Another surprise that the "Reds" had up their sleeve was their enormous appetite. These fish can eat and eat and eat. Imagine the voracious appetite of a Tropheus multiplied by ten! I feed them heavily two or three times a day with high quality flakes, spirulina pellets, and shrimp mix. Feeding the "Reds" usually requires toweling off afterwards due to the enthusiastic, splashing feeding frenzy of the group. Of course, the heavy feedings also result in a large quantity of waste produced by the fish. I use an oversized wet/dry filtration system and do bi-weekly water changes. A sand substrate helps make it easier to siphon off waste from the tank bottom.
With the heavy feedings I have been giving the group, it did not take long for females to come into breeding condition. As the egg tube of a female began to extend, the dominant male in the tank became increasingly excited and active. The male would chase away all other fish from his side of the tank, flutter in front of the ripe female, and lead her back to the spawning area. Spawning occurred in a manner similar to Tropheus with eggs that are larger than a frontosa's eggs. So far my females have not been good at holding their eggs to full term, but they are still young and should learn to be better mothers with time. The incubation period is about 4 weeks with the fry being ½ inch when the egg yolk is fully absorbed. The few successful broods I have had range in size from 4 to 31 fry. The fry have the same enormous appetite of the adults and soon revealed another surprise about them. They have an astonishing growth rate. By six months old they are 3 inches long! In my years of fish keeping I have not kept a fish with this growth rate.
Tank mates that are suitable for "Reds" are other Petrochromis species, some Tanganyikan Synodontis species, and plecos. However, I would not recommend Synodontis multi-punctatus as it is an egg thief. That would be quite an expensive egg to be eaten by a catfish. Due to the enormous appetite of the "Reds" I do not believe Tropheus would be a good tank mate for them. In order to satisfy the appetite of the "Reds" the Tropheus would undoubtedly over eat and develop bloat. □