African cichlids breed when the male chases the female and does a mating dance in front of her. The female drops her eggs and picks them up in her mouth. The male proceeds to fertilize the eggs.

Fertilization takes place after the male develops "egg spots" on his anal fin. These spots resemble the female's eggs, and she attempts to collect them. While attempting to collect them, the eggs in her mouth are fertilized. Fertilization continues until the female loses interest. If the eggs inside her mouth are successfully fertilized, she keeps them there until they hatch. If the eggs are not fertilized properly, the female disposes of them.