Enigmatic96

Black Skirt Tetra
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Jun 24, 2018
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Hello, I recently acquired these two Festae which are currently divided in a 200G tank going through quarantine (they will remain in this tank for a while).
The festae in the first 4 photos I was told was a female, which is what I believe due to the half black dorsal and the lack of spangling. I have had "her" for 7 days and she has been in the tank for 6 days. Her colours seem to be quite washed out. She is around 6.5 - 7 inches if I had to guess. The 4th photo is of her a while after the tank lights have turned off.
The 5th photo shows both of them up at the divider.
The last 2 photos are of a male that I have had for 16 days and he has also been in the tank for 6 days. He is around 5.5-6 inches and is much less "bulky" then she is.
He shows signs of wanting to breed with herald his tube is down, however she shows no interest in him, which I am guessing is due to him being smaller then her. She is also much shyer then he is and seems to be more skittish which is am guessing comes from her previous tank having lots of fish in it and being quite high off the ground where human traffic was minimal.
Both of them feed well, although once I place the food in the tank it does to some time (around 5 or so minutes before they are comfortable to come out of hiding and eat it)
Now that the back story is out of the way I wanted to ask:
1. Could anyone confirm that she is indeed a female?
2. Would some sort of dither fish work for helping them to settle in and being less skittish as well as their colours coming out more? I ask as for my festae grow outs I currently have in a 75G they were very shy but as soon as I added some dithers they instantly became less shy, were hiding much less and were ravenously feeding. I currently use Giant Danios and Buenos Aires Tetras with my Festae grow outs which do perfectly fine, however I worry these would be eaten but the larger Festae
3. If yes, what would be some good dithers, that wouldn't be killed easily? I would prefer fish that do not nip fins as I cannot stand when fish have nipped fins. I did at the beginning have a group of 8 small silver dollars in with them but she took a decent chunk out of one of them, so I moved them too another tank. I would prefer if the dithers were not a cichlid?
I have used larger silver dollars before with a large pair of jaguar cichlids and they didn't seem to even phase the managuensis, which was surprising that the festae took a chunk out of one. I am guessing possibly as the silver dollars where a decent bit smaller then the Festae.

Apologies for the not so great quality photos, the fishes colours are slightly different in real life, an iPhone camera mixed with LED lighting doesn't make a great combination. As well as the algae in the photos.

All the information is greatly appreciated, sorry for the wall of text as well.

1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg 4.jpg 5.jpg 6.jpg 7.jpg
 

Enigmatic96

Black Skirt Tetra
MFK Member
Jun 24, 2018
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13
Looks to me like the one in the first pics is a female, and the other male. The dark pigment in her dorsal is the give away.
She may be slightly more dominant.
That is what I was thinking, just wanted to ask as I had someone comment on a Facebook group that both looked male to them.
Is it usual for a dominate female to show that colouration, she does show light bars almost all the time, but not really dark bars that you usually see. Would it not be expected if she was the dominant fish for her to be showing more vibrant colouration with darker baring? The male seems to be more interested In here then she is of him, they do spend a great deal of time at the divider together, except he is flaring his gills, and "shimmering" (I believe that is what it is called) whereas she is just there swimming not interacting at all.
 

Gourami Swami

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I agree the first one is female. As far as dithers, your festae might just kill them, but it might not. I'd try some young silver dollars or some large giant danios.
 

Enigmatic96

Black Skirt Tetra
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Jun 24, 2018
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I agree the first one is female. As far as dithers, your festae might just kill them, but it might not. I'd try some young silver dollars or some large giant danios.
I have tried a school of young silver dollars and the two of them seemed to just want to constantly terrorise them, and she took a nasty chunk out of one, do you think If I got bigger silver dollars they would have a better chance? Or hopefully I can find a school of large giant danios
 

duanes

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A dominant female (of just about any cichlid) may show a more male like color pattern, even to enclude a nuchal hump type profile.
Here is another species of cichlid example, below a female haitiensus in the dominant mode (no male in the tank).

Below, Her normal color, and profile (with a dominant male in her tank)

But there is one caveat, a subordinate male cichlid, in the presence of an very alpha male, may also sport female color, and less steep profile. So its possible for one to "not" always be 100% sure.
Another example when the cichlids are actually spawning, take the carpintus below.
The males in normal color

but when spawning, he adapts female coloration, to include dark pigment in the dorsal
 
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Gourami Swami

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I have tried a school of young silver dollars and the two of them seemed to just want to constantly terrorise them, and she took a nasty chunk out of one, do you think If I got bigger silver dollars they would have a better chance? Or hopefully I can find a school of large giant danios
If your festae tore up the small ones but didn't eat them, they probably will do the same to slightly larger ones
 

Enigmatic96

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Jun 24, 2018
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duanes duanes Thank you for taking the time to type this response. It makes sense. Do you think that he will eventually out grow her and become the dominate fish in the tank?
 

GTS

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May 15, 2005
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duanes duanes Thank you for taking the time to type this response. It makes sense. Do you think that he will eventually out grow her and become the dominate fish in the tank?
This is has been my experience with Festae, even if he does not match her aggression, he will certainly outgrow her. In general, I find that male festae have an almost supernatural ability to eliminate female festae, even in cases where the male the has been previously sub-dominant.
 

stiker

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Seems like a female and male to me, I have used silver dollars as dithers before with no problem although they were quite larger
 
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