The male can display powder blue, midnight blue, or cream/red, depending on
his mood. The brilliant sulfur stripe on his head remains visible at all times.
The pair seemed very strongly bonded and displayed no aggression toward each
other, nor their tankmates. In fact, when I have thrown 1/2" or smaller fry
into the tank during culling, these fish do not chase or eat the small fish.
They are truly gentle giants.
They did spawn after about 2 months in my tank. The male claimed a flat rock
and displayed above it for 2 days before the female laid any eggs. She held
them for 3.5 weeks in typical mouthbrooder fashion. I removed her at the 3 week
mark and placed her alone in a 30 gallon tank. She was extremely withdrawn but
spit her fry right on schedule. She took them back into her mouth when disturbed
for 2 days and would not eat. On the third day I approached the tank while the
fry were free-swimming, and she did not take them back in - even when they nudged
against her lips. At that point I removed her and put her back in the 180 with
the male. He was extremely excited to see her and they immediately began cruising
the tank together as if nothing had ever happened. She ate normally right away.
I counted about 40 fry. They were spit already measuring 1/2", and were silver
with black markings resembling those on mom.