How Long Do Cichlids Hold Eggs? The Facts Here!

Last Updated on March 28, 2022 by Marco C.

Do you know how long do cichlids hold eggs?  This is important information for anyone who wants to breed cichlids.  

All procreation starts with the creation of eggs.  Once the eggs hatch, cichlids are born.  Cichlids are a family of fish.

This means that there are many different varieties of cichlid.  Since they are in the same family, they share some similar characteristics.  It is always important to know the family that your fish belongs to.

When you know the family, you can access key information about its care.  Every fish needs different care.  Make sure you do your research before starting to raise any fish in aquaponics.  This will save you a headache in the long run.  When people skip this step they often end up with dead fish.  It is a lot of wasted time and of course sad for the fish’s life.

If you are interested in raising cichlids, you have come to the right place.  This article will overview the key characteristics of cichlids and give care tips.  It will also answer the most important question: How long do Cichlids hold eggs?  

Don’t stop reading now! You are almost on your way to becoming a cichlid expert.

How Many Days Does It Take For Cichlid Eggs To Hatch?

Before we get into details about the time it takes for cichlid eggs to hatch, let’s do an overview of the Cichlid Fish family.  Cichlids are one of the largest fish families in the world!  

They are a freshwater fish native to almost all countries around the world.  You can find cichlids in countries in Africa, Central, and South America, to North America!  This means they can live in a variety of climates.  

Cichlids are a quite stunning fish.  They have large dorsal fins and colorful, shiny bodies.  Within the family, you can find all sizes and colors.  

The colors can range from a bright blue to yellow or grey.  They are also a pretty peaceful fish who can live well with other varieties.  

One unique aspect of cichlid mating behavior is that they mate for life.  Once a male and female choose each other, the female will continue producing eggs for many years.  It is pretty easy to breed Cichlids.

breed Cichlids

Learn more about: How Do Tilapia Breed?

This is why many people decide to breed these guys.  It is especially a good breeding project for beginners or those who are just doing it for fun. 

Whenever you have to do anything commercially, there is more stress and pressure on success.  If you are breeding for a hobby or the learning experience, you can enjoy the process.

Some people dislike Cichlids because they have a habit of destroying your water plant landscaping.  The reason they do this is because they are looking for material to make their nest.  

Males need to use plants to make this nest.  This is where they lay the eggs and wait for them to hatch.  It is very common that the female guards the nest to protect the egg from any outside predators. 

When Do I Know That My Cichlid Is Holding Eggs?

If you want to breed Cichlids it is a good idea to be able to recognize when it’s pregnant.  First off, you need to make sure you have at least one male and female in your tank if you want to breed.  

Also, just like humans, the fish will not breed if they are physically unhealthy.  It is important that you keep your tank in good condition to promote a healthy lifestyle. If your tank is too dirty, your fish become more susceptible to disease.  

They most likely will not breed under poor conditions. The key aspects you need to pay attention to in any fish tank are the pH level, cleanliness, and aeration.  There are plenty of tools that you can use to test and monitor your water quality.

It is important that you check these things on a weekly basis.  This will help you make necessary adjustments before it’s too late.

Cichlids are mouthbrooders.  This means that they hold their eggs in their mouth for a period of incubation.  

Pay attention to the action of your fish to notice if they are breeding.  Many people say Cichlid breeding is a very beautiful process.  The male prepares a nest for the females’ eggs.

They then try to do special dances to attract the female to use their nest to lay.  This dance can last a few days.  If you only have one male and one female, this should be pretty easy to see.

Once the female selects a mate, she will lay her eggs on the bottom of your tank. The male then approaches the eggs to fertilize them.

Once the eggs have been fertilized, the female will then put them in their mouth.  African Cichlids have a special pouch in their throat to put the eggs!

Read more about: How To Raise Bluegill?

Can Cichlids Keep Eggs That Are Unfertilized?

When the eggs are inside the female’s mouth they cannot even close it!  It looks really cool and is easy to notice.  The mom will hold these eggs for 18-28 days before they hatch.  

During this time, they will be very sensitive and do anything to protect their eggs.  In fact, the females refuse to eat during this time.  They do not want any of the small fry to rush out of their mouth when eating.  

After the Cichlid is holding the eggs for so long, they look much weaker.  Do not be alarmed if you notice this happening to a pregnant fish.  After they open their mouths to let the fish fry out, they can get back to their normal health and weight.

If you can help breed cichlids to help them back into nature that is great.  

According to the University of Bristol, “Freshwater habitats are the most threatened on the planet, facing impacts from overfishing, habitat degradation, and the introduction of non-native invasive species.”  We need to do anything that helps nature.

Now you should know the answer to: How long do cichlids hold eggs?

Feel free to comment and ask questions below!


How long does it take for cichlid eggs to hatch?

It takes 18-28 days for Cichlid eggs to hatch in the fish's mouth.

How do I know if my cichlid is holding eggs?

You fish's mouth will become very big. This is because Cichlids carry their eggs in their mouths. They are mouthbrooders.

Will cichlids hold unfertilized eggs?

They can hold unfertilized eggs, but usually they will only keep those in their mouth for about 7-14 days.

How many days do cichlids hold eggs?

Cichlids hold eggs from between 18-28 days depending on the condition of their fry.