Tropical Fish for Freshwater Aquariums: Black Convict Cichlid
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Black Convict Cichlid
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Black Convict Cichlid (Archocentrus nigrofasciatus)

Quick Stats

Minimum Tank Size 30 gallons
Care Level Moderate
Temperament Aggressive
Water Conditions 68-73° F, KH 9-20, pH 6.5-8.0
Max. Size 6"
Color Form Black
Diet Omnivore
Origin Farm Raised
Family Cichlidae
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The Black Convict Cichlid is a beautifully marked cichlid. Sometimes called Zebra Cichlid or Convict Cichlid, this fish has a pattern of black stripes on a grayish background and a greenish tint on the fins. The female has orange scales on her lower body and dorsal fins and the male is larger, less colorful, has a steeper forehead and longer fins. As it ages, the male will acquire a fatty lump on the forehead. A stunning addition to any aquarium, they are not recommended for the community tank due to their aggressive tendencies.

The Black Convict Cichlid requires a 30 gallon minimum tank, with a gravel bottom, rocks and plenty of hiding places among the rocks or some inverted pots. Floating plants are recommended as a form of cover. Because of their aggressive nature, Black Convict Cichlids should only be housed with other more aggressive fish of the same size or larger.

The Black Convict Cichlid is a cave-breeder and will accept a range of water conditions. To promote breeding, increase the water temperature between 75-79°F. Some females will spawn between a cave and an open area. The Black Convict Cichlid readily pairs and forms a patriarch/matriarch family and both the male and female will care for the young. The fry will respond to signals from both the male and the female.

The Black Convict Cichlid is omnivorous and will eat most prepared and frozen foods, including freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex, and ocean plankton, as well as flake food and Cichlid pellets.

Approximate Purchase Size: 1-1/2" to 2"

Customer Testimonials

David S Norwich , CT
I have two Black Convict Cichids and they are the best things that have happened to my tank! I have a male and female and they are currently mating in the tank. I see that the female is smaller and that the male is larger and more graceful.
Hop Cat Detroit , MI
If you have never had the pleasure of watching cichlids spawn and care for their young then give the old convict a try. They are by far the easiest cichlid to breed and have one of the best parenting skills among any fish, freshwater or saltwater. Beware of their aggressive behavior; this species is no push over!
Patrick T Rochester , NY
These fish made my tank very lively! They are the coolest.
Joseph B Philadelphia , PA
I have a pair of Convicts in my aquarium, and the male is slightly smaller than the female because he is new. They have laid eggs, about 100-150 of them. These fish are the first fish I have ever bred!
Mike R El Paso , TX
I love these fish. They are the most docile cichlids I have ever kept. Mine is currently in a community tank with 2 angels, a kuhlii loach, another female convict, a firemouth, a rhino pleco, and a chinese algea eater.
Juan T El Paso , TX
I've been buying these fish for quite a while now - they're great! I love these fish (I'm sure you will, too), but watch out! These fish can be real tail-nibbers, so try not to combine slow, small fish with these.
Frederick O Rochester , PA
I recently purchased two Convicts,1 male and 1 female. After entering the tank, they started spawning and had 70-80 babies. Unfortunately, my Dempsey's ate all but three of them. Now, 2 months later they're at it again. This time, I was wise and put in a divider. I'm looking forward to seeing a lot more babies survive.
Tanya G Lancaster , PA
I just love these fish. I started out with a pair and now I have many. I only have a few other species of fish in the tank. They live in a 125 gallon tank and are very good parents, very protective. The only problem I have right now is keeping the others from eating their siblings. I think their face looks like Dorie on Finding Nemo.
The Fish Person Thomasville , GA
Convict cichlids are the first fish that have layed eggs in my aquariums. They have only been in my tank 8 days and are already laying eggs!
Prescott B New York , NY
Very cool, personality filled fish. HOWEVER, do not take the description of their aggressive behavior lightly!! I had two Convicts and they nipped the fins off of two White Tipped Sharks and a Tiger Oscar that was three times their size. When they get territorial with other species, they become like little Piranhas. These fish seem to "behave" the best when you get many of them together and they are too busy fighting for their own section of the tank as opposed to the entire tank itself. In my opinion, having tried many tank-mates for the Convicts, they are not a great community fish if you don't wish to wake up and notice your latest fish you added has no more fins.
Jack Oxford , PA
This fish is amazing. I have a male and a female. They are my favorites! I feed them Hikari Bio-Gold+. I feed them 2 feeder guppies per fish once every month.
Christopher G Centerville , GA
These are just really awesome fish. I've only had them for about 2 weeks and they already have fry. They are extremely smart and great parents. I would recommend these fish to anyone who has the desire to breed fish.
Jay H Kalispell , MT
You would think that these fish would beat up african cichlids but no my convicts get beat up by a demasoni half there size.
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