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I am interested in breeding cichlids. I have successfully bred live bearers in the past and I am looking for something more challenging and interesting. I heard that convicts are the easiest cichlids to breed and normally take care of their fry until they can fend for themselves. Would this be a good fish to start out with and how many should I buy? Are you supposed to just buy a pair and hope for the best?

55 Gallon
 

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Yes, assuming you've got a way to rid yourself of the hundreds of fry you'll have, cons are a great first choice. Your best bet to obtain a pair (if you don't buy an already proven pair) would be to purchase at least 6 juvenile fish and let a pair form naturally. You'll then have to remove the other fish.
 

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convicts pair and spawn pretty easily, you shouldn't even have to get more than a male and female. If there is at least one of each, you wouldn't be able to stop them from spawning.
 

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I would agree that Convicts are the easiest Cichlid to breed… but there are many others that are nearly as easy…

Convicts stay small compared to most other Cichlids so a 20 Long or bigger is a suitable tank… females have orange/red bellies so it’s easy to distinguish male from female… as long as you have one of each gender they’ll breed… they aren’t picky about food or water quality…

But there are a lot of other Cichlids that get bigger and still have all the other qualities… actually most of them do…

Most people who start with breeding Convicts are ready to move on within about 2 months but are then stuck with the breeding Convicts and spent money on a small set up…

If you’re the type to pay attention to detail, you should be able to breed most SA/CA Cichlids… The hard part is finding something to do with them, not breeding them ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well with a 55 gallon what cichlids would be good? I only plan on having a pair and fry wise my lfs takes my offspring happily so I will only be keeping ones that are extremely pretty or very different.
 

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I would go cons at first. Others are bread easily, but cons are bread VERY easily and are quite entertaining to watch. Since your LFS will take in fry I assume they would buy the cons back at a later time when you are ready to breed something more difficult.

There are exceptions but if you pick up a male and female and they are both 1.5" or longer you have probably a 90% chance of them breeding in the first week.
 

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The only thing with cons is they are sometimes difficult to get rid of. While your LFS might have been more than willing to take livebearer fry from you, cons are sometimes a different matter. They breed so prolifically that everyone always has ton of them, making supply much greater than demand. I usually give my LFS my cons, but there is another one in town that won't even take them for free.

Since you have a 55 you might consider Firemouths, though in my experience they are a little more difficult to breed, as I just had 2 pair up and I've had them about a year. You also might try to get your hands on something a little more exotic, like Honduran Redpoints. These are very much like convicts, supposedly a little less agressive, and they have great blue color over most of their body, with some red and yellow/orange. They'd be much easier to offload on a LFS than cons IMO. If you really want to be adventurous and only wanted a single pair of fish you could try Jack Dempseys. They breed very easily, are slightly easier to get stores to take them, and are great fish. But like I said, they are only slightly easier to get rid of, as supply outweighs demand in this case as well.

As Toby pointed out, there are a lot of options out there with a tank the size of yours. You will grow tired of breeding cons and want to move onto something else after 2 or 3 spawns. Search around on the forum, there are a lot of fish that are just as easy to breed and having a 55 gallon tank gives you A LOT of options.

As a side note you might also consider adding some Bristlenose plecosin hopes you get a pair, as they are fairly easy to breed. For more on that check out this site: http://www.planetcatfish.com
 

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At any given time in my local fish club there is at least one member who got a pair of Convicts and are now in turmoil trying to figure out what to do with all the babies…

A few of my local stores are eager to buy Cichlids or live bearers But will not accept Convicts. Most fish won’t spawn in substandard conditions, but Convicts will. For this reason shops feel Convicts bring a higher risk of introducing diseases. I’ve seen Convicts spawn in some nasty little fish tanks…

Since you have some breeding experience already I don’t think you should limit yourself to those that are easy to breed, as most of them aren’t very hard to breed…

In a 55 gal you could breed: Firemouthes, Jack Dempseys, Severums, Salvini, Rainbows, Blue Acara, Green Terror (this may be pushing it), Geos (these are more difficult and more interesting to breed), etc… basically any Cichlid that typically gets approx Male - 10â€
 

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I would go with something similar to cons but probably easier to get rid of. I've had cutteri, sajica and myrnae which here, are not too common but still breed as easily as cons.
 

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In my opinion (and it’s just an opinion)….

I wouldn’t even worry about the breeding part to begin with… I would make a short list of species that will thrive in a 55 gal as a pair and that you find interesting…

Then review that list and mark off any that are difficult to breed…

Doing this should leave you with several options of fish to keep and you can then share that list with the forum to get peoples experiences with breeding those species…
 

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Toby makes a great point. Look into fish that you find interesting and would enjoy keeping, then strive to make their living conditions comfortable enough for spawning. Breeding fish you don't like (or enjoy) quickly becomes a tedious job you will not enjoy. Trust me, I speak from experience.;)
 
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