Convict Cichlid: How to Care

Scientific names: Cryptoheros Nigrofasciatus, Archocentrus Nigrofasciatus, Cichlasoma Nigrofasciatus, Heros Nigrofasciatus, Astronotus Nigrfasciatus
Common names: Convict Cichlid, zebra cichlid
Distribution: Central America, Pacific coast of Guatemala to Costaria, Atlantic coast from Honduras to Panama
Size: 6inches (15cm), however can be up to 18cm, the male has a hump-like head, the female is usually smaller
Temperature: 70-80 degrees F equivalent to 21-27 degrees C
pH: adaptable to many different pH and hardness environments, as long as it is stable

General information

Aggressive, aggressive, Convict Cichlid can breed at a very early age of 4-6 weeks until the end of their life cycle. The Convict Cichlid is one of the most aggressive cichlids in Central America, but people with no knowledge of this species often despise this fish due to its small size. During the spawning period, the Convict Cichlid exposes its aggressive nature. A pair of Convict Cichlid can take down an adult statue of more than twice their size.

Convict Cichlid are not community fish and if released in combination with other fish, a very large tank should be used.

Many color variations of Convict Cichlid have been found. The common Convict Cichlid (the black Convict Cichlid) has black and light markings on a white background. Pink Convict Cichlid (about 1/3 of black Convict Cichlid) range in color from light pink to white.

The marble panda (flower panda) has a combination of the two above. Black and pink Convict Cichlid are more common. However, the difference in color is not the same as different personality. All types of Convict Cichlid are very aggressive.

Farming tank

The minimum tank for a pair of Convict Cichlid is 30 gallons / 114 liters, however a 40 gallons / 152 liter tank or more should be used. In the wild, Convict Cichlid habitats are places with strong currents and Central American rivers so the aquarium needs to simulate the same conditions.

The tank should have a cover or sand that is digged by the Convict Cichlid. If the tank is covered with gravel, use round and fine gravel to avoid damage to the fish. Should use driftwood and stone for decoration. The rocks should be piled up so that there is room for the fish to dig and lay eggs.

Plants can be used in the tank, but fish are eaten or rooted so it’s a good idea to use betel leaves or gooseberries tied to the rock. Ceramic pots can be used as a spawning place for fish and decorations, but it is important to clean them before putting them in the tank.

The filtration system is also very important. Like all cichlids, the Convict Cichlid is sporadic and causes the uneaten food to float throughout the tank. Many people believe that it is not necessary to pay too much attention to aquatic parameters for Convict Cichlid like other cichlids but that is a mistake.

While the Convict Cichlid can withstand very bad water, it does not mean you can neglect the tank cleaning. Growth and development of fish will be greatly affected if the water is polluted. You need to take care of the Convict Cichlid as carefully as any other cichlid.


The Convict Cichlid eats everything to its mouth. In the wild they feed mainly on small insects, crustaceans, plants and small fish if caught. Variety of feed is critical for all cichlids. Beef heart is a very good food for Convict Cichlid. In addition, high quality dry feed, spirulina pellets (which the shrimp breeders must be sure to), and frozen foods such as worms, shrimps and small live insects can be used. Include plants in the menu as a diet containing only animal protein can reduce the longevity of the fish. Many people use fresh Convict Cichlid like zucchini, romaine lettuce, and spinach.

Fish raised together

This depends on the tank size and sex of the Convict Cichlid. A pair of Convict Cichlid should have their own tank as the fish are very aggressive during the breeding season so other fish can be chased and killed if possible. Even hard-shell catfishes like the fish that clear tanks cannot tolerate it.

If only one individual is kept, the fish will be kept together depending on the size of the tank. Males are usually more aggressive than females but can be kept with larger and more aggressive cichlids in larger tanks. The male raccoon is able to “play” again with larger fish such as the bronze statue, the Blue Diamond and the cichlids of similar size. Females are less aggressive and can be kept with smaller or same-sized cichlids. When not mating, Convict Cichlid are usually not too aggressive in community tanks.

Breeding Convict Cichlid

Panda spawning is very simple, just … the parents and the water. However, in order to breed successfully and have healthy fry, there are a few points to note:
The items needed:

– 20 gallons / about 50 liters tank
– Filter
– Heating
– Spread thin floors
– Terracotta pots
– Food will be discussed separately below


Gender discrimination

The female panda has an orange color on the abdomen.

Male fish with head.

Sex between Convict Cichlid is easy.

male fish have u on the head like la drought, cow head. In addition, females have round dorsal and anal fins, orange in color on the abdomen. The males, meanwhile, have pointed dorsal and anal fins, possibly an orange coloration on the abdomen (much less than females, but very rare), ugly head and larger than females.


The fish is protecting the eggs


Convict Cichlid begin to breed at the age of 4-6 weeks, about 2 inches in size i.e. more than 5cm
Breeding Convict Cichlid is very simple. After choosing the male and female fish, we put the fish in a 10-20 gallons tank. If a tank of this size is used, there should be no other fish in the tank or the parent fish will be beaten to death. The author’s 3-inch (7.5cm) pair of fish landed a 10-inch (25cm) gallop in a nearly 200 liter tank. Put the terracotta pot on one side of the tank and the broodfish will nest nearby. The soil tank is the perfect place for the brood to keep the eggs. However, there are some cases where the parents do not like the pot of soil and nest outside.

For broodfish daily, can use frozen blood, shrimp. Frozen food is very good for fish because it carries less germs.

Broodfish will hover around the nest and lay many times, then use fins to fan the eggs to provide oxygen, avoid fungus for eggs and eat damaged eggs.

If the broodstock is large, then it is best not to reach the tank at this stage

Take care of the fry


The eggs will hatch after a few days and stick to the tank floor. The picture above is a picture of young fish 1-2 weeks old. Do not feed the fry 24 hours after hatching as they will survive on the remaining nutrients in the ovule during this period. Feed for fry should incorporate dry food containing omega 1, lyophilized cordyceps, frozen dried shrimp and must be ground into fine powder. Feed the fry twice a day and should feed the broodstock first to avoid the fry.

It is best to transfer the fry to a larger tank about 120 liters or as large as possible. Changing 50% water every 3 days will make fry grow surprisingly fast. The transfer of tanks should be done after 1 week of hatching and free swimming.

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