txneal wrote:Thanks for such a quick response! The 3 bellcrossi that are in a tank together are a little larger than the other 4 as I acquired them a few weeks earlier and they grew rather quickly once in their new tank. They are the ones that I have been observing most closely. Almost from the beginning, two of them have been staying together while the other one stays on the other side of the tank. The two that stay together seem to display to each other in much the way you have described the behavior of your mated pair. They approach each other with fins and gills flared, mouth open and throat distended. These two do not show any aggression toward each other. However, the other fish in this tank is quite aggressive and will frequently sneak up on the other two and make an attack. There has been some lip locking and much chasing across the tank.
Because I am unsure of the sexes and am simply going by guesswork at this point, I'm thinking that I must have 2 males and 1 female in this tank. The one most aggressive fish as well as one of the two who stick together, are a little heavier bodied and seem to have more pronounced spots in their fins compared to the third fish which is slightly smaller and a little lighter in coloration. I'm assuming that their current size might make it difficult to determine sex through venting and perhaps I should wait until they are a bit larger. I would prefer not to stress them too much by netting and handling them any more than I need to, so I'm thinking I should wait for them to grow a little larger. What would be your suggestion on this?
Also, it has been suggested to me by another person who keeps this species that perhaps the dorsal fin of the males is much longer than that of females and may be an indicater of sex. I'm trying to see any difference in the dorsals of mine, but I can't really see enough difference to think that I would be able to make any determinations based upon this characteristic. What are your thoughts on that? Would this possibly be something that would develop as the fish age and grow and maybe not be discernible in fish as young/small as mine??
Which brings me to the question of at what size might I expect them to start engaging in breeding activity?...and, if I have 2 males and 1 female in the tank, should I remove the extra male in order to encourage breeding? It seems that an extra male would probably be a constant distraction to the pair attempting to breed and should be removed.
I suppose this is the point where I am right now...I would like to promote an environment that will result in eventual breeding. I don't know the sexes of any of the fish yet, so I'm wondering if they are still too small to determine sex through venting or how urgent it is to remove extra fish once a pair has been established. From what I have observed with the 3 fish, I am thinking there is a pair bond between two of them, but I'm certainly not sure of it. Would it be wise to remove the other fish or wait longer to observe the dynamics?
I am assuming that if I want spawning activity from these fish I will need to get them separated into mated pairs, with each pair occupying it's own tank. This seems to be what you have said in your article. Right now, they are still quite small and somewhat new to these tanks, so I'm trying to work out a plan for accomplishing this. Any suggestions you can provide on how I might determine sex and decide when to remove fish to additional tanks would be very helpful to me.
txneal wrote:Thomas: It seems that, being newly registered on this forum, I am restricted from posting without moderator approval. I hope you have received the message that I attempted to post yesterday. I will be leaving home for about 5 days and will not have access to the internet during that time. I will look forward to hearing your responses when I return. Thanks!
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