How Often Do Jewel Cichlids Mate?


With iridescent sparkles on the sides of their bodies, jewel cichlids are easy to pick out in an aquarium. If you have a breeding pair, chances are you'll wind up with many more than two. When tank conditions are right, jewel cichlids can spawn every three weeks.

It's Breeding Season

In nature, warmer water during the summer signals it's time to spawn. In your home aquarium, you can recreate breeding season by increasing the water temperature to 78 degrees. The male fish initiates the breeding process by selecting a suitable spawning site such as a hole he's dug in the gravel or the flat surface of a sheltered rock. Not one for displays of affection, the male selects his female of choice and bumps and bullies her until she relents and deposits her eggs on the nesting site. She'll release up to 600 eggs, which the male immediately fertilizes by releasing milt as he swims over them.

They Grow Up So Fast

Once the parents take care of fertilization, they guard the eggs for the three days it takes the fish to hatch. If there are no other fish in the tank from which to guard the eggs and fry, the adult fish may turn their parental aggression on each other or eat the hatching fry. Set up the breeding tank adjacent to the main tank so the parents can still see the other fish and can target their aggression toward a perceived threat. The small fish can swim on their own after the fourth day. Return the parents to the main tank where they'll recover and begin the process again in a few weeks.

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