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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a female Phenochilus that is about 4 1/2 inches long (not sure how old she is). Yesterday, I bought a male Phenochilus that is about 5 1/2 inches long (not sure how old he is either). Anyways, nearly right away she noticed him and I could tell she was totally checking him out. This morning I notice she goes up to him and kinda bites on his top fins (not hard enough to rip them though... I think) and there has been a ton of lip locking going on between them. Well I assumed that is lip locking.... they open their mouths real wide and look like they are passionately biting/kissing. LOL. Anyways, just want to make sure this is normal and get any information from you all that I can get regarding this. I am assuming this is normal for them to be pairing up.... but still want to make sure it's ok and that I shouldn't worry. Thanks so much in advance!!!

Separate Question -
Also, my socolofi (he's small... like 2-2 1/2 inches) didn't seem to like him (my male phenochilus) at first and picked on him a quite a bit for the first hour or so but has seemed to lay off now. Should I be worried?
 

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This is not pairing behaviour, and they aren't pairing fish anyway. It is simply aggression and a battle for dominance. Just keep an eye on things.

Mixing a semi aggressive mbuna, with Haps is always a hit and miss, particularly when adding new Haps. It is something else to keep your eye on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm sorry.... I confused you I think. My two phenochilus are the ones that are lip locking.... I've read online somewhere that lip locking means they are testing each others strength for breeding. And if they are satisfied with what they find they will become a pair. Then the male will fertilize the girls eggs.

Do you think i should get rid of the socolofi? The rest of my tank consists of yellow labs and peacocks.
 

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As Fogelhund said, Malawi don't pair, each male needs a harem. It could be that they are trying to show off for each other, or trying to kill each other.

I'd probably remove the new fish for now, and add him back along with at least 2 more females. That will improve odds for breeding success, and allow him not to be the only "new" fish in the tank.

I probably would remove the Socolofi if it was me, being an aggressive mbuna I'd worry about mixing with haps. Or you could wait and see what happens.

What are the dimensions of your tank, and what other fish do you have in there?
 

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shamish said:
I'm sorry.... I confused you I think. My two phenochilus are the ones that are lip locking.... I've read online somewhere that lip locking means they are testing each others strength for breeding. And if they are satisfied with what they find they will become a pair. Then the male will fertilize the girls eggs.
Thanks for the attempt at clarification, but I think I understood the first time, and my response still stands.

Lip locking is indeed a behaviour that you will see, to test each others strength for breeding. It is common to see in some large South American and Central American cichlids that are pairing fish.

It is not a behaviour that Malawian cichlids do, and as mentioned, they aren't pairing fish. Lip locking in Malawians is simply territorial fighting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you so much for your input. I really truly appreciate it. The knowledge here is so awesome.

I have not seen them lip locking at all since this morning. In fact, they seem to be swimming by each other with not a care in the world now. I did remove the socolofi as suggested.... so that potential problem is now gone.

I did take everything out of the tank and totally rearranged everything (lace rock, plants, etc.)and did a 1/3 water change and did a gravel vacuum. This was suggested by my LFS to mess with the existing territories. Seems to have worked and I really like how it turned out as far as decorative look. LOL.

Again, thanks so much!
 
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