|Pair Of Convict Cichlids|
During this stage, the Convict cichlid aggression level towards other fish, starts to increase. Convict cichlid tankmates can have a real hard time during this phase, and it only gets worse. When they lay eggs, they get even more aggressive and when the fry are free swimming they have to protect them, hence their aggression peaks to maximum, where they will seek and kill other tank mates. Hence a Convict cichlid tank, containing both genders, should be just for Convicts and nothing else.
|Convict Cichlid Eggs|
Just like most cichlids, convicts pick a mate and pair up. Their objective is to pick a mate, pick a spot, lay eggs and defend their territory. Breeding convict is an easy task and many say, "add water and convicts, and you will have lots of convicts". Yes convicts are very prolific breeders and can spread very fast. They can sustain their young even in a tank full of other fish, because of their protective nature. While one parent guards the eggs, the other will attack and chase away any other fish that comes near.
Now let's say you have some convicts and want to breed them. The first thing you need, is to know the difference between male and female. Now if you take a look at the top of this blog, you will notice the picture of a male and a female convict. Males are bigger and some have a hump on their heads. Females are smaller, round bodied and the belly is mostly orange. Even after this, if you are still finding it hard to distinguish gender, then simply leave eight cichlids together. After a few days they should pair up and you will surely notice them sitting close to each other and chasing away the others. Once you notice this, just move them into a separate tank.
Provide a sponge filter that's filled with good bacteria for better water quality. After few days the female will lay eggs which are amber-like and the male will slide over them and deliver his sperm to fertilize them. The parents will take turns in fanning the eggs for circulation. They will also remove the bad eggs to prevent infection.
After 5 days, the eggs will hatch and you will notice a bed of wriggling tails. These are the babies which are almost ready to swim. The parents keep a close watch on them and make sure no one wanders off. After about a week, when the fry are swimming freely, you can start adding baby foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, infusoria or any powdered commercial food. Since I had none of these foods, I give them powdered oats. I've also noticed, that if the tank has a lot of detroitis lying on the base, most babies benefit from that as they harbor a lot of tiny organisms. Also an established sponge filter is a good source of food for these babies.
So during this time, make sure the water is clean. Keep ammonia levels as low as possible, since babies are not much resistant to it. When the babies are around 1 cm, put them in a grow-out tank so the parents can lay the next batch of eggs. If you leave the fry with the parents, usually the parents will not harm them, but when they lay the next batch of eggs and the new fry are in the wriggling stage of development, their older siblings will eat then up. I have seen this happen.