I made the mistake of introducing convict cichlids to my aquarium from a friend who was trying to get rid of them (should have been a big tip-off). Over time, these things overtook my tank and are breeding out of control.

I'm sure I could find out a way to sex these fish and try to find another naive person to take the girls or boys, but short of getting rid of half of them, is there anything I can do to discourage constant breeding by these fish?

  • 1
    Jailer Cichlids?
    – Oldcat
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 22:06

3 Answers 3


To tell which are the girls, which are the boys:

Juvenile convict cichlids are monomorphic until they reach sexual maturity. The male is mostly gray with light black stripes along the body. Males are larger than females, and they have more pointed ventral, dorsal and anal fins which often extend into filaments. In addition, older males frequently develop vestigial fatty lumps on their foreheads. Unusually for fish, the female is more highly coloured.[14] She has more intense black bands across the body, and pink to orange colouration in the ventral region and on the dorsal fin. (source: wikipedia)

And to prevent they having sex... well:

Sexually mature convicts form monogamous pairs and spawn in small caves or crevices. In the wild, the fish excavate caves by moving earth from underneath large stones.[14] Females lay the eggs on the upper or side surfaces of the cave to which they adhere. (source: wikipedia)

So, perhaps, the best way would be separating males and females as soon as possible, and removing places where they would reproduce.

But, of course, this can have undesired effects: when there are few opportunities to reproduce, they might get even more active.

And some other solutions:

  • give all them to someone else who wishes to have those species;

  • begin to sell those little kids, and get a new aquarium :-)


My local Aquarium store takes healthy fish and sells them. They usually give a small credit or a dollar or so for a fish. That might be another solution.

  • I'd be happy to give them away for nothing, honestly. I'd like to start over with this tank with a less invasive species.
    – JohnFx
    Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 23:56

My friends won't take them even if I paid them. I have got a whole lot of hatchling that I am stuck with at the moment . Only way may be to separate the females that you will only know at about six months . They are generally darker and are smaller than males which have longer dorsal and ventral fins. Sexually mature males also begin to form a hump on the forehead and coloration and stripes are lighter.

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