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RE: P. Pulcher color variations?

>"coloring up" and am just wondering how one judges whether 
>or not spawning is likely to occur when the color seems to 
>vary significantly day-to-day.

The intensity of the females, and males colour, will vary quite a bit during
the day, as various other factors come into play. The most likely
explanation of why she is a deeper colour when she emerges from the cave is
that when she is in there she has little other social or environmental
triggers to adapt her coloration to, and this could be considered a base or
neutral colour. When she  is out into the open then she unconsciously will
respond to other factors; light levels, other fish (or keeper) in the
vicinity, etc,. However when she is ready to spawn her belly patch will
darken up from the rosy red to an almost aubergine(egg plant) purple, which
will not show much variation in intensity from when she leaves the cave. 

I would not go too much on an increase in girth as an indicator of imminent
spawning, it will be present in all cases but the degree of this can vary
from female to female and spawn to spawn. I have had colouring-up and spawns
from females who I have thought were just a wee bit plump, and have waited
for weeks for ones to colour-up that I thought were fit to burst.

Once she spawns the rosy red colour tends to return as the norm. 


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