Rusty spawn aggression


I am new to African Cichlids. The help getting started here on the forum has been superb. I have a bit of a problem. I have 3 Rusties I have only had 4-5 weeks along with my 4 yellow lab juvies. The rusties were a bit bigger when bought, 2-2.5", have now grown to 3-3.5", the biggest of three one and an obvious female, spawned Sunday, she is now holding. The 3rd one was chased and chased until I caught and put in a 20 long I have running empty for such a problem. Sex of this one undetermined but somewhat mildly beat up. The remaining holding female is now being harassed. I need to know best way,least stressful, to catch her. Must I dismantle the tank? The big male was mild mannered until just before spawn, but now notsomuch. Will he bully my smaller yellow labs once she is out? And I have to put her in with the other slightly smaller fin split beat up rusty that I don't know sex of. Would the large male beat up on a smaller female that much? Or does this probably mean the smaller slightly beat up one is another male? Thanks for any advice!
Elizabeth Oldticker
1st pic is male down low, next is holding female up high.


With African cichlids comes chasing and aggression. This is where over stocking, a big tank, and lots of rock piles comes in place.

For now you can remove the holding female if you want to save the fry. I’ve stopped removing holding females as I have enough fry to raise. It helps to chase them with your hand to a corner where you can net them.

You can sex the beat up fish by venting it. Look at the vent and if you see two holes the same size it’s male, 1 hole larger than the other it’s female. Males will beat up other males but they will also terrorize females. If you have another male then you should think about rehoming him.

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