Few convict questions?
Ok so Im probably going to pick up a pair of convicts ifany stores around here have them, but before I do that I must get the tank set up and such. But I got a few questions I couldnt find on any websites.
1) What kind of substrate do convicts prefer? Is there any specific decor they like?
2) Are convicts hard on plants like other cichlids are?
3) Do they prefer a stronger current or a lighter one?
4) My ph is kinda low, like 6.4, is that bad for convicts, also my water is really soft if that makes a difference.
5) Is New Life spectrum cichlid food as a staple, and live food like bloodworms and brine shrimp, a good diet?
Anything else I need to know?
Also if someone could answer the same for Jewel cichlids, my petstore has both and I cant decide. They also have gravel thats labeled African Cichlid gravel, it said it had stuff that resembles their habitat or something, is that good or is it just marketing or what.
African Cichlid gravel will raise your pH and hardness dramatically. This is designed for African Rift Lake cichlids, which jewels are not. Jewel cichlids are African, but they come from the rivers of Western Africa and prefer water parameters closer to those you'd find in Central American waterways (home to the bigger American cichlids).
I have a single jewel and a single convict, although not in the same tank. Both are incredibly mean fish. The jewel never bothered the pleco that was kept with him but eventually determined that tiger barbs are food items, not tankmates, despite him being only about twice the size of the biggest tiger barbs. My convict is still a baby but doesn't seem to tolerate tankmates either. I tried moving some large kribensis fry (nearly the same size as the convict) into this tank and he chased them relentlessly. I can hardly imagine how aggressive these fish would be if they were breeding.
On that note, if you're looking for a pair, convicts will breed like rabbits. Jewels are slightly more difficult to breed but it's not rocket science, either. In either case, you're going to have a very aggressive pair of fish that can (will, in the case of the convicts) provide a steady stream of babies for you to deal with. Unless you're really interested in breeding, I would only get a single fish. If you're looking to make a community, I would say "good luck!" but would suggest a very large tank with lots of room for any tankmates to run. To give you an idea, even speedy tiger barbs couldn't get away from my jewel in a 20H.
I don't keep any live plants with my convict so I don't have personal experience there as to whether or not they eat them, but I've read that they will chew on them from time to time. He does do some digging already, though, so I would stay away from rooted live plants. The jewel is kept with lots of java fern and doesn't seem to bother it at all, so I'd say he's the more plant-friendly of the two fish. Sand substrate would be good for either fish (I keep my convict in sand and the jewel on gravel) but gravel isn't a problem. Both fish are kept in fairly strong currents without a problem. You do need strong filtration with these fish, so the current is likely going to be pretty strong anyway. Your pH is on the low side for both fish, but both are also very hardy and should be able to adapt to that pH without a problem. That diet sounds like it would be fiine for both species.
Personally, I would probably choose the jewel over the convict. They stay a bit smaller so you can keep then in a smaller tank (eventually my jewel is going to be in a 10g all by himself) and they also look better than convicts, in my opinion.
1) They have no preference for substrate.They like to have caves to hide in and to spawn.Clay pots work fine for this.
2) When they breed,they will dig holes in the substrate to hide their fry.Having live plants would be a hassle and more than likely a waste of money.I do keep fake plants with mine,however.But I need to push them back into the gravel 2 or 3 times a week.
3) They do not care about the current,but do need lots of filtration.
4) They will acclimate to low PH.And will breed in soft or hard water.
5) I feed mine Hikari cichlid gold pellets,frozen beef heart,frozen blood worms,frozen brine shrimp with sprirulina,and cichlid flake food.I am sure what you have suggested would be fine.I also feed mine spirulina discs 2 or 3 times a week.They will eat anything I give them,including fresh veggies.
I agree with fish bum. within a month at the most,you will have fry,and they grow fast! within 3-3 1/2 weeks they get their stripes,and can be transfered to another tank/sold/feeders.I breed my petty female only,she has always produced large amounts of eggs and fry and she is only 3 inches.Make sure nothing else resides in the tank,or it will be killed.Be carefull when having a male and female together,2 fish can turn to thousands in just 4 monthes.good luck,and post pics if/when you gett em.
and also,I have had many live plants in with my large males and breeding cons and they have NEVER! touched the live plants.that is just my experience.
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