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A."steel blue"

Discussion in 'Apistogramma' started by killiguy, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. killiguy

    killiguy Member

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    Heres a picture of one of my "steel blues" although in Australia for some reason we call them "Neon head"

    How do you sex these guys,I have 6 2 of which are slightly yellow and not as colourful as the others and are very aggressive

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    These Ive guessed are males
  2. Big G

    Big G New Member 5 Year Member

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    Ap. Sp. Steel Blues are actually very hard to sex, as the colouration and markings are very similar between Male and female. Only when the females enter their breeding colours are they easily identifiable. Sometimes the 'neon blue' across their sides is not as intense in females, but this is not a gaurantee that it is infact a female. It could be a lesser coloured male. Generally the females stay much smaller than the male though, and that could be the deciding factor?

    I would suggest that the ones with the slight yellow colouration are definately females, and entering into their breeding mode, hence the extra aggression.

    Steel Blues tend to be an aggressive species anyway, as they are thought to be Hybrids which generally produces more aggressive Apisto as a side result. It isn't surprising to see a female go through the tank and kill every other Steel Blue except, and sometimes including the dominant male. Hopefully though it won't come to that, but keep an eye on them.

    In my experience, the females took up residency inside the plant pots I had set around, and the males never went near them, other than to assist in spawning. This may be a better way to tell them apart, but again, no Guarantees?

    Maybe one of the Apisto 'Guru's' can give you a more definative idea of how to ID them, but my experience in practicality was that other than size and slightly duller colouration, they are hard to tell apart.

    Hope that helps?
    Regards
    G!
  3. dw1305

    dw1305 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi all,
    I kept these for a bit, and I did eventually find a female. Unfortunately she carried a Calamanus worm infestation through quarantine, and I eventually had to euthanase all of mine. Other than the aggression issue I really enjoyed keeping them, and as your photo's show the males develop the most amazing turquoise shimmer.

    I wrote an ID guide to sex these and it is hosted on Dwarf cichlids by ApistoBob <http://dwarfcichlid.com/Apistogramma_sp_Steel_blue.php>.

    One error is that in the pdf <http://dwarfcichlid.com/Apistogramma_steel_blue1.pdf> it says "black lined pelvic fins" for the female, that should read "black edged ventral fins".

    cheers Darrel
  4. P.W.

    P.W. Member 5 Year Member

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    Here´s a good clip on a pair of Steel blue´s guarding their fry´s.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSU3KyV_rPA

    As you can see, the female look just like any other apisto female. No problem to identify her.
    By the way Darrel, all the photos in your pdf document are actually showing males.

    A link to an old thread on apistogramma.com about the steel blue. Too bad that the links to most of the photo´s doesn´t work!

    http://www.apistogramma.com/forum/showthread.php?2075-cobalt-apisto-agassizii-steel-blue
  5. killiguy

    killiguy Member

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    P.W. How did she look before spawning?? how did the fry turn out??No chance of a hybrid??Most literature Ive seen incl.Uwe Romers book says the sexes look similar

    If thats the case it doesnt look good for breeding.I chose the 6 I have out of 100 or so identical looking fish,maybe the pH or temp at breeding were chosen to get virtually all males.III persist if breeding occurs III update with pictures.
  6. Mike Wise

    Mike Wise Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    If you read Uwe's comments you will see that his fish WERE hybrids. The European breeders assumed that Steel-blue is A. caetei and used 'A. caetei' females for breeders with Steel-blue males. First, Steel-blue very likely are not A. caetei. Second, based on genetic studies by Ready, et al. 2004, what was then considered 'A. caetei' represents at least 3 distinct species that have been isolated from each other for over 2 million years. Genetically, the 3 forms are more distantly related than the different genera of Lake Malawi Mbunas - not the different species, but the different genera.
  7. dw1305

    dw1305 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi all,
    Quite likely, if this forum had to rely on me for ID's or sexing it would be in a bad way. I wrote it while I was looking for a female, when I actually found the female she was very obviously a female, much the same size and shape as the males, but yellow and with very black ventral fin leading edge.

    cheers Darrel
  8. madihaghafoor

    madihaghafoor New Member

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    "Steel Blue" was first imported into Germany from Singapore in late 1994 and by mid 1995 large numbers of them were being available from wholesalers.