Central American Cichlids • question about hyposalnity, convicts, damsels and clowns

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question about hyposalnity, convicts, damsels and clowns

Postby hyposalinity » Wed Apr 30, 2008 1:59 pm

I have read some interesting arcticles about hyposalinity used in the marine fish world as QT tanks prior to introduction to the DT. From what I have read it appears many marine fish are capable of living for extended periods of time in what appears to be brackish conditions. It is recomended that your newly acquired marine fish (let's say a clown or damsel) be introduced to your QT tank, then the salinity is gradually reduced from 1.025 to 1.009 over a period of 1 week. Then the specimen is kept in the QT tank at that specific gravity for a period of 2 more weeks. The last week you increase the salinity back up to 1.025, then introduce the specimen in to the DT. There have been accounts of people keeping prized Angels and Tangs in hyposalinity for up to a year . . . reportedly anyways, no proof that I can provide. I have also read that Mayan and Black-Belt Cichlids can live in full strength salt water, and that Convicts and Dempseys can tolerate brackish conditions. If hyposalinity can be used to QT a Damsel to rid of marine ich, why couldn't hyposalinity work to cure a Convict of fresh ich before being introduced into the DT? With all this said, is it possible for a Convict and lets say a 3 or 4 sripe damsel to inhabit a brackish aquarium together forever? I know there are brackish and fresh water Damsels, and that the Gregory Damsel can inhabit salt, brackish and fresh water. Has anyone ever had a Convict in a brackish tank (1.009), and has anyone ever had a Gregory Damsel, fresh or brackish Damsel as a pet, either in a Cichlid tank or in a species specific tank? Just wonderring, because Cichlids are fresh water cousins to Damsels, and Damsels are closely related to Clowns.
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Postby hyposalinity » Thu May 01, 2008 8:20 am

WOW, 36 people are interested enough in the thread to take a peak, but no replies?
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Postby shef » Thu May 01, 2008 10:11 am

I think with freshwater fish you'd have to do hypersalinity which they can only stand for a short while. The ich that affects freshwater fish (Ichthyophthirius multifiliis) is not the same parasite as the one that causes saltwater ich (Cryptocaryon irritans ) The freshwater ich obviously can tolerate hyposalinity because it occurs in freshwater.

I recently had a gold rim tang that developed ich and did a lot of research on hyposalinity which when done properly seems to be very effective for treating ich, but it has to be done very carefully or you can harm the fish. Apparently they can tolerate it pretty well, it's bringing them back up to normal saltwater salinity that is the problem.

I have also heard of dempsey's being kept in brackish (and someone on my local forum has done it), I can't comment on how well the fish did but if it contracted ich in brackish conditions, I still don't think hyposalinity would work because the parasite affecting the fish would be chthyophthirius multifiliis and that parasite is found in freshwater so lowering the salinity from brackish to fresh would probably do nothing.

I could be wrong, that's just my understanding of things. :)
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Postby thetim6 » Thu May 01, 2008 11:19 am

Saltwater fish have to remove the salt from their bodies through a variety of biological processes, such as urination, fecal excretion, and even releasing salts from their gills. Their internal body chemistry has a much lower salinity than the surrounding water.

When saltwater bony fish are placed in hypo, their bodies work less to remove salts and it makes living that much easier for the fish on a molecular level. Now you must be thinking, why can't we keep saltwater fish in freshwater? Keeping saltwater bony fishes (osteichyes) in hypo or freshwater over a long period of time will destroy their kidneys, eventually causing fatality.

Hypo is a wonderful tool for the saltwater enthusiast, but there really isn't an equivalent for freshwater enthusiast. Freshwater fish, unlike saltwater fish, have a higher salinity in their cells than the surrounding freshwater. Freshwater fishes constantly work to get rid of excess water because osmotic pressure tries to fill their cells with water to dilute the dissolved salts in the cells to the same concentration as the surrounding water. So putting a freshwater fish in salty water that is up to or below their internal cells salinity is OK short term. However, if you were to place a freshwater fish in saltwater the same salinity as the ocean, the fish would die quickly. Their bodies can't get rid of the extra salts, and the water will literally be sucked right out of the fish by osmosis.
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Postby hyposalinity » Thu May 01, 2008 11:35 am

I understand putting a true freshwater fish in salt will kill them, usually within a a 5-10 minutes. I also know that saltwater fish (depending on which species) can live for up to an hour in fresh before dying. I am asking, how possible is it for a Damsel (some species are known to frequent brackish waters) and a Convict (which frequent brackish waters) to both live in a "hypo" environment with a salinity of 1.009 - 1.011? I have looked all over to see exactly how tolerant a Convict is to salinities, specific gravities, salt PPT, but can't find an answer. When I lived in Okinawa I would always see Chromis (very close to Damsels) living in shallow waters near run off's along with the brackish Mud Skippers. I had a hunch that the water may be very low in salt content, if not fresh. So, I decided to dip my fingers in it and give it a little taste test. The water where these little Chromis inhabited had little to no salt taste to it when I put it against my tongue. I assumed the Chromis probabaly did swim to and from location, but it was still interesting. I was thinking of experimenting with the idea, but I'm not one to do harm to a fish without knowing what will happen 1st. If it was at all possible, then yes, I would try it.
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Postby thetim6 » Thu May 01, 2008 11:43 am

Some people might think it's cruel, but I would say go ahead and try it.

Chromis are damsels, but I couldn't tell you if chromis are euryhaline. Anything that is in an estuary would be considered euryhaline IMO unless it were to stay in a very specific location and never move (for example, oysters.)

If you are seeing chromis in an estuary, that particular species of chromis might be euryhaline, like a rockbass or striped bass, and you have a good chance of keeping it in brackish water.

I don't know about convicts being able to handle brackish water, I've never heard of it so I can't comment. However, there are plenty of sunfish that are euryhaline, and sunfish are the temperate evolutionary equivalent of tropical cichlids.

It's worth a shot IMO, I don't think they will die immediately and you should be able to judge if the fish are stressed or not. Adjust the salinity slowly, I'm sure you were planning on that anyways but it doesn't hurt to mention it.
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Postby westwood8183 » Thu May 01, 2008 11:51 am

http://www.flowerhornusa.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=7269&hl=flowerhorn%20saltwater&st=0

This person kept a small flowerhorn in a saltwater tank for 3 months I believe, before he ended up taking the tank down and putting the fh back in freshwater. I think he said it grew from 3" to 6" in that time and ruled the tank lol.
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Postby cage623 » Thu May 01, 2008 11:55 am

As impressed as I am about the level of knowledge in this forum I am not sure that you are going to get the answers you are looking for here. I think that the people here on this forum seem to know just about everything about cichlids and the hobby of keeping them. Having said that I don't know that anyone will really know how well cichlids (convicts in particular) would do in a hypo environment for an extended amount of time. Because this is a freshwater fish and thus is best suited for this type of environment I would say that is going to be what almost everyone has experience keeping them in. (I could be way off on this; people on this site are always surprising me.)

What you are proposing sounds like it might be possible, but is in no means (IMO) ideal for either species in the long run. Once again IMO, if you really want both of these fish they would be far better off in their own tanks with their own individual, ideal water conditions. Besides if you did try this, knowing convicts, they would try to mate with the Damsels. :lol:
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Postby hyposalinity » Thu May 01, 2008 12:12 pm

cage623 wrote: Besides if you did try this, knowing convicts, they would try to mate with the Damsels. :lol:


Interesting you mention this. I've seen so many hybid Cichlids (African and SA/CA) and hybrid Clownfish (Maroon/Ocellaris cross, and different Ocellaris color combinations) happening. It might be neat to have a new brackish Cichlid/Damsel hybrid that could live in either fresh, brac or salt environments. I am primarily interested Convicts as the Cichlid test fish. Because of the waters the inhabit, how prolific they are, will breed or attempt to breed with anything, and they are similar in size to most common Damsels (3 and 4 stripe, Gregory, Blue Devils, Yellw Tail Blue Damsels, Dominos, Green Chromis etc). A Dempsey would be a better choice as far as mortality goes, but not very likely to co-habitate or breed with Damsels since it would probably eat them, and it would require such a bigger aquarium. Firemouths would be an option if they could tolerate bracksih water, but I haven't read anything to make me think they could. Chromides may be the best option, but I am not a fan of Chromides at all. I have had a 3 stripe Damsel before, it was always displaying courting behavior towards my Domino and Tomato clown, it made me think they would be the best option for a Convict mate.
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Postby cage623 » Thu May 01, 2008 12:18 pm

hyposalinity wrote:
cage623 wrote: Besides if you did try this, knowing convicts, they would try to mate with the Damsels. :lol:


Interesting you mention this. I've seen so many hybid Cichlids (African and SA/CA) and hybrid Clownfish (Maroon/Ocellaris cross, and different Ocellaris color combinations) happening. It might be neat to have a new brackish Cichlid/Damsel hybrid that could live in either fresh, brac or salt environments. I am primarily interested Convicts as the Cichlid test fish. Because of the waters the inhabit, how prolific they are, will breed or attempt to breed with anything, and they are similar in size to most common Damsels (3 and 4 stripe, Gregory, Blue Devils, Yellw Tail Blue Damsels, Dominos, Green Chromis etc). A Dempsey would be a better choice as far as mortality goes, but not very likely to co-habitate or breed with Damsels since it would probably eat them, and it would require such a bigger aquarium. Firemouths would be an option if they could tolerate bracksih water, but I haven't read anything to make me think they could. Chromides may be the best option, but I am not a fan of Chromides at all. I have had a 3 stripe Damsel before, it was always displaying courting behavior towards my Domino and Tomato clown, it made me think they would be the best option for a Convict mate.


...What? ...Are you serious? :-?
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Postby shef » Thu May 01, 2008 12:20 pm

I don't think there is much of a chance of a damsel and a convict spawning let alone having viable fry. :-?
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Postby thetim6 » Thu May 01, 2008 12:24 pm

HAHA, Ok don't get too excited.

It is absolutely impossible for a convict to breed with a chromis! Even if they did court and lay eggs together (which they won't), the eggs won't be fertilized.

I wouldn't try this myself, but if you are seriously interested give it a try. Chromis and convicts are widely abundant in the wild and in the hobby so you aren't endangering a species, just doing an experiment.
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Postby cage623 » Thu May 01, 2008 12:25 pm

I'm hoping that you were just joking like I was. If not this is going to change into a completely different conversation.
Sorry if you were joking. I had to ask because sometimes people on this forum will say or believe some interesting things.
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Postby hyposalinity » Thu May 01, 2008 12:25 pm

westwood8183 wrote:http://www.flowerhornusa.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=7269&hl=flowerhorn%20saltwater&st=0

This person kept a small flowerhorn in a saltwater tank for 3 months I believe, before he ended up taking the tank down and putting the fh back in freshwater. I think he said it grew from 3" to 6" in that time and ruled the tank lol.


Another interesting read, but I as many who replied believe eventually the FH will die. I have also read that in China they are trying to develop a "true" marine Blood Parrot, or may have done so already. I guess the populatity of freshwater Blood Parrots is on the decline in China, so they came up with a salt species to increase demand again for the fish. I do not want to keep a Convict in true salt condition (1.025) or keep a Damsel in true fresh water. I want to keep a Convict and Damsel in brackish water (1.009 - 1.011). I fthey would breed, great for me, if not it would be cool jus tto know they could co-habitate in a neutral environment. I did successfully acclimate a Jewel Cichlid to full strength salt once (1.021). I only kept it in the salt tank for a few days though. It lost all of it's color, so at that sign of stress I removed it and put it back in fresh water.
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Postby cage623 » Thu May 01, 2008 12:28 pm

I did successfully acclimate a Jewel Cichlid to full strength salt once (1.021). I only kept it in the salt tank for a few days though. It lost all of it's color, so at that sign of stress I removed it and put it back in fresh water.


I wouldn't call that successfully acclimated. But that is just my opinion.
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