FAQs on Convict Cichlid
Related Articles: Convicts, Freshwater Angels, Discus, Juraparoids, Neotropical Cichlids, African Cichlids, Dwarf South American Cichlids, Asian Cichlids, Cichlid Fishes in General,
Related FAQs: Convicts 1,
Convicts 2, &
Convict Identification, Convict Behavior, Convict Compatibility, Convict Selection, Convict Systems, Convict Disease, Convict Reproduction, & Cichlids of the World, Cichlid Systems, Cichlid Identification, Cichlid Behavior, Cichlid Compatibility, Cichlid Selection, Cichlid Feeding, Cichlid Disease, Cichlid Reproduction,
Senegal bichirs and convict cichlid feeding question
Hello and thank you for always having such great answers!
<Glad to help.>
I apologize in advance if the answer to my question can be found
<WWM has built in Google search, try to use that ahead of time, most
stuff is covered already someplace or other. Try
I currently have a 55 gal with two juvenile Senegal bichirs (5in or so)
and a convict cichlid. They have lived together since they were very
small and have got along well. My convict is generally very docile and
previously was bullied by other cichlids, so he and the bichirs enjoy a
peaceful life. My question is, what would an ideal food be to offer to
<Well, the more important concern here is that there is rarely a case
where a non-obligate feeder should be fed the same thing all the time.
We need to find our captive critters with variety more than homing in on
food as such. You wouldn't feed a person just one food all the time no
matter how healthy it is. One thing can rarely solve all nutritional
needs (despite advertising to the contrary!). Another thing to consider
is stimulation and behavior. As you have noted, these are very
interesting fishes behaviorally and IMO the behavior and "personality"
of a fish are more important than beauty. Bichirs are a really unusual
and unique ancient fish of which only a few other kinds of extant
compatriots still exist. So while as a rule it's a bad idea (for several
reasons) to feed live food, I would certainly make an exception for this
species due to its being essentially a species tank, your correct idea
that specific prey are key, and that their behavior is such a big draw
for you (me too).>
I have typically fed them frozen bloodworms which they all enjoy and
seem to thrive on, but the diet I've seen you recommend for bichirs
seems much more varied and likely better.
<The more varied, the better! Stimulation, more natural, laid-back
behavior, nutrition. The link above gives a good list of foods, some of
which seem surprising. Mealworms! Convenient to get at any pet
store...try them live. I would be a little leery of all the
pond-acquirable things that they would like such as small frogs due to
water pollution in the wild. The more types of meaty food, the better,
I also have given cichlid pellets on occasion with all parties
satisfied. I am wary of my more sensitive cichlid having issues with
bichir food. I have fed the tank with feeder guppies (apparently a big
no no) with no ill effects that I have
seen and they do all appear to enjoy the thrill of the hunt... second
part to my long winded question- I recently started a tank of feeder
guppies separately and they have begun to breed. I am fortunate that my
local pet store has their own breeder tank; the guppies I purchased are
definitely more healthy than ones typically seen at big box pet stores.
<Home-grown feeder animals of any kind are usually better due to
control-ability of what they eat, and keeping out who knows what pests a
retailer may have. And cheaper in the long haul! Certainly worthwhile as
long as they are fed well themselves and are not used as a daily fare
due to the above concerns. -Earl >
If I fatten these guppies up and continue to keep a healthy adult
population growing, is this acceptable fare for my tank? Watching the
bichirs hunt is one of the most entertaining things I've ever witnessed
Thank you in advance!
re: Senegal bichirs and convict cichlid feeding question
Thank you for such a quick and thorough reply, I really appreciate it!
My spikers (bichirs) appreciate it too :D
Sick Convict Cichlid - not eaten in 3 weeks
Sick Old Convict Not Eating
Hello, I have a 8-9 year old Convict Cichlid whom I adore and am
extremely concerned about. He has not eaten in over 3 weeks now that I
can tell, and he's always been a voracious eater. I have tested his
water, everything is where it should be. He did this about 3 months ago
(not eating for a long time) and he got a large "dent" (not a
hole) in his front forehead, reclusive behaviour, etc.. I treated him
with Melafix for 7 days, religiously changed his water, began adding
sea salt as directed and I have even gotten him a heater (his whole
life he was fine without any of these things, but I am really trying to
help him). He magically recovered one day, started eating and his dent
grew back until it's as if it was never there. We thought we were
in the clear and I went back to a 20% water change every week with a
small amount of sea salt to just add back in what I had taken out.
This time he has NO dent, but he looks REALLY off. He has reclusive
behaviour, when I come to the tank he hides under rocks, and his color
is a bit off. He is also scratching on rocks and gravel, plants,
anything he can reach, but it's not constant. i have added nothing
new, and there is nothing else that I can see, no holes or wounds,
nothing that looks strange on him, but I am really afraid we're
going to lose him, I mean how long can a fish go without eating?
I've asked pet store fish guys, but everyone of them has a
different idea and I don't trust any of them. Most say he could
just be at the end of his life, but I read online that Cichlids can
live up to 20 years in the wild. I know I didn't do all the
"right" things his whole life, but I would really hate to
lose him if there is anything at all that I can do to help him.
He's got such personality and he's really quite large... i just
want to him to go back attacking anything that moves near his tank,
digging fun holes, and eating like a shark attacking a seal.
Thank you for your help. Lynn and Greg Y ---------------
< You convict has lead a very long life. The Melafix is more of a
general tonic than a specific cure. It has probably affected the
biological filtration and you may be having spikes in ammonia, nitrite
and nitrate levels. This may account for the scratching. Without seeing
the fish I will assume from you description that you convict has an
internal infection. This is basically a blockage in the intestines and
the fish can't eat. I would recommend a 50% water change, clean the
filter and vacuum the gravel. Treat with a combination of Nitrofurazone
and Metronidazole. After treatment you can use a high grade carbon and
remove the medication. I would add Dr Tim's One and Only to bring
the biological filtration back on line. All these can be found online
at Drsfostersmith.com. These meds will cost you a lot of money. It may
make more sense ($) to get a younger convict that you will have for
another 8-9 years.-Chuck>
Convict Cichlids... And Nemo!
Feeding 12/28/06 Hey there, WWM! I emailed you
back in June, maybe July about my little Red Zebra Cichlid, Nemo.
He had the 'incident' with a Cobalt Blue Zebra, and had
no fins, and a huge infection. He made it through all that,
thanks to your help, as I've probably told you. THANK YOU SO
MUCH! He is now roughly 4 inches, I think he's fully grown
now. He is full of health, and still living alone in a 10 gallon.
He seems happy. I've just switched him over to Tetra Cichlid
flakes, since he won't eat anything else but flakes. He
won't touch pellets at all. Nothing but flakes. I had been
feeding him TetraMin flakes, but was looking for some Cichlid
flakes. All I'd found was Wardley's Cichlid flakes, and
they didn't seem too high quality, <Agreed... they're
products are bunk nutritionally> and plus the food was
expired. (Eww, bleh! Wal-Mart needs to check their expiration
dates more often.) <IMO they need to get out of the aquatic
trade period, be ignored by consumers. Yes> Anyways, he seems
to like the new food just fine, which is a huge relief. One of my
questions was this. Would he have been better off with the
TetraMin tropical flakes? Or will the Tetra Cichlid flakes be
better for him? <I would alternate between these> He
won't even touch frozen foods. He's that bad. But I still
love the little guy. He's almost dog-like, and won't come
out of hiding unless I'm around. But enough of my rambling.
On to the real reason I emailed. I am considering
Convict Cichlids. I have a new 20 gallon tank, with a filter
(AquaTech 20-40 gallon) and a heater, lid, and all the rest of
the equipment. I also have some plastic plants, and a large piece
of driftwood. I was wondering, how many Convicts should I get?
<Two, three...> I would love a mated pair, but I've
heard that they don't ever want to stop making babies. I
don't want that. I was thinking maybe just one, but would it
get lonely? <Mmm, no... will imprint on you... be fine by
itself> And could two males or two females live together?
<Yes> And what kinds of fish can live with convicts anyway?
<In a twenty... a sturdy armored (versus "naked"
species) catfish perhaps> All the websites I've found
labeled them as the rabbits of the fish world, and axe-wielding
homicidal maniacs. <Heeeeeee!> I didn't find very much
consistency in any of them, and I am even more confused.
Thank you so much in advance for your help and I
shall send along a picture of Nemo eventually! He's gotten
very pretty, I must say, for having no fins a few months ago. :)
Zhara Zorgon <Thank you for this update, sharing
your enthusiasm. Bob Fenner>
Re: Convict Cichlids...And
Nemo! 12/29/06 Thank you so much for your help! I
just had a few more questions regarding Convict Cichlids...
I was wondering, if I did keep two males or two
females together, would they fight? <Possibly, yes> I tried
several times to put one or two other African Cichlids in with
Nemo, but that never worked out, no matter what the gender was.
<Mmm, no... most African Cichlid species offered to aquarists
are too aggressive to mix with Neotropicals> I know
there's a difference between African Cichlids and Convict
Cichlids, but are they as aggressive towards their own species?
<Yes> And what would they eat? I was told Tetra
Cichlid flakes... Thanks again! Zhara
Zorgon <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/cichlids.htm
and the linked files (in blue), where you lead yourself. Bob
Cichlids, feeding fish
-02/20/08 Hello I am new to keeping cichlids, I recently
bought a convict about 1 and a half inches long and on the second
day I fed her floating cichlid pellets and she would not eat. I
was wondering what to do? Thanks mark <Try something else.
Convict cichlids eat insect larvae, so go buy a pack of frozen
(not freeze dried) bloodworms. They will enjoy those. Floating
cichlid pellets aren't a terribly good staple diet anyway
because they tend to cause constipation if used alone. As well as
wet frozen bloodworms, you could also try krill and chopped
seafood of various types (prawn, clam, squid). Some people have
success using freeze-dried foods but in over 20 years of
fishkeeping I have yet to own a fish that enjoyed them! Hence I
recommend the wet frozen foods you store in the freezer. All
fishes go wild for these! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: feeding fish
-02/20/08 Thank you so much today I will go buy some frozen
blood worms today. And would they like brine shrimp? <Quite
possibly. Though none of my fish seem to like frozen brine
shrimps, and never have done. So I'd buy a small package and
try them out first if I was you. Cheers, Neale.>