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I remember about 20 years ago when I first saw labidochromis caeruleus at my local fish shop. They were all a solid and rich yellow with strong black bars down the dorsal and anal fins.

Nowadays I see what I believe are poor hybridised versions in the shops, covered in bars of dark brown and with faded or non-existent black fin stripes.

As far as I've read online, the yellow with black version I remember is the 'Lion's Cove' version of a blue fish.

I have spoken with a shop owner recently who has insisted that the barring is a result of fright patterning and nothing to do with hybridisation or genetic purity. He also suggested to me that within the Lion's Cove Yellow, there existed variations that allowed for this barring.

I remember a perfectly solid yellow fish with black bars in dorsal and anal fins and believe that when I see fish with muddy barring on them I am looking at hybridised fish that resulted from dubious ancestry in captive breeding.

Am I right? :-?

And lastly, how can I source 'pure' Caeruleus?
 

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The vertical barring is a natural occurance in the wild. We as hobbiest have actually breed that out of them to produce a more yellow and better looking fish. If they are missing the black in the fins then they are hybrids, most likely with red zebra. There is also another variant of them that are a bluish color with vertical bars. The moderator GTZ has so of them that he recently posted of video of them spawning. I hope this helps.
 

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AZcichlidfreak said:
If they are missing the black in the fins then they are hybrids, most likely with red zebra..
do you have evidence to back up this claim?
 

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The ones I got have some bluish coloring in the dorsal and anal fins but the dominate one is mean. So I'm giving them away there's only 2 left from 6 or 7.
 

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There are many variations from different collection points.
Regarding barring or beards, I've read about this occurring in the wild as well. I'm not sure that I've seen any pictures as evidence from Lake Malawi but this doesn't preclude the possibility that it's true, labs are much more rare in the lake than they are in the hobby.
 

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Intentional Yellow Lab X Red Zebra hybrids have become common in recent years in mass market stores. Why, I don't know... something else to stock the tanks with I guess.

And yes, poor quality strains are out there. Also, then are races with a white belly, which may have been mixed in with the others.

But decent looking Yellow Labs are not that hard to find. Just don't expect less then great looking 1 to 2" juveniles to get much better. Poor yellow color, white bellies, or too much body markings should be avoided.

Never seen any like this one thou... have these ever been in the hobby? A Yellow Blaze Lab would be cool.
 

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noki said:
But decent looking Yellow Labs are not that hard to find. Just don't expect less then great looking 1 to 2" juveniles to get much better. Poor yellow color, white bellies, or too much body markings should be avoided.
I live in a major city (Houston) with lots of LFSs, but I have never found a good selection of yellow labs with the rich yellow and bold black fin stripes as seen in the forum library photos. I've visited the chain stores and all the locals, and the juvies have the white belly or incomplete/pale black markings. I believe these fish have been bred (crossbred?) to minimize the black body bars and bearding, as I have not really seen much of this.

Where are the 'quality' fishes that are coming from the reputable breeders? Do they not do business with LFSs? I have not gone the mailorder route, yet, because so far the yellow labs are the only kind of fish that I have been frustrated over, so with shipping, a group of 5-6 juvies is much more expensive than local. Also, I really prefer to pick my own individuals, and you can't do that on the internet. I posted a want-to-buy ad in the trading post but have had no responses.

I would say that fish similar to the profile photos of the Lion's Cove I morph, which is what I want in my tank, are not available in my area, and this has been a disappointment.
 
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