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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys I'm new with cichlids and am trying my hand at breeding L. strappersi. It's challenging to get a hold of the little guys here but I have acquired 3 individuals of varying size over several months and have them in separate 10 gallons right now. When I put any of them together in a common aquarium (with lots of shells) there is serious non-stop aggression (combinations of displays with dark colors and head down tilting and straight out ramming and biting at one another) and I get nervous and separate them. I tried lots of rocks and visual barriers but they seek one another out and start fighting regardless. Does this mean I have all males? Or could there still be a female and they just need more space or more time to settle in? Also how much aggression should I allow? Thanks in advance!
 

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A 10 gallon aquarium just might not work for this speces. How big are they? What is the size differences between them?
 

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I know with other shellies that when they get to the size where aggression is this serious, you can usually differentiate m/f by size, bulk, color, etc. If you can't see any difference, and also based on behavior, it sounds like you may have all males. If one or more were females, then I think she'd be cowering in a corner, not standing her ground. But, I'm going by occelatus and ornatipinnis behavior, which I believe would be similar. If you could get a video, we might be able to confirm it.

And 10 gallons is too small for them. If you have multiple males, they will never tolerate each other in that small of a space. And a female will have nowhere to hide until accepted. You need a 20 long, at least, to do this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
okay thanks! I'll move to the 20 gallon...

The largest is brightly colored and looks like what I imagine to be full grown (maybe a little more than 2"). Another has color but is about 3/4 this size and another has less color and is a little smaller still. So there might still be hope for a female but they all stand their ground and fight so I'm not sure.

Am I understanding correctly that aggression is not limited to just male vs male in shellies? For instance will two females quarrel as well as a male and female? (presumable before they pair up)
 

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metasepia said:
Am I understanding correctly that aggression is not limited to just male vs male in shellies? For instance will two females quarrel as well as a male and female? (presumable before they pair up)
Yes, females will quarrel, but males will react quite aggressively towards females who aren't mature, and ready to accept the breeding advances of the male.
 

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Another has color but is about 3/4 this size and another has less color and is a little smaller still. So there might still be hope for a female but they all stand their ground and fight so I'm not sure.
Agreed there may be hope, but I've never seen a smaller female stand up to serious aggression from a larger male. But then again, I've not seen smaller males stand up to larger ones for long either. Depends on the level of aggession. It'd be easier to say if I could see it. Some pre-pairing 'bickering' between m/f is normal. This sounds worse though. Have you tried rocks for sight breaks?
 
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