A widely popular cichlid that can be found in most pet stores is the Convict Cichlid. These fish are very hardy and easy to breed. They don't get very big compared to other Cichlids so they don't require as big of an aquarium. They feature a striking coloration of black and white stripes, which helped them get their name of Convict Cichlid.
Like most Cichlids, Convicts are territorial and aggressive. These smaller cichlids are more aggressive than their size would have one believe. I have read where a Convict Cichlid has taken on an Oscar that was twice its size, to defend its territory. The best plan for keeping these fish is to keep single fish in a tank no smaller than 20 gallons and a breeding pair in a tank no smaller than 40 gallons.
Convict Cichlids are not to picky when it comes to tank setup. A tank should have a gravel bottom with rocks or flowerpots to provide hiding places and caves. Aquarium lighting should be dimmed using some floating plants. Water should be slightly hard with a temperature between 68 and 75 degrees.
Convict Cichlids are one of the easiest Cichlids to breed. A pair will spawn with very little effort on the part of the owner. Place the pair in a tank together that has been conditioned to keep convicts and in a short time they will find a spawning site, which is usually on a rock or inverted flowerpot. Once the eggs have been laid both parents will care for and protect the fry.
Convict Cichlids are a great choice for the first time aquarist. They are hardy and easy to breed. They will accept most foods and are very easy to care for. They are an ideal starter cichlid.
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