|F I N S : T h e F i s h I n f o r m a t i o n S e r v i c e|
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Cichlasoma nigrofasciatumCommon name: convict
Oh yes... black convict cichlids. The fish with attitude and intelligence. I saw my two convicts for the first time... the two were casually picking up the small aquarium stones and placing them in a small pile. The purpose was to get a small morsel of food they knew would be buried there. This inspired me to bring these zebra marked fish home for my tank. Well this maneuver was not appreciated by any of the other fish. Within an hour, the two little convincts (no more than 2") had staked claim to an object in the tank. Soon this grew to include anything within a two foot radius. They would attack quickly and ferociously on fish 3 times their size. There were no injuries, it was all based on bluff and defeat. In time, the other fish learned to accept the new rivals, by avoidance, allowing them to claim whatever they wanted. After all, they couldn't possibly guard the whole 55 gallon tank at once now could they? It was not long after, I realized the second strike against the breed. One day while I was feeding, I noticed a mysterious cloud around the two convicts. Packed into the other end of the aquarium, was all the other fish. Closer examination revealed the cloud to be a mass of newborn convicts (possibly 300). The other fish were terrified to come near. Then you see mother nature at its best. Mom and Dad would watch and guard the young. A small bunch stray from the pack. Dad rushed over, sucked them into his mouth and deposited them back in the pack. Once again, all the other fish accepted this invasion and would not dare touch the little ones. A week or so later I removed the babies, by means of a vacuum tube, taking many hits by the very angry parents. I placed the fry in 10 gallon tank to raise them in a more relaxed atmosphere. Sure I lost quite a few at first, but a lot still survive (now about 1" long). Now, get this! Thirteen days later, another cloud appears in the tank! Even more then the first time. Well, to make a long story short, my convicts are working on their 5th brood now. Yes they have migrated from hostile siezure of the aquaworld to taking over my home by sheer numbers. The parents are now almost 4" long. But you know what? Despite all this... I love these little guys. They have so much character and amazing survival instincts (even the little ones). In a tank all to themselves, one word...Perfect!
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