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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I got this fish about 2 years ago out of an "Assorted African Cichlid" tank. It was small at the time, but already had the stripes. I've tried to find a match in stores or in the Species Profiles here and have not found the correct fish.

It is black with grey stripes. It can change colors from almost solid black to very distinct stripes. The picture is about the middle of it's colors. Unlike many cichlids, there is nothing shiny or iridescent about it. It seems designed to absorb the light and disappear in the shadows. It will dig and it likes to live in a cave in my tank. It has grown to about 6 inches and seems to still be slowly growing. It's dominate, but not overly aggressive.

Thanks for the help!
 

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To me it looks like a Bumblebee Cichlid. Either poor genes or some sort of hybrid. I think it is defiently part Bumblee though. Someone else might be able to help you more
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi, thanks for taking a guess. It does have a Bumblebee body type, but there is not a hint of yellow in the stripes. Your hybrid theory may be why it ended up in the "Assorted African" tank :)
 

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Does seem to be a Crabro, "Bumblebee". Yes, adults can turn dark or dull brownish, and may not be very attractive. Males lose the yellow, big females can get brown.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Noki, thanks for the help. Crabro seems likely, but since it never had any yellow in it, I was not sure. I did a google image search and found a few that look close to mine. There seems to be a variation where they are not getting the yellow color.
 

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For a Malawi cichlid, bumble bees are very chameleon-like. They easily have 5-6 different color patterns dependent on age/mood/status or just the circumstances of the moment.
IME, dark coloration is more associated with dominance. Yellow coloration is probably the most subordinate; most common on young subordinate females. Even older females will often loose all their yellow. My large female (7 1/4", 125 grams) was boss of my 180 gal. for some time. She turned a solid dull brown, with no apparent striping pattern. She lost her position as "top dog" to a young male salvini when he was still 1/2 her size. Her striping pattern returned, though she still had an all around dull brown coloration. Males can become a nice jet black, though its really not that pretty when compared to most Malawi cichlids.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
BC in SK, thanks for the great info. I think it's settled. It's a bumblebee. You are correct about the color changes. I used to have a large Livingstonii that chased the bumblebee and its colors would quickly change between black/grey stripes and solid black when they were fighting. When it goes jet black it is pretty cool looking, in a menacing sort of way.
 
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