View Full Version : Female auratus?
12-12-2002, 09:19 PM
I purchased two Melanchromis auratus (or so they were labled at the pet store) about 3 months ago. One was solid white with 3 narrow black stripes running the length of the fish including one stripe in the dorsal fin. The other had the same stripes, but had yellow and white coloring. The yellow one croaked after a few days and the pet store gave me a credit, but I never replaced it. Was the yellow one male? The white one is now approx. 4 inches, and the white above the stripe in the center of the body has become just a little bit off-white or slightly pinkish if it is angry. It also has neon green spots on the gills and one egg spot on the anal fin. Is it a female?
12-13-2002, 05:59 AM
In M. auratus, yellow is the juvenile/female coloration. Your dark colored one "should" be a male. I say should because color can be a little tricky with these fish. Sometimes a female will turn dark if there are no males around to dominate her. Submissive males will also keep their yellow color if a bigger male is around, which is preferable to being torn to shreds :wink: Your yellow fish might have actually been a male that was keeping a low profile.
I hope you know what you are getting yourself into with these guys :D Auratus are some serious rough customers. I'm wondering if your dominant fish didn't "help" the other fish croak. These are the guys that the concept of controlled overcrowding was meant for :shock: If you want to introduce more, add a good sized group all at once and preferably have other fish in there too. As they get larger and start breeding you will be able to sex them through close observation. All the submissive fish will keep thier female coloration, but you will notice that some of your "girls" will never be seen holding eggs. Those will be your males in hiding.
I had a pretty cool Melanochromis tank. If you do the mix correctly you will have a very active and colorful group. The only fish that I was able to keep successfully with them were other Melanochromis, Zebras and Kenyi's, but this was over ten years ago, and there was less selection available then, so someone else might be able to add to the selection list.
Two items of note on adding other fish. If you do other melanochromis Sp's, the male of one species will be the Hyper dominant fish (aka king :wink: ). You should only raise fry from this species because he will most likely mate with all the melanochromis females, regardless of species. If you add any non Melanocromis fish, they should be bigger than your male at the time of introduction, or the chances of them living through the first 24 hours will be reduced. Hope this helps you out some......Scott 8)
12-13-2002, 08:47 PM
Let me see if I can clarify this a bit. These were the first two Africans that I purchased, and the only two fish in the tank. I traded in all my tropicals and got them. The darker one was the one that was yellow&white w/black stripes, and it was the dominant one. The remaining one is "solid white" w/ black stripes. She/he was all white at 2" and is all white at 4". The Auratus is now #4 on the aggression list in the tank. I don't intend to add any more of them to my new tank. What I want to know is, "Is the all white one a female Melanchromis auratus" :?:
12-14-2002, 07:20 AM
Hey Sam, I don't think it's a female. The color you are describing is confusing me a bit. I have put a link below with pics for you. The upper fish with yellow in it is the female/subdominant male coloring. The lower fish that is black trimmed in white and blue is a dominant male. I'm wondering if you have a male that just has an unusual amount of white. Anyway, check out the pics.......Scott
12-14-2002, 04:36 PM
when i had auratus, this is what my male looked like:
12-14-2002, 04:39 PM
Until you are proven wrong, I'll except that premise! It's the best explanation I've heard so far. The one that died looked very much like the top picture. Actually, he's sort of pretty being all white like that. I just happened to be looking at that same sight last night in my never ending quest for a picture of Pseudotropheus daktari blue/gold. Gypsy found me a picture, but it's not the same fish. It looks exactly like Maylandia crabro (Bumblebee) except the stripes are blue over yellow instead of black. I swear I didn't dream it!!! (maybe).
Thanks for the info, Sam
12-15-2002, 09:19 PM
Guess What? I've been proven wrong! Gypsy did it again. On another post, someone was asking for pictures of another fish and she suggested fishmania.com
I was browsing and found a picture of a male and female Melanochromis parallelus. After doing a "Google" search I verified it. The females vary in degrees of whiteness and the species is slightly larger than M. auratus. I believe that the other one I purchased with her that croaked was a female M. auratus. Like I have posted before, the pet store we have in this little town is almost like buying fish from Walmart. They have 3 20 gal tanks of "assorted African cichlids". Small, medium & large (large being 2" or less). Recently I bought 2 fish from them that they thought were Cobalt Zebras. I knew that wasn't right, but didn't know what they were. Gypsy finally identified the as Labidochromis chisumulae. If it wasn't for the helpful attitude of folks like her and you, I would sure be stuck. Oh well, all this research I am having to do is helping me learn about Africans!
Thanks a lot, Sam
12-15-2002, 09:38 PM
why sam(she drawls in her best southern belle voice)...you are positively making me blush...(bats eyelashes)...thank you kind sir. :oops:
12-15-2002, 10:19 PM
You are more than welcome :!: I genuinely appreciate how helpful you and others here are. I have participated in other forums on different subject matter, and none of them were as good as this one! I really enjoy this site, and it is proof that you really can, "teach an old dog new tricks"! Besides, Mermaids always look better with a little blush in their cheeks!
Muchismas Gracias, Sam
from what i know of them the males turn black and white. but as well if you have more than one male in a small tank ( as most pet stores keep them in small tanks) that the dominant male will turn black and white and the more submissive males will stay yellow to keep from being killed by the dominant male. given that,
I would say that the only true way to know whether you have a female or just a yellow male who is scared to show his true colors is to seperate them and watch for color changes. as well to note they all come out yellow and black but the males normally change after they reach approximately 3 inches
01-19-2006, 08:46 AM
The white fish with black stripes is not a auratus. It is a melanochromis parallelus. Here is a picture http://www.cichlidae.be/Melanochromis_parallelus.htm
I think you already figured that out. They are mean mean mean, I had to get rid of mine!
01-19-2006, 03:18 PM
The Males display female coration as a form of submissive protection, but usually a good eye can still see the variation of color from the females.
Males do not display as bright yellows as females and usually have a sheen over them that is regonizable as a male in distress. I have found that any sexually mature male will display this sheen and its a great tip off... but it takes a good eye to pick out as its not obvious. The problem most people have is when in a pet store ALL the males are displaying female color.... you can come across a tank of all males like this and assume they are females without a known female example to refer to.
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