Amatitlania nigrofasciata

Amatitlania nigrofasciata
Zebra Convict Cichlid

Zebra Convict Cichlid

Albino Convict Cichlid

Marble Convict Cichlid

The Convict cichlid (Amatitlania nigrofasciata) is a fish species from the family Cichlidae, native to Central America, also known as the zebra cichlid. Convict cichlids are popular aquarium fish and have also been the subject of numerous studies on fish behaviour
Albert Günther originally described the species in 1867 after Frederick DuCane Godman and Osbert Salvin collected specimens in Central America. In 2007, the species was moved from the genus Archocentrus to a new genus, Amatitlania based on Juan Schmitter-Soto's study of Archocentus species. However, a 2008 study led by Oldrich Rican proposed moving the species in Cryptoheros and Amatitlania, including Amatitlania nigrofasciata into the genus Hypsophrys.
The convict cichlid displays significant color variation across its range. Some of these regional variants are now considered different species. In the cichlid-keeping hobby, Rusty Wessel collected one such fish Amatitlania siquia "Honduran Red Point" from a stream in Honduras.The Honduran Red Point Convict ranges from Atlantic Honduras south to Costa Rica. Other new species formerly included in A. nigrofasciata are:
Amatitlania coatepeque, from Lake Coatepeque in El Salvador, and
Amatitlania kanna, from Panama's Atlantic coast
The type species, A. nigrofasciata, which used to cover all these species, is restricted to the northern population ranging from El Salvador to Guatemala on the Pacific coast and from Honduras to Guatemala on the Atlantic coast.
A number of synonyms exist for this species including: Archocentrus nigrofasciatus, Cichlasoma nigrofasciatum, Cryptoheros nigrofasciatus and Heros nigrofasciatus.

The common name convict cichlid is, like the species name, derived from the vertical black stripes on the fishes body and their similarity to the striped prison uniforms of British convicts. Similarly, the species epithet nigrofasciatus literally means black-striped.

The wild-type of the species has 8–9 black vertical bars on a blue-grey body, along with a dark blotch on the operculum. Juvenile convict cichlids are monomorphic until they reach sexual maturity. Unusually for fish, the female is more highly coloured. The male is mostly gray with light black stripes along the body. Males are larger than females, and they have more pointed ventral, dorsal and anal fins which often extend into filaments. In addition, older males frequently develop vestigial fatty lumps on their foreheads. She has more intense black bands across the body, and pink to orange colouration in the ventral region and on the dorsal fin.The average standard length of mature males in the wild ranged from 6.3–6.6 centimeters, while breeding–sized females ranged from 4.2–5.5 centimeters. The maximum standard length has been reported to be 10 centimeters, with total length near 12 centimeters (4.7 in). Body weight has been reported to range from 34–36 grams (1.2–1.3 oz). Selective breeding has resulted in a leucistic strain of convict cichlids, in which the dark barring of the wild type is absent.These are also known as white convicts, pink convicts, gold convicts and A. nigrofasciata "Kongo",. The leucistic colouration is caused by a mutation in an autosomal gene and is recessively inherited.

Convict cichlids are endemic to the lakes and streams of Central America. In particular, the species occurs along the eastern coast of Central America from Guatemala to Costa Rica, and on the western coast from Honduras to Panama. Convict cichlids prefer moving water, and are most frequently found in habitats with cover in the form of rocks or sunken branches. Convict cichlids are relatively tolerant of cool water, an ability which has allowed the species to colonise volcanic lakes at elevations of 1,500 meters (4,900 ft). At four natural habitats of the convict cichlid in Costa Rica, the pH was found to range from 6.6–7.8, while alkalinity ranged from 63 to 77 ppm CaCO3. The daily water temperature ranged from 26–29 °C 

Convict cichlids are easily maintained and bred in aquaria. Decorate the aquarium to mimic the natural environment and include rocks and artificial caves for breeding. The species is an unfussy omnivore and most types of prepared fish foods are readily accepted. The species also consumes aquatic plants. Convict cichlids are aggressively territorial during breeding and pairs are best kept alone. Brood care is reduced in aquarium strains.due to the species' tendency to dig, external filtration is superior to undergravel filter systems. Its relatively small size, along with ease of keeping and breeding, make the convict an ideal cichlid for beginners and advanced aquarists alike interested in observing pair bonds and brood care.