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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Please help me figure out if I have the world's worst quality lab mix or something else (I happened upon a picture today). Every time I become ever so slightly confident in my ability to ID young common malawis, this happens: I start to notice one of my fish not turning out how I expected.

I bought this fish from an exotic pet store that was closing along with a saulosi (IDed as a zebra), a borleyi (IDed as a peacock), and a mystery fish that turned out to be a joanjohnsonae (it was shiny).

I believed it was a pure yellow lab until a couple of months ago it started flashing this bandit beard, eyebrows, and mask. Poor quality lab, I thought. Then it acquired dark black stripes going down half the length of its body and the face and tail fin have blue overtones. Hybrid, I thought.

This picture is from a couple of months ago - he has solid black vertical striping now.

 

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I happen to agree with Shamish. While I have pretty strong views on avoiding the deliberate continuation of hybrids, and would urge you not to breed from this fish or give him/her away, it is a very nice looking fish! I'm sure you enjoy having it in your tank.

I'm with SK in guessing Lab/Saulosi cross - probably male.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you for confirming this is just a hybrid. I was kind of hoping he was a flavus so I could justify keeping him, but he will have to go so at to not contaminate the incoming group of labs I plan to order along with a demasoni colony. Unfortunately he won't fit into my SA tank or my soon to be shellie tank.
:(

From his behavior and appearance he is probably male. He doesn't swim in the open water except for at feeding time, but claims a rock pile and digs 16 hours a day. He is the most industrious excavator in my tank, followed by my female saulosi.

Hades hath no fury like this fish unleashes if someone comes near his hole. This is when he dons his "angry eyes", so called because he get dark black eyebrows and a villainous beard.
:popcorn:
 

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it may be a hybrid but hey, congrats its one of the most attractive looking mbuna hybrids *** ever seen :thumb:
i'd keep him 4 sure
 

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I'd fry him up and eat him with some tartar sauce and malt vinegar like I do with any other hybrids. Just kidding :lol: :lol: :lol:
 

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Does your "hybrid" by any chance look like this guy now?

http://www.cichlid-forum.com/profiles/species.php?id=979

Tough to tell in the photo in the profile of this fish, but it doesn't appear this particular species has as pronounced of a tropheops type head. Also doesn't appear that it has the typical tropheops straight line mouth on the bottom of the head. Could be the angles though as I have never kept this particular tropheops.

Not making the statement that your fish is this species, but more pictures might confirm one way or the other, especially if he is done transforming to adult colors. Did he lose the submarginal band in his dorsal as he developed the black stripes? Seems that this species of tropheops has female/juvenile submarginal band in the dorsal that disappears as an adult male.
 

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In case you don't care to follow the links here are the photos of Tropheops sp. red fin for comparison:



 

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It's not a Tropheops sp. Redfin.
Op's fish is missing barring where T. sp. Redfins shows the most.
If I had to guss I'd say op's fish is a lab x "johannii type" cross.
 

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straitjacketstar said:
It's not a Tropheops sp. Redfin.
Op's fish is missing barring where T. sp. Redfins shows the most.
If I had to guss I'd say op's fish is a lab x "johannii type" cross.
Pretty bold statement that it's not an "choose your type of fish". I wish I had the talent to do that from one picture of a fish that has been identified as being in the middle of a color transformation.

I never claimed the fish was any type of fish. Just theorizing that it looks most like Tropheops sp red fin, particularly when coupled with the fact the OP originally thought it was a Lab. caeruleus.

Juvenile/female Tropheops sp. red fin:


I agree the OP fish seems more yellow than what a redfin should be, but the question is, is it done changing to adult colors?
 

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Look Sinister, the original poster's fish is MOST likely a hybrid. But once again you are stating things as fact when you have none.

I would wager that if you were shown a picture of a wild Tropheops sp redfin (like all three of those I posted) that you would state they didn't have the body shape of a Tropheops. Why? Because they don't look like other tropheops, they look like Psuedotropheus.

Bottom line is, it seems during the short time I have visited this forum that you take the easy way out and label anything unusual as a hybrid. Thats your choice of course and its pretty safe as the vast majority are going to be hybrids, makes you right most of the time. I prefer to take the time to look into what the possibilities are. If there is a profile that closely matches the fish in question, why not give it a little more effort?

This particular fish has not had enough evidence presented to rule out Tropheops sp. redfin in my opinion. Although a picture as a juvenile or at least some more current ones would go miles toward that. I would even settle for the OP sharing their thoughts.

Cheers :thumb:
 

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Lol oh whatever...I actually usually try to refrain from suggesting a fish is a hybrid unless I'm pretty **** positive that it is. Like in this case. If I'm not sure what a fish is, then I don't say jack **** about it, not just post that it's a hybrid and carry on.

Like it or not, the OP's fish does not have a tropheops body type, which is a pretty **** good indicator that it is not a redfin.
 

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Fair enough.
 
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