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Old 04-14-2011, 11:35 AM   #1
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New and Need Advise on TOO MANY Convicts

Hello all

I'm new to this site and aquariams in general (other than a 10gal 25 years ago in college). I love me newly inherited 50gal tank but have some issues with the population.

First off, by inherited I mean my father-in-laws tennants moved out in the middle of the night and we didn't find out until 2 weeks later. After we cleaned out all the junk (10 truck loads) they left behind we uncovered this very large fish tank. The filter was running but so clogged and the water so dirty that I only thought there were 4 large goldfish in the tank. I cleaned the filter and bought some food for them and waited to figure out what to do with it all.

After a couple days the water cleared enough for me to see there were 5 or 6 other fish in the tank. A rather large (by my mind) black fish with stripes and several other smaller ones, more gray/silver with black stripes. There was also an algae eater in his hayday (since the tank was filthy). After a few more days of cleaning, and regular feeding I was SHOCKED to find around 50 fish in this tank. They were all the silver/black striped variety and had been hiding under rocks and inside a couple of fake wood decorations. about 3 days after that I was shocked again when the biggest fish I had ever seen (outside of large salt water tanks) came wriggling out of an 8" long fake log. After some research I found out it was a Jack Dempsey Cichlid.

I'll work on getting photos of all this in my profile in a bit. For now I have a more immediate problem.

I went to a local pet store with photos of these strange fish and was told these were Convict Cichlids. The guy was surprised when I told him my tale, and told me a) I should only have about 6 convicts in a tank this size b) I can never have anything but convicts in the tank and c) the goldfish are going to die (even though they are the biggest fish in the tank, other then Jack). He offered to let me bring them all into the store and he'd take them off my hands.....and I could start over building a friendlier tank, or at least weed out the tank and keep just a few of them.

First off, is all this true? I really like seeing all these fish swimming around. I'm concerned that the goldfish are stressed and don't look forward to seeing them eaten but they are the only live color in the tank and seem to be getting along ok so far. I don't know the story of the tank. Maybe they all "grew up" together :~) The rest of the crew get a little fiesty from time to time but nothing like I would expect if they are truly as mean and nasty as this guy told me. Lastly, I have never seen the Jack Dempsey eat. Never. I've had the tank for 3 weeks now (and watched it for 2 weeks prior to that while I was deciding what to do with it). He/she may be snacking on other fish every night but the population hasn't seemed to go down. When I feed the others he just sits there and watches. could he be afraid because there are so many other fish in the tank? He is easily 5 times their size but he is greatly outnumbered. He comes out and swims around the log and goes back under some fake plants a couple times a day, so at least I know he's alive.

Sorry for such a long introduction, but this is my main reason for turning to this forum for help. I look forward to developing a nice tank. I have it at my office and am putting a sign "Fish Lounge" on my office door, since so many people come in, pull up a chair and stare at the tank. :~)

Thanks for listening and hopefully helping.

-d
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Old 04-14-2011, 12:04 PM   #2
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I'd definitely recommend taking in as many of the Convicts as possible. They are one of the easiest cichlids to breed which is why they multiplied like they did.

If you wanted to keep a tank of Convicts you could with that tank - but then I'd recommend trying to find a new home for the JD and the goldies. Just because they all managed to "not die" doesn't mean they were necessarily doing well in that environment.
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Old 04-14-2011, 12:16 PM   #3
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If I wanted to keep a "kinder, gentler" tank, would the JD have to go too? I assume since he's a cichlid too that he would eat any small tropicals I put in a "community" tank. If I wanted to keep a few of the convicts, could I put any other types of fish in there with them, just for variety?
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Old 04-14-2011, 12:24 PM   #4
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I'm not all that familiar with the exact compatibilities of cichlids, so someone who actually keeps Cichlids might be better to answer your second question;

but as to your first question - if you want a tropical community tank, then pretty much everything but the Algae Eater will have to be re-homed. There are a few cichlids that are compatible with peaceful fish but neither Convicts nor Jack Dempseys fit into that category.

You could look into Keyhole Cichlids, Kribensis, etc. German Blue Rams (my profile pic) are also nice small community cichlids but they require very clean, very low nitrate water which would probably be a lot of work on that tank.
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