The three tiny Bandit Angelfish that Rufus gave to me two years ago are coming of age.
Over the last year they have developed into a larger, a not as large and a smaller sized fish. I had assumed from the start that I would end up with a male and two females. In my experience, the males have a somewhat sunken abdominal area and the females are plump in that area of the body. At the beginning of this year I noticed that the two larger fish both had the sunken appearance of a male and I thought that this was odd. About three months ago the two larger fish began to fight. This was serious fighting with the ripping of fins and bodily contact. I put my fish trap in the tank in an effort to catch one of them. It didn't matter to me which one, I just wanted the fighting to stop. I didn't try to move the rocks and catch them with nets since they share their tank with the G. personatus pair and I wasn't going to freak the personatus out and risk damaging them. Neither of the fighting bandits would enter the trap and the fighting escalated for several days. All they did was chase and fight. Their respiration was constantly high while they overexerted themselves and they began to lose weight. I prepared to take the tank apart hoping that the personatus pair would deal with the intrusion in a mellow manner. Then suddenly the fighting stopped and the hierarchy was established. The larger bandit started to court the smallest and the odd man out middle sized fish would just cruise around as if not interested. Life settled back down and I started collecting eggs from these new bandit spawns but all have been infertile.
This week the Bruce Jenner story "call me Caitlyn", of his transformation from male to female has been all over the news. Last night the "odd man out bandit" suddenly, out of nowhere, makes the move to become a female and as the pair was spawning he dives right into the middle of it pushing the female out of the way and fluttered in front of the male. The larger male continued on and spawned with both fish although no eggs were produced. The tank that these fish are in is located opposite the television and I can't help but wonder if that sex changing bandit was watching the news and realized he still had options.
Today the fighting has begun again. This time between the small female and the new female. The smaller is about half the size of the new female and is standing her ground. Posturing and then hiding only to run out and nip the tail of the new female as she swims by the hiding hole. It is both worrisome and hilarious to watch and I just hope they can work it out before I have to take the tank apart and catch one of them. Hopefully all of these shenanigans will lead to fertile eggs!
Here's a photo of our new sassy female, Caitlyn.