Black Convict Cichlid


The Black Convict Cichlid is a beautifully marked cichlid. Sometimes called Zebra Cichlid or Convict Cichlid, this fish has a pattern of black stripes on a grayish background and a greenish tint on the fins. The female has orange scales on her lower body and dorsal fins and the male is larger, less colorful, has a steeper forehead and longer fins. As it ages, the male will acquire a fatty lump on the forehead. A stunning addition to any aquarium, they are not recommended for the community tank due to their aggressive tendencies.

The Black Convict Cichlid requires a 30 gallon minimum tank, with a gravel bottom, rocks and plenty of hiding places among the rocks or some inverted pots. Floating plants are recommended as a form of cover. Because of their aggressive nature, Black Convict Cichlids should only be housed with other more aggressive fish of the same size or larger.

The Black Convict Cichlid is a cave-breeder and will accept a range of water conditions. To promote breeding, increase the water temperature between 75-79°F. Some females will spawn between a cave and an open area. The Black Convict Cichlid readily pairs and forms a patriarch/matriarch family and both the male and female will care for the young. The fry will respond to signals from both the male and the female.

The Black Convict Cichlid is omnivorous and will eat most prepared and frozen foods, including freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex, and ocean plankton, as well as flake food and Cichlid pellets.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Celeste October 12, 2009 at 1:49 am

Great fish, looks nice, very hardy, great personalities, breed very easily. Only con being it’s a very aggressive fish, can only keep with other aggresive species like jack dempseys. Though I’ve had some in with tetra and because they are so quick they’re fine. Lovely fish otherwise though, especially in the albino form.

JJeffrey H December 2, 2009 at 3:21 pm

Over 40 yrs experience with fresh water fish ( Mostly Live Bearers )!

I am resetting up my 80gal tank trying South American Cichlids.

Bought a variety with one being a known matting pair.

So I ended up with 3 Firemouth cichlids and amatting pare of Black

Was i ever surprised to fing eggs stuck to the side of the front corner of the tank with both mom & dad convicts garding their brood.

I’d only had then 1 week!!!

I did not realize they were such awesome parents so I thot “omg” they are eating the eggs BUT of course not sooo…

tonight i came home and saw about 50 fry all swimming around their “Dug out bowl spot.


So can anybody help me answer a question Please?



When might they breed again?
They seem pretty prolific from watching them and reading up!

Thanx much to all!

PS What should i feed the new fry.


chris miller April 19, 2011 at 12:28 am

they breed rapidly starting at only 1.5 in long i put them in a ten gallon tank one week first batch of 250fry trying to get rid of some i put a fu in jack dempsey tank after they reach 2 weeks old very well protected upper and lower fins makeing un eatable by any of my cichlids or angles finaly giving some to the local pet shops since then have separated them one in each of my 100gallon oscar tanks both doing well by them selves they are non agressive in the tank as to questines they will not eat there fry guard to the death feed fry finely ground flake food warm water more u fed faster thy grow

Nat September 25, 2011 at 2:08 am

I have a Convict in my “aggressive community” tank. He is in with 2 apistogramma, 4 tiger barbs, 3 congo tetras, BN & Whiptail and is getting along with everyone in there.
He is very tame, eats from my hand, and is only ever slightly aggressive if someone goes into “His” rock. Even then he only chases them out of it but never nips or chases for long.
He’s a great character. And a beautiful looking fish.

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