I agree DQ. It's been hard for me to accept that it's a female. Any thing you suggest to find out if it's really a female? The seller said to keep her separated from other bettas, turn up the heat to 80, and see if it colors and eggs-up. The fish appears to be a little swollen and I can really see the ovipositer now, but I know the ovipositer isn't always an indicator. I'm not a breeder, so I have no idea if the fish is really swollen, or egging up or not. He/She is housed near a male, but I don't believe they can see each other. What do you suggest?
Here is a pretty sure fire way to determine the gender. Check the ventral fins (the two fins that dangle down with the ovidepositor between them.) Females have shorter (almost stubby looking) and thinner ventrals. Males have longer and fuller ones.
If you can get Helen to flare, try and see how she flares. Females tend to flare face to face with whatever it is they are flaring at, and males turn sideways to look bigger.
Really the best way would be to get her to flare so you could check to see if "she" has a beard. Have you tried putting her right in front of Winston or Cassius? Or a mirror? Males may have ovipositors but I don't think females ever have beards. However, I do understand the difficulty in getting her to flare. I have a male VT who won't flare or doesn't know how or something.
Thanks everybody! I'll give it another try, and another. So far I've used mirrors, other males, even females. The first time I cleaned the tank of my new big, beautiful Crowntail (Winston), I put him down up against "Helen's" tank. Winston just hung out his beard immediately and he DID turn sideways (I never realized the males do that - thanks JKFish!) Wow, he's just beautiful!! Helen? Nothing. A couple of glug, glugs and swam away. JKFish, the ventrals are pretty long but thin. I can't compare it to my other female because my VT is just a baby, but all the finnage leans towards male. I'll try again tomorrow and really take the time to get this fish to flare. Thanks again everyone. I really appreciate all your help! I'll keep you posted!
So I tried and tried and tried to make Helen flare. Nothing. She stared at herself in the mirror for a while, I thought she was going to flare straight not, but nothing. She finally got bored and swam away. I used the mirror in every angle around her little tank too. Nothing. So I looked at her ventral fins and I got to say that they are NOTHING compared to my two males. My double-tail and my crowntail have huge, long, full ventrals and Helen's appear stumpy, compared to those guys. If you look at the first photo I posted in this tread you can see them. They aren't hanging down, but you can see their length and how thin they are. Man I'm confused!!! Darn fish - just flare and help me out!
Hmmm, well here's an idea. Keep Helen completely away from his/her relfection and other males for a couple of days, and then expose him/her to either one of your guys or a mirror. I'm pretty sure that's what most breeders do to their fish before going to a show, that way they're pretty much guaranteed that their fish will flare very well.
I personally think she is a he, because female plakats have extremely short fins, and Helen's fins are about the length of a male plakats. However, female halfmoons could easily have that much finnage.
If you could try and get a clear photo of Helen from the side, I could probably tell you by the body shape if she/he is a guy a or a girl...
And my other suggestion is try and get the closest clearest photo you can of Helen's gill covers and head. Even if she doesn't flare, you can usually see a male's "beard." If we see a beard on Helen, then she's a he.
Silly, stubborn Helen, I think she/he is enjoying playing this game with you, flowerslegacy.