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How To Breed Convict Cichlids

Updated on February 18, 2016

Breeding Cichlids In Aquariums

Breeding Aggressive Cichlids

Convict Cichlid breeding is one of my favorite hobbies, because when you do it you have baby convict cichlids. There are different kinds of convict cichlids but the most popular are black convict cichlids. I have 2 fish tanks, one of them is a 55 gallon and the other is a 29 gallon. I am currently breeding Convict Cichlids in my 29 gallon aquarium and my 55 gallon has a red tiger oscar and two Jack Dempseys. I have been an aquarium enthusiast for over 7 years, but I have never maintained a salt water aquarium before. Nevertheless I am very experienced with tropical fish and fresh water fish. Especially Convict cichlids, which are one of the most aggressive cichlids. If this is your first time caring for cichlids and if you don't know what type of aquarium filter would work best for your fish, you may want to read this article: The Best Aquarium Filters For Cichlids

How Do You Know If A Convict Cichlid Is Male or Female?

Sometimes it isn't so obvious when it comes to determining if your convict cichlid is male or female. But there are certain things you can look for that will help you determine if your fish is male or a female.

  • Male Convict Cichlids are generally bigger when they reach their mature years. They are bulkier, longer and the dorsal fin is usually more pointy than the females fins.
  • Its also common for male convict cichlids to have a more obvious bump on their forehead. My male convict cichlids are mature and the bump on his forehead has gotten more obvious as he's aged.
  • Female Cichlids have more rounded fins at the ends, whereas the males have pointy fins on the top fins.
  • When the female convict cichlid is pregnant, she may also be more colorful during that time. The female I have now gets a red belly with a little bit of blue and red on her dorsal fins.
  • In my experiences the male convict cichlids are usually the most aggressive. Sometimes mine loves to bully other fish.
  • Females may stay in one area when they are breeding, this is due to the fact that they usually get extremely territorial over the space where the convict cichlid eggs will be laid.

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How To Breed Convict Cichlids

Convict cichlids are one of the easiest cichlids to breed. They are perfect for someone that is trying to breed fish for the first time. The reason convicts are fairly easy to breed is because they make excellent parents and they do a great job of protecting their babies. They are also very strong fish that can handle poor quality much better than most fish.

In the recent past, I've even seen my convict cichlids feed their young by burping up food. This was during a time when the babies were very young and very hard to see. From what I saw, it seemed like the mother eats food and saves some in her mouth so that she can feed her young later. Although convicts make great parents, they do have a very aggressive personality toward other convicts and other types of fish.

Convict cichlids are notorious for being extremely aggressive toward other fish, especially when they are breeding. I think its very difficult to have other fish in the aquarium with a breeding pair of convict cichlids. In my experiences, the convicts will quickly become territorial and attack the other fish until they die. I have even experienced this in short periods of time in which my convict cichlids nearly killed the other fish in the tank, within one day.

Once the convict cichlids lay the eggs, they will stay near the nest and watch over the eggs. It is also very common for the male cichlid to patrol the tank while the female tends to the eggs. After the eggs hatch, you will notice that they can have between 20 - 100 babies in one month. At first they will be very small and clear, and you will notice that the parents do a great job of catering to their needs. Sometimes you will notice that the female will pick up the babies with her mouth and spit them back into the nest. She will usually do that when the babies are too young to wonder around the tank.

Once the eggs are laid, you really don't have to do much besides keep the aquarium clean and feed the fish regularly. I usually get baby brine shrimp to feed the babies, but I also crunch up cichlid flakes so that they are easier for the newborn fish to eat. Convict cichlid breeding isn't that difficult, this convict cichlid care guide should tell you everything you need to know to have a healthy and successful aquarium.

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    • Aquatic Guru profile image

      Aquatic Guru 

      7 years ago from Goodspring, Tennessee

      I think every one that keeps fish should own a breeding pair of convicts at least once. They are really cool fish indeed! I once had so many the pet store I sold to had to quit buying them. I had to give them away. It was fun though! Nice Hub! voted up!

    • profile image

      Bob 

      7 years ago

      Yes you can put an Oscar in with breeding convicts. You can put almost any aggressive in with them as long as you don't over crowd your tank. One of my tanks is a 85 with a breeding pair of convicts, a breeding pair of African spotted bush fish( leaf fish), a breeding pair of both gold and standard gouramis, 2 plecos, a figure 8 puffer, and a Pictus catfish. You can keep any fish together as long as you give them there own space, as soon as you over crowd, they start to fight.

    • profile image

      Ted 

      7 years ago

      This is great. I just got a aquarium and I excited to have this new information, thank you!

      (Oscars are one of my favorite fish)

    • profile image

      Joel 

      7 years ago

      Hi Danielle! Honestly, that Oscar wouldn't stand a chance with a breeding pair of convicts. Just have a look on YouTube and you'll see 4 inch convicts making 13 inch oscars cower in fear in a corner of the tank.

      Maybe if it were any other cichlid than convicts, MAYBE. With Convicts? That's just asking for trouble.

    • profile image

      Danielle 

      7 years ago

      I wonder If an oscar could survive in a tank with breeding convict cichlids? Does anybody know? My Oscar is about 4 inches long so he isn't that old.

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