All you need to achieve successful reproduction of convict cichlids is a breeding pair and a cycled, heated and filtered tank. The convict cichlid breeds so easily that the tank capacity and the quality of the water become quite irrelevant, although extremes should be avoided. It is best to by a group of around 6 convict cichlids and allow the pair to form naturally.
Sexing convict cichlids
As a general rule, male convict cichlids are slightly larger and display more developed dorsal and anal fins, but the spots present on the dorsal fins of the females are considered to be a more reliable method for determining the sex of the fish, females also tend to be more colorful than males.
Convict Cichlid Aquarium requirements
Tank size: At least 20 Gallons for one pair.
Temperature: 74-78 Degrees F
pH: Immaterial, but avoid extremes.
Filtration: Twice the tank cpa city hourly, at the minimum.
Difficulty to reproduce: Very easy.
Hatching: The eggs will hatch after three days at a temperature of 76 Degrees. The fry then becoming free swimming after another 3-5 days.
Parents temperament: Highly aggressive.
Spawning Convict Cichlids
The female take the initiative in the mating cycle. After choosing the site, usually a dark hiding place, she courts and entices the male. The eggs are laid on carefully cleaned walls of the cavity and the spawn is then carefully guarded by the couple. This is when the adults become most aggressive. Any intruders will be chased to the edge of the territory, this makes it best to breed these fish alone with no other tank mates.
A Large Family
The eggs will hatch after three days but the fry will need a few more days before they absorb their egg sac and start swimming in great numbers, under supervision of the parents. This is when the breeder realizes that the spawn size averages 100 to 200 fry and that another similarly sized brood can be expected within the next month.
The young will swim around the tank under the guidance of their parents but at the first sign of danger the parents will defend their fry as they swim into close hiding places. In a community tank it is likely that only a few of the fry will survive until adulthood.
Feeding the Convict Fry
The fry will need very small foods to start. Feed them with small foods such as brine shrimp nauplii during the first few weeks and gradually switch to flaked or finely crushed foods.
These fish breed very readily but before you engage in breeding them, please make sure you have someone or somewhere you can give them too. After breeding them myself I think they give great color and attitude to your tank and the adults parenting skills are a fascinating sight to behold.
Breeding Convict Cichlids Video
HACHETTE practical aquarium folder was a source for some of the information.