We need a category for fish -- My New Convict cichlids

We need a category for fish -- My New Convict cichlids

Huberto and Sebastian came over today with ten of these guys and girls (smaller ones with red bellies). They immediately checked to see if the roof tile caves had other residents and found them vacant.

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You seem to be rushing your fences. I've been most successful when I have allowed the water in the tank to stabilize for several days or a week before adding fish. The water should aierate and bacteria should build and stabilize first. Freshwater is not as tricky as saltwater but does require attention. Fish are not expensive until they start dying Ciclids limit what other types of fish you can sustain in the tank, they eat the pretty ones. A rule of thumb is 1 fish per gallon less the rocks etc. Be very careful, the weight of the rocks and water is huge. You need support for the bottom glass as well as the stand. Buena suerte!!

Charles Slane

These are the tank cycling fish

I think it was also matter of getting them out of a cichlid community tank at Humberto's store before they were beaten up more. The tank ran overnight and I had seeding material from established tanks for the filters. The ten fish were a gift, or I'd have cycled the tank with guppies.

I've bred killiefish (five or six or eight species at various times) and cichlids (dorsingeras, julidochromis species, kribensis/pulchers) and anabantoids (Blue gouramis, paradise fish, dwarf gouramis), plus guppies.

With big fish (and these are the size of my dorsingeras, not really big fish, around 2-1/2 to four inches long), it's more like ten to fifteen gallons for every five inches of fish up to a foot and thirty gallons for anything up to 18 inches.

A friend of mine thought I should put some spare guppies in the tank as pillow mints for the convicts. There are three left this afternoon of maybe ten that went in.

I like fish with personality and some color over fish with lots of color and no personality. I had four dorsingeras in a 55 gallon tank and a breeding colony of julies in a 33 long under the 55. And killies in the basement and then later, after I sold all the dorsingeras, in the 55 (Blue Gularis). And zerbra danios, but everyone breeds zebra danios after breeding guppies and other livebearers.

Most people who use the one fish per gallon of water either have tiny fish or are using fish as if they were cut flowers (one reason I got out of breeding fish is knowing how badly most people treated fish). One inch of fish per gallon is the more usual rule with experienced aquarists, but the bigger the fish, the more that rule doesn't apply. And it's useless for saltwater, where three inches of fish per ten to twenty gallons of water might be the way to go.

Fish caught out of the local river are going to be tough and adaptable. If I was doing a true biotope aquarium, I'd have a car tire in the tank and some plastic bags and a topping of what's left over from washing trucks in the river.

Bacteria won't grow and stablize without some source of ammonia. I'd rather have had four or five convicts to start, but Humberto brought the bag full.

There is a local tetra, silver with red fins, that puts up with no shit from cichlids. That's the other species that will go in the tank that will be local, then I'm going to get a pair of Ancistris for the algae, so not a pure biotope, but ancistris also can thrive in lower temperatures.

This tank is about cichlids and local dither fish (mollies or a local tetra), plus something to control the algae.

Sebastian thinks the local water treatment plant uses chlorine, not one of the more complex sterilizing chemicals that don't leave the water quickly, so that's what we went on. Fish are displaying and doing the usual ciclid things -- two of the females did lip wrestling to see who had access to the biggest boy. And they thinned down the guppies, which were a welcome to the tank gift from me.

Also, the bottom has four support cross pieces secured with dowels. The tank glass is 7 or 8 mm. Sebastian has built many tanks.

And has it ever occurred to a guy to ask a woman if she's had any experience with something rather than assume that she needs his advice. I'm having flashbacks of 2010, only now it's funnier.

Rebecca Brown


I never assume anything. There was a box marked comments and I clicked on it. Good luck with your tank. My mother always maintained that "she" is a cat but then again, my mother was born in Winnipeg. I have had and maintained, as well as moved, aquariums for over 40 years, both salt and freshwater. Be sure to take and post pictures of your tank after it collapses. Perhaps a fish eye lens would be appropriate.

Charles Slane

I'm 65 and started at 12

We need to do the "what have you bred" game next. What have you bred and raised?

A rather large number of people keep fish. A rather smaller number of people set up tanks where fish breed and successfully raise the fry to adulthood.

So what gave you the idea that you knew more about fish than I do?

A friend of mine who's bred angelfish and I were talking about how people are like the fish they prefer to keep. She likes the South American earth eaters (another cichlid family) and catfish, and was rooting for the convicts and suggested the guppies as a treat for them after their long journey (couple of blocks, actually). Anyone who disses cichlids is not my kind of people.

I've gotten to the point where any single guy from North America who wants to move here needs some sterling references from people whose judgment I trust before bothering to meet them. Most of them seem to be humorless old biddies.

You probably weren't here for round one -- half the old boys were telling me I couldn't possibly get residency going about it the way I got residency (and that most people I know here got residency, in some cases following my example). "Your tank is going to collapse" is just guys negging on a woman again. The Nicaraguan guys even were doing it. Sebastian finally shut them up because they were dissing his work and not just my judgement.

Questions about my helper may have been valid enough, but that was something I already knew about and managed.

I've got a picture of the tetra species I'm planning to add to the mix. From what Sebastian says, it's able to take care of itself with cichlids.

And tomorrow or Wednesday, I'll feed the guppies left in the two five gallon tanks to the convicts. This would be illegal in the UK and possibly in Canada and California.

Anything bigger than a neon tetra, one fish per gallon is overcrowding. Most fish stores like people to overcrowd their tanks. I'd rather keep fish under better conditions than that.

One of the male convicts was bitten on three places on his body -- if he doesn't die, there's nothing wrong with the water chemistry. I don't know where to buy pure ammonia in solution here, so the current fish population is providing the ammonia to feed the bacteria that break that down.

Rebecca Brown

how nice of you

to wish someone bad luck. working with aquariums for 40 years u dont know much. how does leaving a tank to "stabalize"work exactly to build bacteria? there is this thing called the nitrogen cycle. with out the introduction of ammonia there will be no bacteria. cycling a system using fish is a norm in this. so before you chastize someone be sure u know what ur talking about hedeonism. good luck ocidiminfan.

Buena suerte!!

Means Good Luck...."so before you chastize someone be sure u know what ur talking about"

i know exacrly

what im talking about he says good luck then tells her to post a pic when it fails. go ahead and defend ur buddy or try to take a shot at me.

Fact is....

You have no idea either way do you?


I was really enjoying the "fish series" but see it too degenerates into long-winded diatribes and "dick-measuring".


The same thing happened in the FB group

Sebastian came in and shut them up finally. He's known as one of the top aquarists in Nicaragua.

I took some pictures of Humberto's tanks and stands when I was in his shop yesterday. They're made of cheaper and thicker dimensional framing timbers but they're made in much the same way, though without mortise and tenon joints -- under tank reinforcements screwed in (mine are doweled in) and no angled supports. Cell phone photos, not really permanent posting quality, but I'll throw it up in the temporary files until I'm back with a better camera and the tripod (in route and now in Nicaragua waiting for Aduano to decide whether this is professional equipment or not). I don't have a polarizing filter for the Sony camera's lenses except for the manual adapted lens, but that's actually a good length for the gig.

The compression strength of red oak (I think the tree species called oak here is both something else and even stronger) is more than adequate for the job.

I've been talking in FB PMs with an ichthyologist who's done a lot of work with fish here and he's been suggesting how to maintain the location strain (in case captive bred fish ever can be sold or exported here), or what else would work that's in my close watersheds.

I'm going to end up having three tanks (replacement tank for the two fives is put together and is curing and will be here Wednesday). The last of the guppies in the two fives will end up in the big tank and the guppies in the ten will stay there until I need it for grow out of something.

There's a whole part of the freshwater aquarium hobby where a 100 to 120 gallon tank is just a smaller tank and 200 gallons and up (US, not Imperial) are sort of standard. If I were somewhere more permanently hot, I'd keep different fish. The idea of keeping what's in the local watershed rather than importing exotics is kinda satisfying. I was moving in that direction in Virginia -- would have kept darters if I'd stayed there. Couple of things will be exotics, though.

My impression is that Nicaraguans are less likely to have the standard ten gallon tank that's so often sold as the first tank in the US and more likely to have something considerably bigger, with 100 gallon tanks not being that unusual. Many tanks are custom built.

Note -- the fish hobby tends to be quite competitive -- two aquarists who just meet often do "what have you bred" as a way to determine who ranks who. We're not that different from our fish.

Rebecca Brown

I think

Sebastian is "A bit light on his fish tanks"....

What I've seen here with tanks has been….

…stuff that I was warned about in the US -- including some larger than five gallon tanks with unsupported corners about five inches out away from the stand (I think a 30 or 40 gallon tank. That tank was in the vet's store for at least a couple of years.

Some of the issue in the US is that if anything goes wrong, people sue, so everything is over-engineered and product-warning labeled.

http://youtu.be/XvjcWOWXRi0 -- so not that different from people in many ways.

Rebecca Brown

have fun..and enjoy

Fish caught out of the local river are going to be tough and adaptable. If I was doing a true biotope aquarium, I'd have a car tire in the tank and some plastic bags and a topping of what's left over from washing trucks in the river.

Nice fish

Enjoy your new gallery! For wild fish, we have Fish & Fishing under Outdoor Activities.