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I am in the process of stocking an empty but established 150 gallon tank with Aulonocara. Due to species wants and lack of options locally, I plan to buy my fish online. Which leads to my question

It seems that adult males can get pricey for specimens 3" or larger, often paying between $39 and $59 each plus shipping. My other option is to pay less for 1.5 to 2 " inch stock. At that size is there any way I can be certain I am getting males, as I have no interest in females for breeding purposes?

Thank
 

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Possibly, in a tank of young males there's usually atleast one that will show male characteristics. Either being dominant or possibly a little color, especially in the face.
 

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Since you may be buying online, there is no guarantee that you will get a male unless the seller guarantees it is a male. The usual method is to buy multiple fish of the same species and then sell off what you don't want. Don't use that method if you will be buying different Aulonocara species unless you will be putting them in separate tanks while waiting to identify a male.
 

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Those prices are completely reasonable for males. If you can have a tank for each species, you can raise juveniles.

I would not trust sexing on a 2" fish.
 
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