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Help: My female Red Empress's are turning male!


proformer
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Hi guys!

About 2 month go I bought a colony of 4 about 4 inch red empress, 1 male and 3 females. I only had to pay for 3 because 1 of them had almost no fins left. After I isolated "her" for a while and her fins grew back she started to color up. So now she has a light blue head and red "frames" around her scales, her fins are growing longer and are coloring up as well(reddish with yellow spots). My guess is that the male beat her up cause she's actually a sub-dominant male...could that be?

Now so far so good, not a biggie, then I have 2 males and 2 females, right? wrong! Because my other 2 females are getting exactly the same color! I know that 1 of them has to be female because she was holding before...

My problem: looking at the pictures online of a female they are plain grey, white and black! can anybody here tell me what their females look like?

How do I determine if they are really females? (no idea how to vent those fish ;) )

thanks!

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What are you feeding them? Sounds like your feeding them a colour enhancing food which is making the females colour up to. I've seen LFS where all their cichlids are 'males' because they feed colour enhancing foods such as white crane which isn't a good thing because it seems it also prevents the females from breeding due to hormone inbalances.

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In a group of Red Empress (and any other Malawi Haplochromine), there will be one dominant male, showing the strongest colour representative of the species. Any other males in with him will generally be sub-dominant and almost colourless. Occasionally, one or two subbies will try to achieve the dominant position and colour up.

Food can play a part if you're feeding hormone-laden stuff, however when you got them, if they were 4" long (10cm), even sub-dom males will have evidence of egg spotting in the anal fin. Did you notice this when you got them?

Please also tell us what you're feeding them....

Cheers,

Andrew.

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Hi guys!

About 2 month go I bought a colony of 4 about 4 inch red empress, 1 male and 3 females. I only had to pay for 3 because 1 of them had almost no fins left. After I isolated "her" for a while and her fins grew back she started to color up. So now she has a light blue head and red "frames" around her scales, her fins are growing longer and are coloring up as well(reddish with yellow spots). My guess is that the male beat her up cause she's actually a sub-dominant male...could that be?

Now so far so good, not a biggie, then I have 2 males and 2 females, right? wrong! Because my other 2 females are getting exactly the same color! I know that 1 of them has to be female because she was holding before...

My problem: looking at the pictures online of a female they are plain grey, white and black! can anybody here tell me what their females look like?

How do I determine if they are really females? (no idea how to vent those fish ;) )

thanks!

Best I can do with my phone...

IPB Image

Male in pic is my sub dominant, he's only there to keep my breeder male interested...

I'd vent them though:

oo = boy

o O = girl

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lol i bought a colony of peacocks 1m 3 female male the 3 females ended up being 3 male red empress they first started to show colour on top fin it was a red white colour stream i hope that canhelp i dont know if females are ment to have it but yeah look out for that then look for blue on face!

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A couple of month ago I had fish food that is color enhancing. I got a test packet and I thought I try it. I don't know the brand off by heart but I'll look it up tonight. As far as I remember it had PLS?? in it? Normally I feed them NLS cichlid formula and SERA red and green in a mix of about 1\3 each. Next to that they get life brine shrimp and guppies every now and then and frozen blood worms once or twice a week.

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if your fish are not wild caught why are you feeding them live feeder fish i dont see the point!

i could be wrong but this is can cause problems as well

like i said my opinon no point in feeding them live fish!

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Feeding live fish can cause problems in that they will often introduce undesirable parasites into your tank. Also, live feeders are only indicated when a fish, whose natural diet is piscivorous, won't feed on prepared commercial foods. There is very little call for it, really, so if you don't have to, it's advisable not to.

Red Empress are not a pursuit or ambush predator, so I would stick to commercial foods with the brand of your choice. If you're not sure that a food contains hormones or not, always ask and ideally do not use the ones that contain them.

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Hi

Just like others have said i thought i had 2 males and 8 females but 3 other males showed up while they growing up :) so 5 males 5 females lol anything is possible and try stay away from any of the color enhance foods....

cheers

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Hi

Just like others have said i thought i had 2 males and 8 females but 3 other males showed up while they growing up :) so 5 males 5 females lol anything is possible and try stay away from any of the color enhance foods....

cheers

lithoman do the females get colour on top fin ?

because that is what shows first

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alright, I was under the impression my tank is turning all my fish into males. I was puzzled because one of the red empress females was holding before... ;)

but now i know to only stick to my normal food, no color enhancing stuff or life feeders.

I thought i'm dong them a favor if I vary their diet a bit more than just NLS or SERA pellets!

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  • 2 weeks later...

So, after a bit more than a week on pellets only my 2 females are turning back to "dull" grey and black, the 3rd female is definitely a male though. displaying all over the place and becoming the dominant male, slowly developing color. "she" is a fair bit bigger than the former alpha-male red empress.

My problem is that since 3 days or so the male red empress stopped eating. There is absolutely no response to food, the only thing he looked at yesterday is a tiny bit of bloodworm's. All the other fish in the tank are behaving normal.

Change in behavior: both males start showing off to the females, chasing them and giving them signs that it's time to breed. My best guess was that he doesn't eat because he is busy showing off, could that be? He has no signs of disease at all.

Change in environment: despite the weekly 25% water changes - none! all the eater stats are perfect.

Does anybody know if I should worry about him not eating?

thanks!!

Edited by proformer
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Thats normal. :thumb Males will try to be female colour so dominant male will not attack them.If any are showing colour then most likely male. Now he is getting bolder and depends on size of tank what will happen. They like plenty of room and if only 2 boys can be real rough on each other.

Foti, how did you miss that, Red emps nothing like a peacock!!!

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