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My first Convicts

1731 Views 16 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  aquatickid
Anybody know something about these guys? They are my first S.A Cichlids in my new 75G. I chose two that had different features. The dorsal fins have different shapes and one of them has some colors i did not know convicts had. Is it a normal coloration? Does it go away? Can anyone point out wich is male and or female? The colored one is pictured best. The other one has pointed dorsal and caudal fins. Thanks in advance community!

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Convict cichlids are from Central America. They are extremely unpredictable behavior-wise, and are real scrappers, so be careful what you put in with them. They'll eat anything, but in the wild they eat mostly algae and some plant matter, so be sure to include this in their diet. The two you have are male and female (male has longer fins and less color; females usually have bright orange bellies and orange and blue fins), and will likely pair up and breed (if they don't they'll fight with each other, so you'll know right away). The best things for a pair of convicts are A) space, B) cover, D) ditherfish. You have the 75, great. I'd scatter all those caves throughout the tank instead of piling them in a corner. I like to use serpae tetras as ditherfish. They are gorgeous, bombproof, and cheap. I'd say for a 75, maybe 20 serpaes. SAE make good dithers too, and if you raise them together in groups of more than 5, they shoal loosely. And they're great for keeping down the hair algae. A male/female pair of BN plecos will breed and keep down the green slime and diatom algae.
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Awesome! I though that was the sex after a bit of searching. They have been embracing each other since i got them so thats cool. What do you mean by ditherfish? Some fish to keep them on there toes so to speak? I'll look into the serpae tetras since i dont know exactly what they are. What is an SAE? The caves look good stacked so what i might do is order the Giant cichlid stone and another 15 pack and make another structure on the other side of the drift wood. I have some longfin plecos in another tank that are gonna get re-homed! Thanks for all the advice, i'll take it into consideration!
Ditherfish are fish that are in the tank with the pair of breeding cichlids to give them a target for their emotions. If there are no dithers, one or both fish may panic and turn on the other and attack it, which can get pretty rough in cichlids. SAE... siamese algae eater. They are unique fish. They get up to 6 inches, so having a big tank like the 75 is great. Overall color is silver and they have a black stripe on their side running from nosetip to through the tail. Make sure the stripe runs through the tail, not ends before the tail fin begins. This characteristic deciphers the true SAE from false SAEs. If you don't get them in groups, they grow up and get really crabby and chase other fish.

Longfin bristlenose plecos... I just hope they stay out of the convicts' way, as convicts are extremely defensive parents. Putting more caves in the tank will help with this because the plecos will be able to find hiding places that aren't in the convicts' territory.
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I wouldn't get SAE or any sort of catfish/pleco. The convicts will make their lives hell when they spawn, and those sorts of fish will wind up decimating any potential fry you may or may not have in the tank
If you are looking for other tankmates, I would honestly suggest other very sturdy fish. Things like other sorts of cichlids, such as an oscar or jack dempseys or parrot fish or severums or chocolate cichlids and ect, for fish that will be main focuses in the tank and will also be able to hold themselves against a breeding convict pair. For the bottom, I would also think something along the lines of rope fish or delhezi/senegal bichirs (the other possible bichir species get a little bit too big for a 75, I mean I have an endli in my 75 and while he is doing okay, he really would shine better in something with a bit more space).

Dithers will be dependant upon what other fish you want to put into this tank, but general idea is fast and hardy.

What I would considering doing (and this is just me, just to give an idea) would be to add 1 albino senegalus bichir, 1 delhezi bichir, a nice green severum, and a acara of some sorts
for dithers, if you don't want to plant this tank I'd say 5 or 6 silver dollars, the normal variety not the red hooks, but if you do want plants your other options would be large rainbow fish and larger tetras such as congo and perhaps diamond.
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Yeah, i'm researching a bit on some of these fish and i thank all of you guys for the info! I've been thinking about planting it to but just not as dense as a fully planted tank. Maybe some A. swords and some giant hairt grass in pots. I have a lot of wisteria that is overgrowing my other tank. i might throw the trim mings in here and see how they do. I really like the J. Dempsy's, they got some nice sparkle to them, and the rainbow fish are cool too. I'm also dying to find some Apistogramma Cockatouides!! The double reds are awesome. On the Bichirs i'm not sure, i have to look em up cause i cant even picture them in my mind. I'm sure they are cool though. Thanks again.
do NOT get aposto with convicts, they will wreck them lol
rainbows I feel are too similar to convicts, but if you did rainbows I would do a breeding pair of those and then a ton of dithers, but if you did duel breeding pairs it'd be cooler to do firemouths I feel.
Look at my 75 gallon journal, I have cichlids and plants and 2 bichirs. I WANTED a breeding pair of rainbow cichlids but that kinda didn't pan out as I planned
everywhere i turn on the internet has conflicting information!!! (excuse the spelling and punctuation! It's friday and i'm drunk! But i'm in love with my tanks:icon_redf) I like this little pair of convicts, they seemed to be paired because they dance around eachouther and even the female goes after the male for attention. I'm glad i got them but now im cracking my head open trying toi figure out what to get next. It's a 75 so it's not small but it's not big either. I want something else inhere but dont know which way to go. So far im leaning towards some firemouth or dempseys......More to the firmouths although the electric blue dempseys are bitching! I also love cory doras, can they be kept in the tank? God this is hard because i really do care for the wellfare of the fish so idont want to just throw [censored][censored][censored][censored] in here and destroy life. I'm not budist hippy but i apprechiate the hobby and don't like to waste the beautiful fish, you know? I hope someone has experience with this situation that has knowledge to share! Thanks and sorry for the grammar!!LOL, Vodka's nice. :)
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cories might work...maybe? But even with their armor a pissed off cichlid is going to be a pissed of cichlid. I was a cichlid person before I was a planted person, and I still am a cichlid person. EBJD's are fragile until they hit 3" but they are a great fish once you get them well started. I also love fire mouths. I think a firemouth and an EBJD, alongside some sort of schooling dither such as silver dollars would be your best bet for this. You get color, size, personality, and some variety. I still think the best bottom dweller would be a bichir of some sort though, unlike the cories they won't go after the eggs so much due to their more passive way of hunting. I also feel like they are sturdier fish, although you can try the cories if you like, but I wouldn't myself.
Firemouths are super cool cichlids and totally compatible with convicts. JDs are unpredictable, so you could get a party pooper or you could end up with a fish that can kill a convict in a single slam. If you do go with firemouths, get four or six and let them pair up on their own (they'll get along better this way). Another cichlid that may work would be the blue acara, although a breeding pair might be too aggressive and territorial for the convicts. Severums would also be cool.
Firemouths are super cool cichlids and totally compatible with convicts. JDs are unpredictable, so you could get a party pooper or you could end up with a fish that can kill a convict in a single slam. If you do go with firemouths, get four or six and let them pair up on their own (they'll get along better this way). Another cichlid that may work would be the blue acara, although a breeding pair might be too aggressive and territorial for the convicts. Severums would also be cool.
I would also like to add that electric blue jack dempseys tend to be more docile than regular dempseys, but are a more fragile fish when young.
A pair of acara would be kind of large to keep with a pair of convicts in a 75, so I would go more with the severum or firemouths idea
Thanks guys. Honestly i'm leaning towards the firemouths right now with some silver dollars for dither fish. I dont really like those birchirs, they look prehistoric! LOL, some people like that. I'm about to post more pics. I changed the scape a bit by adding some eco complete over the top. I gives it a more amazonian look. Besides, i got tired of people asking me if it was a salt water tank! I also added an Anubius nana and some Wisteria for now. planing on getting an Amazonian sword and some other stuff. Maybe even some flamemoss for the drift wood that the cichlids could graze on.With a bunch more nana on the wood. I'll let you guys know when i get the firemouths. Take care. I might have to order them cause i doubt i'd find them around here! Any good online sites to nuy from?
You don't want to get cheap firemouths. They are fragile and extremely ugly. I'd try for them or any other cichlids you take fancy in.
if you want to be fancy, get one of the other fish that are closely related to firemouths, like t. elliot
if you want a reputable place to get cichlids online, tangled up in cichlids is very very VERY good
I might consider one firemouth,one Blue acara,one Severum for 75 gal tank with the pair of convict's which I hope you have made arrangement's for offloading the fry.
Dither fish are used to make retiring fish more active by allowing them to see other fishes swimming about.
Target fish are used to help aleviate aggression (to a degree) by giving the aggressor's other fish to target with their aggression.
Would not consider any pairs of other cichlid's with the convict's who can as already mentioned,,be brutal while protecting fry and you don't want another pair of breeding cichlid's at this time ,or same time.IMHO
T. ellioti is a totally gorgeous fish. They aren't as belligerent as firemouths, who aren't really belligerent in the first place...

The convicts will probably be hard pressed to keep their kids safe if they're in with other big cichlids. You never know until they breed, though. My pair lets me dink around in their tank and stuff. A pair I had previously could draw blood. It's scary being on the wrong side of a six-inch male cichlid protecting his young.
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