How to Breed Convict Cichlid: Best Practices for Spawning!

Convict cichlids are one of the most popular aquarium fish. These fish are hardy and easy to care for, making them an excellent option for beginner aquarists. To breed these fish, you will need compatible mates, plenty of hiding spots, and a good water pH level. You may also want to add live foods such as blood worms or small crustaceans to your adult clusters.

Since these fish are beautiful and calm, you will find them in many community tanks. This makes it easier to establish your pair as the dominant one always wins over everyone else! When there is just one male available for breeding purposes, then he can be joined by two females or even more if you wish… but keep an eye on your water parameters; too low a pH level may inhibit its ability to breed, whereas excessive alkalinity can cause many of them to go broody.

Steps in Breeding of Convict Cichlids

  • Look for a healthy convict cichlid. This fish needs plenty of space and should be kept in a well-lit environment with big rocks, caves, or other hiding spots.
  • Introduce the couple when they are younglings – about 1 to 2 inches long – and provide them with adequate food and water until they reach adulthood (which can take between 16 weeks to 6 months). If you’re planning to breed your convict cichlid, provide plenty of spawning materials and a healthy atmosphere for fry.
  • Once the adults are ready to lay eggs, you’ll need to set up a water cave or tank with tight-fitting rocks that will keep the fish safe from other predators while they’re nesting. Please provide a few plants for them to hide among enough organic material ( e.g., algae or decomposing food) to cover the bottom of the tank.
  • Once spawning has occurred, carefully remove all of the eggs and place them in a water container with some fresh aquatic plants until they hatch (usually within four days). The fry will need plenty of predator-prey to eat while they grow into adulthood, so provide small fish like goldfish, danios, or tetras as soon as possible.

How to Prepare Aquarium for Breeding?

The best way to set up your aquarium for breeding convict cichlids is by choosing a large area that can be divided into several small compartments. This will allow the fish to hide and give them plenty of territories in which they can spawn. The minimum aquarium size for one convict cichlid is 30 gallons. A larger tank will increase the chances of breeding and provide more space for the fry. It is also essential to offer ample areas of gravel or rocks on which they may lay the eggs and calm water with good oxygen levels. Keep in mind that these fish are egg layers, so don’t choose to add too many females into the tank.

How to Introduce Convict Cichlids to Aquarium?

The best way to introduce convict cichlids into an aquarium is by using a large container that can be divided into several small compartments. If possible, try to get two or more females and place them in separate tank areas. You should also add one male to the tank so he may start breeding. Once you have successfully introduced all your fish, gradually introduce other water parameters such as temperature and hardness. Keep a close eye on your tank to avoid any problems.

How to Get My Convict Cichlids to Spawn?

To get your convict cichlids to spawn, you’ll need to provide plenty of spawning materials and a healthy environment for the fry. Be sure to add clean guppies or mollusks and sufficient organic material (e.g., algae or decomposing food) to the water cave/tank and provide secure hiding places for the adults. In addition, be careful where you place the water cave/tank – if there are other tanks or caves nearby, it might not be possible for your fish to make their way back to lay eggs. In this case, try using the exact location twice to attempt breeding.

What If My Convicts Don’t Spawn?

If your convict cichlids don’t spawn after trying several different spawning locations, it’s possible that they’re not compatible with each other. For example, sometimes, one fish will dominate another and prevent them from breeding. In this case, you might need to find a new pair of partners for your cichlids. Alternatively, you can try adding more than one convict cichlid to the tank – but make sure that there is plenty of space for them all.

What About Bigger Aquariums?

Larger aquariums will increase the chances of breeding and provide more space for the fry. However, be sure to adjust the water parameters appropriately – as convict cichlids are big fish, they can require a lot of room to swim around comfortably.

Install Proper Filtration

One of the essential requirements for breeding convict cichlids is clean water. Ensure to add adequate amounts of filtration to your tank – this will help remove any contaminants that can prohibit spawning. In addition, be sure to provide hiding places for the adults and plenty of spawning Materials.

Add Visual Barriers and Hiding Places

Install visual barriers to create an obstacle course for the fish and help prevent them from spawning in undesirable areas. This will also encourage them to spawn near places where they can hide during egg-laying. In addition, add plenty of nesting material – such as cave formations or rocks – so that the adults can lay their eggs without being disturbed.


Driftwood can be added to the aquarium as a spawning material. This will provide hiding places for the fish and encourage them to deposit their eggs in more strategic locations. Remove driftwood once it has been used – otherwise, it could interfere with reproduction.

River Stones

River stones can also be used as spawning material. This will help to create a more natural environment and promote genetic diversity. Add them to the aquarium and wait for the fish to spawn near them.

Clay Pottery

Another option for spawning materials is broken clay pottery. This will provide plenty of hiding places for the fish and act as a natural spawning substrate. Fill a small pot with broken pottery and place it in an area where the fish are known to spawn.

Resilient Aquatic Plants

In addition to adding spawning materials, another way to help encourage convict cichlid reproduction is to add resilient plants. These plants will provide a hiding place for the adults and their eggs and shade from direct sunlight. Add these plants to areas where the fish are known to spawn.

How to Care for Convict Fry?

Once the fish have spawned, their fry will need to be cared for. This includes providing them with food and shelter until they can swim independently. Try to feed them a diet that consists primarily of live foods – such as worms, small crustaceans, and mosquito larvae – to develop solid appetites and proliferate. Make sure to place the fry in an area where they can hide from predators – such as a corner of the aquarium, under a piece of wood or rock.

Nursery plants help with keeping water clean, so add these in areas such as lower levels and where there is never direct sunlight. Never place them too close to substrate for this reason – otherwise, they could choke on detritus that builds up around their roots over time.

Use sand to create an area for young cichlids to hide from predators by covering it with about half an inch or so of sand. They will also need a wholly covered hiding place and plenty of crevices for them to crawl into. Dyed gravel helps with this since it changes color over time, making “hiding places” out of the substrate itself; this includes rocks, which they can burrow under not to be seen by predators (as far as fish go).