How to Breed African Cichlids

It is easy to breed you cichlids if you take care of your cichlids by keeping the aquarium clean and maintain the conditions required by the particular cichlid that will keep the cichlids healthy. Keep the water free from pollutants, by purchasing a heater to maintain the temperature, by carrying out regular water changes, maintaining a good water chemistry and by providing a well balanced diet. It is important that your cichlids is healthy because only healthy fish will want to mate. During the incubation, female cichlids do not eat and it will last until 4 weeks. Only good healthy fish will be able to endure such abstinence from food. It is helpful to get several females for each male, as this way, male bullying does not get restricted to just one female. Aggressiveness of tank mates can cause stress among the weaker fish. It is important to a cichlid breeding that your fish is not stressed.

Diet is also one of the important to have a successful cichlid breeding. Proteins is advisable nutrients in time of cichlids breeding. There are different ways of cichlid breeds: Open Brooders, the spawn on open surface like rocks, or on the substrate. Shelter Brooders have two types, the Cavity Brooders and Mouth Brooders. Cavity Brooders a cichlids lay their eggs in caves and in depressions. Mouth Brooders who carry the eggs and the fry in their mouths. Open Brooders lay eggs as much as 10,000 while the Shelter Brooders lays only 300. Rocks and plants can be used to provide them with hiding places. Mouth brooders benefit the most from the hideouts because they will need more than usual protection when they are egg-laden.

The female releases the baby fry depends of the number of factors like her species, age, and the state of her wealth. Water quality may also determine when the fry get released. An inexperienced females are not likely to carry the eggs for the full term on the first time. After the first time, they will breed successfully. There are fish do not mate because they are overfed, the hungrier they are the more their aggressive tendencies are likely to show up, and more likely they will be to mate. The water temperature should be 74- 82F and alkaline, hard water will aid in cichlid breeding. The maintenance of a steady temperature will aid in the hatching of the eggs. There are several ways on raising and harvesting of cichlids. A best method is allow the mother to spit out the fry naturally in a separate tank. The survival of the fry is almost certain in this case unless the mother consumes the fry in such a case it would be good to transfer the mother to another tank once she has released the fry. There are fry who already eat flakes and brine shrimp if they already absorbed the eggs sacs. The fry will grow faster if their is a good water conditions, good feeding and have a good diets.

cichlids2.jpg (71 KB)

cichlids2.jpg (71 KB)

cichlids2.jpg (71 KB)

cichlids2.jpg (71 KB)

38 thoughts on “How to Breed African Cichlids”

  1. I would like to say… how do you know the difference between male and female? i have a cichlid like the yellow one you have in the picture, i have a just plan peach one, and then i have another that’s black with a blue stripe going down the center.


  2. telling males and females apart is really easy…. just watch your tank! males make nests in the gravel or sand. they will make holes under rocks. so if you see your fish moving the rocks around in your tank and clearing holes they are making spots to breed! meaning you have a female thats ready in the tank… simply do more water changes! the best time for breeding is when your water is all new…. meaning when you just set up a tank! another way to tell the sex is males have more spots on their back fins but this may be hard to tell depending on the color of fish… so its much better to just watch what your fish are doing. and wait. females will soon have eggs.. i had my tank set up for 2 weeks and got a mouth full off babys! i am guessing i have 2 males. but you really cant tell till you get them home. unless you buy them from a person who already watched the fish and knows which ones are males and females. i bought one pair from a guy so i knew when i set up my tank i had a pair…. but they wernt the pair to breed!!! so good luck!

  3. I would like to say…most of the time the male will have small circles on the anal fin resembling eggs, but that is not always 100% correct. A sure way to find out is to breed and see who has fry. Good luck with your tank

  4. I would like to say…that the males have egg spots on their anal fin,they are bigger and more colorful and the females are less aggressive,smaller,less colorful,and they have none or one tiny eggspot on their anal fin.

  5. hey i won’t to know how to tell the sex of a African Cichlid I am not realy sure how to tell if they are female or male.But I have a 150 gallon tank and a 30 gallon,please i need info how to tell

  6. I would like to say…what if you like a fish but cant find another like it to breed can different species breed

  7. The female usually has a lighter color then the Males- It will brighten up when they mate up. Convicts usually have a pink tint on the belly representing a femal. As for African the females are usually smaller then teh males and also are lighter in color until they breed. I had one that was light pink and turned almost completly red once she started to mate. The male is a little bigger and very red with yellow tints on his tale. If you spend some time at your LFS and really observe the tanks you can pretty much determine who themates are. Jus be patient.

  8. well i dont really know how to tell the diffrence between male and female. but i do have a question ……
    is it ok to keep a bottem feeder in the tank if you want the fish to breed….. ? ….

  9. I just noticed that my electric blue johanni has a mouth full of eggs. I have a net incubator that goes inside my tank. I was just woundering if some one could tell me when i should put my fish in the incubator to release the fri

  10. I would like to say…I have a 200 gl tank with 7 african Cichlids. we bought them from a local aquarium in July of 09 and they were very small about 1″ – 2″ when we bought them. They are now 3″-4″and have always dug holes under the rocks and hide out there. How big will these fish get and I have yet to see any mating or fry. Tank temp is 79 and water is added weekly. Is it just a waiting game for them to mate or are they not old enough yet?

  11. the way to tell the difference between male and female is: you must look at the anal fin(the fin on the bottom side of fish near the tail). if there are at least 1 but up to 4 white dots on it, this means the fish is male; as to no dots=female. the dots are very small and can be hard to see so look closely untill you understand what it is that you are looking for looks like.

  12. I would like to say…what do the spots look like on the anal fins of a male fish? I just got three african cichlids and i’m trying to learn as much about them as i can. If i’m seeing the right thing then i think i have two males adn one female. but if thats the case then my female is the brightest and the males are the palest. I have a yellow, albino, and black/purple one. i see some kind of spot on the black/purple one and albino.

  13. I would like to say…males and females are hard to tell in some species eg Elactric Yellow Labidochromis, where the sexes are pretty much the same colour, and easier to tell in other species eg Electric Blue Ahli, where the males is blue and the females are gray.
    Egg spots are not an indicator of sex as many females carry them too….all my female electric blues have 3 egg spots on their anal fins.
    if you want the best method then google- venting cichlid fish for sex…..this is the only true way to tell if you have males or females

  14. I would like to say… One of my fish just spit out babies I didn’t know she was going to have them until it was to late, what is the best way to keep the babies alive?

  15. I would like to say…I agree, and disagree with each of you, to say that the female fish have no spots at all on the anal fin is not 100%, my breeding pair( breeding pair) both have the dots, to say that the dots are always white, is also not 100%, as my male has orange spots back there ( electric yellow). I do not know a lot about fish, i have a 300 gal tank, and im actually scanning sites and reading questions and answers that are very confusing, and contradictary.. So … To any of you that are like me, who just would like basic info, Here are my 2cents .. lol… 300 gal tank about 12 fish total top, middle, and bottom feeders. I have breeding pairs, who do well with all other fish. Lots of rock, and live plants for hiding and egg laying. I feed only frozen foods, for good protine. And my tank is compleatly self sustaining. Except for adding a little watter once a month, maybe a gal. they do every thing on there own. and the tanks is clean, and beautiful, with a constant adition of babies, and a lil extra cash when i sell them ( when i can catch ) this may not help, but it’s what i have… :o)

  16. I would like to say… i have a peacock cichlid and she looks like she is pregnant her belly looks swollen and she is always at the top of the tank. my blue electric male was trying to mate with her but she ignored him and he stop chasing her around the tank. should i get another male for her or is there something wrong with her

  17. “The water temperature should be 76C and 78C ” …are you cooking the fish?

  18. You are right Jovi. The water temperature should be monitored always and it should be around 76C and 78C.

  19. No silly – you mean 76 – 78 degrees Fahrenheit! 76 Celsius would be bad news for the fish!!

  20. I would like to say…all of this information was very helpful to me. Now i know why one of my cichilds has been chasing around one of the other ones. thank you!

  21. I would like to say… Ok so I Have a fifty gallon w four chiclids I believe I have three females and one male is it possible for him to mate w two within same week cus one def has eggs and think second now has them within the week should I keep them in the tank since there r only 4 They been together for a year and one is four tears old and first time breeding it possible???

  22. I would like to say… you can sometimes distinguish male from female african cichlids by the shape of their anal fin, the females anal fin is rounded and the male is most times pointy, and females ,not always, do have egg spots. The egg spots are for when mouth breeders lay eggs the female will lay the eggs and pick them up in her mouth to incubate them and the male will lay down next to the eggs and when the female trys to pick up the egg spots the male will shoot sperm in her mouth to fertilize the eggs. My fish breed on a regular basis, clean water, varied diet, and steady temperature, you can also raise the temp slightly to encourage them to breed, hope i helped.

  23. I would like to say…I have an African (don’t know which kind, I think mixed) its belly is getting whiter and bigger, looks like a pregnant guppy. Is it possible she is pregnant as in in her belly, live bearing?. I have other Africans that I have seen the mouth brooding reproduction process many times. Is she I’ll or pregnant, or just fat

  24. ive read all the comments and if you put the answers and questions together…..i understand completeley……mating game is all a waiting game. also yes you can pick the males out by them digging and tunnelling. its like going to a bar and watching the mating games there!!!!

  25. Hey I have 6feet of aquarium of cichilds all types of I mix’s African yellow male fin are dark black and fin sharp from up and female have ligth dark black fin and anal little out . U can search on google more about sex thx one more thing african yellow male keep only 2 and put 4 female 🙂

  26. Hi,

    Great website and articles!

    I don’t mean to bother you but I noticed you you have African cichlids and wanted to invite you to join the African cichlid Breeders group. This is a group for people that are African cichlid breeders as well as people that have African cichlids and people that sell them.

    We would love for you to join the African cichlid Facebook group and post what you have available to purchase. This is the biggest African cichlid group on Facebook.

  27. i have 5 African cichlids. One is yellow, then orange ,then a orange&black that looks like camouflage,then gray w black tip fins and lasy is gray w tiger strips.I am wanting to know how to tell the difference in the sex and breeding and how to know if they r pregnant.

  28. my cichlid is prenant and lies around on her back mostly and seems to have difficulty swimming is this due to weight as her belly is quite large

  29. I have three african cichlids but i want to now their sex it is not possible to tell from there anal fins

  30. You can tell males apart by the egg spots on their anal fins. Males also have a longer and more pointy anal fin, whereas the females have a more round anal fin. you can also look at the fish right above their anal fin by taking it out of the water and observing, look at a google pic to further show you which one is male or female. Also if you African cichlid (Looks pregnant) then it has bloat. Most all cichlids besides Electric blue acara and gold rams are mouth brooders, meaning they hold the eggs in their mouth until they’re ready to be spit out.

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