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 dwarfpike » Thu May 01, 2008 1:39 pm

Oh yes, too bad garibaldi don't keep their juvi colors ... though the adults are nice ... but differant species ... there are 3 12 inch damsels, garibaldi's being one. The Mexican Giant damsel is one as well, another pacific species, but found in baja and down the mexican coast ... kinda dull (especially compared to the garibaldi) ... more tropical but still cooler water than most of our species ... though the king (passer) angelfish is from the same area ... can't remember the scientific name off the top of my head though.
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Postby cage623 » Thu May 01, 2008 2:10 pm

Wow! :o I go to lunch and look how much I missed! :lol:

Anyways I just wanted to say that this topic seemed to spin out of control after I made the mistake of bringing up the subject on mating. I agree with everyone else when I say that this would not happen. Even if these fish could produce viable fry (which they can't) I think the con would be a little too stressed out from the adjustment to the salt water that it would take a long time to get to a point where it considered mating (especially with what it would perceive as an alien fish).

As much as I hate to add yet another point (afraid it will also be carried away) I don't think a small tank would really be the key to solving this question that you have presented. If it fails the sample size is just way too small to be credible. If you are serious about this you would have to larger with a group of each fish as test subjects. Having said all this I really hope that nobody actually tries this. I think that it would not turn out well (especially for the convicts) and would just result in subjecting numerous fish to unfavorable conditions, and even death, to really prove nothing that most of us would already have speculated would happen.
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Postby hyposalinity » Thu May 01, 2008 2:40 pm

Thanks for peeing in my Wheaties. :lol:
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Postby hyposalinity » Thu May 01, 2008 2:55 pm

The 1st one covers a little bit of everything. ... cd=1&gl=us (click on link to convert to PDF)

www.aquaticinvasions.ru/2007/AI_2007_2_3_Nico_etal.pdf -

http://animal-world.com/encyclo/fresh/c ... ichlid.php

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6016770.html (scroll to mid of page)

I hope all the links work, if not just GOOGLE saltwater cichlid, mayan cichlid spawning in saltwater and black belt cichlid spawning in salt water.
Last edited by hyposalinity on Thu May 01, 2008 3:28 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby hyposalinity » Thu May 01, 2008 3:12 pm

From everyting I have read on CA/SA Cichlids only the Black Belt and Mayan are capable of converting to full strength saltwater (1.025 = 34ppt), and Convicts and Dempseys will live in brackish waters (1.010 = 16ppt). The methods I have read about may have had better results if the acclimation period lasted longer, 4 days seems to short, even to acclimate to bracksih. I was going to make it a lot longer process. I was going to prolonge the process for a full month, only raising the salinity in 1 pt increments every 48 hours.

Day 1: freshwater
Day 4: 1.001
Day 7: 1.002
Day 10: 1.003
Day 13: 1.004
Day 15: 1.005
Day 18: 1.006
Day 21: 1.007
Day 24: 1.008
Day 27: 1.009

then introduce into brackish tank 1.010 on day 30
Last edited by hyposalinity on Thu May 01, 2008 3:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby hyposalinity » Thu May 01, 2008 3:16 pm

Then the opposite for the salt tank

Day 1: saltwater
Day 3: 1.024
Day 5: 1.023
Day 7: 1.022
Day 9: 1.021
Day 11: 1.020
Day 13: 1.019
Day 15: 1.017
Day 17: 1.016
Day 19: 1.015
Day 21: 1.014
Day 23: 1.013
Day 25: 1.012
Day 27: 1.011

then introduce into bracksih tank at 1.010 on day 30
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Postby hyposalinity » Thu May 01, 2008 3:43 pm

Maybe an easier route would be for me to wait on my pair of clownfish to start reproducing, then slowly take them down to 1.011 and hope to rear fry at that salinity. Then get my pair of Cons to reproduce, then slowly increase them to 1.009 and hopefully get them to rear fry at that salinity. Then finally introduce the fry from each pair into a brackish tank at 1.010 together. Talk about a long shot, but makes more sense I guess. I wish I already had a breeding pair of 3 stripe damsels instead of Ocellaris.
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Postby cage623 » Fri May 02, 2008 1:19 am

I think that the real flaw with most of this is that none of this really looked at long term effects on these fish. Plus if a fish is able to survive a few days in an environment that has an elevated salt content does not mean that it prefers that environment. IMO this thinking is going much farther then the findings of this experiment.
Also you are talking about them breeding under these conditions. I really don't think that this is a likely outcome. Even if there is evidence that some species (some does not equal all species) are able to survive different levels of salt for sometime, this does not mean that these fish are able or even trying to breed in these environments. It is still me strong opinion that for the most part CA and SA cichlids should be kept in the waters that they are normally found to thrive and breed in. I also do not believe that at this time I can really talk you out of keeping cons in this type of environment. So I hope that if you are going to try this that you keep a close eye on them and do not set your hopes too high. (Maybe I am the only one that is having these thoughts and feelings about this topic) Either way, good luck to you.
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Postby hyposalinity » Fri May 02, 2008 8:06 am

Of course I would not keep the fish under these conditions for any longer than I had to. At the 1st sign of distress (lack of appetite, not breeding, physical appearance etc) they would be slowly acclimated back to their natural environment. I would not let them die in these situations. But yes, I was hoping I could get a pair of CONS to breed in 1.009 and raise live fry at that salinity. Then the babies would definitely be brackish. I highly doubt the Damsels would reproduce at 1.011, getting live fry from a breeding pair in their natural salinity and normal environment is hard enough. Damsels will breed and lay eggs in captivity, but actually getting free swimming fry is another story. I always see captive bred Clowns for sale, but I never see captive bred Damsels for sale. This may also have to do with Damsels being so easy to come by in the wild, and they are so cheap. Maybe there is no need to breed Damsels in captivity, the cost and effort to do so may not be worth it.
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euryhaline cichlid

Postby thetim6 » Fri May 02, 2008 2:40 pm

I did a Google search for "Mayan cichlids in saltwater" and got a ton of hits! The first link I clicked on describes a brackish water invasion in Thailand by Mayan cichlids. Here's an excerpt:

http://www.aquaticinvasions.ru/2007/AI_2007_2_3_Nico_etal.pdf wrote:C. Urophtalmus is highly adaptable ecologically, occurring in a diverse array of natural and artificial inland and coastal environments, including small and large streams, canals, ditches, lakes, ponds, limestone sinkholes, and connected caves, marshes, coastal lagoons and mangrove swamps. The species can survive abrupt changes in salinity and naturally producing populations have been documented as inhabiting freshwater, brackish, and even marine environments.

In the article they do say the Mayan cichlid is a euryhaline fish. C. urophtalmus inhabits marshes and mangrove swamps naturally, two environments that are estuaries.

I found another article that talks about cichlids and saltwater in general, very interesting. This one talks about the mayan and also states that black belt cichlids live in estuaries and have even been recorded breeding a few miles off shore.

http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/51532/1/Oldfield_Saltwater_Cichlids_2004.pdf wrote:Out of the 100 or so Central American cichlids, two can regularly be found in the ocean: the black belt cichlid and the Mayan cichlid.

In the article it also says convict cichlids and jack dempseys can be kept in low concentrations of saltwater, most likely because of evaporation and high mineral contents in their natural environments. They probably wouldn't survive in full strength saltwater though.
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Postby y2kenny19 » Fri May 02, 2008 3:27 pm

Old thread from a different site where one person managed to keep cichlids and a damsel in the same tank with pics a few posts down on this page:
http://www.aquariacentral.com/forums/sh ... 904&page=5
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Postby cage623 » Fri May 02, 2008 4:56 pm

Just one quick question. Does everyone think that these convicts will be able to breed in these environments? I am just wondering if the increasing level of salt will cause a big enough sift in osmotic pressure that the eggs will be unable to stay viable. I guess I will be interested to find if they are able to breed in these waters. Being that people always joke that cons could probably breed on dry land I don't know if a little salt will slow them down. :lol:
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Postby hyposalinity » Fri May 02, 2008 5:21 pm

I am going to start out with the CONS 1st. I am going to wait until they lay another batch of eggs and rear the fry. Then I am going to slowly start raising the salinity of the water 1ptt with each batch of eggs they lay until 1.009 is achieved. Once they stop laying eggs or the eggs won't hatch, I will stop the experiment. If they stop laying eggs or the eggs don't hatch at 1.001, then so be it. If I can get them to lay eggs and hatch out at 1.011, I may start looking into breeding those fry with other fry from different parents in an attempt to have a true saltwater CON that can thrive in true marine conditions . . . 1.025!!! I am still undecided if I want to try and keep CONS with 3 stripe Damsels in a "hypo" environment at this time. I can't really do it at the moment because my salt tank has anemones in it, but I can start off with the CON tank.
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Postby bernie comeau » Fri May 02, 2008 5:46 pm

In the past I have heard of convict feeders that survived for many months in salt water tanks, and grew and eventually had to be caught with a net as they were not wanted in the tank. Though I have never actually seen it.

I'm willing to bet, that if you do it gradually, that cons will reproduce in salt water tanks :lol: See how high a level of salinity you can get con eggs to hatch in. And if they can't hatch in full strength salt water, grow the offspring up that hatched at the highest salinity and see if some of them can reproduce at higher salinities.

The general thought is that it is not for the lack of ability to with stand higher salinities that prevents many CA cichlids from making the transition from brackish to sea or ocean water, but because of competition from fishes that are already adapted to their enviroments.
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Postby hyposalinity » Fri May 02, 2008 5:48 pm

[quote="cage623"]Just one quick question. Does everyone think that these convicts will be able to breed in these environments?[quote]

When I lost my male CON my wife wanted a blood parrot, so I got one. I had already started the brackish conversion a while back, but stopped because I didn't really want a hybrid CON/BP. But anyways, I did three water changes on my 20 gallon, and each time I would put 1 gallon of 1.021 salt water in each time. They lived like this for 4 months, if anything I can say my female CON looked alot better and was more confident in the salt in the water (she would normally hide all the time, the she started coming out more and would eat from my hand). She was always trying to breed with the BP. I don't know if the BP was a female, homosexual, or infertile, but they never raised any fry. So, I got rid of the BP and am now starting with a pair of CONS again. By the way, I can't stand BPs, CONS and Texas are my favorite.
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