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Sexing pea puffers


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From what I can tell from my limited experience, the bottom two look like females. The top photo is hard to see, but as males mature, the yellow coloring and dark belly stripe become very apparent, so they're easy to identify. The iridescent eye "wrinkles" develop a bit later but they are noticeable as well. 

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Some males barely show the eye wrinkles, but nearly all will show the belly line unless they are very submissive to a more dominant male.  For me, the males will very reliably show softer, blurry looking spots even if they aren't showing any of the other, more classic male coloring.

Females will have more distinct margins to their spots and are very likely to have tiny speckles in addition to their larger spots.

Pea puffers can vary their color significantly so if a fish is showing obviously male or female colors it makes it easier.  When they don’t show clear markings either way, they may be getting bullied.

I’ve very recently come to doubt the sex of one of mine that I was firmly convinced was a female when I moved it into the tank.  It is a notably more submissive fish so I’ll wait to assess again after they have more room in the 29 gallon after the move.

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