Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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DrivingMissFishy 05-19-2012 07:12 AM

I have a colony of 8 labidochromis chisumulae, out of these there is the 1 dominant male, and 3 definate females (holding) as for the others I am unsure of their gender. I frequently see 2 of the 'unknowns' chasing each other and circling eachother for ages, could these 2 be subdominant males? They do not show the striking colours of the dominant male but when chasing/circling do get a little brighter and start to show stripes. Opinions would be great, as if they are males I think it would be better if I moved them on.
Also, i saw some lip locking earlier tonight which I have never seen from my Africans. How worried should I be about that???
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Tazman 05-19-2012 10:54 AM

It is likely that the lip locking is the sub-dominant males vying for position in the hierarchy. The lip locking is something you will have to keep an eye on as it can lead to more aggression and stress. The black bars which appear on the fish are stress bars and a sign that there is too much aggression.

This is a monomorphic fish meaning males and females look similar and as such it is very hard to tell the sexes apart. The only sure way is to vent them or as you have found out wait until you have a definitive holding female.

DrivingMissFishy 05-19-2012 05:35 PM

So the sub dominant males will remain in drab colours, looking like females? The dominant male is so strikingly coloured! I had thought the bars appearing was their colouring coming out, like the male. Very interesting little fish quite fun to watch. I'll try and get a pic of the male he is quite stunning. I'll have to keep a close eye on them then, if the aggression continues to do u think It would be best to remove one/both of the lip lockers?
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Tazman 05-19-2012 05:43 PM

Sub-dominant males will not color as brilliantly as the dominant male but can still be aggressive.

If the aggression still continues and it is the sub-dominant males then it would be best to remove males except the dominant male, mbuna need to be kept ideally in a ratio of 1 male to 4 female. Extras males need more females.

DrivingMissFishy 05-19-2012 06:16 PM

Yeah that's what I thought, that's why I was trying to figure out if these 2 were most likely males coz I don't want to be removing any females. Thanks :)
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DrivingMissFishy 05-19-2012 06:27 PM

3 Attachment(s)
The male and one of his females

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