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Discussion regarding only Lake Malawi species.
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Star sapphire male or female?

Sun Nov 29, 2020 5:23 pm

Hi there,

I picked up this little placidochromis star sapphire yesterday afternoon, and I was hoping to ask the experts what they think it might be.

It's only about 2.5", so I know it is still early to tell. I picked him out of the batch at the store because I thought he looked like he might end up being a male. I would love to hear the opinions of others though!

Now, let's see if I can figure out how to post a picture...
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Re: Star sapphire male or female?

Sun Nov 29, 2020 7:39 pm

I have 3m 3f star sapphires raised from 1.5" in my 450gal. Yours looks like it could be male due to the shiny blue starting in the head area, but more growth is needed to be sure. The females will remain the color of your fish's back half of the body, while males will color full blue. Though I have seen pics of some females that develop a little of that blue color as well.

Re: Star sapphire male or female?

Sun Nov 29, 2020 9:24 pm

Here are a few more side shots that show a bit more of that cobalt blue showing in the body. This is why I'm holding out hope that it'll turn out to be male.

At what size do you think I'll be able to tell with more certainty?
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Re: Star sapphire male or female?

Sun Nov 29, 2020 10:38 pm

In a group, young males in the tank probably would show more blue and tend to keep darker more distinct black markings. So could be male.

Re: Star sapphire male or female?

Wed Dec 02, 2020 2:56 pm

I would say it's 75% male. The blue in the face is a good sign. I have bred these guys many times a few years back. Females won't have any blue in the face or very little. You will know for sure at 3 1/2-4".

Re: Star sapphire male or female?

Wed Dec 02, 2020 4:15 pm

Great, thank you all for your comments on this!

He (hopefully?) seems to be getting a bit more of that cobalt blue colour every day now, so I'm hopeful that I'm correct. Maybe I'll check back in a bit later and post updated photos as he grows, just in case it helps out anyone else in the future when trying to identify them.

Re: Star sapphire male or female?

Mon Dec 21, 2020 1:43 pm

Just in case anyone is following along, here are a few recent photos of this little guy (girl?).
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Re: Star sapphire male or female?

Mon Dec 21, 2020 2:44 pm

And a few more. It is so hard to get an accurate photo of the color as it changes all the time depending on how the light hits!
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Re: Star sapphire male or female?

Mon Dec 21, 2020 6:41 pm

I don’t know but I just want to say it’s coloring up really nicely ! It’s a beautiful fish indeed.
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