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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was hoping to get some opinions on a situation I've found to be kind of interesting. I've had the Nkhata bay morph of labidochromis caeruleus for almost a year now. I've had a few spawns, but nothing like I've had with my other fish.

I think I've finally figured out that the females of this morph get to only about 2.5", because 2 out of 7 only got to be that size, and those are the only ones that have held. The other 5 have grown to about 4" and have all displayed male-like tendencies.

Yesterday I had what I believed were 3 males and 2 females in one tank. I thought I'd move two males out, thinking the lack of competition might encourage breeding. I also moved 4 giant demasoni in.

Today I've noticed the remaining male in the tank has become very sub-dominant, but I'm not sure to whom. The only other male (for sure) fish in the tank is one of the giant demasoni, who's probably getting close to 6" now. But he's the biggest whimp I've ever seen. He's claimed one side of the tank. The male lab pretty much has his pick of any cave in the rock pile, but I've noticed him hunkering behind the filter intake like he's scared. He's not displaying much dark, and not fanning his fins, or shaking, or acting territorial.

Yesterday all 3 males in the tank were guarding their caves, getting into little play-fights like always. Today, with no competition, the only male left is acting like a big chicken.

Meanwhile, in the tank where I have what I believe are the 4 remaining males, the smallest of all of them is displaying the most dark and is clearly the dominant fish. I'd think the others were females if I hadn't seen them acting like males before.

So my theory is that the presence of other males caused the males in the tank to act like males... maybe it was just competition. But this is contradicted by the fact that in the tank with 4 males, only one acts like a male.

I'm thinking about moving the extra dominant male back into the tank with the females to see what happens. Maybe I'll wait a few days and see if things don't change on their own.

My other theory is that one of the smaller demasoni, who I believe is a sub-dominant male, is picking on the lab. These blue labs aren't any too tough.

Any thoughts?


41,517 Posts
Could be just the disruption shook him up. I'd also sit in front of the tank for an hour or two and watch for aggression.
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