THERE ARE MANY THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE BREEDING ANY AFRICAN CICHLIDS:
1) A cycled tank(Shell Dwellers need a 10-20 gallon, whereas Ornatus cichlids need a 55 -75 gallon tank.) with an established bacterial colony.
2) Hiding places. I have gotten away with treating red clay bricks and stacking them in my tank
. Just make sure they have hiding places.
3) Water quality: Lake Malawi cichlids require a different ph than Lake Tanganyika cichlids.
4) A heater. This is critical for not only breeding cichlids, but for keeping them alive during the temperature drops of winter and fall seasons. The water should be around 78 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the cichlid.
NOW ONTO THE FUN STUFF:
1) Make sure that the fish you are attempting to mate are male and female. VENTING IS THE ONLY SURE WAY TO SEX CICHLIDS. There are many other ways to tell the gender of specific cichlids (ie Demasoni males have dots on the anal fin) but it is always a good idea to vent them.
2) Make sure you are not trying to breed a mouth broader with an egg layer. They will not mate.
3) Put a sponge on your filter intake. The fry will get sucked into in and get pureed.
4) Keep a ratio of at least 2 females per male, because the male will beat up on them and it disperses the stress.
5) Once you have eggs or wrigglers you have a responsibility to either get rid of the young(I sell as many as I can to my lfs and use the rest as feeders) or allow them to hatch and raise them. Be warned, if you do not have space for them, it is just cruel to keep them. DO NOT RELEASE ANY FISH INTO THE WILD.
I hope I did not miss anything, since this is my first post and it would be quite embarrassing. Have fun breeding!