Here is a cute little picture of my boy Sam piling gravel on an anubias plant. After all, "Mikrogeophagus"
means "small earth eater".
Convict cichlids “Amatitlania nigrofasciata
”, if you are not familiar with them are a popular aquarium fish that are known mainly for their prolific breeding and extreme aggression. Pound for pound they can be some of the meanest fish out there in the hobby. I don’t know why but I just happen to love them. I really like the pair bond that develops during breeding and how they will defend their young to the death against much larger predators. Once they pair off they are super easy to breed. The old joke is that they will start breeding in the bag on the way home from the fish store. They come from Central America but now can be found in many areas of the world as a slightly invasive species. They are great fish for beginners and are very hardy. The only drawback to them is they do not make good community citizens even know they are sold as such. They aren’t very colorful at first glance with their black bars over gray but if you look closely at the fins you will see sparks of iridescent blue and yellow. The females get a nice orange belly which makes her the fairer of the species. The males, who grow much larger at 6” will develop longer fins and a even a slight hump on the head.
Back around Christmas on 2014, I started going to pet stores a night just to observe Convicts. I spent a good deal of time just watching. They would be kept in small tanks and usually the breeding pair in the tank would terrorize all the other fish in the tank. They would just start harassing other fish for no good reason. This really started to bum me out. I really would love some Convicts but couldn’t deal with having bullies in my new tank. A pair would be wonderful, I’m really not sure how I would handle the massive amount of culling that would be needed or the likely possibility that the male will turn on the female and outright kill her. The chances of getting a compatible pair of cichlids isn’t as easy as buying a single male and female. I would find out this important lesson a little down the road. Luckily, I was thinking I would be content with a single female, fat & happy in a 20 long all to herself and maybe with an armored catfish such as a clown pleco to keep her company. This turned out not to be the case.
I was at Petsmart at in January and saw the cutest lil’ black as night 1.5” female convict terrorizing two larger Cons to the point that if they didn’t jump out of the tank they would be dead by morning. The tails were eaten away the fish were as white as a ghost huddled in a corner, there was no hope for them. It was so sad. I then decided Convicts were not for me. I started looking towards dwarf cichlids and a possible community set-up as opposed to a “wet pet” for my 20 gallon long.
Enough about Convicts.
Bolivian Rams are mildly aggressive and squabble from time to time. Nobody gets hurt, they are just "territorial disputes".
I shot this video earlier this week. If you look closely in the very beginning you can see a rummy nose scatter eggs. Notice the stress lines on Sam and how they disappear when things get real.
Next up: 40 Gallon Breeder time!