How To Tell Male From Female African Cichlids

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How to Tell Male from Female African Cichlids


African cichlids, also known as Haplochromines, are a diverse group of fish native to the lakes of East Africa. They are popular with aquarium hobbyists due to their wide variety of colors and sizes. Identifying the gender of African cichlids can be tricky, as the males and females can look very similar. However, there are some methods that can be used to tell the two apart. Read on to learn how to tell male from female African cichlids.

Differentiating Between Males and Females

Males and females of the same species can vary in size and coloration, so you will need to look closely at each individual fish to determine its gender. The most reliable way to tell the difference between males and females is to look at the fin structure. Males typically have longer, more pointed fins, while females tend to have shorter, rounder fins. Male African cichlids also tend to be more brightly colored than their female counterparts.

The Breeding Tube

Another way to differentiate between males and females is to look for the breeding tube. This is a tube-like structure located between the pelvic fins of the male fish. It is used by the males to fertilize the eggs that are laid by the female. The breeding tube is an obvious sign that the fish is a male.

Size and Shape

In some cases, males and females can be distinguished by size and shape. Males tend to be larger and more elongated than females. The males also tend to have a more robust body shape compared to the females, which can appear more slender. This is not a foolproof method, however, as it is not always possible to accurately determine the size and shape of a fish in an aquarium.


Identifying the gender of an African cichlid can be tricky, but it is possible to tell male from female if you look closely. The most reliable method is to observe the fin structure and look for the breeding tube. Size and shape can also be used as an indicator, although it is not always reliable. Armed with this information, you should now be able to differentiate between male and female African cichlids.

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