Convicts & Honduran Red Points

This was somewhat of an accidental side project which came into being when my “female” Honduran red point was thrown in my main tank with a bunch of female pink convicts and turned out to be a male instead. It all started when I read a post from Finatics on PriceNetwork that talked about these fish that were similar to, but much nicer than regular convicts. Curious, I had to go see what all the fuss was about. I so I ran out to see them and Mike was able to point out one that was swimming in the midst of a bunch of regular Black convicts. Lo and behold, the fish was much nicer, showing a lovely red hue in its tail and a more pronounced blue around the gills. We both thought it was a female, but it’s possible to make this mistake when they’re young and males show a few iridescent scales that look like the start of a female’s typical orange belly colour. I brought “her” home and “she” ended up making babies with a female pink convict, so definitely a male!

Male Honduran Red Point (Amatitlania siquia)

Male Black Convict (Amatitlania nigrofasciata)

Since the HRP x pink convict pair bred in my main display tank, I wasn’t able to rescue the whole spawn, but did grab a handful of the survivors and grew them out. All fry displayed the darker colour of the HRP, showing that dad did not have any form of leucistic genes present and was therefore a true black HRP. Some were given to some friends, but I saved a few for myself and raised them up. After a few months and them reaching maturity, I found I had only two left, one male and one female. This particular hybridisation is usually given the name “blue convict” owing to the fact that they are much more iridescent from the HRP genes, but still look like regular ol’ convicts. The female in particular had some righteous colouring, stunning blues & yellows and an almost barred orange when ready to breed…

Blue “Convicts” (Amatitlania siquia x A. nigrofasciata hybrid)

With just one of each gender left, I decided I had to experiment. I back-crossed the female with her father to keep her pretty colours, but breed out the convict resulting in a touch of pink convict added to HRPs. The male was crossed with an unrelated pink convict (one of the marble-less offspring from my light marble pairing) to attempt to produce a “white HRP”. I don’t know if a naturally-occurring leucistic version of the HRP exists, but I’ve heard that those that are floating around have a much paler complexion as compared to pink convict. I’ve also seen some really pale pink convict in a local PJ’s, so I decided I’d try for myself to see what happens when a touch of HRP is added to pink convict.


Experiment 1: HRP x (HRP x Pink Con) Back-Cross

Above you can see the blue “convict” mother and the HRP father tending to their fry, born somewhere around the 20th of December, 2010. Again, these hybrids will be roughly 1/4 pink convict and 3/4 HRP, with the male HRP being the father of both the fry and their mother.

Fry after a couple of weeks are doing well and appear to be all dark in colour, as expected. It will be interesting to see if any of them have any marked differences in colour at all, favouring either their HRP or convict ancestry.

April 5th, 2011 - HRP x (HRP x pink)/”blue” fry at 4 months old. Only seven left, but looking good! :)

September 5th, 2011 – No survivors remain.


Experiment 2: (HRP x Pink Con) x Pink Con Cross

This experiment will attempt to produce some white “HRPs”, pulling the leucistic genes from the pink convict and the pretty iridescent colours from the HRP. Granted, leucism does reduce the overall colouration of the fish, but we’ll see what happens, as iridescent scales are more about shininess than colour. I’m predicting something similar to what happens with a platinum angelfish, where there is no colour, but more iridescence, leading to a fish that is more white than pink. Following this analogy, pink convict would be the same as blushing angelfish, where less iridescence allows the colour of the underlying organs showing through, giving the fish a pink hue.

Above you can see the difference between a blushing and a platinum angelfish, which are what I’m hypothesising the analogues to pink convict and white “HRPs” are. Also shown are the blue “convict” male and the pink convict female tending to their eggs, which hatched around the 27th of December, 2010.

January 8th, 2011 – Even after only a couple of weeks, some fry are showing a distinct difference in colour. A quick count revealed an interesting discovery; the colours have not be inherited in a completely Mendelian fashion as one might predict. Now, this may be a result of them being too young to accurately separate into the “blue” and “white” buckets properly. However, since hybrids express their genes in uncontrolled and unpredictable ways, the favouring of the more abundant pink convict genes in this case wouldn’t be unusual. Counts were 79 total, 32 blue (40.5%), 47 white (59.5%).

April 5th, 2011FAIL! After the (HRP x pink) x pink/”white” batch was allowed to grow out for a few months, I found that the colours came out a complete swampwater mess! Despite the two pink females used to produce these fry being all-pink visually, their offspring inherited marble genes somehow, which supports the variable expressivity of the marble gene theory. Out of the 38 fish counted, 22 were marbled (57.9%) and 16 black (42.1%), with seven of these black appearing really intensely-coloured and the remaining nine being more subdued. Welcome to the world of hybrids! The seven “darkies” have been saved for further observation and the rest released into other tanks as lunch.

September 5th, 2011 – Just one (HRP x pink) x pink dark female remains at this point. I may mate her back to her great-grandfather (the HRP) at some point down the road, but chances are I’ll just pull the plug on this particular experiment. Hope it has been insightful.

Revised: 2012-01-17
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23 Responses to Convicts & Honduran Red Points

  1. simonptc says:

    Wow Greg this hrp x pink con business is pretty amazing stuff…You just got my mind racing with possible ideas to what may occur… This was a great write up and the cross references with the angel fish is nice added here as well. You mas as well publish a book when your done!

    • I aim to provoke thought! :D

      After I read some of that info on betta genetics you mentioned, it really just started to all fall into place. When I saw that the “layers” were opaque, iridescent/blue, red, black, yellow, I just made the connection that most fish had all the same colour options, just with different names. It all boils down to the four scale types – iridophores, melanophores, erythrophores and xanthophores (for iridescent, black, red and yellow, respectively) and how the over-/under-produce their particular colours and/or clump together to cause all the fun colour morphs we know and love! :)

      A book deal does sound sweet, but I like the idea of this blog being my book too.

  2. Daniel says:

    hah. I have con x hrp too. Rock on brother

  3. tai says:

    hi , where do you live I would like to buy your marble convict

    • greg says:

      Hi Tai,

      I’m in Toronto.

      • tai says:

        awww man , i live in north sacramento. can you ship in to me or not? i wanna buy 3 for 10$ or more. thank you

      • greg says:

        Yup. I think we can arrange something, but it might be expensive! I’m happy to charge you just $10 for a few fish, but I’ll have to tack on any shipping supplies and fees I encounter, which will be many times that amount. I’ll need to find a styrofoam container that fits inside a cardboard box, throw in a heat pack, pad it and zip them over to you in less than 24 hours. We’ll have to ensure a minimal customs delay, so I’d probably have to send them for you to pick up at your local airport. FedEx will get a 12″ x 6″ x 6″ package up to 3 pounds to you for 10:30 the next day for just over $100. We can tweak the size and weight a bit to make these fees as low as possible, but I think $100-$150 would be a good ballpark figure for sending a single bag o’ fish. What do you think? Too much?

  4. tai says:

    yea thats too much man, but hey what do you get by breeding a regular male convict with a female marble convict cichlid. cuzz i just got a batch that had hatched today on 5/6/11. never mind of buying the fishes cuzz i will not want to go to the airport.

    • greg says:

      Shipping is surprisingly expensive, isn’t it? I’m sure there are cheaper options, but then you’re into multiple days and no on-time guarantees. The airport thing may not be necessary, but I just usually read that most online wholesalers do that for their customers, so I assumed there was a time advantage. Right to your doorstep may be possible, but yeah, not cheap!

      All my marbles descend from the same one male (who was crossed to pink females), so if you have a marble female already, just back-cross one of her sons to her and you’ll get some marble babies. My experience has been that black overrides marble, which in turn overrides pink. If you keep in mind the ancestry of each parent and you can predict the results pretty accurately. I’ve had a couple weird anomalies and have yet to obtain a true-breeding marble pair (the marble trait seems to have variable expressivity, so some come out pink), but I’m working on painting a clearer picture. Got some spawns growing out and just had a pair of pink-gene/balloon-gene blacks cross, so those babies will be good to observe.

      So, if by “regular”, you mean black/wild-type, then you’ll likely get 100% black offspring, unless your black male carries a pink gene, in which case you may get a mix.

  5. tai says:

    so can i get if i breed a female marle to a black convict

    • greg says:

      Yes, but not in the first generation of offspring if dad is a true wild-type convict and carries no abnormal colour genes. You have to mate the children together for 25% marble or a son back to the mother for (maybe) 50% marble. The rest will be black like dad. Fortunately these fish mature really quickly, so the wait time is not too long. Good luck!

      • tai says:

        hey wat do i get if i breed a pink male with a little black mark with a female marble. what do i get then?

      • greg says:

        I haven’t done that particular cross yet, but I do have a pair that are both barely-marbled (i.e. pink with only a couple black specks) that I intend to mate. You will likely get a batch that has a variety of markings, ranging from all-pink to somewhat-marbled. No black though, that is for sure.

  6. tai says:

    ok then thanks for your info so much.

  7. David says:

    hey greg? have u tried breeding a marble (out of a marble x pink) to a pink (out of marble x marble)?

    • greg says:

      Hmmm…I don’t think I’ve tried this, though I suppose I could. I do have a couple of the marble offspring from the first marble x pink pairing, plus a couple of the pink-only offspring from subsequent pairings. Would be interesting to see if there was a noticeably-reduced marbling in this pairing or whether the spawn was just like the first one. Just got to fatten up the pinks a bit as they’re still pretty young. Good idea, David. :)

      • David says:

        well reason i ask is that, rite now that is what i’m trying to do. i was just wondering if you knew what i would get as in more marbles or more pinks. i guess you don’t know what you get until you try it huh? i do hope i get more marbles though.

      • greg says:

        My first guess would be that you’d get a pretty even split of pink and marble, however, I’ve had on spawn from marble-bred pink cons that came out marble where I was expecting pink, so it could be that this gene, though not displayed in all marble offspring is passed along. Let me know your results; I’d be quite interested in knowing! :)

  8. David says:

    sure thing i will let you know what i get. the pair just paired up so hopefully i get some fry soon!

  9. Kim says:

    I’m conducting a similar experiment with my Leucistic Honduran Red Point male and my Honduran Blue Point female. The Honduran Blue is a direct descendant of a pair I bred a while ago…traded them and the babies to a store owner who had a proven Leucistic Red Point which came from a breeder in Florida. They spawned a first batch, which I took out the females and reunited them with the maile once they were big enough, and took out the older female (mom). Immediately one of the females claimed the male! Last weekend there were eggs! I separated the other fish from them with a tank divider. I have hopes that the white gene will be in his daughter and her eggs I have now will have some leucistic babies. If not, the mom and dad had a second batch that I have in a separate tank growing out.
    I have already had offers from a couple of the tropical store owners for the first batch of offspring. They know what I have…but I told them these babies aren’t going out of my sight! : )
    The male Leucistic HRP is a gorgeous fish if you can fine one.
    I have a possible female Electric Blue Dempsey that has taken a liking to him too… LOL! Consider that couple’s offspring! Possibilities are endless.

    • Greg says:

      Thanks for sharing your results, Kim! I’ve heard great things about the leucistic HRP from friends. Doesn’t take the convicts long to pair up and breed, does it? :)

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