Sexual maturity is reached at 10-30 cm TL and is related to the maximum size attained in a given population and condition, which in turn is determined by food availability and temperature. Reproduction occurs only when temperature exceeds 20 °C. The breeding cycle is latitude dependent and spawning becomes more seasonal at higher latitudes. In many instances the breeding cycle is synchronized with the rainy season. The species is a nest building, batch spawning mouth brooder that can spawn every 30 days. The nest, like in many tilapiine fishes, is a circular depression in sandy areas of up to 1m in diameter and 0.5 m deep. The average nest diameter is twice the length of the male making it. Males are highly territorial and defend their nests. Batches of eggs are spawned into the nest, fertilized externally and then picked up by the female. The female incubates the eggs for 5-7 days when they hatch and the early juveniles remain in the mouth until after yolk sac absorption. Depending on size, females can carry up to 200 eggs. The eggs are large and ovoid (pear shaped) and at hatching the fish are around 4mm in length (Trewavas, 1983).

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