These fish are hardy and breed readily in the home aquarium. Convicts will lay their eggs on a hard surface like slate or a up turned plant pot. Unfortunatly they will readily uproot aquarium most plants.
convict's have a bad rep. for being aggressive, they are in fact not more aggressive than any other similar cichlids and can be very beautiful with very deep blue and black bands and bright red dots in the belly area on mature females (the picture here is a really bad specimen), they are very hardy and breed readily and are excellent parents, people don't think much of them because they are easily available, but i personally think they are every bit as interesting as any other cichlid or fish from a personality perspective and very beautiful if you get a the right specimen (pics here http://www.seriouslyfish.com/profile.php?genus=Amatitlania&species=nigrofasciata++&id=187 are better than the one on here, but i've seen much better looking specimens), there is also a pink/white version of this fish, they don't have any bands, pure white males, females have the typical red specles when mature
I had these few of these fish for about 3 years in a 55 gallon tank (not planted). These fish have character (like other cichlids) and can be quite stunning. The
"alpha" male I had subtle yet breathtaking coloration.
They quite peacefull and even a bit skittish until they have fry. Once they have them though, they do become very defensive and will take on anything of any size including your hand.
Once they start breeding, they will not stop. So be carefull what you wish for, if you are getting these to see fish babies.
convicts are very interesting to watch breed. as the eggs start to hatch and become wigglers, the female will transfer the wigglers to a separate area from the original laying spot. sometimes they can be transferred from one side of the tank to the other! the mother does this by picking the little wigglers up with her mouth and it almost looks like she chews them a bit before she spits them out in their new location. I currently have 2 pairs of convict cichlids in separate tanks. the first pair i bought have always been very nice to each other. but the second pair i got,the male is always chasing the female around and nipping her. yet they still lay broods of eggs. so the whole thing about convicts being good parents... is really up to the personality of the fish.
These were the first cichlids I was able to successfully breed. They are extremely easy to breed and keep, provided that you have enough space and do not house other cichlids that may eat the young. I would put a terra-cotta style planting pot into the tank and without any help from me these fish would multiply. I did have some trouble keeping these fish with community fish, but they are not as aggressive as Oscars and Jack Dempsy cichlids. Sometimes, but not always, when they pair off the male will attack other Convict Cichlids in the same tank. They can be really bad tank renovators, and will dig up plants and knock over rocks, so be sure your tank is well set up for these fish. Also, they tend to be diggers; be sure you have enough substrate in your tank and do not keep these fish in a tank with an undergravel filter as they will expose the plates and render it useless.
Convicts are cool because i catch them all the time when ever i go to the river behind my house but when i kept them in my 20gallon (AKA the monster tank) they would breed like crazy and the messed up part was the babies help keep my channel catfish full lol
Give them a cave, they go to town. They inbreed more than rednecks do. My male is inbreeding with his 8th gen granddaughter. I've gotten lazy, barely clean their tank, water change maybe once or twice a year (I'm at college so my home is far away). They still live. The parents are only killed off by the father so they are a bit aggressive. They nip at any fish but their own children up to a certain age, then the children are fair game too. The female undergoes a bit of abuse after egg laying. Great fish if you just like watching fish breed.
Definitely underrated in their beauty and character. A nice Black Convict cichlid that displays colors vibrantly is one of the most colorful and beautiful, IMO, cichlids out there on the market. Considering the low price and robust hardiness they have, it definitely is a great beginner fish. I currently have this fish in a planted tank with other african cichlids. I run small amounts of CO2 injection into the tank for the live plants and the fish thrives better than any other fish i have in there. There is a video on youtube i have of mine displaying nice colors and your able to see the planted tank at one of the early stages when i first started. - "Cichlids with Live Plants" SnumberF(username) Simply put, i love this fish and i don't understand the bad rep it is getting. Maybe i got lucky with mine but to me, it is a steal out there for how cheap this beautiful fish goes for.
Usually despised by more of the experienced hobbyists, they are hardy and breed faster than one could say "Stop Breeding!!!" They are aggressive towards smaller fish and are scared towards bigger fish ime.