Common names: Sunspot, Sunset, Mpulungu, Pineapple.
Currently there are six Tropheus species that are scientifically described, including the Blunthead Cichlid - Tropheus moorii, Blue-Eyed Tropheus - Tropheus brichardi, White Spotted Cichlid - Tropheus duboisi, Tropheus annectens, Tropheus kasabae, and Poll's Tropheus Tropheus polli. Although these five are each identified individually, four of them have a number of color morphs. The Blunthead Cichlid is the champion of varieties however, as it has 50 or so color morphs.
Although only six Tropheus cichlids have been scientifically named, there are a number of other beautiful varieties. Those that have not yet been described as their own species nor placed back in one of the other categories are sold as Tropheus sp. "black", Tropheus sp. "red", Tropheus sp. "ikola", and Tropheus sp. "mpimbwe".
Maximum length is around 5.8″ (14.5cm).
Order: Perciformes Family: Cichlidae
Tropheus are found all over Lake Tanganyika. They inhabit shallow waters around rocky parts of the shoreline.
The Tropheus species are technically omnivores, but should be fed heavily on vegetable matter. In the wild they are specialized aufwuchs feeders, aufwuchs refers to tough stringy algae that is attached to rocks. Tropheus are all algal grazers, feeding on algae and microinvertebrates they rasp from the rocks with specially adapted underslung mouths. It will accept most foods offered but vegetable matter in the form of Spirulina flakes, blanched spinach, nori etc. should form the basis of the diet. This can be supplemented with small feeds of live and frozen varieties. Never feed beefheart or any other animal meat as it interferes with the digestive system of these fish.
Feeding Frequency: Several feedings per day - Generally feed 2-3 small feedings a day rather than a single large feeding for better water quality.
These fish are suggested for more experienced aquarists as they are rather demanding to keep. This is due to their susceptibility to certain infections of the intestinal tract such as "bloat", so require more stringent requirements with diet and habitat. They also have a highly aggressive nature. They can be moderately easy to keep if it properly fed and the water quality is kept up, but difficult if not. They do best in a species tank, and only with other herbivorous types of cichlids included if the tank is large. The aquarists must be willing to do frequent water changes and provide appropriate tank mates.
Many aquarists keep Tropheus in bare setups to reduce territorial behaviour but they can also be maintained in decorated aquaria. If you wish to decorate the tank, use piles of rock work to form many cave-like structures and hiding places, interspersed with open areas for swimming. In either case use sand as substrate, and ensure the water is well-oxygenated.
Water Changes: Weekly - Water changes of 15% twice a week or 30% weekly are recommended.
Temperature: 73-81°F (23-27°C) pH: 8.0-9.5 Hardness: 8-25°H