sometimes you can tell by the colors of the fish... If the male fish is colored up, but that doesn't always work because you could have a male fish showing female colorings.
The best way would be to vent the fish, males look like oo and females look like Oo. If you are unsure I am sure you would be able to post if you could take a picture and people could help you out. Just as soon as I think i am getting better at venting, I epically fail at it. I guess it just takes practice
See that's just my problem im not exactly sure yet I wanna go with 3 different types so they can cross breed as well but not to sure which ones will work out together!? Any suggestions on the 3 I could go with? And I wanna get them while their young 1 1/2 -2 inches!
I guess I must run in a different group than you. Why would one want their fish to cross breed so that the result is a bunch of mutts? Here in Austin the shops try not to take mutts as trade-ins. Seems that would make any fish you produce of little value not to mention the obvious ethical questions. Doesn't Mother nature have enough problems without intentional screwups?
well this is my first time with african Cichlids and i just really wanna see what they would look like if they did! im not really interested in traveling to austin to trade them in i have 3 other tanks i can set up if i need to remove or separate....and with having different species how can you stop them?
The way to keep different species from cross breeding is to provide males and females of each species. People don't breed with monkeys if there are adequate people. Monkeys don't breed with apes for the same reason. When we put people in a tank and provide no other options, they consider whatever is available. Works the same with fish. They each hang with their group and breed with their group if they have the choice. It's when we set up an unnatural choice that things get messy.
Many choices for African cichlids will work. If they are different colors combos and you have both male and female they will do the rest. Yellow labs, hap ahli, lab "hongi", hap moori, have all been in my tank together at one time or another and worked well. I do keep male and females of each.
As far as travel to Austin, I would not think that worthwhile either but reputable fish shops in general don't like to deal in mixed breed fish. With any pet, the cross breeds are less sought after than the pure bred.
To make it easier to get a set of young fish that will give you a very good chance of getting both male and female, many people go a different route than trying to sex them when young. One reason for this is that it can be a really difficult job to sex them. So the easy way if one has the tank space is to buy in groups. Five young fish will cost far less than a couple which are big enough to sex reliable, many times. When I want to be sure I get a breeding group I go for 5-6 fish. Sometimes it has worked out that my luck is really, really bad and I have 5M-1F. Not the best but it worked okay for my yellow labs. She was just really busy most of the time holding fish.