The photo is of a mature pair of Blue Empress Peacock Cichlids. It should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, the top fish is the female and the bottom one the male.
This is an aquarium strain fish of questionable origin and parentage; therefore, I don’t provide a scientific name. My records don’t indicate when I started working with this fish, but I think it was around 2007.
We recently processed our breeding colony. The pictured male wasn’t retained as a breeder. He’s okay, but I’m working on intensifying the blue on the body, increasing the width of the white dorsal stripe, and making the red caudal as red as possible. If I’m successful this fish might be renamed the American Flag Peacock. Also, I’m selecting for more color on the females, including the red margins on the dorsal and anal fins.
This time I selected only 4 males and 33 females for the breeding colony after applying the selection criteria listed above. I’m hoping for rapid improvement. Our fish grow about an inch a month and the males color up at 4-5 months of age. When working on rapid improvement, it’s important to grow lots of fish, select only the very best, and turn over the breeders rapidly (meaning almost complete replacement of breeders twice a year). Once a strain is set, I shift to a maintenance mode wherein I keep breeders as long as possible, only replacing losses in the breeding colony. A nice side effect of this shift is concomitant selection for health and longevity since healthy fish live a long time and produce future breeders for longer, leaving more genes in the population.