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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
a few days ago i noticed that two of my yellow labs have what appears to be dirt on their face. its mostly focused around the mouth, but it does extend under the head, and on the sides. tried to get a photo, this is the best i could do. what do you think???


 

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What is your substrate? I have some play sand in one of my tanks, and my Acei used to have sand on them like that when they would chase each other around, and it would just fall off, not sure if that is your case or not but thats what happened to me
 

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Your yellow labs are probably "bearding" as people call it. This is somewhat common for yellow labs, especially older dominant males, but not all strains experience this. See this recent thread regarding bearding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
to answer the first question, yes i have play sand in this tank.

as far as bearding goes, the fish are juveniles still. they are only about 3 inches in size. Also, they are F1 fish from a reputable dealer. what else could this be? should i add salt or anything else?
 

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Pure labs have beards...people just prefer the ones without. A fish can show the dark areas more when stressed and be a cleaner yellow when at ease.

The adult males show it the most IME but juvies can have it too.

Your fish is not sick. If you tank is very peaceful and stress-free then it's just his/her natural coloration.
 

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From what I can tell, good quality yellow labs can put on quite a bit of black pigment, especially when they are stressed. And a 3" yellow lab is a big fish; they don't normally get more than about 4". One of my labs, a sub-dominant male about 9 months old, frequently gets a black 'beard' and some black on the body, especially when the dominant male is chasing him. If your fishes have been fighting or doing a lot of dominance sparing, I'd say the black may simply be an emotional reaction. If the fishes in question are males, I think this is even more likely to be the answer.

I am not an expert, but my suggestion would be to wait and see. I would not treat the tank for any possible disease.
 

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I have a couple males that show bearding. I have been told it could be from possible crossbreeding somewhere down the line. I am not really sure. My tank is pretty peaceful so I do not think it's an issue related to stress. Could be they want to mate and when they turn their colors on it just so happens to bring out the beard in them so to speak. I don't think your fish are sick. Thats the good news.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
did a complete breakdown of the tank today...75% water change, full cleaning, new rock formation. when i handled the fish, i didnt notice the bearding on them. we will see
 
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