Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs on Tropheus Cichlids

Related Articles: African Cichlids, Dwarf South American Cichlids, Cichlid FishesKribs & Their Cousins By Neale Monks,

Related FAQs: African Cichlid Identification, African Cichlid Selection, African Cichlid Behavior, African Cichlid Compatibility, African Cichlid Systems, African Cichlid Feeding, African Cichlid Reproduction, African Cichlid Disease, & Cichlids of the WorldCichlid Systems, Cichlid Identification, Cichlid Behavior, Cichlid Compatibility, Cichlid Selection, Cichlid Feeding, Cichlid Disease Cichlid Reproduction,

"What's the Haps, man?" A pond of Africans

Tropheus duboisi
Adding to a Tropheus Tank       2/4/13

Hello Wet Web crew.
I have a 75 gallon tank with 4 Tropheus duboisi in it. I believe it is 1 male and 3 females (they are only 3 inches at the moment). I have done very well at guessing what sex they are as 1/2 inch baby's so far by watching the dealers tank and gauging the aggression on each fish. I would like to add more duboisi but realize this can be catastrophic with an established group. Do you think I could successfully add 3-4 more that are currently at the 1/2 inch range to the tank or should I just be happy with my 4 and leave well enough alone. Lord Twist Gary Owens
< Tropheus are territorial rock dwelling cichlids from Lake Tanganyika.
Tropheus fans usually keep them in groups of at least 12 or more. As long as you have plenty of rock work in the tank the fry will be left alone. The exception will be a feeding time. When the fry come out to eat the adults will chase the fry away from the food. Eventually the fry will grow and lose their juvenile pattern and develop the broad stripe. When this happens the larger male will chase the smaller males around. This is better than chasing a female that he may spawn with. Your tank is large enough to accommodate the new fish.-Chuck >
Re: Tropheus duboisi
Adding to a Tropheus Tank II    2/4/14

Thank you for the response chuck, Should I net, rearrange, and re-float everyone or just add the newbies?  I really want to expand their numbers but with the price of Tropheus losses hurt the wallet quick (also hate to lose fish).
Of the four I have only the big males has lost his spots the others are just starting to have their spots blend together at the abdomen. He has a slightly bluing face and almost solid band now :).
thanks again
< Rearrange the rocks then turn off the lights and add the new fish. In the morning the established fish will be too busy finding new territories and leave the new fish alone long enough to find a place to hide. -Chuck>

Tropheus sp. Bemba     8/16/12
Good day WWM,
I got a new tank last week and want to add my Tropheus sp. Bemba that i have had in a an old mature planted tank for nearly 2 weeks now.
New Tank Info Below.
Day 1 : I added water and dechlorinator.
Day 2 : Added 2 Molly fish, some rocks from matured tank and an external canister from another old matured tank.
<Hmm… would be surprised how long these last alongside the Tropheus! Actually, in a really big aquarium Liberty Mollies or something like Ameca splendens might do okay, but common-or-garden Mollies might end up being hammered by the extremely aggressive fish we call Tropheus.>
Day 5 : Would like to add the Tropheus.
<Not a chance.>
Can i add my Tropheus today? Kindly let me know what you think.
<Hmm… where to begin? Tropheus, like all Tanganyikan fish, are acutely sensitive to water quality problems.
You wouldn't normally add them to an aquarium that hadn't been matured for at least 6 weeks, and realistically, 3 months. Tropheus are at the sensitive end of the range, even by Tanganyikan standards. This isn't to say you couldn't add the fish sooner than that, because you've jump-started the cycling process. But I'd recommend running the tank for at least a week (as in 7 days) with the Mollies. Make sure ammonia and nitrite are 0 day after day, even after a "heavy" feeding (maybe double or triple the amount of food you're giving the Mollies normally). Presumably your group of Tropheus numbers at least 6 specimens (any less, and they'll fight to the death, and realistically, you'd want 10+ specimens for long term success). So, the two Mollies you have in no way replicates the amount of waste (ammonia, faeces) the filter would have to cope with. By now the bacteria will have died back or at least leveled off to this "two Molly" loading and until you increase the number/size of fish in the tank, the filter won't ramp up to the level it needs to cope with 6+ Tropheus. Make sense? You'd also need to be sure nitrate was staying at or below 20 mg/l; any higher and those Tropheus of yours won't do well. Remember, Tropheus looking stunning in the wild, but often "muddy" in aquaria, precisely because they need two things aquarists commonly get wrong -- a greens-based diet and minimal nitrate levels. In short, you need to massively increase the loading on the filter, then make sure it's coping for at least 7 days without problems, and only then add the Tropheus.>
Many Thanks
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Dying Tropheus duboisi    6/30/11
Greetings Crew! I write in at a loss as to what is killing to my Tropheus Duboisi. I currently have 6 (down from 8) young adults ranging from 3 to 3 1/2" in a 55 gal tank with lace rock and a 3 in DSB for just about a year.
Last Thursday I noticed that one had died (without my permission). So after a minor panic attack I tested the water and did a 15% water change. The only variance from my normal water readings was the nitrates (1ppm) were a little higher then usual which come to find out that my Pleco was not eating the algae tabs so they were rotting on the bottom. After removing the Pleco and changing the water and sucking up the leftovers I figured that I had the issue solved till another one died on Saturday. As of Monday they weren't eating so I tested the water again and found the nitrates were .5 ppm, 0 nitrites and chlorine, KH 150, pH 7.5. So not sure what else to do I removed all the rock and did a thorough cleaning and changed 50% of the water. As of this morning only 3 will eat, 2 have no interest in food and one is way pale sitting on the bottom looking like its about to expire (again with out my permission). I have 8 other tanks ranging from 10 to 125 gal all running with various Rift Valley Cichlids that are eating and not dying. The only thing I have done to the tank is add another basket of crushed coral to the Emperor 400 filter I have on it to raise the pH up a bit but I did that several weeks ago. As far as fish food I use Omega One algae flakes and kelp flakes. Kind of at a loss as to what I should do?
When I took the dead ones out they weren't bloated or chewed up, with out being a vet I didn't see anything abnormal. Would having that uneaten food in there cause that much of a disturbance that they would stop eating altogether? Should I just keep doing 10-15% waters changes every couple days? What would prevent them from eating or at least trying to eat beside swim and breed its all they have to think about. if only our life was that easy :)Thanks Paul
< There should never be left over food in a Tropheus tank. Feed only enough food so that all of it is gone in 5 minutes. Let some algae grow on the rocks. Tropheus have very long digestive tracts. It is easy for a problem to develop in such a long gut. Everything else looks fine. The rest of the Tropheus could be treated with Meronidazole and Nitrofuranace. Once they start to eat again you are fine.-Chuck>

+Tropheus Duboisi Not breeding.
Breeding Tropheus  2/10/10

Hi, crew great site. This site has helped me numerous time when I had a crisis with my tank, however this is my 1st email to you guys, can't find the answer anywhere else, Here's my problem, I've been keeping 9 Tropheus Duboisi
for about 1 and a half year, mixed with some Malawi Mbuna's, When first I acquired them they were all 1/5 inches, Now they have grown to about 4 inches long and still won't breed. My aquarium dimension is 48x24x24 with a 50 gallon sump which I think is sufficient. My total fish count is 21.And my water chemistry are as follows ,pH 7.8-7.5, kh4, gh5,and temp is 82F ,having sort of a roller coaster effect with pH due to the water being soft which I'm trying to correct and having real tough time because tap water in Malaysia is really soft, which make keeping African's really a challenge.
Apart from that Tropheus are rare in Malaysia!,but what to do. I'm really hooked wit this fish that's why I'm hoping they would breed, I tried venting them before but couldn't tell which is which. And I've observed this courting behavior shimmying and vibrating but still no spawning. And a very important question that has been bothering me, could they (Trophs) distinguish their sex or will they ever try to mate with same sex! Example a male vibrating and shimmying to another male imagine that! The reason I ask is because my Pseudotropheus Elongatus blue color does this dance to the Tropheus Duboisi, obviously they look very different, and my guess is he's doing this at every fish that he came across regardless of the sex. So I guess the same is happening with the Trophs, because I don't know the male to female ratio that I currently have in my tank. Hope you guys could provide me with some info on my problem. Once again this is really a great site that had helped me grow from killing my fish on monthly basis to
somewhat intermediate level had no casualty in more than a year now, keep up the good work guys, your feedback is really appreciated. With Best Regards, Suresh.K
< First lets get the water right. In a separate big container, use an aquarium buffer that will stabilize the pH and the hardness. When it is hard and alkaline and stabile you can use this water to change water in the aquarium. Never try to change the water chemistry in the aquarium. Much too dangerous. Buffers can be purchased online. The directions on the package are very easy to read and understand. You will need to check the chemistry very often until you get to know how much buffer is needed to get the water exactly where you want it. Next thing you need to do is make the Tropheus the dominant fish in the talk. Having Mbuna in the same tank is fine as long as the Mbuna a very small and don't compete with the Tropheus for the best spawning sites. At this stage I would recommend removing all the Mbuna and rearrange all the rockwork so new territories can be established by the Tropheus males. Add some floating pieces of plastic pipe so beaten males and holding females can find refuge in the pipes.-Chuck>
Re: Tropheus Duboisi Not breeding.
Sexing/Breeding Tropheus  2/11/10

Hi,Chuck, thanks a bunch for the reply.Sorry to bother you again,but about the courting behaviour, do you think that a male would do this courting dance to another male or could they distinguish their sex, i.e. - a male knows which is a female and which is male.
Once again thanks for your effort in helping fish keepers like me. Really appreciate it. Cheers, Suresh.K
<Thank you for your kind words. Usually males defend a territory. When another fish acts interested they are coaxed to try and spawn with them.
Males and non breeding females that don't act interested are quickly chased away. A female that is ready to breed will act like it and be allowed to stay awhile.-Chuck>

Mixing Tropheus In A Lake Tanganyika Tank 9/10/09
Can Lamprologus caudopunctatus be kept with Tropheus? Thank you. Phil
< While both of them obviously share the same water conditions, the Tropheus will ultimately chase the Lamprologus around and they will not thrive. Fry under 2" would be able to go together for awhile but the
Tropheus get big enough to breed they will chase all fish away from their territory. Tropheus have teeth and can inflict lots of damage very quickly.-Chuck>

African Cichlid Stocking Question How Many Tropheus  4/16/08 Good Day, I have a quick question. If I stock a 55 gallon (4 foot long) tank only Tropheus duboisii, what is the minimum number I can have in the tank? Thanks! Eric <To answer your question as posted-(1). If you were to ask what is the maximum number of Tropheus you could stock in your 55 gallon, then that answer would be depends. Tropheus are aggressive territorial herbivores. They require clean warm alkaline water and food with lots of vegetable matter. If you only had two in the tank then one would become dominant and constantly chase the other one around until it was dead or nearly dead. Tropheus breeders would then jam as many fish into a tank as possible. The idea is that the dominant fish would be so busy chasing all the other fish around that he would not be able to focus all his attention on just one fish. Novice Tropheus keepers make an initial mistake by not starting off with enough fish to form a colony. These fish are very expensive so it becomes a serious investment to start out with a big group. I have gotten by with a group of 12 in a 40 gallon. The sex ratio was about 50/50. If you are interested in breeding then look for one male to about 5 to 6 females. It is best to start out with a group of small individuals and let them grow up together to establish a pecking order. I would recommend starting out with 20 small fish. This would give you 10 of each sex. When they mature you can eliminate overly aggressive males a settle for two to three males to the 10 females. This would let each male to set up a territory at each end of the tank. Very cool fish, the spotted babies are always big sellers,-Chuck>
Re: African Cichlid Stocking Question Stocking A Tank With Tropheus duboisii II  4/17/08
Chuck, Thanks for writing. That's a lot of good information. I knew about the ratio of 1 male to 5 or 6 females, and hoped this would be the minimum number that I could put in my tank, and get by with.. 6-7 total fish.. Mainly because they are $25 each! 20 of them will add up quickly. And they are awesome looking fish as juveniles and adults, for sure. I'll have to keep looking! Thanks again! Eric <Another trick you could try is adding smaller species of Lake Malawi Mbuna to the tank to add as dither. They will have the same dietary requirements as the Tropheus and can handle the same water requirements. When the Tropheus colony gets set up you can always remove the Mbuna.-Chuck>
Re: African Cichlid Stocking Question  4/18/08 Getting By With As Few Tropheus As Possible
Not to be a pain, but for clarification, do you mean trying 6-7 Duboisi with a number of smaller Mbuna ? How many Mbuna should I add? And are there any specific types you can recommend? I'm going to continue reading, but I'm not making much headway. Thanks again! Eric <If I had only a few Tropheus to play with I would fill the tank with cheap small Mbuna. The species does not matter. It is important that the Mbuna are smaller than the Tropheus. If the Mbuna are the larger fish then they become dominant ones and pick on the Tropheus. When the Tropheus becomes dominant they will pick on the smaller but faster Mbuna. This spreads the aggression throughout the tank. By the way, I would recommend that you look online for a cheaper Tropheus source and find a breeder near you. Check out aquabid.com-Chuck>

Tropheus With Bloat 1-22-08 Hi WWM, I have a Tropheus duboisi which I believe has swimmers bladder. Its stomach got large and the area where it poops was swollen. I wasn't sure what it was so I started to put in medication since its a juvie. MelaFix) I've been doing this for over a week and the fish finally took its first bite after 2 weeks of not eating. So far the fish's swelling as decrease but its stomach is staying round but not to the sides as much as expanding downward. I don't think it's dropsy since its scales aren't sticking out at all even at its largest point. Any ideas on what to do now since its half way to recovery I think? Plus I noticed that my tanks nitrates were very high around 80-100ppm. Can this cause the fish to become ill like this? I did a 35 % change the other day and it was still high so I did another 50 % so its back to normal. When I add the water to the tank I pour it in from a gallon container, now can pouring the water to quick cause harm to the fish? I don't know if it contributes to the fish's illness. My tank is 46 gallon with other Tanganyika cichlids mostly different tropheus. Thanks, Chris <When algae eating cichlids become stressed or are fed food too high in protein they sometimes get an internal infection. This infection usually results in a bloat or dropsy type symptoms. The usual treatment is to improve the fishes overall conditions and treat with Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace. If the fish is eating you can feed a medicated fish food with Metronidazole in it. Big changes in pH and temperature can stress a fish and increase its chances of getting an infection.-Chuck>

Marine Compatibility, and Cichlid Feeding Questions 11/9/07 Good day, <And morrow> I have a few questions that unfortunately are not really related to each other. The first question is a compatibility question between two fish in my 55 gallon saltwater tank. The tank is approximately 3-4 months old and doing well, in large part due to this website. Thank you. I would like to add a Flame Hawk, as I like their personality and appearance, and heard they are relatively hardy specimens. The other fish I have I'm not worried about getting along with the Flame, but I do have a Starry Blenny (Salarias ramosus). That although is one of my favorite fish, I'm worried that because they both occupy the same general area of the tank, there will be territory issues. <Might be, yes> I realize my Starry Blenny is a pretty peaceful fish, however he/she does occasionally chase others in the tank (no damage/bites, and it's only for a brief second). Overall, it's a very peaceful and entertaining fish. My question is, do these 2 fish have a good chance of maintaining a peaceful existence in my 55 gallon tank? <I only give you even odds here. Likely you'll be able to see overt aggression before damage... but will have to act fast if so> On an unrelated note, I do have a separate tank that has a Tropheus duboisii, and there's not a whole lot listed about them. <Oh! Au contraire! There are reams written about the genus, species... even books> I have read a few articles, however nothing that I've read answers the following: I know they eat a vegetarian diet, and I've read that they can't digest a lot of proteins. I am feeding the cichlid a mix of veggie flakes, however the protein content listed is 37%... That seems high, however I'm not sure what else to feed.... I will continue to read to get suggestions, but will this diet actually hurt my fish? <Not likely, no> I will definitely look to other sources so there is a varied diet, but is a brand with 37% protein too high? <As stated, likely is fine... a good deal depends on the "type, source of protein" (the mix of amino acids) and how they're formulated in the food/s... You could always "make your own"...> Thanks again for all the help! Eric <Do try a wider search re this species... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/litsrchart.htm

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: