So.... I was setting up my 150 gal tank with a semi-random grouping of fish. My 17 yr old son wanted to go pick out a few fish. I gave him a list of what was ok with one other instruction, "No Cichlids" because I was not set up for them. Guess what.... he comes home with 4 Ciclids and cannot remember what they were. Even better, 2 are a mated pair. They are on hatch #2 in the first 3 months in the tank. Apparently my setup is good for them (although the male killed the other male and the third one hides 99% of the time). I was going to let nature take care of things and did nothing to keep the fry alive. I underestimated how good of parents Cichlids are. I now have 20+ 1" Cichlids in the tank, along with a lot of 1 mm fry. So, 1.) does anyone know what type of Cichlid this is and 2) What are my options in getting rid of the young ones without killing them. The tank will be overpopulated shortly, and there are no shops in the area that will take the young ones. I gave a couple away but there are no other options. The male in the pic is about 4 inches long. Interestingly to me, he is much less agressive with non-cichlids, only going after them when there are fry or they come too close. He will chase other Cichlids relentlessly.
Congratulations Coach, you have some nice Cryptoheros nigrofasciatus (Black Convict Cichlids). These are New World Cichlids, from Central America.
And, as you can see they are an EXTREMELY FECUND cichlid species!
(Those things have actually been observed doing pre-spawning/courtship behaviors IN THE BAG, on the way home from the Pet Shop!)
And yes, those Convicts are absolutely thrilled to be placed in your 150 gallon aquarium. And also, yes.... they are going to be very determined to populate and basically take over the world - beginning with your aquarium! So, If you wish to institute some level of natural 'Fry Control' (population control)? You will need a suitable predator in there. Oh yes!
Something smart and tough enough to evade mean and nasty Mom and Dad while protecting those babies, yet determined to get the job done. Some possible candidates include,
- Trichromis salvini (Salvin's or Tri-Color Cichlid). Stock with an individual. The males of this New World, Central American species will grow slightly larger than your adult male Convict will. Called 'Mini-Guapote's, they are pretty accomplished predators in the wild.
- Crenicichla ?? (Pike Cichlid). Do some Google research on Crenicichla or Pike Cichlid. Many species, from dwarf size up to around 20 inches or so... I don't recommend getting anything too small (or too large), and you probably want to avoid the few that come from Black Water habitats (Very sensitive to water quality).
- Hemichromis elongatus (Five Star General). Definitely, DO NOT get more than one of these! A spawning pair of these African Riverine Cichlids will make your fry-protective Convicts look positively cherubic by comparison! Yes, even in a 150 gallon tank, this fairly small Cichlid species that grows from 7 to 8 inches in adult length, will just basically demolish everything alive kept with them.
- A medium growing sized, African Synodontis catfish would probably do the trick pretty nicely as well, (Research first, and don't get something that grows too large).
Convicts are an amazing Cichlid to keep in the aquarium. Fun to watch, and when adult size is attained are actually quite beautiful fish to look at. Enjoy!