Are Convict Cichlids Mouth Brooders: How Does It Happen?

Convict cichlids are one of the most popular fish in the aquarium trade. They are easy to keep and breed, making excellent tankmates for other species. Cichlids are mouthbrooders, meaning that they lay their eggs in the open water where other fish can watch and take care of them. This is an excellent way to ensure that your cichlid babies get plenty of food and protection from predators.

What Are Mouth Brooders?

Mouth brooding is more fun for the parents and their offspring. Mouth brooders are often much more significant than others, whether because they need to accommodate lots of young at once or because mouth brooders tend to be bigger fish overall (they have fewer fry). Because cichlid babies come from unfertilized eggs, you will not want them in with other fish that might eat them – so it’s best to keep them all in a separate tank.

How Does Mouth Brooding Take Place?

Mouth brooding cichlids, such as the convict cichlid, care for their eggs in their mouths – this means they do not need a separate tank to raise their brood. On the other hand, Substrate brooding cichlids keep their eggs on the substrate (such as rocks or gravel) in another part of the aquarium.

Swollen Cichlid Belly

If your cichlid’s belly does not appear swollen, it might mean she is not about to spawn – in that case, you can remove her from the tank and try again later. If her belly does look unusually swollen, though, it is a sign she is about to lay eggs.

Different Coloration

As the cichlid’s eggs become increasingly active, her body will start to change color. For example, she might go from a light brown to a reddish-brown or even black, displaying many horizontal stripes across her abdomen.

Defense Mechanism

As the eggs become increasingly active, your cichlid will likely start to hide and act defensive – this is a sign she is ready to lay her eggs. And finally, once the eggs have hatched, your cichlid will probably stop all activity and remain in the tank until her young can fend for themselves.

Enlarged Mouth Area

Once the eggs have hatched, your cichlid’s mouth area will get enlarged and swollen. This is a sign she is caring for her young. In addition, the eggs (or fry) will start to develop very quickly – they might be tiny at first, but they could grow up in just a few weeks.

A shift in the Appetite

As the eggs become increasingly active, your cichlid’s appetite may change – she might start to eat a lot of food or stop eating altogether. This is all normal behavior, and it will gradually subside as the eggs incubate and the young develop.

Little Attention of Male to Female

Your cichlid will likely receive ample male attention as the eggs become increasingly active. This is a sign that she is ready to lay her eggs and trusts her mate. In addition, the males might start to “fight” for access to the female – this is how they mark their territory and indicate their dominance over other males in the tank.

How to Know if Your Cichlid Is Pregnant?

If your cichlid is not laying eggs but appears to be in good health, there’s a good chance she is pregnant and ready to lay eggs. One way to tell for sure is if the fish has been eating more than usual (peas and algae). Pregnant cichlids often eat these foods because they are full of nutrients that help the mother feed her young. Other signs include increased water activity and a more rounded body shape.

General Spawning Info of Convict Cichlids

Cichlids are often easy to breed and care for, but there are a few things to consider when trying to get them pregnant. First, make sure the tank is well-filtered and has plenty of clean water – these fish love clean tanks! Second, give your cichlids plenty of space – they like at least 2-3 square feet per fish. And finally, provide them with good food – cuttlefish, algae wafers, and such are a good source of nutrients for pregnant cichlids.

Pre-Spawning Cues

If you are trying to get your cichlid pregnant and notice she is restless or squirmy in her tank, it might be a good idea to put her into another tank – she is probably spawning. During spawning, the female will pull aggressively towards other fish in the tank (particularly males) and display an increased water activity. If all goes well, she will lay eggs soon after.

Spawning Behavior

The spawning process varies depending on cichlid species, but in general, the female will become more active and restless in her tank. She might also start to eat a lot more (mainly algae), which indicates she is about to lay eggs. Towards the end of the spawning process, she may release milky-white eggs into the aquarium. Be sure to keep an eye on your cichlid during this time – if she starts to show signs of distress (such as hiding or jumping out of the tank), it might be best to remove her and try again later.

How to Care to Convict Cichlid Eggs?

Once the eggs have been laid, it is essential to provide your cichlid with plenty of hiding places – she will likely be guarding her new brood. And finally, make sure the tank water stays clean – if debris accumulates on the eggshells, they may not hatch.

How Long Do Cichlids Hold Their Eggs?

Cichlids typically hold their eggs for about 21 to 36 days, but this may vary depending on the cichlid. Ultimately, the length of time your cichlid has her eggs will largely depend on how active and comfortable she is with being monitored.