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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok gang, I know young Venustus are hard to sex. This one is 3", maybe slightly over. I've read every thread I can find possible and didn't see this question asked. Do young females turn their color on and off like males? Do they just try to act like males? My pics are kind of crappy, because when it was happening, all I had was my phone. It completely turned off all spots while being aggressive with my juvenile male copadichromis chrysonotus white blaze doing the hierarchy dance. Naturally, I'm hoping it turns out male. I know the other signs, the yellow is spreading slightly in the forehead and I think there are two faint dots of blue on the lips below the black mark under the right eye. But it has a rounded anal fin? Again, I know it is early and still probably a waiting game. Especially with larger more dominant fish in the tank. Was really more curious about the color switching on and off that young?
 

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Looks male to me. I have a 5" male venustus and he still has rounded fins. Not sure about the Color changing. In my experience i have only seen males do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah, the color change was odd to me. I'm pretty sure a 3" female venustus isn't ready to do the dance? He/she was messing with an open water breeder, but I'm certain it was just dominance fighting. No mouthful of eggs. Oh well, it's a waiting game. Growing fast though.
 

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*** been having so much issue with this too. I had a tank full of Venustus none have colored up.The smallest fish was about 3'' the Largest is 6-7" Im certain the largest is female. One fish is around 5'',has a pointed ( more sqaureish)analfin,always seems to be so much darker than all the others. However my largest presumably female is the dominant fish in the tank. *** never seen any of them color up.I really believed I had all females. (6) of them in total. I went to my LFS,there was a 2'' Venustus,colored up. Lots of blue in his face. So of course I purchased him. Adding him to the group. Whats happened since? He has lost all his color. I'm not surprised by that. I now realize just how much Dominance plays a role in coloration of males.My plan now is to remove the large dominant female. I have a strong belief that somehow,once she is removed a Male will color up. I'm hoping it's the 5'' fish I suspect to be male if not at least I know I have one male for sure,hes small. Ill have to wait it out on his growth. I decide to raise Venustus because I am such a fan of these African cichlids,but I missed having having a larger american cichlid( I used to keep a JD). The Venustus Male was my attempt at having the best of both worlds. Size,and African color. I sish you luck in ID'ing your Venustus. It's likey just a matter of time. But like me maybe you should look at changing things up. Remove,or rehome other tankmates, Switch up scape. It's an idea anyways
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks! I'm sure you're right. I'm still waiting. It's in with a bunch of peacocks, a couple smaller haps and a yellow lab. All males. It isn't afraid of any of them, but it isn't the boss either. I have 5" female in another tank. It, like yours is much lighter than this one. I should just buy a male like you did. Lol! Good luck with yours!
 

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Kipnlilo!! Any luck yet getting that male to color up ?> My suspicions on mine were accurate. The medium sized Male is starting to really show. I never removed the large female,and he still hasn't challenged her yet. But I can see the blue in his face all the time,except for when the big momma comes by him.Clearly he has decided to show to the other females in the tank.Well now I have two males,one much younger,and smaller so for now there is no issue. Ill have to move him eventually though. I'm currently re working all my set ups. I've been pleased with my mbuna 55 gallon set up. But my 125 was always a WIP. I have a 75g,I was tempted to go American with. Now I'm planning to move my mbuna from the 125,over to the 75,and run Haps in my 125.Still I have much research and shopping to do before it's all said and done.Anyways,I was just wondering how your situation was going,and I just went on about my own stuff. (selfish).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'll put up a pic of him/her tomorrow. It's definitely getting larger quick, but I'm leaning towards female. I've figured out my new camera enough to get a descent pic. I'll let you be the judge. Lol!
 

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I have two females that are about 7 to 8 inches and yours looks a lot like them. That being said the fish still a little young but my guess would be female.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The first pic is when I first got it. You can see there is no yellow between the eyes. Probably 1 1/2"

Ven1.jpg


These next two are now at 4 1/2" and the blaze is spreading. It started coming in around 3" in dots. It has had 4 spots of greenish blue on the lips for some time now, 2 on each side and not spreading that i can tell.

Ven2.jpg

Ven4.jpg


The last three are now at 4 1/2". When it flares, the anal is round. The anal looks female to me. It also doesn't stick past the top fin. (Rounded also.)

Ven3.jpg

Ven6.jpg

Ven7.jpg


I would vent it, but i don't want to stress it out trying to catch it. I think it's a female. Another 2 inches in growth will tell the story for sure, but I'm pretty certain it's a girl. That's ok though if so, I have another 6" female venustus and a harem of other large peacock/hap females in another tank. This is what happens when growing them out from 1" or so. LOL! It's all good though. I had fun doing it and learned so, so much trying to go all male in the process. I really need to update the crappy tank profile link I have also. I got rid of a few bullies, moved females and added some quality fish. Plus many have grown tremendously. I may do that today. Anyhow, thanks to all for the help/replies.
 

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I have bred venustus the last couple of years and I would only say its a male when you start to see the blue on the lips or the egg spots in the bottom fin. Pointed vs rounded isnt very obvious in these. The changing body colors is interesting, i havent specifically seen any of my females do that yet but cant say its impossible w aggression. My females arent very mean. They all have yellow in the head even females. Good luck

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
TTUhouston said:
I have bred venustus the last couple of years and I would only say its a male when you start to see the blue on the lips or the egg spots in the bottom fin. Pointed vs rounded isnt very obvious in these. The changing body colors is interesting, i havent specifically seen any of my females do that yet but cant say its impossible w aggression. My females arent very mean. They all have yellow in the head even females. Good luck
Thanks for the info. This one isn't really mean, but doesn't really back down when confronted except to a 6 1/2" Yellow Fin Borleyi. At least once a day it has a hierarchy spat with with a 4 1/2" Capidichromis Chysonotus White Blaze juvie male. That's when it will do the color change. If a get a chance to catch it on video, I'll post it.

ironspider said:
I have two Venustus, looking to rehome them. My GF calls them the uglies.
You must not have a male? Most of them are real lookers in my opinion. As mentioned above, I have a larger female, my GF used to like it when it was young, now she calls it a sea cow. Lol!
 

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Kipnlilo said:
TTUhouston said:
I have bred venustus the last couple of years and I would only say its a male when you start to see the blue on the lips or the egg spots in the bottom fin. Pointed vs rounded isnt very obvious in these. The changing body colors is interesting, i havent specifically seen any of my females do that yet but cant say its impossible w aggression. My females arent very mean. They all have yellow in the head even females. Good luck
Thanks for the info. This one isn't really mean, but doesn't really back down when confronted except to a 6 1/2" Yellow Fin Borleyi. At least once a day it has a hierarchy spat with with a 4 1/2" Capidichromis Chysonotus White Blaze juvie male. That's when it will do the color change. If a get a chance to catch it on video, I'll post it.

ironspider said:
I have two Venustus, looking to rehome them. My GF calls them the uglies.
You must not have a male? Most of them are real lookers in my opinion. As mentioned above, I have a larger female, my GF used to like it when it was young, now she calls it a sea cow. Lol!
I don't know if it's male.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I don't know if it's male.
I'm not the Venustus expert as you can tell from my above posts. All I can say for sure is, they all look the same until they get some size on them. It's a hurry up and wait game. Lol! Yours look smaller, how big are they?
 

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Kipnlilo said:
I don't know if it's male.
I'm not the Venustus expert as you can tell from my above posts. All I can say for sure is, they all look the same until they get some size on them. It's a hurry up and wait game. Lol! Yours look smaller, how big are they?
4.5"-5" I'd say
 

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Blue on the face = male

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
ironspider said:
Kipnlilo said:
I don't know if it's male.
I'm not the Venustus expert as you can tell from my above posts. All I can say for sure is, they all look the same until they get some size on them. It's a hurry up and wait game. Lol! Yours look smaller, how big are they?
4.5"-5" I'd say
Is that blue on the lower lip of the one on the right?
 

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What I did was remove all venustus from 125 with mbuna. Placed them in their own 75. In 1 hour the presumed male I was unsure about had colored up,and had made his dominance clear. The large female has completely subbed to him now. Of course Not everyone has the extra tank space to do this,but if you do,you should try. I believe that between the male being younger and smaller than the large female,and being in a tank with 3 mbuna species was too much for the male to get over. Once in a new tank,he was able to establish himself right away. Of the 2 facors,I believe that being in a tank with mbuna was the most detrimental.but it's just an opinion. I have no real science to back that up.The male is only about 4-5 inches,and his color is still younger male/transition in appearance,but he does have clear blue in his face and body. He does lack the strong yellow blaze along the top of his head,and his color is more dim than that of Venustus males I've seen in other tanks. Nonetheless,I've now confirmed his gender,and based on my previous observations it is clear that his anal fin does in fact come to more of a squared point,way less rounded than the females.It may be a good way to help you determine who is male/female in your tank. You'll need to watch closely. It's only apparent when the fin is fully "fanned out". Compare to all the specimens to try and notice a clear difference. I'm not saying this is a sure fire way to ID gender,but it did seem to hold true for mine.So my previous suggestion of changing things up holds to be a proven way to induce males to show,but how you go about it could also effect the desired outcome. I.E you could try removing the mbuna from your tank,and move the rocks around. Maybe that would be enough to allow a possible male to grab a higher spot in the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for the information, but in the last two weeks since I posted the last pics of it, the anal fin has started to point and the lower jaw is starting to get a longer thin blue line. Depending on the mood, it's more noticeable, especially at feeding time. I'm now pretty certain it's going to be male. I've changed my mind more times than you could imagine. Lol! But the blue is definitely coming in now. I'll wait until it's real noticeable and then post a few pics. Thanks again to all who have replied.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well, as promised. I tried to get a better pic today after feeding when "he" went after another fish in his favorite spot. He was hauling #*'#@* to get there turning on the young color that's starting to come in. I caught him right as he stopped. It's a bit blurry as I chased him across the tank to get it.

0E832436-525F-45A1-9D2A-0879EDFC6ED6.jpeg
 
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