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

Discussion regarding only Central American Cichlid species. (Guapotes, Jack Dempseys, Red Devils, Firemouths, Convicts, Texas Cichlids, etc.)

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Postby thetim6 » Thu May 01, 2008 12:35 pm

I can't see a freshwater stenohaline fish living in full saltwater permanently. In theory a stenohaline organism cannot tolerate varying salinity. Most freshwater and saltwater fishes (reef fishes such as damsels included) are stenohaline. Only a select few are euryhaline, and most of these fishes are found in estuaries.

Are convict cichlids and convict damsels found in estuaries? If they aren't, chances are they can't cope with a change in salinity long term.

And I don't want you to have the false impression that there is even a remote possibility of a convict damsel and a convict cichlid mating and producing viable offspring. There is ZERO chance of that happening, as cool as it might sound.
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Postby hyposalinity » Thu May 01, 2008 12:44 pm

Serious as a heart attack, meaning if it happens . . . COOL, if it doesn't, oh well. Cichlids and Damsels are close enough for it to be possible. Marroon Clowns and False Percula clowns are both saltwater, both anemonefish, but totally different. One is Premnas biaculeatus and the other is Amphiprion ocellaris, they not only courted, and laid eggs, but reared living fry. All other clown fish (Tomato, Cinnamon, Skunk, Clarkii, Saddleback etc) are all Amphiprion, Maroons are the only ones which are Premnas. Just like Convicts (Archocentrus nigrofasciatus) have crossed with not only other Archocentrus, but Thorichthys, Herichthys, Amphilophus and Nandopsis. Like I said, this is not my ultimate goal, but would be interesting to say the least if it happened. I thought it would be neat just to have them live together, maybe even successfully have a clownfish in there too. Now if I could get an African in there too, like a Jewel, 110% [email protected]$$.
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Postby thetim6 » Thu May 01, 2008 12:52 pm

Cichlids are somewhat closely related to damsels, they are both bony fish from the order perciformes. Tuna are perciformes as well, do you think a tuna and a cichlid could create offspring? Cichlids and damsels split at the family level, however, which is far enough to know they can not hybridize.


Maroon clowns and occelaris clowns, and all anemonefish for that matter, are in the same family Pomacentridae with all the other damsels. Cichlids are from the freshwater family cichlidae.

It would be very cool, but it is IMPOSSIBLE!
Last edited by thetim6 on Thu May 01, 2008 1:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby dwarfpike » Thu May 01, 2008 12:56 pm

IF I were to try this experiment ... (not the breeding part of course), I would use Mayan cichlids. They are commonly found in brackish water and one person even saw a breeding pair defending free swimming fry on an island reef two miles from shore. They would be the best canidate (sp?) for something like this ... despite their size and just plain nastiness.
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Postby thetim6 » Thu May 01, 2008 12:58 pm

dwarfpike wrote:IF I were to try this experiment ... (not the breeding part of course), I would use Mayan cichlids. They are commonly found in brackish water and one person even saw a breeding pair defending free swimming fry on an island reef two miles from shore. They would be the best canidate (sp?) for something like this ... despite their size and just plain nastiness.


That is an extremely interesting anecdote dwarfpike, if it's true than it proves that mayan cichlids are euryhaline.
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Postby hyposalinity » Thu May 01, 2008 12:59 pm

I am not disagreeing with you or anyone on the matter of hybridizing Cichlids and Damsels, just saying it would be cool if it were to happen. Saying a Clown and a Damsel hybrid could happen, very possible, especially a Domino Damsel. Dominos like 3 stripes are the closest related to Clowns, especially Dominos. Dominos have very close symbiot relationship to anemones, just like clowns. My Domino use to run my clown out of the anemone all of the time. Well, if I do attempt this little experiment I will let everyone know how it goes, thanks for all the replies.
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Postby dwarfpike » Thu May 01, 2008 1:05 pm

thetim6 - I can try and track down the article ... I am pretty sure it was an observation by Dr. Paul Loiselle ... so I believe it at least. Might take some time though, I have AFM magazines dating back to 1988! :lol: I remember it though becuase well that stood out a lot. He was describing that since it was brackish, that explains why it has the largest north-south distribution of any central american cichlid ... able to swim from river system to system via the ocean ... neat article. Great, now I'll have to dig for it! :lol:
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Postby thetim6 » Thu May 01, 2008 1:05 pm

Gotcha.

Clowns and damsels might be possible, I can't say, but you are right in that they are closely related. Many juvenile forms of damsels and other reef fish such as angles, cardinals, etc., hide in anemones, and some species such as dominoes sometimes do even as adults.

Goodluck and definitely let us know what you find.
Last edited by thetim6 on Thu May 01, 2008 1:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby hyposalinity » Thu May 01, 2008 1:06 pm

thetim6 wrote:That is an extremely interesting anecdote dwarfpike, if it's true than it proves that mayan cichlids are euryhaline.


I am not sure about the euryhaline part, but I have read many arcticles saying both Mayans and Blackbelts can live in salt water. One of the two (not sure which) was on display in a Toledo aquarium living with Damsels for more than a year. I am not sure how long the process took, or the strength of the salinity, it may have been weak, like 1.019 instead of 1.025 specific gravity. I have considerred other more likely Cichlids, but these two get huge, require big aquariums and would probably eat the Damsels. I am looking at doing this with a 20 long or 29 show tank.
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Postby dwarfpike » Thu May 01, 2008 1:08 pm

Can try Mayan's with Mexican Giant Damsels ... talk about a fiesty tank!!! Would have to be huge though. I mean a 12 inch damsel on it's own would just be scary, but mixed with Mayans? *shudders*
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Postby thetim6 » Thu May 01, 2008 1:18 pm

dwarfpike wrote:thetim6 - I can try and track down the article ... I am pretty sure it was an observation by Dr. Paul Loiselle ... so I believe it at least. Might take some time though, I have AFM magazines dating back to 1988! :lol: I remember it though becuase well that stood out a lot. He was describing that since it was brackish, that explains why it has the largest north-south distribution of any central american cichlid ... able to swim from river system to system via the ocean ... neat article. Great, now I'll have to dig for it! :lol:


You don't have to, but I'm sure the community (myself included!) would appreciate the read. That's a lot of magazines to sift through, maybe they have an online database? I know how much of a PITA it can be to dig through magazines looking for that one article.

Have you ever heard of the garibaldi damsel? I think 12 inches is possible for those guys, but they are a cool water species associated with pacific kelp beds. I'm guessing the garibaldi is the same as the mexican damsel actually, I thought you were asking if there was a damsel that got that big haha. Obviously there is.
Last edited by thetim6 on Thu May 01, 2008 1:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby hyposalinity » Thu May 01, 2008 1:19 pm

Thanks for the suggestion, but I don not want to have to buy another tank and set it up just for an experiment. I already have a salt tank with a clown and damsel it it, and a tank with a convict in it. All I have to do is start slowly decreasing the salinity in the salt tank to 1.011 and increase the salinity in the other to 1.009, then introduce the two into my spare tank which will be at 1.010. I mainly wanted to get a general concensus from cichlid enthusiasts as to whether this experiment could work and if the mortality expectance of both fish.
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Postby hyposalinity » Thu May 01, 2008 1:22 pm

I have read about many damsels capable of living in fresh water, like the freshwater gregory. Most of these fresh/brackish damsels are either very hard to acquire, or impossible to acquire. This iswhy I am looking into 3 stripes, blue devils, etc. I would consider clowns too, but I think they would not be aggressive enough to live with a convict, plus they are very slow moving and just behave so much different than cichlids and damsels for that matter. Maroons are suppose to be the most aggressive of the clowns, but I highly doubt they could fend off or be able to retreat from a CON with a nasty temper. I also don't want to lose alot of money on an expensive experimental fish. The cheaper clowns would not be aggressive enough, and an aggressive maroon is expensive. Common damsels are cheap, just like CONS.
Last edited by hyposalinity on Thu May 01, 2008 1:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby thetim6 » Thu May 01, 2008 1:23 pm

Sounds good. I don't expect the saltwater fish to die, but the convict I really have no clue. But I honestly think you will be able to tell it's stressed before it dies.

As for the mayan being euryhaline, if it can live in brackish/full salt/and freshwater than it is, by definition of the term, euryhaline. :thumb: Whether or not it is actually euryhaline I can't say, but if what dwarfpike says is true than I believe it is.
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Postby hyposalinity » Thu May 01, 2008 1:32 pm

I can't start the experiment anytime soon, my current salt tank is set-up as a mini-reef with reef sand, live rock and an anemone. My other tank has a breeding pair of CONS, I am looking into the future, either if my reef tank crashes, or when I have to move and tear the tanks down and start from scratch.
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