Cichlid Fry Growth Chart- Learn How to Fasten Fry Growth

As cichlids are one of the most popular aquarium fishes, many hobbyists are interested in cichlid fry growth charts. The fast growth rate of some cichlid species attracts hobbyists.

But the growth rate of the fry depends upon various factors of their genetic basement and the caring intensity of the hobbyists. Though these facts are common, many hobbyists spare little things to take care of.

From the overview of this content, you will know about the species having a high growth rate along with a slow growth rate. Moreover, I will also mention the factors that affect the cichlid fry growth rate.  

Cichlid Fry Growth Chart

Cichlid Fry Growth Chart

Here comes the basic answer to the cichlid fry growth chart. First, let me clarify what fry means. Fry indicates to the baby fish that it is remaining in the initial stage without gaining maturity. 

According to this, cichlid fry is the baby cichlid fish and the main discussion here lies about the fry only, not the mature fish. 

Cichlid fry can release a clutch of eggs at a time. The small eggs are about 1 mm individually. In the first week, they may grow up to 2-3 mm. It reaches almost 1.5 cm within the 4th week.

Next, it reaches up to 3 cm within the 7th week when the sexual differences between them can be identified. Then, it almost reaches 4.5 cm within the 11th week.

Well, the whole process is mentioned in the following chart. It is to be noted that this chart is prepared on a general line. This may vary according to species and other factors.

Stages of cichlid frySize
Eggs1 mm
Newborn2-3 mm
1st week2-3 mm
2nd weekThe dorsal fin is visible (5-8mm)
3rd weekThe caudal fin is visible (0.8-1.5 cm)
4th week(0.8-1.5 cm)
5th week Pelvic fins are visible (1.5- 2 cm)
6th week1.5-2 cm
7th week2-3 cm (Sexual differences are visible)
8 th weekMale separation time (2-3 cm)
9th week3-3.5 cm
10th week3.5-4 cm
11th week4-4.5 cm

Cichlid Fry Size

Cichlid Fry Size

Before explaining detailed information about the cichlid fry growth rate, I want to mention the cichlid fry size which is different from species to species. Also, I will point out the growth rate so that you can differentiate between them. Let me include them in a chart-

Cichlid species SizeGrowth rate
Angelfish 6 inchesFast
Jaguar cichlid 15 inchesSlow 
Texas cichlid 13 inchesSlow
Blood Parrot 8 inchesFast
Peacock cichlid 6 inchesSlow
Firemouth cichlid 6 inchesSlow
Convict Cichlid 6 inchesAverage 
Green Terror12 inchesAverage 
Oscar fish10 inchesVery fast
Discus fish5 inchesFast
Jack Dempsey 10 inchesSlow

Cichlid Fry Normal Growth Rate

Most of the hobbyists ask me about the normal growth rate of cichlid fry so that they can compare it with the present condition of their cichlids. 

It is scientifically proven and I also experienced that cichlids fry can grow 1 inch per month. Almost most of the species follow the same growth rate except the species which have a very fast growth as I mentioned. 

The cichlid fry may appear to their mature height in almost 1-1.5 years according to their species and other facilities. 

The growth rate may be faster or slower than normal due to various reasons related to their habitation. For your convenience, here I have mentioned the factors that affect the cichlid fry growth rate.

What Affects Cichlid Fry Growth Rate? 


It’s a common question among beginner hobbyists what affects the cichlid fry growth rate? Cichlid fry growth rate can vary due to several reasons. 

Of them, the first one that I want to explain is their variation from species to species. As I observed in my aquarium, African Cichlids fry from the genera Pseudotropheus, Haplochromis, and Mbuna can grow faster than other cichlid species.

Though other factors are also related to this term, African Cichlids have a genetic base for their fast growth rate. That’s why it’s always one of the best choices for hobbyists who want rapid growth of the fish.

Food and Nutrition 

Next, the term is food and nutrition. Among all the reasons that I am going to explain, food issues are the most effective one that determines the growth rate of the cichlid fry. 

Whenever the fry gets enough food for their activities, they will show a rapid growth rate. Cichlid fry loves to eat baby brine shrimp. Also, some commercial foods are available for them.

If you provide them with enough food, their growth rate will be notable and you will find them growing at their perfect rate. On the other hand, in the case of food deficiency, they can’t survive well.

As a result, they face stress and after a certain time, the cichlid fry slows down the growth rate having immature or imperfect height.


You know that similar to the food, a favorable environment also helps cichlid fry to get larger fast. Here, I want to mean the aquarium ecology by the word environment where the fry growth occurs. 

Cichlid fry needs optimum environmental conditions for its perfect growth. If the micrometeorological condition is not favorable for them, the fry cannot grow at a high speed. 

Besides, a soothing environment containing better quality of all the elements can assure you about the fast breeding rate of cichlid fry.

Water Quality 

As I was saying about the environment, water quality is one of the most crucial factors for the cichlid fry growth rate. 

They are sensitive to water conditions, so regular water changes, proper filtration, and consistent monitoring of ammonia, phosphate, calcium, nitrite, and nitrate levels are essential. 

To facilitate their growing period, you should aim for stable and clean water. It will ensure not only the health but also the development of the cichlid fry. 


Additionally, you need to be conscious of their condition and whether they are going well or not. Sometimes, due to diseases, they remain stressed. 

Identifying diseases in cichlid fry can be challenging for you, but I can suggest some common signs to watch for to understand if they are diseased or not. 

You can notice changes in behavior, reduced appetite, abnormal swimming patterns, discoloration, or visible lesions on their bodies. 

Regular observation and monitoring are crucial to catching any issues early on. If you suspect a problem, you should immediately take the initiative for their treatment.

Like me, you can also consult with a knowledgeable aquarium expert or veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. As I don’t want to take risks with my cichlids, I always meet with a veterinarian for this purpose.

Tank Size 

Our next topic will be the tank size. The tank size can have a significant impact on the growth rate of cichlid fry. In a larger tank, there is typically more space for the fry to swim and explore.

As a result, this can lead to increased activity levels and improved growth. Additionally, larger tanks often provide more stable water conditions, allowing the fry to thrive and develop at a faster rate. 

Conversely, in smaller tanks, overcrowding can occur more easily, leading to stress and slower growth rates for the cichlid fry. 

Tank Mates 

Not only tank size but also tank mates may affect the growth of cichlid fry. Tank mates may compete for the same food source.

This leads to reduced food availability for the cichlid fry and potentially slower growth rates. Aggressive or larger tank mates can cause stress to the cichlid fry, impacting their growth and overall health.

Also, some tank mates can have a positive influence by creating a more natural environment and encouraging social behavior, which might improve the fry’s growth.

However, certain tank mates may view the cichlid fry as prey, leading to higher mortality rates and limiting their growth potential. Hence, you should be careful in choosing tank mates for them.


Lastly, I will end by describing the effects of temperature which can significantly impact the growth rate of cichlid fry. 

Generally, higher temperatures can accelerate their metabolism, leading to faster growth. However, excessively high temperatures can also be detrimental and stressful for the fry, potentially causing negative effects on their development.

How to Speed Up the Growth

Meanwhile, you know how much cichlid fry can grow naturally and the factors that can regulate the growth rate of cichlid fry. 

Now, I will depict some points that will give you information about how to speed up the growth of these fries.

Provide a suitable tank environment

Firstly, ensure that the tank is clean, properly filtered, and appropriately sized for the number of fry. Maintaining good water quality is also included in the suitable environment category. This will support their growth.

Optimal water parameters

As the fry continues its whole life cycle in the water, maintaining stable water conditions is a mandatory issue. This term appears with appropriate temperature, pH, and hardness levels that are suitable for the specific cichlid species.

High-quality food

This has to be followed very strictly: Feed the fry with a varied diet of nutritious foods, such as newly hatched brine shrimp, crushed flakes, and specialized cichlid fry food.

Frequent feeding

As you know, cichlid fry has high metabolisms, hence feed them small amounts of food multiple times a day to keep them well-fed. But be careful about overfeeding. Excessive feeding will be detrimental for them as it helps to pollute the water fast.

Separate from adult cichlids

If the fry is kept with adult cichlids, potential aggression and competition for food can happen. That’s why consider moving them to a separate grow-out tank to protect them from such unwanted happenings.

Regular water changes

Perform regular partial water changes to keep the water clean and maintain optimal conditions for their growth. It is an additional way to help their growth. 

Monitor growth

Observe the fry regularly to ensure they are growing and developing properly. If you notice any issues that indicate their sickness, seek advice from experienced cichlid keepers or aquatic experts.

How Fast Do Cichlids Grow

I have already mentioned that the growth rate of cichlids can vary depending on the specific species, environmental factors, water quality, feeding frequency, stress, illness, and the quality of their care. 

In general, cichlids tend to grow relatively quickly during their early stages of life. But this may not be the same for all. Those who have a fast growth rate, take almost 1.5 years to reach mature height. 

Others may need nearly 2 years for enough growth to gain maturity. Some species can reach a few inches in just a few months, while others might take longer to reach their full size. It’s completely dependent on various factors of their nourishment. 


How long do cichlids hold fry?

Mother cichlids hold their fry for almost 21-36 days. African cichlids are most renowned in this case. They do so to protect eggs from escaping. That’s why they are called maternal mouthbrooders.

Do Mother Cichlids Eat Their Fry?

Yeah, sometimes it can happen. Mother cichlids may eat one-third of their eggs or baby fry. They may do this while mouthbrooding. 

At what age do cichlid fry reach sexual maturity?

Cichlid fry usually reaches sexual maturity at around 6 to 12 months of age. But it may vary depending on the specific species, their environmental conditions, and other factors that I mentioned earlier.

Final Words

Cichlid fry growth charts may be critical for you unless you observe them properly keeping them in your aquarium. The baby cichlid or fry cannot adapt easily to any type of environment like the adults. 

Hence, you need to take enough care of them. I have clarified the basic points of their maintenance that are related to their growth that I strictly apply to my aquarium fry.

If you can maintain them, hopefully, your fry will also get healthy growth. Also, if you want more information about cichlids, notify me and I will try to solve your problem as per my experience. 

Howard Parker

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