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Hopefully someone will chime in who has kept polit, but age/size is not the only factor. From the Cichlid-forum profile: When the males feel threatened they can change their color to a dull grey/blue instantly.

Only males are colorful.

Search for posts by SinisterKisses, that Member kept polit and had a lot of experience with them. They show best color in a tank where they feel dominant.
 

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VaranusPanoptes said:
That's weird cause my perlmutt and demasoni cichlids are colorful even the picked on ones.
It is normal for a majority of Malawi cichlids to have drab females and juveniles. The males color up with dominance and maturity. With Polit one male will color up completely while females will stay drab and other males may not show full color. If you have bigger dominant males of another species in the tank the Polit male may not keep his color.

Some Mbuna do have brightly colored juveniles. They are popular for this reason.
 

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When I kept them approximately 10 years ago, I could only get one fully coloured male in a 6ft 135 gallon. It was fully coloured around 2 - 2.5" in length.
 
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