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I am looking to set up a tank and while there's a wealth of information out there, contradictions always show up. I understand male cichlids will color for mating. I've read that if only one male exists, it may color less since it has nothing to dominate. So you should have 2 males, one to be dominated and one to dominate. This makes sense to me in a single species tank but what happens when you add species?

I often see 1:X M:F ratios posted, do the males of other species cause the competition to stay high throughout the tank? Or will these single males just exist and not compete/color that hard?
 

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Single males will color up for females.

In an all-male tank the most dominant male will color up to show off to the other males.

The trick is to get all or most of the males in an all-male tank to color.

Two of the same males are likely to kill each other.
 

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I am seeing this very effect right now in my 55g with 3 mature male Firemouths. In addition to being the largest, the dominant male has almost exquisite colors with classical Firemouth red, and a very nice red-orange dorsal fin extremities and extension, number two has (red-orange) coloration on the dorsal fin extremities only...otherwise he is quite without color, and number three is totally washed out...no gill-spot turquoise, and even his eyes are black and without any turquoise. All three get along fairly well, with only some minor chasing during feeding (they are all from the same brood), but number two had a big hole taken out of his tailfin at one point (its all grown back, but I guess he knows his place now!).

Does anyone have any nice mature females they would like to breed? I'm located in central CT and would much prefer in-person transferring opposed to shipping.

Cheers
 
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