Help! Female or male Kribensis?!

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Manda Wolffa

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So a few months ago I bought two Kribs from my lfs and took home what I thought was a male and a female. She was all about him but he wanted nothing to do with her. He passed after an unfortunate ich outbreak but she lasted through it. So after a month of waiting to make sure my tank was healthy again, I bought her a new beau. Well she attacked him immediately and was relentless with him and he was dead by the morning. After more research and advice from the lfs, I bought another female and a male. My original Krib (I call her OG) chased this new male away but did the spawning dance for the female. My fiancée thought OG looked more male than she used to but I didn't think he was right (I know fish and other animal species can changed sex; in fact I had a Molly do it) but I just didn't see it. But now that it's been a few weeks, I'm doubting myself. I need help! The 2 "females" are doing everything I've seen/read in regards to spawning behavior. Please look at the photos and tell me what you think. Any input is appreciated!
Ps-after looking at the pictures, she looks female to me still. But what's up with the weird behavior sorry they aren't better quality . Fish move a lot!​
 

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Welcome to Fishlore!

First, I have never heard of any freshwater fish changing sex. I think that is a myth...

Second, I am sorry for all your trouble with these fish. How big is the tank?

Finally, The fish in the pictures looks like a female to me.
Anders247 hampalong can offer some advice...
 

Manda Wolffa

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Thanks for the replies!
It is a 29 gallon. There are 5 Pristella tetras in there as well. She must just be ready to spawn and looking for anyone to do it with! Hopefully once the male gets a little bigger he will peak her interest. Right now he's a little smaller and has been slowly developing stripes and coloring.
 

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If I remember correctly, the males dont get as big as the females. Do you have an approximate size or age on them?
 

Dom90

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It looks like a female to me also. I know, I have one looks exactly the same. The body looks slightly round.


 

Dom90

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At first, my female was bigger. But now my male is slowly catching up. So maybe OP's is same way.


 

Manda Wolffa

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Here is the smallest of the three. Male or female? I thought it was a male when I bought him but he was so small at the time it was hard to tell but compared to the others he was more torpedo shaped. I'm not sure on the age of this one. I got him/her a few weeks ago (along with one I know is for sure female) and it was probably a little under an inch and a half long at that time but has grown a good amount since. The tube in the photo behind this one is about 4 inches away from the fish for a size reference to the fish. The other female I bought with this one is about a little larger than this one and my OG female is about 25% bigger than this one. I have had the OG Krib for I would say about 3 months. I get the feeling I have 3 females lol.
 
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chromedome52

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There are a few freshwater fish that change sex as needed. It was proven long ago that Crenicara punctulata dominant female will change sex if the male is removed from the group. Many livebearers have been accused of changing sex, but usually it is either a late developing male, or a "menopausal" female.

I have heard a couple of stories of Apistogramma females changing sex, which I usually passed off as "sneaker" males developing when the dominant male died or was removed. However, one person whom I consider dependable claimed to have had an isolated proven pair where the male died. The female then turned into a male, and when a new female was added, they spawned successfully.

I suspect environmental conditions can make a female Krib look more like a male, but she should still act like a female. The fish in the photos has common markers of both sexes, but the ventral fins are folded up, making it hard to sex. They look rounded, indicating female, but it is hard to be sure.
 

Dom90

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Here is the smallest of the three. Male or female? I thought it was a male when I bought him but he was so small at the time it was hard to tell but compared to the others he was more torpedo shaped. I'm not sure on the age of this one. I got him/her a few weeks ago (along with one I know is for sure female) and it was probably a little under an inch and a half long at that time but has grown a good amount since. The tube in the photo behind this one is about 4 inches away from the fish for a size reference to the fish. The other female I bought with this one is about a little larger than this one and my OG female is about 25% bigger than this one. I have had the OG Krib for I would say about 3 months. I get the feeling I have 3 females lol.
I believe that is a male, like you said more torpedo-shaped. Females are generally more colorful in the case of the kribensis. Whereas other cichlids are the other way around, males are more colorful.
 
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hampalong

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Your OG is female. You can tell she's about ready to spawn by the rounded shape and the bright red belly. She will protect her territory from any other females while she waits for a male.

Your second pic has features of both but I believe is probably male.

There's one certain way to sex kribs that works from an early age.... male ventral fins are long and pointed, females' are short and rounded. Young male ventral scare not so long but they're definitely triangular with a point, and not rounded.
 

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[video]https://youtu.be/4ax0iEm3CK8[/video]
Here's a video. Purple belly female is OG and the newer female has more of a red belly. All I can say is OGs analfin is triangular (not her ventral fin though) whereas the newer females is much rounder. Also the color on the dorsal fin of the OG female extends to the end where the newer females doesn't. I have read that both are signs of a male. Hermaphroditic fish? Or an exception to the rule? These are the reasons I've been confused. And the male I'm sure you can tell which one that should be . After watching this I can't believe I wasn't sure what sex they were. But certain features have me confused. I think I just watch them so much in the aquarium and obsess over I put myself into a tizzy . Thanks everyone for helping me figure it out! Looking forward to watching them herd their babies around . Oh and no kidding since I started this thread, the male has really come out of his shell and has been more assertive with the ladies. It's like he read my posts!
 
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hampalong

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Nice vid nice fish nice tank. It's easy when it's obvious isn't it?
 

Manda Wolffa

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Sure is! And thank you on the tank. I have two (this one and a guppy/Cory/Molly/tetra tank) and have had so many trials and tribulations. I originally had a the community and a baby tank but some ill informed advice caused me to buy type two silicone for a project and the stuff in the type two killed my fish. Heartbreaking. All of my tetras, corys and plecos survived and a few mollies and guppies made it but I lost dozens of fish, mostly babies and adult mollies. It was a huge learning lesson (and kick in the gut) and I felt like a negligent fish owner. But after that happened, I had a full tank to restock and after much digging, I knew Kribs were my fish. A great transition into a new style of fish!
 
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chromedome52

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The video showed some things that indicate that OG is a female. She was doing what is typically a female display, bending the body toward another fish. The fact that she was displaying at another female, however, is unusual. But you clearly have two females interacting. The male seems to be keeping his distance for now. The ventrals were spread briefly on both fish, and the pale fish is clearly male.

Hermaphrodites have been known to occur in some large New World Cichlids. A true hermaphrodite will lay eggs and then fertilize them. Female Kribs with male color characteristics are not that rare, and it is not known why this happens. I can quote several theories on why female fish take on male characteristics, but couldn't tell you why this one occurred.
 
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