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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, New to the forum so sorry if I do anything wrong, but about 5 months ago when I was first getting into cichlids I was sold a "deepwater rainbow hap" by a chain LFS. I was unable to find any info online or any lookalikes so I got a second opinion from another LFS owner who said he was probably a female red empress. I am new to the whole concept of venting and have tried my best and I am somewhat sure the fish is indeed a female (tho I have attached pictures if y'all want to verify). Recently I've added a few males from a grow-out tank including a definite male red empress and recently the "deepwater rainbow" has been beating up on him pretty bad. Since I found and removed a female about a week ago (just prior to introducing the new fish) aggression has been mostly nominal except for the pecking order shift which I've expected. However, the suspected red emp/deepwater rainbow is still beating up on the male after everything has settled. I did a quick google search prior to posting and could not find anything about females being aggressive towards males, only the male on female aggression. I have also heard of certain species being uber-competitive with each other inside a tank (while ignoring other species) but I was under the assumption that red empresses were pretty docile. I feed twice daily, everyone eats and other than that one female last week, everything else seems normal except for this one fish beating on the red emp. The fish is also not usually an "alpha" as that title belongs to another fish and it lives in a 75 with a pair of venustus, a livingstonii, a Fusco, a Hai Reef, a turquoise jewel,a chilotilapia rhoadesii, a hybrid from Petsmart, an oblique, a yellow lab and a plecco (understocking is temporary while the rest of my fish grow up in a separate 55). Did I end up with some weird aggressive hybrid/female or did I end up with some dull red empress? I've attached some pictures below of the vent and some pictures of the fish colored up, at the LFS and in a quarantine tank after I purchased him when he was really dull. Any help is appreciated! Thanks
 

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"Deepwater Rainbow" sounds like a totally made up name, maybe they made a name up for a hybrid. Does seem similar to a Protomelas "Red Empress" though I doubt he is pure.

Male. Not sure why he doesn't color up more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ok Thanks. Do you think that the fact he is a hybrid or maybe has some red empress in him is why he's so aggressive towards the purebred? Every time the poor guy comes out of hiding he makes a beeline across the tank and chases him till he goes back into hiding which is a shame cause the purebred has got some stunning colors. I've taken the "deepwater rainbow" out of the main tank and have him in a 20gallon tall temporarily hoping a bit of a timeout clears whatever beef he may have had. Already tried rearranging the tank and seeing how its just between him and a single new guy (and not anyone else in the new batch) I'm not sure what else to do as I want to do everything in my power before I have to rehome someone
 

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Welcome to Cichlid-forum!!

When you stock a lot of males you don't want any females in the tank at all, and you don't want any of the fish to look alike. The ones that look alike will be aggressive to each other so you would normally remove one. IME the same thing will happen when you put the fish back. I would rehome him.

Note that when you stock an all-male tank it is part of the plan to have to swap out fish that don't get along, don't color well or cause your other favorites not to color. Plan on about two years of tinkering with the mix before peace is achieved.

Those are some big fish for a 75G, are they all going to be in a 72" tank? Also note Malawi do not pair (a pair of Venustus) so if you will keep that female, you want to have at least 4 female venustus and separate that group from the other males.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you! As of right now, I believe I've weeded out the females as I was going for the all-male tank, but wouldn't be surprised if I found one or two more as Im not the best at venting. I do plan on getting everyone into a minimum of a 72" tank within a few months or so, had some unforeseen circumstances pop up finance wise but starting to recover now and that's something I'll be able to pull off a back burner hopefully soon. Both the venustus are male and getting along so far, probably should have worded that a bit differently to avoid any confusion with them. Also thanks for the advice on similar-looking species, I knew they were aggressive towards their own species but didn't make that connection. Hopefully, my Fusco and the Livingstonii continue to get along fine because they're pretty similar as well.
 

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Sometimes pecking orders change, but don't count on the mystery "Deepwater Rainbow" to start behaving better and color up better, maybe he is greedy and defending his treasure. Give preference to the better colored up Red Empress.
 

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I would expect two male venustus in the same tank to fight even more than a m:f pair. For your future watch list.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ok I'll be sure to keep an eye on it. Thank y'all for the advice and helping me figure this all out
 
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