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Door
12-09-2007, 08:39 PM
hi, im fairly new to cichlids and have a quesetion about breeding. I am unable to determine the sex of two bumble bee cichlids in my tank. I saw them shacking and doing 360's the other day around one another. I read this could be some sort of flirting, and them preparing to lay eggs and what not. I also read that males are black, both of my bumble bee cichlids are black and yellow striped and look pretty much the same. they both have anal fin spots. anyone have any idea on if i can determine sex between them or any advice?

aharris
12-09-2007, 10:30 PM
When it said that males are black, it meant it. Male bumblebees turn jet black especially when they are feeling dominant and aggressive.

Here (http://web.mit.edu/lxs/www/cichlids/bumblebee.html) are some good pictures showing the range of color variations they go through.

What you saw is standard dominance scuffling. They were just trying to figure out who was the toughest. I wouldn't worry too much about it until you start to see ripped fins and injuries in the fish.

Also egg spots are not a good indicator of sex. They may mean that you have two males and they may mean that you have two females. Males are more likely to have egg spots and usually have more of them, but both genders can have egg spots.

If the behavior you saw was serious mating behavior, one of the fish would likely have been jet black like the male in these photoes. It's not impossible that it was mating behavior, but I think it's unlikely. Were they circling really quickly?

Door
12-10-2007, 12:48 AM
yes they were circling extremly quick. ive only had them for about a month and a half and the biggest one is about 2.5" so im unsure right now whether they are both male or both female or one or the other. in that link you gave me it appears the males dont turn black until much later.

aharris
12-10-2007, 09:52 AM
Breeding behavior circling is very much slower and more "ritualistic" for lack a better word I can think of to describe it. Dominance circling is fast and looks like a head and tail chase.

SabrinaD
12-10-2007, 11:13 AM
For breeding/ courting you also should get a lot more of the shivers that run down the fish. You'll probably see at least one of them (the male) fluttering their fins (caudal, dorsal and anal fins) too, especially in the courtship phase. You'll also see where they flip around to "hit" the anal fin of the other and that one stays still for it and then begins it's own shivering circle around. (Go up into the Malawi Cichlids topic and click the first sticky "Not your average spawning video" to see a video of spawning so you can see what it looks like).

In fighting/ dominance displays, you may even get mouth to mouth attacks to test each other's strengths.