Archocentrus nigrofasciatus or Convict Cichlid is probably the most popular Central American cichlid. It is an interesting fish that is easy to breed and one pair can prosper in a small tank (29 gallon). There are a variety of color morphs in the wild. I have collected them in many different rivers in Central America. They do vary in color from one area to the next. Most are black and white strips hence named convict. And the females will get a little red on the belly particularly when spawning. They and the cutteri are a great introduction species to the fascinating world of Central American cichlids. 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. The female is more highly colored and has more intense black bands across the body, and pink to orange coloration in the ventral region and on the dorsal fin. In contrast, the male is mostly gray with light black stripes along the body. On the other hand, male convict cichlids 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. The average standard length of breeding sized males in the wild ranged from 31/2 inches, while breeding sized females ranged from 3 inches. 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. some information was profided by wikimedia.org l A male convict cichlid caught on a hook and line Convict cichlids are easily maintained and bred in aquariums. The aquarium should be decorated to mimic the natural environment and should 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 will also consume aquarium plants. Convict cichlids are aggressively territorial during breeding and pairs are best kept alone in suitably sized aquariums. . Due to the tendency of the species to dig, external filtration is recommended over under gravel filter systems. The relatively small size of this species, 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 in the aquarium.