Cichlid Fish Forum banner

HELP! Convict Cichlid Aggression

3706 Views 9 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Saftron
I recently bought a male and female convict cichlid and released both of them into a 10 gallon tank at the same time but the male is harassing the female. I understand I'll need a bigger tank; for now a 10 gallon will have to do and they're both about 1.5 inches. As soon as I let them into the tank the male followed and is still following the female non-stop, even taking bites at her at times. I thought that a male and female convict would get along just fine but this male is causing problems. I'm 100% certain it's a male and female as the male has some slight blue coloring and is larger while the female has an orange belly. I'm hoping she'll be alive tomorrow but I just don't know. I don't think they're trying to mate either since they just met but I'm still an amateur. What should I do?
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
If you have a quarantine box or something to separate the tank, do it asap. I'm fairly new to this as well, but I've read a few reputable books, and the issue is from the fact that convicts are monogamous breeders. If the male and female are not compatible (male is too aggressive, kills female; male is too submissive, female kills male during pairing; they simply are not compatible, and the submissive one dies), it just won't work. From what I've read in books and in this forum, you should get multiple fish to hope for one compatible pair.

A lot of my input here is recently attained knowledge- listen to others- DJRansome, Augballagh (sp), Oscar6, and Stu have all personally helped me! I see a lot of good input from SEVERAL other members. This is the place to be. I'm trying my best to give help now.

I can 100% say that with the behavior you're describing, separation is the only way to ensure survival. Again, read what others with more experience say when they read your post.
Thanks for the advice! I'll consider a separator. I may have to return her and buy a new more aggressive female. The one I currently have is quite timid so being with an aggressive male probably isn't good for her. Would getting an aggressive female and putting her with an aggressive male cancel the aggression out? Or will they just fight to the death? I'd put her in my other tank but I'm fairly confident she'd be bullied in that tank as well. The male I put her in with was moved from that tank because my EBJD was bullying him. Seems like a cycle in my tanks unfortunately.
Oh my.... sounds like the Convict drama in your 10 gallon tank is getting out of hand?
Okay then, first things first.
- The 10 gallon tank is too small for keeping a pair of Convict cichlids. The smallest aquarium I've seen a Convict pair work out successfully in long-term, was a 20 gallon 'long' tank. And, as you're seeing in the 10 gallon tank, that little male Convict has claimed a territory that is already BIGGER than the aquarium! Plus, as Andy has pointed out, the female in with him is just getting bullied and harassed in there. I would definitely pull one of them out before she gets killed.
- Establishing a compatible pair: In a larger aquarium... place 5 or 6 baby sized Convicts in the tank. Enjoy the show! There will be courtship behaviors, manageable levels of aggression, some Convict 'dating'. And then ultimately, a compatible pair of Convicts will emerge from that group. At that point, everyone else is removed from the small aquarium. Note: A small aquarium (20G) may not be large enough for anything else stocked in it to survive with a spawning pair of Convicts in it!
That's not to say you couldn't keep the male alone in your 10G. Full-sized males of this species look pretty awesome, actually. And, if kept as the lone Cichlid In that size tank, a male Convict may decide he'll tolerate 4 or 5 tetras placed in there with him. Or, maybe not! In smaller tanks, the pugnacious nature of the Convict cichlid really comes out I guess... :roll:
See less See more
Okay thanks! I think I'll just return her. I'm so surprised he'd rather kill her than see her as a mate prospect. It's ironic that I got this tank for him because he was getting bullied but I didn't want him to be alone so I got him a female and now he's the bully.
Woke up to this morning and the following isn't as bad as it was yesterday. Whenever the male sees the female he will go up to her and sometimes bite her. Right now they've stayed on the same side of the tank together idle for over 10 minutes. Is this a good sign? Or are they just tired because of the chasing?


See less See more
Update: it's been over and hour and still the same behavior. Male is following female but violence is to a minimum. They're even sharing the spot under the bridge. Thoughts and interpretations of this behavior?


See less See more
Sorry for asking so many questions, it's my first time keeping. In this picture you can kinda see the female has a light green dot by her head, purple by her gill covering, and some blue on her lower gills. The male has some faint dark blue that's hard to see on camera that he didn't have before. He also has a strip of light green around his eyes that he didn't have before. Could this be a disease of some sort and hence the aggression?


See less See more
No, this behavior actually looks pretty encouraging.
And, oh wow... I didn't realize just how small your Convicts really were, until you posted up the pics! Those crazy kids! And well, it looks like they are trying to work things out in there. Who knows? Anything is possible in this hugely unpredictable species. But, you may have just seen the start of a pair of Convicts!
And as for the green thing? It's probably (almost certainly) nothing to worry about. Whew.... calm down man, you're getting totally caught up in the Convict Cichlid drama! :D
Haha I really am! It's probably noobie stress and excitement but hey we all learn somehow. Unfortunately, later today I noticed him biting the female whenever she made sudden movements. If she was slow and calm then he would follow her slowly and calmly. If she tried to swim fast he would dart at her and bite her. Funny thing is I put 2 red eye tetra's in the tank that are about the same length as him to "overcrowd" and maybe lessen his aggression but he's actually really scared of them! Puny little things. He's a rude boy, he harasses his lady companion without mercy but is afraid of 2 skinny small tetras? :lol:
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.