10 x 3 year old zebs

We all know how difficult it is to identify the sex of these fish, so please post a picture in here and we'll try to help you (or at least give an educated guess!).
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mysticzebra
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10 x 3 year old zebs

Post by mysticzebra »

Hi guys,

About 2 and a half years ago I bought 10 zebras from 4 different bloodlines. At the time of acquiring them I believe they were all 6 - 12 month old at least, so I would say the are all at least 3 years of age now and some maybe be pushing 4 years old.

They have been growing steadily and are now all between 2 - 3 inches.

Most of what I guess are the males are already taking up caves and becoming fairly territorial so again I guess this is a sign of maturity?

Last weekend was the first time I had caught them all out since introducing them.

I was hoping someone could hazard an educated guess as to the sex of each specimen?

Her are the pics..

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TwoTankAmin
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Re: 10 x 3 year old zebs

Post by TwoTankAmin »

Firstly, welcome to the site and the wonderful world of zebras.

I won't even try to do exing here for a couple of reasons. The first is the pictures when enlarged are not clear enough to see certain needed indicative details. The best I can offer here is how you can tell yourself.

Body shape and odontile growth are good indicators. Read here: http://www.zebrapleco.com/core/hypancis ... p%20%20%20 But these can lead to incorrect conclusions especially the younger the fish is. The best way to sex is to vent them which means looking at their underside. If the tube is down male's are more V shaped and female's more rounded/blobbier. (Usually moving them to a small tank or specimen box with cooler water in it will get then to put down their tube if is is not out.)

In fish mature enough, behavior can provide good clues. Males at or approaching spawning size/age will try to claim their own cave. The claiming of a cave usually involves male fighting. This is part of the establishment of the male group pecking order. The males choose in order of their rank. So if you are noticing males consistently in the same cave and white scape marks on the flanks of some from fighting, you can assume they are at or near being able to spawn. It is important to provide one cave per zebra regardless of sex. They will figure out how to use what.

It is more difficult with females. They do not claim caves but the will use them as temporary shelters. However you will more often see them hiding but not in caves. So it is important to provide plenty of cover in the form of wood and/or rocks/slate. Fish you can identify as being under non-cave cover mostly are one of two things, females or immature males or if the are enough, at the bottom end of the pecking order. These low rankers are always subject to attack by superior males so the lower ones hide out of site which may mean not in an adjacent cave.

One last note, females also develop a pecking order. But this is not related to getting the best cave, rather it is related to which gets to spawn with the alpha and perhaps betta males. So you may see signs of fighting on them as well sometimes.

In addition to some photos here in the site http://www.zebrapleco.com/core/hypancis ... s_info.php you can also find some helful photos on Planetcatfish.com here http://www.zebrapleco.com/core/hypancis ... s_info.php

Hope this helped some.
What makes the common person uncommon is common sense.
mysticzebra
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Re: 10 x 3 year old zebs

Post by mysticzebra »

Hi,

Thanks for the reply.

I've kept zebras for a while now, maybe a little over 10 years now I guess, so have a fairly good understanding of the species.

I completely get what you are saying with the poor image quality restricting a few important features. Sadly it's the only camera I have access too.

I think I was more looking for a bit of a fun with some male or female guess work going from the head and body shapes, fins etc.

I understand that we are likely to be very inaccurate but some times a few females for example can stand out from 10 individuals - with just the easier to see characteristic to go on.

I certainly would'nt hold anyone too any guesses that they make based on the pictures.

I will try and borrow a better camera from somewhere maybe.

Do you think you could hazard a guess then if the pictures were a clearer resolution when zoomed?

The are all between 3 and 4 years old so should be of a size and maturity to start having a few indicators. Or do you think they need to be much older before you could start sexing from external features?

Once again, thanks for the reply. :)
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TwoTankAmin
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Re: 10 x 3 year old zebs

Post by TwoTankAmin »

When forced to do best guess I hope for the fish to be as old as possible. I want to be able to see odontile growth or the lack of any or much. I will also look at head shape. However, the origin of the fish is also something I would use to influence my decision.

In the wild males are collected in a much greater proportion to females. So if is a wild group, I would expect there to be more males. If the fish are mature enough to sex reliably then then along the way from river to tank they may have had females removed. On the other hand, tank raised fish should be in much better balance. So if one has these, I would expect an even split as being a reasonable assumption.

Of course there is always the potential for randomness to all of this when dealing with fish not sexed with certainty. I am not great at sexing most plecos, especially those I cannot also observe for a while. So I gave up trying years ago. I got tired of being wrong in public :-P
What makes the common person uncommon is common sense.
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