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Breeding Convict Cichlids
and How to Raise the Baby Convicts


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This page contains information about how to breed Convict Cichlids and raise the baby fish.

Click here to go back to the first page in this discussion about how to breed Tropical Fish.


Customer Comments

Male and Female Convict Cichlids with their young baby fish fry.   This picture shows a pair of Convict Cichlids with their three-day old fry, which are on the surface of the big rock on the lower left side of the picture.
Convict Cichlid female with her young fry.   Here's a closer view of the female Convict carefully watching over her babies on the rock.
Convict Cichlid pair with their babies. Same pair of Convict Cichlids with a closer view of their fry. The male Convict is above. The female is below, and the fry are between them.
Here are the fry and their parents. Mom is on the bottom and Dad on top. They are 3 days old here. They spend most of the time hanging off this rock. Dad is up on top keeping away the other predator fish in the tank.
The convicts are just amazing parents. There are 10 other rather big fish in this tank and as far as we can tell none of the fry have been eaten. We guess that we have about 150-200 fry, not bad for first spawning.
We have since put a divider in the tank, not to protect the fry but protect the other fish in the tank from the convicts.
Seattle, Washington
Reply. Hello Robin. Thank you for sending us these wonder pictures and giving us your permission to use them here.
1. Breeding Pink Convicts
Another good fish to breed is the Pink Convict. Like mollies they are very easy to breed and the babies are hardy and easy to raise.

But Pink Convicts are an aggressive fish, and the details of their breeding are quite different from livebearers such as the Mollies discussed above.


Pink Convict Cichlid female.

  This is a Female Pink Convict that lived in our facilities for many years. Female Convicts have red on their bellies.

This female has much more red than most Convicts. Male Pink Convicts are usually pink with no red markings.


A male and female Pink Convict form a lasting pair and work together to chase the other fish out of their territory.

They'll dig in the gravel to form a pit, or sometimes they'll dig a cave out from under a rock.

In the pit or in the cave on the side of a rock they'll lay their eggs, and then carefully protect their eggs from other fish.

After three or four days the eggs hatch into tiny fish fry.
The best way to get a pair of Pink Convicts is to get six or eight Pink Convicts about 1" to 1.5" long.

Put them in an aquarium with at least 20-gallons of water and raise them up.

Usually by the time they have grown to 2", one of the males and one of the females will pair off, work together to establish a territory, chase other fish out of that territory, lay eggs, and raise their babies.


Customer Comments

Convict Cichlids.   David sent us this picture of one of his pairs of Convicts living in his 44 gallon tank. Looks like a male on the left with a bump on his head.
Convict Cichlid eggs after breeding. This picture shows hundreds of eggs that were laid on both the big rock on the left and the smaller red rock on the right at the tip of the white arrow.
I was reading your page on convict cichlids ... and thought I might have a picture you might find fitting for that page. 
I have 3 breeding pairs of convict cichlids in a 44 gallon tank -- 2 pairs are nesting fry right now . .and the 3rd pair are guarding a bed of eggs. Today I snapped a picture of the eggs, as they're layed on a rock right at the front of the tank.
I've attached it and you have my permission to use it on your cichlid page if you see fit. Also attached is a photo of the proud mom & dad. If you do decide to use it, I'd appreciate if you let me know so I can check it out :))  
Take Care
David G.

2. If your Convicts don't Spawn.
Here are three things you can do to encourage them.
(1) Change 20% of the water in their aquarium each day. Click here for more about changing water in aquariums.
(2) Increase the temperature of the water by 2 degrees F. So for example, if the temperature is 78, increase it to 80 degrees.

This requires only a very slight turn of the dial on the aquarium heater. Do not increase the temperature above 82 degrees F.

Click here for more information about adjusting aquarium heaters.
(3) Feed more good food to your adult Pink Convicts. Feed them floating flake food and freeze dried blood worms.

If you can obtain live or frozen brine shrimp, feed a few of them each day to your Convicts.

If you can get Live Black Worms, feed each of of your Convict Cichlids about 3 worms each day.

Click here for more about feeding fish.


3. Feeding Baby Convicts ...
the very finely powdered fish flake food like the baby Mollies eat.

You can make this powered food the same way that was described for baby Mollies.

Click here for more about making powdered food to feed baby fish.
But the Convict babies are smaller than Molly babies and will grow faster if fed freshly hatched brine shrimp.
The adult Convicts are very attentive parents. You'll enjoy watching them care for their babies.

Convict Cichlids are members of a group called Neotropical Cichlids.

Click here for more about Neotropical Cichlids.

Pet Fish Talk a Podcast about keeping pet fish in aquariums, fish bowls, and ponds.  
Click here to listen to a discussion titled "Breeding Pet Fish" by Tom and Nevin Bailey and professional fish breeder, Steve Corandan.
Click here to read Customer Comments and our Replies about breeding Convict Cichlids.
Click here to continue on and read about breeding Mouth Brooding Cichlids.
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