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Color Key


Stage 0 No Color Yet

This color is assigned to the mass majority of Haplochromis and Peacock cichlids as they are Juveniles. They Experience what I have termed the ugly duckling syndrome. Given time the males of this species will bloom into a beautiful "Swan" like their photos. It usually takes a male 12-16 Months from birth to reach its full color. Females of these fish will never really show good color.


Stage 1 Males Showing Some Color

This color is assigned those fish which start out brown and usually around 6-12 months of age the males will begin to show their first traces of color. It could be a slight blue sheen coming in on its face. This is the stage where an experienced eye can tell the difference between males and females which is an exciting time for most all peacocks and haps because you can begin to see which males of the batch will turn out the best. Females of these fish will never really show good color.


Stage 2 Nice Transitional Color

This color is assigned to fish at a phase of color that looks pretty good in a tank however it is still not the same as their mature color. These fish can dazzle the eye and look excellent but they are still different than their photos because they havenít reached complete maturity. These fish still may have 3 Ė 6 months to go before they reach their full mature coloration. Females of these fish will never really show good color.


Stage 3 Color Morph

This color is assigned to fish going through an identity crisis. They can be very pretty but they might not look anything like their mature selves. Certain fish can turn from orange to blue (Msobo) others from blue to orange (Kenyi) The females of these fish can be very pretty. In some cases I think the females can be even prettier than the males. In most cases the females will stay the same color as they are when young while the males will be the one that morph into something completely different.


Stage 4 Guaranteed Pretty Color

This color is assigned to fish which are very colorful. This can be assigned to young cichlids which are colorful right from birth or to older cichlids which can be fully matured and showing excellent color. The majority of these fish will have pretty males and females. Usually the males grow larger and get a bit richer color but never the less the females can be quite stunning as well.


Stage 5 Males Showing Full Color

This color is assigned to fish which have completed the maturing process. The males can display beautiful color just like their photograph when they have adjusted to their surroundings and are competing for a territory or a mate. Donít be discouraged if these males are not showing color right out of the bag. Their color is highly based on mood and can be switched on and off as fast as you can flip your light switch. The females of these species will never show the same intensity of color as the males.