistent.
   Hardness: 7 - 9° dH (they prefer soft to mildly hard water)
   Ph: 6.0 - 8.0
   Temp: 74 -82° F (23 - 28° C) 

Social Behaviors:    The Convict Cichlid is an aggressive cichlid that can only be kept with larger fish that have the same temperament. The Blue Acara, Rainbow Cichlid, Jack Dempsey, and Green Terror are the type of fish they won't terrorize to death. Do not house with fish that are only just semi-aggressive or fish large enough to swallow them whole. Once they are mating they will kill anything in the tank if they can. They have been known to beat up large plecostomus and Oscars 3 times larger than themselves!

   This fish can be kept alone, resulting in a slightly skittish and more mellow fish, or as a male and female pair. They are generally aggressive toward those of the same species especially when mating. 

Sexual Differences:    Males are larger, but not as brilliant in color as the females. They develop longer, pointed anal and dorsal fins as they get older like most male cichlids. The females have orange in their belly and dorsal fins.


   Convict Cichlids are easy breeders. They can easily start spawning at the age of 16 weeks. They create monogamous pairs and breed in caves or crevices found in their habitat. The parents are generally protective, guarding their eggs and fry. They are more hostile during this period, watching over their territory. The female lays her eggs on top of flat stones caves, followed by the male fertilizing the eggs. Both parents take turns in fanning their eggs till it hatch. The fry are expected to swim after six to eight days to feed for themselves.
   Convict Cichlids are a great choice for the first time aquarist. They are hardy and easy to breed. They will accept most foods and are very easy to care for. They are an ideal starter cichlid.


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