Couples form after a series of dances and courting behaviors. Couples created this way remain faithful for the rest of their lives.
The female lays an average of 100 to 800 eggs, but not all of them will be fertilized (300 per laying, on average). She deposits her eggs on a flat stone, a shingle, a piece of wood or directly at the bottom, and the male fertilizes them immediately.
Both parents take care of the fry and protect them. The skin of the parents produces an abundant mucus on which the fry feed.
Starting at a length of one centimeter, the fry start to eat normally. They feed constantly, and they grow quickly. If food runs out, they can become cannibals.
Diet changes over time. The young consume meat, whereas adults are mostly vegetarian.
Adults are very protective of fry and gently push other adults away, the parents creating an 80-centimeter exclusion zone around the little ones. That protection carries on until the young reach a length of 10 to 12 centimeters.
Two to three months after birth, when the young measure between six and eight centimeters, they begin to take on the coloring of adults.