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Hi all,

Figured I’d ask the experts around here! I received a pair of amazing Cockatoo Cichlids and my local LFS were selling them as a pair (Male and Female). When I got home, I did my research on them and noticed that my female wasn’t looking like other females online. Could you please all let me know your opinion?

I believe the first picture is the female and the second is the male.

I would be happy to upload more pictures if needed.

Thanks!
Water Reptile Organism Scaled reptile Underwater

Water Vertebrate Cloud Underwater Fluid
 

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Hmmmm.....
Looks like a fine quality female or a possible young male. My males‘ dorsal fin took its shape rather quickly and the visual differences became apparent in a small amount of time.
+1 to @AddMeONLeagueOfLegends on that..
Also, what size tank are these Apistos of yours in? I ask, because this is a species of Cichlid that does not form pairing bonds to spawn. To explain: in the wild, a male Apisto will spawn with as many females as he can, based on how dominant and aggressive he is in controlling a territory. This will make for a male Cichlid in an aquarium, that can put a lot of harassment and spawning aggression on a single female kept with him. So if kept in smaller-sized tanks and a lone female doesn't have the room to escape that constant aggression, a male Apisto could literally harass a single female kept with him to death. To avoid that, this species is typically kept in what are known as 'harems' with one male and multiple females of the same species to more evenly spread out the aggression, so no one female gets isolated and harassed too much. A 1M/3-4F harem group is what I recommend for keeping A. cacatuoides, Cockatoo Cichlid in the aquarium.
 

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I suspect both may be males but with the first one it’s difficult it to be sure. I once had three, one obviously a male, the others I hoped would be females. But as it turned out all were males. The two smaller ones did not develop the typical male characteristics until I removed the dominant male and put them in separate tanks.
 

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Some of the domestic color varieties of cacatuoides can have very colorful females, not sure why. I would say it well could be a female, but the other problem with domestic strains is that sometimes they aren't very good breeders. And, as Auballagh stated, Cockatoos are more often a harem breeder. I have bred wild or near wild as pairs on occasion, but domestics always seem touchy.
 

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Domesticated Cacatuodies are a notoriously hard apistogramma species to sex when you. In recent years, females have been selectively bred for male characteristics, something no other apistogramma species has been subjected to so diligently. As previously stated by Auballagh and Mr. Chromedome most apistos are polygamous and cactuodies especially so. Many keep upwards of 5 females for each male, but a pair should be fine. Just be wary of any aggression.

For me to ID them fully, the fish would need to be at least a few months older. I would say you have 2 young males now given the fin extensions on the lower fish and the colouration on the first fish. However, the first could also be a female, as it is hard to differentiate at this age with domesticated cacatuoides.
 

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Domesticated Cacatuodies are a notoriously hard apistogramma species to sex when you. In recent years, females have been selectively bred for male characteristics, something no other apistogramma species has been subjected to so diligently. As previously stated by Auballagh and Mr. Chromedome most apistos are polygamous and cactuodies especially so. Many keep upwards of 5 females for each male, but a pair should be fine. Just be wary of any aggression.

For me to ID them fully, the fish would need to be at least a few months older. I would say you have 2 young males now given the fin extensions on the lower fish and the colouration on the first fish. However, the first could also be a female, as it is hard to differentiate at this age with domesticated cacatuoides.
Hi!😃
That's sooo neato! Wow!😃 you do learn something every day; thanks!
 
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