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Convicts preparing to breed? And intro


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#1 Bambi92

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 02:20 PM

Hi all this is my first post so ill introduce myself and my fish first.
My names Laura and I currently have a 6x2x2ft aquarium, a standard 3ft (which is my partners but has one of my fish in it for now) and a 4x2x2ft that I'm thinking about selling but not sure yet.
My 6ft has 3 oscars, 7 convicts, 2 bristle nose suckers and a gold fish (yes he doesn't belong but they don't attack him or anything unless he gets to close to the burrow explanation belong)
The 3ft has 2 albino bristle noses and a green terror who was in the 6ft but it was bashing my Oscar so I moved him over to that tank.
Now that is said ill get to the point of the post.
I have previously had several other cichlids a few years ago, I had convicts in there as well but they didnt do what 4 of mine are doing now.
From research I've done they like to burrow before they breed is this right?
I have a ship and a few rock cave sort of things in the tank ATM two of my black convicts (sorry I don't know technical names for them) they are using the ship to burrow in and won't let any other fish near it. The other two are an albino and a black they are burrowing in one of the rocks and in the corner of the tank and again won't let any of the other fish near it. There at different ends of the tank they weren't doing this in the 3ft (they were in there till they got a bit bigger) the albinos are still small and the blacks are bigger. I've never had fish breed before so I'm not sure what to do if they do breed I have a few photos but there not very good because there taken with the iPad.
Sorry this is long I wasn't sure how else to explain it or even if it explains it right
And also am not sure how to add photos so ill do that when I work it out.
Any help is appreciated.

#2 cooder

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 03:26 PM

Sounds like you have 2 pairs that are making territories that they will most likely spawn in.

I dont keep americans so i dont really know but they will probably have a go at everything near the nest to get them away...

#3 Ant

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 03:52 PM

Got convicts, got breeders! Good stuff. Don't be surprised if they have already spawned!

#4 Bambi92

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 05:56 PM

Got convicts, got breeders! Good stuff. Don't be surprised if they have already spawned!

How do I know if they have?
I wouldn't know the first thing about looking after them I've never done it :(
What do I do if they end up breeding? Are they going to be ok in the tank or do I have to move them to a different tank so the other fish don't eat them?
I may seem a bit stupid asking and not knowing about breeding but I've never been interested in breeding fish just having them as a hobby :(

#5 Ducksta

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 06:26 PM

If you want to save a number of babes to raise to saleable size, you will need more tanks. Left to their own devices they will be preyed on (by the Oscar especially)

Having said there is not a lot of return on convicts unless you're turning them out in wholesale quantities. And would take a long time to return your investment.

Leaving them in the main tank there is a good chance some will survive to a size where you can enjoy them interacting and getting confident enough to explore. Although the Oscar will probably continue to hunt them..

Even though you have a big tank, I think you may run in to problems with 2 pairs in there, as it really starts to limit the available space for everyone else to operate in.

#6 Bambi92

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 07:39 PM

If you want to save a number of babes to raise to saleable size, you will need more tanks. Left to their own devices they will be preyed on (by the Oscar especially)

Having said there is not a lot of return on convicts unless you're turning them out in wholesale quantities. And would take a long time to return your investment.

Leaving them in the main tank there is a good chance some will survive to a size where you can enjoy them interacting and getting confident enough to explore. Although the Oscar will probably continue to hunt them..

Even though you have a big tank, I think you may run in to problems with 2 pairs in there, as it really starts to limit the available space for everyone else to operate in.


Thanks for the info :)
I have got another tank but I don't have a filter or anything else for it and haven't got the money to buy stuff for it right now. I have the 3 ft I can use but the green terror is in there now and he has bashed my albino Oscar really bad his fins are all stuffed up and he missing some scales if I put him back in the 6ft he's going to kill my Oscar and I don't want that we do have a divider for the 3ft but it doesn't sit right in the tank would there be a way to put the convicts and the green terror in the same tank or will he get through the divider and kill them all?
And with having the 2 pairs in the tank what can I do? When they were in the 3ft to begin with they didnt bother with each other but now that there in the 6ft they decide to pair.
And the oscars don't have any interest in the other fish and 2 of the albino convicts are small enough to fit in there mouth but its the convicts that pick on the oscars the poor things don't defend themselves at all they just let the little ones bash them would that be because the green terror has bashed them? They are so different from my previous Oscars they are placid as anything I'm starting to wonder of there a different fish in an oscars body lol

#7 cooder

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 08:11 PM

Could be just the nature of the breed nowadays. we need WC agressive, nasty belligerent oscars i reckon so that not so many people are game to have the true breed :)

#8 Ducksta

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 09:10 PM

Oscars in general don't seem to me to any more or less aggressive than they were when I first kept them ~16 years ago. I realise they've been in the hobby a long time though. As a matter of interest, a fish and chip shop in Hervey Bay has a 14 (I think?) year old Oscar on display, and his tank is bustling with platties - which he very rarely bothers to eat.
I have it on pretty good authority that wild caught Oscars aren't especially aggressive in aquariums either. In fact they tend to be much more skittish, meaning the tank bred (comfortable) fish are actually more likely to be openly aggressive.
I think the myth of aggressive Oscars stemmed from a time when aggression wasn't understood or worked with.
They are relatively big fish, and they are predatory, but aggressive? I think anything that ate Mr Axelrod's neon tetra's was written in to lore as highly aggressive - and so we end up with fish with unjust reputations. Oscars, JDs, GTs, etc. All relatively placid compared to other cichlids, but documented as killers from an age where they were killing machines for taking down community fish in 60 litre aquariums... And now we have genuinely aggressive fish to compare, people think we've somehow 'bred them weak'...
That's not to say you can't have overly aggressive or excessively placid Oscars though - like dogs they seem to all have an individual personality.

As for what to do with your convicts. I'd suggest start by observing them. Decide which pair you like best. If the tank gets out of hand with each pair trying to claim too much space at each end, you will have to remove a pair. If you don't have an available tank, you should be able to sell/trade them. Keeping one pair will still allow you to enjoy watching the spawning and fry rearing interactions - and it will supply the tankmates with a steady stream of live foods, but they shouldn't overrun the tank.

#9 Azedenkae

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 02:21 AM

I agree with you, Ducksta. One thing that really needs to be differentiated is aggression and predation. Just because a fish is placid doesn't mean they aren't predators, and vice versa.

Oscars would eat anything they can, but as it has always been, will most likely lose a fight against similarly sized fish such as Red Devils and the likes. So yeah they are actually relatively placid.

I wouldn't regard JDs as 'aggressive' - at least not compared to the majority of americans. Don't know enough about SAs to comment on GTs tho.

Anyways actually as the Convicts continue to grow, there's a chance that they could actually take down and kill the oscar, especially since there's actually two pairs forming.

In regards to the fries you can always just leave them in there and hope for the best. Convicts breed like clockwork anyways, and some of the fry may end up surviving. :)

#10 Bambi92

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 01:26 PM

Oscars in general don't seem to me to any more or less aggressive than they were when I first kept them ~16 years ago. I realise they've been in the hobby a long time though. As a matter of interest, a fish and chip shop in Hervey Bay has a 14 (I think?) year old Oscar on display, and his tank is bustling with platties - which he very rarely bothers to eat.
I have it on pretty good authority that wild caught Oscars aren't especially aggressive in aquariums either. In fact they tend to be much more skittish, meaning the tank bred (comfortable) fish are actually more likely to be openly aggressive.
I think the myth of aggressive Oscars stemmed from a time when aggression wasn't understood or worked with.
They are relatively big fish, and they are predatory, but aggressive? I think anything that ate Mr Axelrod's neon tetra's was written in to lore as highly aggressive - and so we end up with fish with unjust reputations. Oscars, JDs, GTs, etc. All relatively placid compared to other cichlids, but documented as killers from an age where they were killing machines for taking down community fish in 60 litre aquariums... And now we have genuinely aggressive fish to compare, people think we've somehow 'bred them weak'...
That's not to say you can't have overly aggressive or excessively placid Oscars though - like dogs they seem to all have an individual personality.

As for what to do with your convicts. I'd suggest start by observing them. Decide which pair you like best. If the tank gets out of hand with each pair trying to claim too much space at each end, you will have to remove a pair. If you don't have an available tank, you should be able to sell/trade them. Keeping one pair will still allow you to enjoy watching the spawning and fry rearing interactions - and it will supply the tankmates with a steady stream of live foods, but they shouldn't overrun the tank.


I've known a few people that have had oscars and they have all been very different which is why I like them so much. Some have been "aggressive" to the point where you couldn't go near the tank without them trying to attack you and you couldn't put your hand in the tank or you'd end up with blood coming out of your hand or arm. But that was because the owner was a complete Ahole to them I ended up with them in the end and they went from that to being friendly and calm.

As for the convicts so far one lot have a ship and a rock cave thing and the other has a car with plants that I put in a few days ago and also has a rock cave thing these a pot in the middle that they don't go past either way unless its feeding time or they are chasing each other away and there only bothered by each other being near there places for now every now and then they go the oscars but they keep to themselves. I haven't had the green terror and any of the convicts together not sure if I should try it or not. I didn't think the albinos were old enough to breed but I guess I was wrong there only really small still. I think I might have to choose which pair I want to keep though watching them over the last few days they are getting more craPPy with each other each day.

Is it wrong to keep the pair I choose in the main tank? Knowing some of my other fish are going to eat the fry? Hopefully some will survive

#11 Ducksta

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 01:52 PM

It's completely up to you. Personally I would have no problem doing it. And have done in the past. When I actively bred numbers of fish, I used to keep convicts purely because I think they are great fish and I used a lot of their wrigglers as live food for some the larger fry. It's not more or less natural than keeping them in glass boxes to start with IMO.
Also, if you try to keep and raise all the convict fry you'll be swamped in no time.
Although I understand why some people would feel less ok with it.

#12 Bambi92

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 03:24 PM

Depending on if some survive I wouldn't keep them all I have 7 as it is dont need any more pairs in there. How big/old do they have to be before they can survive on there own? And be taken away from there parents? And if the other fish eat them are they going to end up over eating? Would I have to change how much food they get?
Sorry for all the questions I don't want to end up killing my other fish or the convicts if they have fry and as I've said above I've never had pairs before or fry.

#13 spedwards

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 01:40 PM

They are on their own fair early from memory, it's been a while since I have convicts but I recall that the parents weren't interested after they were swimming around. They will still be very small at that point.

You'll find your fish are opportunistic feeders, they will eat whenever the food is there and will overfeed if given the chance. Years of evolution have taught them that they don't know when their next meal will come.


If you are worried about over eating then just skip a feed once or twice a week while they are in the tank. Your fish will be fine with a skipped meal.

#14 Bambi92

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 09:50 PM

They are on their own fair early from memory, it's been a while since I have convicts but I recall that the parents weren't interested after they were swimming around. They will still be very small at that point.

You'll find your fish are opportunistic feeders, they will eat whenever the food is there and will overfeed if given the chance. Years of evolution have taught them that they don't know when their next meal will come.


If you are worried about over eating then just skip a feed once or twice a week while they are in the tank. Your fish will be fine with a skipped meal.


Guess ill just have to keep an eye on them and hope for the best.
The convicts think its feed time every time someone is near the tank haha
Thanks for the reply :)


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