The Marbled convict, Cryptoheros nigrofasciatus

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A new strain of the Convict cichlid developed by wholesaler Israquarium is proving very popular. Matt Clarke has the facts.

Common name: Marbled convict

Scientific name: Cryptoheros nigrofasciatus

Origin: This is a selectively bred aquarium race and isn't found in the wild with these colours.

Size: Males can reach a quite stocky 10cm/4", but females are generally much smaller.

Diet: Convicts are generalist feeders in the wild and eat crustaceans, insect larvae, plant matter and worms. As a result, captive specimens are quite unfussy and will be fine on a staple diet of flake and pellets.

Aquarium: These aren't community fish and can be aggressive. They are best kept in a tank of 90cm/36" or more filled with rocks and bogwood for hiding places. They can be mixed with other Central American cichlids if you are careful, but an adult pair hold a fairly big territory so fights may occur. A species tank is therefore the best option.

Availability: These fish were bred from normal and gold-coloured parents by the wholesaler Israquarium, who are developing a commercial strain. Very similar marbled forms of the Convict have also been produced by other breeders, but Israquarium have added more red to this strain.

Notes: The Convict (formerly Archocentrus nigrofasciatus and Cichlasoma nigrofasciatum) has a bad reputation for being an aggressive, prolific spawner, but in the right aquarium, it is a very attractive and interesting fish to keep.

Availability: These fish were photographed at the wholesaler Israquarium.

Price: Supplies are limited at the moment, so expect to pay 5.50-7.50 each.