tropheus duboisi “Maswa”

General – This fish is also known as the White Spotted Cichlid. Very beautiful and unique looking fish. When young, they have little white spot on their entire body. As they grow, those spots disappear and the fish will develop a yellow band close to their neck. In certain part of the lake, the yellow band can be wide or slim, people use this to separate them from the different part of the lake.

This is also one of my favorite cichlid, but I ended up selling the colony. There were many reasons why I decided to step away from the Tropheus breeding. First, they are very hard to own and breed. Conditions must be right, water must be perfect, while being a very aggressive fish in the aquarium and especially towards other males of the same species.

When young, they are extremely hard to care for. Most of them die due to the most common problem with Tropheus, bloat. The malawi bloat was one of the thing that stressed me out doesn’t matter if I did everything correctly or not. I will lose one at a time and these are not cheap fish. They costs a lot! Malawi bloat is when the fish doesn’t eat and their tummy looks like it has air inside, while having long white hairy like string poop. Eventually they will die, some will overcome this but this is a very expensive fish to take this type of risk. If you buy them at a larger size, it will be a lot better.

Come from Lake Tanganyika, which is a very deep lake therefore the water is very clean and alkaline. A PH of at least 9 is highly recommended. I don’t like to mention pH in any of my fish profile because I keep them all in a neutral pH as most of them are tanked raised, not wild. I would only boost pH when it is below 7. But these will require clean water which means constant water change, weekly or twice per month.

Because of their aggression, I recommend to buy in a colony of at least 5-6. Once a colony has been established, it might be harder to add more later on.

Tank Requirement – 50G minimum with lots of rocks/caves. They are very territorial and some will require structures for hiding.

Compatibility – I recommend to not mix them with other cichlids, they have different diet, and if you want to breed them, they need to be isolated to their colony only.

Aggression – Very aggressive and will lock jaws frequently with other males of their own. Extremely territorial as well.

Size – They don’t get very big, maxing out at around 4-5″ inches.

Male vs Female – Female are smaller and more rounded than males. Also, males have more of a vibrant blue on their head.

Diet – All Tropheus require a veggie based diet. Spirulina or nori (seaweed) or any veggie pellets will be a good choice.

  • Scientific Name:  Tropheus Duboisi
  • Common Name:  White Spotted Cichlid
  • Origin:  Africa, Lake Tanganyika
  • Care Level:  Expert
  • Size of fish: 4-5″ inches
  • Aggression:  Very aggressive
  • Diet: Herbivore (plants and vegetables)
  • Breeding:  Mouth Brooder
  • Water Region:  Bottom and mid-section


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