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Black Convict Cichlid

(Archocentrus nigrofasciatus)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Easy   • Temperament: Aggressive   • Maximum Size: 6"
• Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons   • Water Conditions: 74-84° F, pH 6.5-8.0, KH 9-20
• Diet: Omnivore   • Origin: Central America   • Family: Cichlidae
• Species: Convicts   • Aquarium Type: New World Cichlid Aquarium

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Species Information

Black Convict Cichlid native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

The Black Convict Cichlid is a tough little species that originates in Central America. They are very popular in the hobby as they are great for beginners and extremely easy to breed; they can also survive with much larger and more aggressive Cichlids.

They have a base color of blue-gray, with a vertical pattern of 8 or so black bands. During breeding, the female Black Convict will have bright, orange tinted scales on her lower body and dorsal fin and can develop a green tinting on her anal, caudal, and pelvic fins as well as the area below her operculum (gill cover).

A male is much less colorful than a female and has longer anal and dorsal fins. As a male Black Convict matures, it will develop a nuchal hump on its head and will grow out to be much larger than a female.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Black Convict Cichlid in the home aquarium.

Black Convicts require an aquarium of at least 30 gallons and should be provided with multiple places where they can find shelter (driftwood, rock structures, or dense vegetation). They will dig in the substrate, which may uproot live plants that don't have well establish root systems or are not potted.

Black Convicts are one of the most aggressive Cichlid species and tank mates should be considered carefully and should be as large as or larger than the resident Convict(s).

Feeding & Nutrition

How to properly feed Black Convict Cichlid and provide a healthy diet.

The Black Convict is an omnivore and should be fed a variety of foods, such as frozen or freeze-dried brine shrimp, bloodworms, blackworms, krill, flake food, and Cichlid pellets. Black Convicts will also accept live brine shrimp, guppies, ghost shrimp, bloodworms, mealworms, and blackworms.

Breeding Information

How to successfully breed Black Convict Cichlid in the aquarium environment.

Black Convicts are egg laying, cave-breeders that practice brood care; a breeding pair of Black Convicts will aggressively attack anything that comes near their breeding territory.

Although Black Convicts usually breed extremely easily under normal aquarium conditions; to induce breeding the water temperature can be raised to and maintained at 86° F. The female Black Convict will dig a pit in the substrate or will find a dark cave-like place to lay around 300 eggs.

The eggs will hatch in 2-3 days and the fry should be swimming around within a week. A pair of Black Convicts will continue to breed every few weeks if the fry are constantly removed shortly after they hatch. The newly hatched fry can be fed a diet of baby brine shrimp or crushed flake food and then be moved to other foods as they mature.

If the fry are left in the aquarium too long, the female Black Convict will sometimes eat the fry, which will compel the male Black Convict to viscously attack the female, eventually killing her if she is not able to stay hidden.

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