How do I help a a very timid convict cichlid

Fishjunkiejimmy

I rescued a convict from a chain pet store as it was getting bullied, I knew they wouldn’t help him for reason I’m not taking the time to explain.
I rescued and put him in my hospital tank to repair fin damage with the intention of puting him in my American cichlid tank when it was time to add more fish.
There is already another convict in there with a JD and I don’t have any experience with convict, to my understanding they breed like crazy and one is female and the rescue a male so I assumed they would get along.

I added him in with a fire mouth and tiger Oscar so to spread out the aggression and upon arrival the female convict went at him like crazy, and then all the other fish asserted their dominance and territory and so forth.
This poor male convict gets it from everyone in the tank and hides away the whole time, barely comes out to eat. I dump food right by him after setting food in the other end of the tank so I know he is eating.

Any suggestions on what I can do to help him get out and stick up for himself or something.
I added plants right away to break up like of sight for all the other fish, that’s how they ended up getting along but not this convict, he is struggling big time Any opinions are welcome thanks.
 

otterblue

Perhaps a tank by himself and eventually, when he's larger, a smaller convict to go with him?
 

Fishjunkiejimmy

I don’t really have another tank that would be suitable for him to live in, the hospital tank is only a ten gallon and that’s fine while he is only 2 inches.
my last resort plan is I just today set up a tank with convicts for my cousin and I’ll try him out in there, but I would like to keep him.
I got a personal bond now that I saved him and nursed him back to health
 

otterblue

I think that's awesome you did that. I was just thinking he may benefit from being the biggest fish in the tank. Convicts can be pretty brutal sometimes.
 

Fishjunkiejimmy

Yea I get what ur saying that does make sense then he would get some confidence what about maybe I put him the ten gallon for a little bit with a target fish like a couple danios or something he can chase around and build up confidence the danios are pretty fast and I don’t think he will b able to hurt them
 

TClare

That might help temporaily, but when you put him back with the cichlids, you could do a complete rearrangement of the tank immediately before adding him, so that the existing fish are confused about their territories and maybe less likely to attack him.
 

Fishjunkiejimmy

Yea that’s what I did when I added the new fish I added way more stuff clay pots and rocks for hiding places and plants to break up line of sight he might have to see how he does in tank I set up for my cousin that has only convicts in it
 

TClare

But did you move the things that were already in the tank before?
 

A201

When adding Cichlids into an established community, things go better if multiple Cichlids are introduced at the same time.
Always expect the new guy to be victimized by the three day cichlid slap down.
You can try rearranging the decor, but that's only a very temporary distraction. Every established tankmate will, in short order, try to assert their dominance over the new guy, trying to maintain or up their standing in the Cichlid hierarchy.
If the new Cichlid survives the ordeal, he will have established his place in the community & the hyper aggressiveness will subside.
Sometimes the new guy doesn't make it, but a fishkeeper can only do so much.
 

Fishjunkiejimmy

I’ve never heard of the three day cichlid slap down so I should leave him in there for a few days and see if he make it cause yea I knew all the other stuff I didn’t just throw him into a community cichlid tank by himself there was one other convict and a JD and I added the new convict and Oscar and a fire mouth
 

A201

The three day Cichlid slap down is just a term I came up with, based on all the years spent keeping & observing cichlids.
It seems that the tankmate aggression projected against newly introduced Cichlids lasts approximately three days. After that, things begin to calm down.
During the break in period it's important to provide numerous retreats, rocks, driftwood, caves, ect. to ensure survival.
 

Fishjunkiejimmy

Yea that’s what put in and today will day 3 and I’m sure he is gonna survive cause of numerous hiding spots but I want him to have a full life out in the tank not just hiding all the time I’m gonna keep an eye on him and see if he gets to venture out over the next few days and another quick question I didn’t add the drift wood I prepared I’m worried it will drop the ph to drastically what’s ur thought in that the drift wood I prepared is cherry wood and maybe a half dozen pieces no more then a foot in length
 

A201

In most cases driftwood only has a minor PH lowering effect. Like most Central American Cichlids, Convicts are very durable & can adapt to a wide range of water parameters.
 

Fishjunkiejimmy

Ok good to know I’m gonna put the drift wood in I like the way it looks much more natural and I boiled it multiple times and when it is just sitting in the pot of water no more tannins come out but I boiled it again yesterday and the water turned to tea again so I need to boil it until the boiled water is clear before I put it in
?
 

A201

The tannins won't hurt anything & might actually be beneficial to your fish.
 

Fishjunkiejimmy

I would like to hear more about the tannins being good for the fish my concern though is that it turns the water to brown I know these fish I have in there generally come from murky waters but I still like crystal clear water in my tanks or I feel anyway that it looks like I’m not keeping up on them I out a piece of drift wood bought from a LPS that’s was supposedly cured and it turned the water in my ex Gf turtle tank a terrible brown and it was early in my aquarium keeping so I made a huge mistake and did a 95% water change and cleaned the filter at the same time well as I’m sure u can imagine it messed everything up took me months to get that tank good again it would stink bad within days of each water change I just don’t want an experience like that again
 

A201

I've hardscaped my tanks with driftwood off & on over the years and don't really like dark stained water either.
The stained water is a more natural condition for most fish & helps to create an environment more likely to encourage natural behavior.
Manzanita wood is the only variety I've used that didn't release a noticeable amount of tannins.
 

Fishjunkiejimmy

Where would I find that wood? And have u ever used maple I have some and researched it and it said very minimal tannins
 

A201

Manzanita can be bought on line. Mine was purchased from a local fish store. Manzanita looks a lot like spiderwood, a twisted looking root. It's a little heavier & easier to sink.
As long as the Maple branch is dead, things should be fine. Maple tends to be a little sappy, which might not be the best situation in a fish tank.
 

Fishjunkiejimmy

yea I’ll check around the LPS for some manzanita and the maple wasn’t dead it fell in the backyard dried out in a heat wave how can I tell if it is still sappy? Sticky I guess
 

A201

If the maple is still green, probably not a good idea to use it. Since it fell from the tree, pretty good possibility the branch is dead.
Drought in my area too.
 

Fishjunkiejimmy

So I should boil it pretty good first though right and get out anything that might b in it
And I was just reading about tannins in the tank and it said it will help to bring out my fishes colours is that what u meant by mimicking there natural environment? Have u had these results with tannins in the water ?
 

A201

I never boil wood, just wash it off in a bucket of used tank water. Scrape off as much bark as possible. Anchor it down with rocks & expect a very temporary harmless fungus to quickly take root on it.
 

Fishjunkiejimmy

Ok thanks for the input it’s been very helpful
 

Fishjunkiejimmy

U were right A201 it’s day 3 and the rescue convict is out and about gets chased around a bit but he is out and about I think he will b alright after a little while all the other fish will get used to him being there and leave him alone
 

A201

I'm glad things are doing better.
 

Fishjunkiejimmy

Yea I actually seen him chase the fire mouth for. Second lol he is getting braver lol
 

Fishjunkiejimmy

So the update on the timid convict is the female ended up choosing him for breeding lack of options I guess lol any way they have there first batch of fry on the way and now that he is gonna b a daddy he got very aggressive sticking up for their eggs and I actually had to set them up in their own tank and he even grew really quick and is now the bigger of the two so he is doing really well
 

TClare

You might have to separate them after a while though, or you will soon be overrun!
 

Fishjunkiejimmy

na if I can’t give them to my LPS I’ll use them as feeder fish I didn’t separate them so I can save all the babies I did it cause they were getting way to aggressive with the other fish in their and eventually their would of been a casualty
 

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