Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   Can Convicts change their sex? (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/cichlids/can-convicts-change-their-sex-128232/)

small fry 02-08-2013 06:45 PM

Can Convicts change their sex?
 
I know a number of fish are capable of changing their sex in different situations. I am wondering if Convicts are capable of it as well.

I used to have 4 Convicts in my SA/CA Cichlid tank. I was fairly sure that I had 1 male and 3 females. I had an Alpha-female who ruled the tank, and then several weeks later she paired with the male - the only male...

That was several months ago. After they had fry, I moved them both into a breeding tank because they were harassing all of the other fish (they have more fry lol). Of the two females that were left, one was shy and the other was fairly bold. They were difficult to tell apart. They both had a female cichlid shape, the orange dots, the finnage, everything.

Recently, it seems like the bold female is looking more and more like a male Convict everyday. It's strange. All of her orange spots are gone. Here stripes darkened to that dark purple hue that is more typical with males. Her fins are growing longer, much longer already in comparison to the other female. The facial build is now looking a lot more like a male.

I'm really confused. Like I said, I'm fairly certain that I got 3 females. They're in my favorite tank, I check on them multiple times a day, I *love* SA Cichlids, I think I would have noticed if I picked up a male by mistake.

So can Convicts change their gender? I'll try to dig up some pictures of all four convicts at once. In the meantime, if anyone has heard about SA Cichlids changing their gender, let me know. :)

Thanks!
small fry,

Tazman 02-08-2013 09:06 PM

No they do not change sex.

What usually happens is the dominant female who isnt paired off, will act as if she is ready to lay eggs, sometimes even laying them, the next female in line will then act as a male but will NOT change sex and be able to fertilize the eggs.

They will change their coloration to prevent attacks from other species of fish and to fool each other as well.

Getting them all the same time, might mean you had 2 males but only the dominant one was showing and behaving like a male, now that the "only" male is gone, the sub-dominant male might be mature enough to breed.

They can be confusing at times as they can change over coloration quick.

small fry 02-08-2013 09:34 PM

That makes perfect sense. Thanks Tazman! I guess I'm not going crazy after all. :lol:


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