Scientific Name(s): Cryptoheros nigrofasciatus, Archocentrus nigrofasciatus, Cichlasoma nigrofasciatum, Heros nigrofasciatus
Common Name(s): Convict Cichlid, Black Convict Cichlid, Zebra Cichlid, Pink Convict Cichlid, Calico Convict Cichlid, Marble Convict Cichlid
Species Type: Central American Cichlids
Maximum Size: 7 inches
Life Span: 10 years
Natural Habitat: Central American Streams
Minimum Tank Size: 40 gallons
Possible Tank Mates: Firemouth Meeki, Green Severum, Salvini Cichlids, Plecos
Temperment: Aggressive especially while spawning or guarding fry.
pH Range 6.2 – 8
Hardness 10° - 20°
The convict cichlid is a hardy species that can adapt to just about any water conditions. This is one of the reasons this fish is suitable as a first cichlid for beginning aquarists. Convict cichlids should have at least a 40 gallon tank for a pair. Convict cichlids can sometimes be white aggressive towards other fish which means that they shouldn’t be kept with other small or timid fishes. Keeping them alone will make it easier to observe their fascinating breeding behavior including the rearing of the fry. You can always add a pleco with convicts because the water requirements are nearly identical for most plecos and convicts.
An aquarium intended for convict cichlids should be decorated with a few flat stones and perhaps a cave or two. Plants are not necessary and most plants will be destroyed by the fish. However, there are a number of hardy plants that can be kept with convict cichlids such as Amazonian swords and java ferns. Using plants of this type can be beneficial by making the fish feel more at home and by making the aquarium more beautiful to look at. The fact is that convict cichlids will make themselves feel at home no matter how you decide to decorate.
Diet: Omnivorous - does well with flake or pellet food supplemented with fresh green vegetables and protein rich foods like bloodworms, brine shrimp and beef heart.