How to Breed Yellow Lab Cichlids?

The Yellow Lab cichlid is one of the most recommended African cichlids for beginner fish keepers. They are not as demanding nor as aggressive as their family of species usually are. Anyone who wants an introduction into African cichlid keeping will have a great time taking care of them at home.

We can say the same thing when it comes to breeding them. Yellow Labs are very easy to breed once you figure out how to take proper care of them.

These cichlids are sensitive to water conditions in general. Therefore, you need to do a really good job setting the ideal water parameters.

They need proper nutrition as well, especially if you want them to breed. We are going to talk about all the things you need to focus on if you want to see those little Yellow Labs in your tank. Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Yellow Lab Cichlid Breeding

When it comes to tank setup, you should get a few flat, clean rocks and place them on top of the substrate. Yellow Lab cichlids find these rocks ideal places to claim and mate with each other.

Also make sure that these rocks are secluded, not placed at the middle of the aquarium.

The main thing that stimulates this species to breed out in the wild is the rain. Removing some water and then simulating some rain for them at home is a great way to stimulate them.

This also makes the water colder by 2-3 degrees, which is another important factor.

It is also not about the water parameters, but mainly about cleanness. Make sure that the water is as clean as possible before the breeding process begins.

Keeping a Yellow Lab cichlid pair in a 30 to 50-gallon tank is going to be ideal for them.

It is the female that is going to pick the male based on his colors and performance.

His performance is going to be measured during the courting process when he starts to perform moves similar to dancing. If the female likes it, she replicates and then the breeding process begins.

How to Tell if Yellow Lab Cichlid is a Male or Female?

As usual among fish species, it is not easy to tell the difference while your fish are juveniles. You are going to be able to tell the male and female Yellow Labs apart when they reach adulthood. This takes them about 6 months, which is when they become fertile too.

There is a clear difference in size between adult females and males. The males are bigger, being 4-5 inches in length while females are usually only 2-3 inches long. The most dominant males are also the most beautiful ones, flourishing in breathtaking colors.

Another thing to notice on the males is that their anal and ventral fins are black. Females have yellow ones without an egg spot. Usually, you are going to be able to tell the difference just by spotting the biggest and most colorful ones.

At What Age do Yellow Labs Breed?

For a Yellow Lab cichlid, it takes 6 months to become fertile. At that point, they reach the size of approximately 1.5 inches and they can breed at any time.

As they get bigger, one day you are going to notice that the male is busy digging in the sand, creating a pit where the female can place her eggs.

Another option for them is to get very territorial over a flat surface they find ideal for the purpose. Then he will begin to move its fin in a specific way that is often referred to as dancing.

The goal of this dance is to attract females. IF one is interested, she is going to replicate the same movement.

How Many Babies do Yellow Lab Cichlids Have?

Yellow Labs give birth to about 5-6 fry at once. This might not be much but if you consider how easy it is to breed them, it is definitely worth it. The fish fry not only are born together but they also move and spend time together in a group until they grow up.

This only proves that not all the eggs are fertilized during breeding. The female can have 10-30 eggs in her mouth and only 5-6 of those are going to hatch.

Do Yellow Labs Eat Their Babies?

So, the main question here is whether you need to keep a close eye on the Yellow Lab babies? Will their parents eat them? Unfortunately, females tend to eat their babies if they are stressed. They can eat the eggs too if they feel threatened.

The best thing to do is to separate the adults from the fry and feed the adults regularly. Make sure they are not hungry and then you can eventually put them back.

A bad habit among fish keepers is to grab the female and open her mouth to check for the eggs.

Owners do this regularly to the point where the Yellow Lab feels so stressed that there isn’t going to be any fry. Just feed the female properly and make sure she is comfortable while she is holding the eggs.

You also need to consider that the mother won’t eat while she has the eggs in her mouth so she will be very hungry when she releases them.


Breeding Yellow Lab cichlids is easy as pie. All you need to do is to take care of their basic needs and they are going to do it eventually. If you want to stimulate it, you only need to simulate some rain in the aquarium and it will get them excited.

You only need to be a bit cautious when the fry got hatched. A female that is too stressed and hungry can eat them in a day or two. Prepare a separate tank where you can keep the adults and feed the fry two times a day.

Hopefully, this article has helped you to become a successful Yellow Lab cichlid breeder!

avatar Noah
I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets. read more...

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