drama in my Malawi tank...
I have a 75 gal. Malawi cichlid tank. It has been doing great for over a year, but now there is unrest in the heirarchy because I think many of them are reaching sexual maturity....and it's driving me nuts! LOL My mom told me the other day that watching the fish tank should calm me down....not mine, I told her! There's 2.2 johanni (and 9 of their 1in. long babies) , 2.1? auratus, 1.2 yellow labs (and one baby), and 4 acei (unknown sex). Just thought I'd share my stories and a couple questions...
Issue number 1: the less dominant male johanni all-of-a-sudden one day decided he'd had enough of the other one's crap and decided to freak out on everyone! LOL He became the biggest jerk in the tank overnight to the point where he had the female johanni starving and without tails. No one else would even come out anymore because he'd attack anyone, and he wouldn't let up. Finally I caught him and put him in a tank alone. Within hours, the rest of the fish were noticably happier, swimming around and the females have now recovered. The other male johanni is once again the dominant fish in the tank, but he's not such a prick :) So that one is solved.
Issue number 2: I THOUGHT I had one male and one female auratus. The male was mostly black with a white stripe and the "female" was mostly yellow with stripes. She hid a lot and I thought it was because "she" was being singled out by the male because she was the only female of that species. So I went and got 2 new "females". As soon as I put them in there, the war started, and by morning one of the new females was dead and being eaten! The other was ok, but the old "female" I had was turning black and fighting with the male! So now I have two males and one female(?)....this makes no one happy. Is there a way to tell males from females at the pet store when they are all female colored? I need more than one female and I don't want to keep putting new ones in there and just seeing what kind of carnage follows in order to sex them LOL.
Issue 3 is about the same as 2...sexing. I have 9 johanni babies. I need females, I don't want anymore males. Some are more brown/yellowish and some are more blueish, but this doesn't seem to mean anything about sex...if I move them to different tanks or isolate the ones I think are males and want to give away, they change color! Even with my two females who have already had babies, one is yellowish-brown and one is blue and black! So what is the difference between sexes? Is it the yellow dots on the anal fins?
And my final question....if I put the extra male auratus in a tank alone with the male johanni, will they get along because there's no females?
Issue #1: Welcome to the world of keeping cichlids.
Issue #2: Some species attain their sexual dimorphism at smaller sizes than others. A good example would be the yellow labcochromis. the male developes his black pectoral fins at a relatively small size. But, as a general rule of thumb, it is nearly impossible to sex them at smaller sizes.
Issue #3: Generally speaking, the males tend to have more egg spot. This is not to be taken as gospel, however.
Issue #4: You'll just have to wait and see. I have a "batchelor" tank and it does, sometimes, get a little rowdy.
The arautus is a somewhat more boisterous cichlid. I have found that they are more aggressive than most of their cousins.
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