Convict Cichlid, also known as the Zebra Cichlid, is a freshwater fish from Central America that belongs to the Cichlidae family.
It’s a popular choice for aquariums and has been studied extensively for its behavior. This fish lives in flowing waters like small creeks, streams, and even shallow parts of big rivers.
Convict Cichlid prefers rocky areas where it can hide in cracks or among roots and debris. You can also find this fish in warm spring pools.
Convict Cichlids eat a variety of foods such as worms, crustaceans, insects, fish, and plants. It’s best to keep these fish in pairs and in an aquarium with at least 80 cm (31 inches) of space.
They need high temperatures to thrive, like those found near heated waters of power stations.
Convict Cichlid Interesting Facts
- Convict Cichlids live in Central America, prefer rocky areas, and consume various foods like worms, insects, and plants.
- They breed by laying 100 to 150 eggs; both parents protect and care for the eggs.
- Ideal water conditions include a pH of 7.0 to 8.0, dH range of 9 to 20, and temperatures between 68°F to 97°F (20°C to 36°C).
- Unique features include two rows of scales on the anal fin and no Y-shaped fourth bar.
Convict Cichlid Habitat
Convict Cichlid is found in Central America, specifically on the Pacific side from El Salvador’s Río Sucio to Guatemala’s Río Suchiate.
It’s also found on the Atlantic side from Honduras’ Río Patuca to Guatemala’s Río Jutiapa. However, it’s not native to Panama, Costa Rica, or Nicaragua as previously thought.
Convict Cichlid has also been introduced to other locations. It lives in freshwater and swims near the bottom of the water column (benthopelagic).
The ideal water conditions for this fish are a pH range of 7.0 to 8.0, dH (water hardness) range of 9 to 20, and temperatures between 68°F to 97°F (20°C to 36°C).
This species thrives in tropical climates within latitudes of 15°N to 8°N.
|Water Temperature:||68°F to 97°F (20°C to 36°C)|
|Water pH:||7.0 to 8.0 pH|
|Water Hardness:||9 to 20 dH|
Convict Cichlid Physical Characteristics
Size: 3.3 inches (8.5 centimeters)
Convict Cichlid can grow up to a maximum length of 3.9 inches (10.0 centimeters), but it’s commonly found at 3.3 inches (8.5 centimeters) long.
It has 17 to 19 dorsal spines, 7 to 9 dorsal soft rays, 8 to 10 anal spines, and 6 to 7 anal soft rays. It also has 27 to 28 vertebrae.
Convict Cichlid stands out due to the following features:
- Two rows of scales on the anal fin instead of one,
- Parallel arms in the first epibranchial bone instead of divergent ones,
- Rounded or squarish end on the dentigerous arm of the dentary, not triple-spined or bluntly pointed,
- Dark and uniform peritoneal coloration,
- No pronounced convexity on the ventral process of the articular,
- Body less deep compared to similar species kanna and siquia, and
- The fourth bar isn’t Y-shaped.
Convict Cichlid Reproduction
Convict Cichlids lay around 100 to 150 eggs at a time. They lay eggs on clean rock surfaces. Both parents keep the eggs warm and protect the young fish.
The parent Convict Cichlids move the baby fish, called embryos, to new holes in the ground using their mouths.
These fish like dark spaces for their nests because they hide their babies from predators that use sight to hunt.
Convict Cichlids prefer caves with only one entrance, making it easier for females to defend their young ones.