My Keyholes Don't Have Keyholes??

toeknee

Member
Hello all. I recently picked up a group of 7 keyhole cichlids for my 55 gallon. They're all between 2.5-3.5 inches long. All of them only have the defined circular black spot on their side opposed to the elongated "keyhole" spot they get their name from. Does this imply mine are all juveniles or are they just a batch of keyhole cichlids with no keyhole spots? I'm not sure how to tell if they're mature yet.
 

Gypsy13

Member
Interesting. cichlid4life Dave125g BringKermitBack any thoughts? Please?
 

Discus-Tang

Member
I don't know maybe just bred that way.
 

DoubleDutch

Member
As with a lot of cichlids the pattern changes with the mood they're in.
But if I recall correctly that starts when they're a bit more matured.
 

Dave125g

Member
Could be any of the above reasons. I guess time will tell.
 

cichlid4life

Member
I have keyholes, and they always have their keyhole patterns even when they are barely one inch, and when it is late at night or early in the morning, you will notice that the keyholes are all at the bottom of the tank and are dark with a strange (sometimes cool) looking pattern, that is so that nocturnal predators think that they see a small rock and not a sleeping fish. If you don't notice this, then they might not be keyholes at all, but instead they could be either vijaha or acaras of some sort. Pictures would be very useful to help distinguish if they are keyholes or not.
 
  • Thread Starter

toeknee

Member
Thanks for the responses. My keyholes are definitely more dark and speckled when I first turn on the light or if they are suddenly startled. Here's a few of them, they all pretty much have the same markings. I've been assuming they're still on the juvenile side. I've only had them about a month, hard to tell how old they are for sure. (don't mind the diatoms and algae, this tank is only a couple months old and not balanced out yet)
 

cichlid4life

Member
Definitely a keyhole, they normally look like that, mine are also just like that and it is normal for them to look that way sometimes. Keyholes are hard to find in fish stores these days.

oops it did not work.
 
  • Thread Starter

toeknee

Member
Ok....maybe this is just the pattern mine have and won't develop the elongated keyhole shape. Them being a bit on the rare side definitely made them more desirable to me. II ordered mine online) Their temperament is perfect for community tanks. They're more peaceful than rams and appistos in my opinion. I read they can be quite shy but mine are always out and about and swim up to the front of the tank when I'm around thinking it's feeding time. They're not the flashiest most colorful looking fish but their personalities are great. One of my fav fish I've kept so far.
 

cichlid4life

Member
mine look like that but they will get the whole key hole shape for sure, they just need time and if they are new then they need to settle in, mine display the whole keyhole shape when they know I am going to feed them.

EDIT: I will take pictures later today to show you the keyhole that yours will get soon.
 
  • Thread Starter

toeknee

Member
cichlid4life said:
mine look like that but they will get the whole key hole shape for sure, they just need time and if they are new then they need to settle in, mine display the whole keyhole shape when they know I am going to feed them.
Mine are definitely still settling in. It's been about a month but they are still figuring out their pecking order. Thanks for sharing your experience with them
 

cichlid4life

Member
How many do you have, they like to school in my tank? Every time I float some new keyholes, the other keyholes will always swarm to the bag and they try to meet the new keyholes, and when I release the new keyholes, they all mix together into a huge group at the center of the tank.
 
  • Thread Starter

toeknee

Member
I have 7 in my 55. They all school together most of the time. Sometimes they cruise around solo but most of the time they swim in a group. There was some lip locking when they were first introduced to the tank but they seem to have pecking order mostly worked out now.
 

cichlid4life

Member
toeknee said:
I have 7 in my 55. They all school together most of the time. Sometimes they cruise around solo but most of the time they swim in a group. There was some lip locking when they were first introduced to the tank but they seem to have pecking order mostly worked out now.
Hold on, did you just say that they were doing some lock mouth? That is impossible! South American cichlids don't ever lock mouths, only African cichlids do.
 
  • Thread Starter

toeknee

Member
cichlid4life said:
Hold on, did you just say that they were doing some lock mouth? That is impossible! South American cichlids don't ever lock mouths, only African cichlids do.
Well....not LOCKING. There was initial squabbling where two of them would definitely give each other pecks on the lips. I watched it a few times. They didn't LOCK lips, more of a little peck. It was only the two largest of them that would do this. I assumed it was the two dominant males figuring out who was going to be in charge. That has since settled down and they all swim amongst themselves and everyone else in the tank peacefully.
 

cichlid4life

Member
fin and body nipping is normal but lock mouthing is not.
 
  • Thread Starter

toeknee

Member
I've definitely seen two of them connect mouths and try to shove the other one. This would only last less than a second and only happened in the first week of having them. I didn't realize lip locking was an African Cichlid only thing so I assumed that's what I was seeing.
 
  • Thread Starter

toeknee

Member
Maybe my memory is wrong and it was the current Bolivian Ram that was already in the tank having a scuffle with one of the keyholes. He wasn't a big fan of them when they were being introduced. He tolerates them being around now, still gets a little ornery a them during feeding time.
 

Dave125g

Member
cichlid4life said:
Hold on, did you just say that they were doing some lock mouth? That is impossible! South American cichlids don't ever lock mouths, only African cichlids do.
My Bolivian rams did it at first.
 

THRESHER

Member
Yeah my africans do the lip locking and facing off several times until the tank boss gets in and then everyone bails! Only the african cichlids do that thing. I have about 25 in a 75 gallon tank. They're all settled in and know who's top boss. My Bumblebees do it all the time with eachother tho, lol.
 

Dave125g

Member
Africans are more aggressive so they do lip lock more, but south Americans still do it. It has been reported by angel keepers that there angelfish have lip locked, though I've never seen angels do it.
 

THRESHER

Member
Dave125g said:
Africans are more aggressive so they do lip lock more, but south Americans still do it. It has been reported by angel keepers that there angelfish have lip locked, though I've never seen angels do it.
I've seen the larger angels lips lock at my lfs. I told someone about it and they stated "oh they do that all the time. It's pretty natural". I told them one of them is gonna get hurt, they just ignored me and said "oh they'll be fine". Needless to say I never went back.
 

Dave125g

Member
THRESHER said:
I've seen the larger angels lips lock at my lfs. I told someone about it and they stated "oh they do that all the time. It's pretty natural". I told them one of them is gonna get hurt, they just ignored me and said "oh they'll be fine". Needless to say I never went back.
Yea that happens when there's too many adults in too small a tank. The LFS can be a sad place for fish sometimes.
 

THRESHER

Member
Dave125g said:
Yea that happens when there's too many adults in too small a tank. The LFS can be a sad place for fish sometimes.
Yeah I agree! When I see that lack of compassion in a lfs, I don't bother spending my money there and look elsewhere.
 

Dave125g

Member
THRESHER said:
Yeah I agree! When I see that lack of compassion in a lfs, I don't bother spending my money there and look elsewhere.
If they can't properly stock a tank, there probably making much bigger mistakes too. Many of which can effect our tanks at home. It's not worth shopping at those places.
 

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