Species group: Cichlids
Other common names: Dwarf Tanganyikan Cichlid
Scientific name: Tropheus duboisi
The species Tropheus duboisi, one of the first Tropheus cichlids to be brought to the United States, has three sub-species: the Tropheus duboisi – Maswa, the Tropheus duboisi – Kigoma, and the Tropheus duboisi – Karilani Island. The Tropheus duboisi require a special herbivore diet, 100% vegetable, because protein-based foods like brine shrimp or tubifex worms give them indigestion, which can be fatal. Spirulina is the recommended diet for them.
They all start out as black juveniles with white spots covering the whole body. As they mature, they lose the spots, and develop a blue head and a vertical band on the body that differs in color and width depending on the sub-species. The Maswa variety has a yellow band that is the widest among the varieties of Tropheus duboisi. The Kigoma has a broad, white band. The Karilani has a narrow white band. Like most Tropheus cichlids, the duboisi has a head somewhat large for the body. The mouth is down-turned with thick lips. The eyes are big and bright. The tail fin is fan-shaped.
Although considered the least aggressive of the Tropheus cichlids, the duboisi is still not recommended for community tanks.
Tropheus duboisi are best kept as large colonies (of 12 or more fishes introduced all at once) in large aquariums of at least 75 gallons. The tank should simulate their natural habitat of rock caves and shelters. The caves provide security and serve as hiding places and territory markers. If the colony had more than one male, the tank needs to be at least 100 gallons in size to handle the territorial nature of the fish.