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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A thread for any thing and everything to do with the Convict Cichlid.
Pictures and video. Links to information and articles. Discussion on tanks, tank size, tank mates, set ups, spawning and other behavior, aggression, size, growth ect. ect.
Still my favorite cichlid after all these years. Larger males are sort of like a miniature Midas cichlid, but with a little less attitude.
A picture of one of my current males:

A picture of my current 'pink' male with one of the 'pink' females in front:

Some video from 125 gal. Convict Cichlid tank:
And picture from back in 2011, of male and female convict cichlid:
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Male convicts get considerably larger then the females. Males can get up to 6" or more and weigh over 100 grams.


While males can be more impressive due to their larger size, deeper bodies, nuchal humps and nicer finnage, females are almost always the more colorful. 3 1/2" to 4 1/2" is a fairly typical size for mature females. Largest I've ever had was 4 3/4" and weighed 44 grams. There are pictures on the internet showing a 5" female beside a tape measure, but that sort of size is really not common at all, for female convicts.
Picture of a mature female convict. Less yellow on it's belly then most female convicts, but still more colorful then most males, with some yellow on it's fins:

Often, a large difference in size between male and female tends to be an indicator that an animal is polygamous. IME, convicts have a tendency towards polygamy with males often pairing up with 2 or more females at the same time and occasionally breeding with more then one female at the same time. Though of coarse a male has to be very dominant and own large territory in order to breed with more then one female at the same time.
Some video of my convicts in the 125 gal. taken last month:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
As far as tankmates, convicts are very versatile. At some point in time, I would have kept convicts with just about every fish I have ever kept. The few exceptions would have been apistos andNanaochromis nudiceps ( but even then I may have kept them very briefly with very young convicts as it's too long ago to remember very well). Convicts are aggressive, so what might be suitable in a grow up situation while young and small, doesn't always work out well as larger adults. Their tankmates usually need to be very tough and sturdy to live with adult convicts. And convicts are usually pretty confident and out going so they do not generally require other fish for a dither role, and may in fact be used as dithers for some other cichlids.
Over the last 2 decades I have kept convicts quite a bit with both Salvini and Blackbelt. They have definitely worked out a lot better with Blackbelt, then salvini, though still with a lot of friction. Even had male Blackbelt just a little larger(7 1/2") kill my large male convict (6"). With salvini, I'll keep them together to some extant in grow up situations, or female convict in a salvini tank or female salvini in a convict tank up to a certain size or stage, but full grown pairs of both in the same tank has proven to be a no-no time and time again over the last 18 years. IME, salvinis will fight the convicts...until the convicts loose! Sometimes convicts work out OK with larger CA. The convicts can use there smaller size and/or the terrain as an agility advantage and because they are of a different weight class the larger cichlid doesn't really push the dispute and tolerates them. But I've had other CA that had to be separated from convicts. I had a dovii X festae hybrid that when he was around the 8" size had a large pair of convicts held hostage in their cave. Even the female convict couldn't come out of it's cave for a moment with out getting nailed at high speed. So they had to be separated right away!
Over the years, I've found they get along much better with African mouthbrooders then they do with other substrate spawners. That's my experience, anyways. I currently keep them with demasoni and zebra obliquidens. Demasoni have the added advantage of being in some what different weight class, so are often a little less competitive then they would be with other mbuna. Also have a male convict in my 90 gal. with male Malawi and a young male salvini. Male convict is boss of the tank though the male sunshine peacock owns territory in the upper levels of the tank:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
illy-d said:
Convicts are so under rated.
I agree. I think because they are common and very easily bred, many see them as not worth keeping.
Males are sort of like a minature midas. A lot smaller, less attitude, and a lot easier to manage their aggression. Better suited to small tanks and much more versatile in terms of what tank mates can be housed with it.
Unless your tanks are really huge, I think many people keeping RD/midas would be better off keeping convicts instead. Similar type of behavior but in a much smaller package and aggression that is much more easily managed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Two of my male convicts in my 150 gal. mostly male cichlid tank have joined forces and paired up together. First time I have ever seen males of any cichlid do this. Been around convicts for most of 50 years and have had many, many pairings of female convicts (either in the absence of any male convicts, or young males present that are too small to be considered), but this is the first time I have seen male convicts pair up together. There is a lot of talk on the internet that convicts are prone to hybridize. IMO, this is just talk on is not really based on anything. They are no more inclined to hybridize then most other CA cichlids and are definitely less so inclined then some (such as male Texas cichlid for example). In a span of almost 50 years, I have never seen convicts show interest in pairing with another species. not even once. Kept them in all sorts of set ups, sometimes in numerous tanks, many times with out the opposite sex present and not once have they ever showed the slightest interest in pairing with another CA species. I've had a number of male Texas cichlids attempt to court every female CA in the tank on numerous occasions. Had a young male texas get killed by a large female RD/midas after persistently trying to court it. Had male texas pair up and breed with female urophthalmus (mayan cichlid). Had a 10"+, very deep bodied male Texas persistently court a 16" female jag. He repeatedly lost the test of strength, yet was so persistent that the old female jag just stopped persisting and reluctantly joined forces. He lost the test of strength so badly as he was being flipped right around doing a 360. But he was so persistent, the old female jag stopped resisting and just gave in and paired up with him. Many other aquarists have found Texas cichlid to also be very inclined to hybridize. So when you come across a pairing of texas cichlid X convict on the internet, I don't think it is fair to "blame" the convict as many on the internet do; the pairing has at least as much to do with the other CA cichlid it is pairing with!
My 150 gal. is essentially a mixed male cichlid tank (exception being a male and female Neon jewel). No female convicts in the tank. The tank was set up just after Christmas so a little over 3 months,now. It replaced my 90 and 75 gal. All the stock from my 90 gal. all male cichlid tank went in here as well as 2 other male cons and few other bottom feeders. I thought being a new tank with completely new decor would put all 3 male cons on an even footing. Not the case. The one male from the 90 gal. being familiar with it's tank mates established and the other 2 were like new comers. Not smooth sailing to begin with. Eventually they were able to stand up to each other and claim small territories. A little over a month ago, I added a large male salvini (not really visible in the videos) and shortly after, two male cons joined forces to counter this serious threat. The male cons threatens the big male sal through the decor. Seen it twice now, where the pair defends their corner as a team from the big sal as he comes out of the decor and charges into their corner. They bite him, trying to use the terrain and eventually run away after a short battle. Male sal occupies their area briefly then swims back into his hole. Hopefully it doesn't escalate too much but I really think the male sal is too old, fat and lazy to really push it too far. I'll see over the next coming months. Pink con is the dominant of the pair and the striped male is the subordinate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
A video showing a couple short skirmishes between the pair of male cons and my male salvini:
So far has not been all that frequent nor prolonged encounters. I guess i will see over the next coming months whether it escalates or not. I know from past experience, if the male sal really pushes the dispute and gets some hits in, it does damage like heavy weight CA .....and the cons will "abandon ship" rather then attempt to defend their little area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Back in 2007 when the Schmitter-Soto revision was published, Schmitter -Soto claimed in this paper that DNA evidence would be published in about a years time in support of his revision. That never came, as far as I know. Heard nothing about it since.
Amititlania coatapeque was made a junior synonym of A. nigrofaciata not too long after, based on DNA evidence. When initially reading the Schmitter-Soto paper, it was a red flag to me that he talks about an in-between type pattern in the rivers that flow into lake Coatepeque. Means there is gene flow between the barring types :lol: . It is my opinion that this barring pattern is just a pattern that can sometimes show up with in just about any brood of convict fry. Sometimes only on one side of the fish; occasionally on both. That this slightly different barring pattern became the norm in lake Coatepeque really shouldn't have made it a candidate to be described as a separate species.
Now I find out that DNA work was done in 2016. It does not support A. siquia being classified as a separate species. https://cichlidae.com/news.php
Some support for A. kanna being a separate species.https://cichlidae.com/reference.php?id=9782
Given that HRP are with in the geographical range of what used to be considered A. siquia and that fish from with in this area would have surely been included in the 318 fish that were sampled, I think they will no longer be considered as a potentially undescribed species. At least they are no longer listed on the Cichlid Room Companion as such.
So to reiterate, we have gone from 4 described species (plus one potentially undescribed in HRP) down to 3 (plus HRP), now down to two: Amatitlania nigrofasciata and Amatitlania kanna.
Here's the new listing at cichlidae.com, with HRP and A. siquia now removed from the list:https://cichlidae.com/genus.php?id=259
 

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Oh wow.... how cool is this! 8)
Didn't realize this little gem had gotten buried down in the pile. I'm a huge fan of these feisty little fish. And unfortunately, it's just so easy to dismiss these little 'tough guys' because they are so well known in the hobby. And, i suspect because of just that.... not too many people get to see just how awesome an older, well-kept male Convict Cichlid can really look. (BTW - yours look absolutely amazing).
Are they versatile? Incredibly so!
This is one of my favorite videos of these little guys in action,


My favorite part is the male Convict kept with the freaking huge Red Devil, Amphilophus labiatus and the female Parachromis dovii. Andy has placed structure in the aquarium so both the Convict AND the female Dovii can escape Red Devil Rampages! The Apex Predator in there, (P. dovii) is apparently so preoccupied in avoiding the Red Devil that she just ignores the little Convict and doesn't stalk or attempt to eat him. An enormous A. chancho and even a pair of adult-sized Trimacs round out the video of 'suitable' Convict tank mates. Incredible!
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This post came up recently in the unidentified Cichlid section,

https://www.cichlid-forum.com/phpbb/vie ... 4&t=454181

Poor Coach! This view has greeted all too many folks who have hauled a few of those interesting-looking 'stripey' fish home from the LFS,



Now, after learning about just how driven the Trichromis salvini can be in enforcing aquarium dominance... I feel a little bad for the Convicts! Hopefully Coach won't go that route I recommended to him in Convict Fry Control, for his 150 gallon tank. :oops:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Auballagh said:
Poor Coach! This view has greeted all too many folks who have hauled a few of those interesting-looking 'stripey' fish home from the LFS,

Yeah, you sort of need a game plan to begin with. For me fry has never been too much of a problem. Either feed them or cull them. If you feed them they have a very, very, very short life. If you grow them out and cull them later, they only have a short life.
Getting survivors in the community tank is going to be depend a lot on how long the pair of convicts protects their brood. I used to usually get a minimum of 4 weeks fry protecting, even with very young pairs. The longest I've ever had in the community tank is a little over 10 weeks. Even with good predators, I always got some survivors. One of the best predators I had was a belly crawler pike. He grew fast on a steady diet of convict fry; was almost 8" after one year from purchase. Lot's of friction though with the convicts. The convicts knew he was the major predatory threat and was a special target for them. But holding on to fry for 6 weeks was enough to get some survivors in my 180 gal., even despite having the belly crawler in the tank. One of the best predators for succeeding batches is the previous batches of fry. If there are small young convicts in the tank already, they will make sure less, and less survive from the succeeding spawns. But the last number of years, my con pairs have held on to fry for 2 weeks at best......and there have been zero survivors in the tank.
Now, I think in general, salvini and Banded jewels (Hemichromis elongatus, H. frempongi , and H. fasciatus) probably won't make the best of tankmates for cons, even in big tanks. Usually too violent. And I would question how effective they will be as predators for convict fry, if the convict pairs hold on to their fry for any length of time. Catfish such as a Raphael cat and/or syndontis would probably help, though doesn't mean you won't get a few survivors depending on your decor and how long the cons protect their fry. You also need some floor space to have catfish in the tank with cons because of their territorial nature. IME pictus cats are too "wussy" to be kept with cons, so i definately wouldn't recommend them.
Some fairly recent video of my young cons in the 125 gal.:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Some recent pictures of my male convicts:



And the pair of male convicts:



Young 10 month old male convict:


 

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Oh my goodness, how cool is that?
More Convict Awesomeness! :)
Thanks for sharing!
 
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