bought 2 red empress males, both look completely different?

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an interest in aquariums or fish keeping!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.


Aquarium Advice Newbie
Apr 24, 2022
so i bought 2 male red empresses of a local breeder and tried to pick out the most coloured of the batch, they are both only about 5cm so nicely coloured for their size but both look really different to each other.

the one in the first picture is the slightly larger dominant one and looks like what a typical red empress should look like, nowhere near as bright but blue head and red body coming along nicely.

the second picture one looks so different though mostly deep blue all throughout and very very little red apart from his lower fins, he does have the typical red empress juvenile barring in the middle and the sametail markings, however overall colour is completely different.

what do you guys reckon? is the second one a hybrid or do red empresses vary in colour this much fish to fish.
photos of fish


  • r1.jpg
    253.4 KB · Views: 16
  • r2.jpg
    136 KB · Views: 16
I'm not familiar with Red Empresses, but the second one could be a sneak. A sneak is a less dominant male, that has the female coloring, to try and trick the dominant male into leaving it alone so it can sneak a mating with the females. At least, that's how it is with Apistogramma. I'm pretty sure that other cichlids also have sneaks, but only the harem breeders. I've also noticed that guppies have a delayed maturity in the males. They'll be obviously male, but their fins don't fully develop in a mixed gender tank. One male will mature faster, get the largest fins, and the rest of the males won't. If the dominant male is removed, or dies, then one of the subordinate males will fully develop his fins and become the dominant male. If the male guppies are kept in a single gender tank, then all males will have fully developed fins. So, it could be that.
Top Bottom