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Thread: Cryptoheros chetumalensis - May December romance?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Benton Harbor, Michigan
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    Default Cryptoheros chetumalensis - May December romance?

    Well, I have seen some strange things, but this might be the strangest. A couple of months ago I bought a breeder pair of Chets at a local auction. They were placed in a 20 high, but were not at all happy. The male apparently killed his mate, and I was left with a very large, 5 inch male. This is quite large for the species, and hopes of finding an appropriate mate were pretty slim. He was moved into a tank with some Caquetaia spectabilis, but eventually he started pushing back at the dominant fish. I figured it was too similar colorwise (the maturing spectabilis was developing some orange color), and he saw it as a competitor. So I moved him into a 90 with a bunch of Ilyodon furcidens and some mostly juvenile chetumalensis.

    There were also two small chetumalensis that had been severely stunted by another hobbyist and given back to me after I gave them to him a few years ago. After being in my care for several weeks, I came to the conclusion that both were females, and moved them into the 90 when I got a bag of very young of the same species. The larger of the two, still less than 2 inches long, took over a flowerpot and was getting female style territorial. When I moved the big male over to the tank she treated him like she did everything else, trying to chase him away. That was yesterday.

    Today I noticed the big male, previously very shy when I came around, was coming to the front of the tank and watching me every once in a while. As he moved near the territorial female, she did not attack as she had yesterday. They were not behaving as opponents, though the male was not yet showing male territorial behavior.

    The male is probably 5 or 6 times the mass of the little female. The opening for her flowerpot is small enough that she can get in but he cannot, and the large population of the tank could be distracting enough that he doesn't go after her. I tried to get a photo of the two next to one another, but have not had luck there yet. Below are photos of the two; the size difference does not show in the photos.

    Male:

    Female:
    Happiness may be the door to Heaven,
    But Pleasure is not the Key.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    New Jersey
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    4,015

    Default

    Great looking fish.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Benton Harbor, Michigan
    Posts
    1,964

    Default

    Well, this is embarrassing.

    Took the above male to the GCCA Classic and entered him in the show as a chetumalensis. After judging, it was pointed out to me by a very knowledgeable person who was one of the judges that he was not that species, but rather a Cryptoheros cutteri. The bar pattern is different, mouth position is different, size is far too big for chetumalensis, but most obvious is the band of pale blue iridescence on the flanks. You can see this on the photo above. Neither chetumalensis or spilurus possesses this iridescence, it's only seen on cutteri.

    The little female, however, really is chetumalensis. The bright red-orange color in the dorsal really does exist on the species as a whole, both sexes should have it. Back to bad news, I don't know for sure now if the dozen or so small guys are also chetumalensis; I will have to wait until they start maturing to see the real coloration. I fear that they are going to end up being cutteri as well.

    I should have been more suspicious when I got the fish, but I thought the guy had a good provenance on them. NEVER, EVER, FORGET TO RESEARCH YOUR FISH. I'm just glad I found out before they had a chance to spawn.
    Happiness may be the door to Heaven,
    But Pleasure is not the Key.

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