HUZZAH FOR EGGIES!!!
I AM SO
EXCITED FOR YOU!!!
SUCH fantastic news!!!
Sorry I wasn't able to stop in yesterday - I guess you've figured it out by now that you absolutely got it right - the female's vent gets very swollen just before she's ready for egg laying - and GAH!! THOSE COLORS!!!
The parents should be working together to guard their clutch, and will be working around the clock to fan the eggs to keep water flow on them and prevent molding. They can be pretty aggressive with guarding their nest, but I've never seen another fish come to harm in my tank during spawning, and I have a lot of bottom dwellers. Still keep an eye out! The parent who isn't on active guard duty will often bring his/her mate food, scare off tank-mates, and dig dig dig!
At about 24ish hours after spawning, the fertilized eggs will turn a bit yellowish, watch for any that don't. I've found that the parents will eat those, but if not, they *could* mold over and become a problem. (I haven't ever had this become an issue, though - my rams were very good egg fanners!) By the end of the day tomorrow (or maybe the next morning), if all goes well, you'll be able to see little eyes in there! They should hatch out after around 3 days, as wigglers!
Sometimes it takes cichlids a few spawns to figure out what they're doing, and how to work together as a team. Unfortunately, it isn't unusual for them to eat their initial spawn. T__T
But just as often it happens that first-timers do an excellent job as parents. Fingers crossed that yours do GREAT! *GRINS*
Keep posting! I hope everything works out perfectly for little Ramona and Ramsey, and their first brood!