Difference Between Male and Female Convict Cichlids

There is a significant difference between male and female convict cichlids. Males are typically larger than females, and they have wider head shapes with more developed jaw muscles. Female convict cichlids also tend to have smaller mouths and narrower heads. Males tend to be more colorful than females, with brighter colors on their bodies and fins. They also have more giant irises and show more sexual differentiation in their behavior. Although there are exceptions to this rule, female convict cichlids are usually much duller in color.

Significant Differences between Male and Female Convicts

The Size of Males

Males typically reach about 6 inches, while females rarely exceed 4.5 inches in length. Female convict cichlids also tend to have narrower heads and smaller mouths than males, which accounts for their generally smaller size overall.

The Color of Males

Male convict cichlids are usually much more brightly colored than female specimens, with bright colors on their bodies and fins. Although there are exceptions to this rule, female convict cichlids are usually much duller in color.

The Behavior of Males

Male convict cichlids show more sexual differentiation in their behavior than female specimens do. Males typically engage in more aggressive behaviors than females, and they may also be territorial throughout their tanks. In addition, male models have been observed to be more courting than females, performing various displays in the wild and showing off their colors.

The Vent of Males

Male convict cichlids typically have a nuchal hump, a small, centrally located bump on the back of their heads. This bump is evident in both male and female specimens but is most pronounced in males. Female convict cichlids do not possess a nuchal hump, and their egg tubes are oriented differently from those of males. Males also tend to have larger vent openings than females do.

How to Vent Convict Cichlids Correctly?

When breeding convict cichlids, it is important to vent the male’s tank properly to allow adequate ventilation. A standard 30-gallon aquarium can accommodate a single male specimen, while a larger tank may be necessary if you are trying to house two or more males together. To vent the tank, open one of the top slits and crank up the fan until it is blowing steadily across the entire surface of the water. In addition, use a sponge filter and change the water weekly, once or twice during the breeding season.

At What Age Can Convict Cichlids Breed?

Male convict cichlids can start breeding at around six months old, and females may be able to reproduce as early as four months old. Breeding generally occurs during the rainy season, so it is essential to stock your tank adequately in advance of that time if you plan on undertaking a breeding project. Additionally, it is crucial to assess the water quality in your tank before breeding, as poor-quality water may lead to unripe eggs and infected hatchlings.

How to Breed Convict Cichlids?

To breed convict cichlids, you’ll need a tank with plenty of space, a sturdy bottom cover, and a good filtration system. Remove all non-essential plants and decorations from the tank before beginning your breeding project; these will only get in the way. Place one male specimen in the center of your tank and position any females around him. 

It is essential to keep both sexes well-fed as they will be consuming a lot of energy. Once the male has exposed three or four stripes on his side, it is time to begin spawning. Have a bucket of clean water ready and slowly pour it into the tank until the water level reaches midway up the fish’s sides. Do not overspill, as this could damage your fish. Slowly lift one of your female specimens out of the tank and place her in front of the male. He should then start transferring sperm into her mouth. Repeat this process until all of the females have been spawned, and you have a healthy batch of fry. Change the water in your tank every week or two during the breeding season, as poor quality water can lead to rampant disease problems.

Convict Cichlid: Species Overview

The convict cichlid is one of the most popular fish in the hobby. They are easy to keep and breed and make great candidates for beginning tank owners. These fish enjoy a variety of water conditions, making them compatible with both high-and low-tech tanks. The main challenge of breeding these fish is keeping good quality water conditions; when neglected, poor quality water can lead to disease problems in your fry.

Typical Behavior

The convict cichlid is a peaceful fish that can be kept in community tanks. They are not aggressive and will usually avoid other tankmates. Like most cichlids, these fish do well with some cover or plants to hide under. When spawning, male specimens expose stripes on their sides which attract females. Once they have generated, the female should remove her fry from the tank and place them into another container of clean water.


The convict cichlid is a small fish that ranges in color from light to dark brown. Males tend to be darker than females and have slightly larger scales. These fish are typically less than two inches long but can grow up to six inches in length.