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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 8:32 am
by PetsGoRound
I have kept cichlids for many years but have always stayed away from Tropheus. I have always heard that they are very hard to keep. Would someone please let me know why people say that and what I can do to get a tank started for them. I was thinking that it was hard to get the right food that they like or something.
Thank You for your help

PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 8:49 am
by MalawiLover
I am by no means an expert on tropheus, but I can give you the reasons why I have not gone with tropheus.

1. They do best in a colony- I don't really have the funds to get a whole colony, nor the space to set up a tank for a colony.

2. I prefer the variety of community tanks. Small groups of several species. While tropheus can have other species as tankmates, the trophs would definitely be the main attraction so to speak, and while they are beautiful fish, I find species tanks a little boring.

3. They can have very sensative stomachs- while they do not require "special" food (just one of the high quality brands), they can have issues and with the expense of a colony, I just don't want to chance an issue right now. In the future, if finances become more avaliable on a long term basis, this consideration will be less of an issue.

4. They are not a good choice for the beginner. While I have had cichlids for about 2 years now and have had tanks before, I just feel that I am not experienced enough to take this step yet. Maybe in a few more years I will have a different view.

I hope this helps you a little.

PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:06 am
by geoff_tropheus
I guess mostly it would depend on what kind of cichlid experience you have been keeping as to whether Tropheus would be hard or not.

I think most people think Tropheus are hard is because not a lot of people keep them, and it can be difficult to find good and proper information on them. There are lots of myths out there that have been busted for years, but many still propagate them, and others just have come to accept them as truths.

Tropheus are not so difficult to keep if you get into a routine of the following and stick to it.

1. Water Quality - Water has to be as fresh, clean, and oxygenated as possible.

A. You achieve this with the best filtration you can afford, lots of water movement, and weekly 30%-50% or bi-weekly 50-70% water changes. You have got to stay dedicated to the water changes. The water needs to be a pH of 7.5 or better, hard water GH = 10-12dh, KH = 12-20dH, Ammonia and Nitrite = 0, and Nitrates as absolutely as low as possible prefer less than 20ppm and not to exceed 60ppm

B. Filtration Turnover - 7-10X of tank volume is using canisters, and HOB filters. 4-5X overflow/pumping rate if using a Wet Dry Filtration. Wet Dry Filtration is the most preferred

C. High Oxygen Content - Lots of surface agitation, be sure to have any canister or pump returns aimed at the surface to have as much as possible surface agitation. You can also add power heads to do the same.

2. Proper Tank Size

A. 4ft Tank - Start with a 55 gallon use 12-14 fish, and then add 1 fish per 6 gallons above that. So, if you have a 90 gallon aquarium, if you follow everything in step 1, you can keep about 20-22 adult fish with no problem.

B. 6ft Tank - Follow everything in Step 1, and keep 20 fish per 60 gallons. So, a 125 gallon fish tank can keep 40 fish with no problem.

I think the best setups are a 125 gallon with about 30-35 fish, and a 75 gallon with 18-20 fish.

3. Proper Diet
Once of the biggest debates out there but this is what I have learned and recommend
A. Get the same food the vendor selling you the fish has them eating. This way you know for certain that the fish you are getting are not eating your food because they don’t like it or not accustomed to eating ti.

B. Once the fish are comfortable and eating for 2-weeks, then slowly over the next 2-weeks acclimate them to eating the food you want to feed them by blending it in. This food needs to be a High Quality Flake Food with high spirulina content, and or a highly digestible pellet food.

There are lots of good flake foods out there, too many to list. I have been using Aquarian Tropical Flake Food for over 8 years and the fish love it.

For pellet foods, I have tried lots of them, but you will find most people will recommend New Life Spectrum Cichlid Formula - 1mm pellet size. Other pellet foods that lots of people use with lots of success are Hikari Cichlid Excel - Mini Pellet Size, Dainichi Veggie Deluxe, and Dainichi Veggie FX - baby pellet size. These are the only 4 pellet foods I would recommend to use. I use New Life Spectrum for the past 2 years with lots of success.

4. Acquire the Best Stock Possible

Ask people with experience and read reviews of retailers. Go and see the breeding stock in person whenever possible, and demand pictures every time you buy. If they wont send a pic, then there is more likely some shady stuff going on and I'd recommend to stay away.

5. Never stop asking questions about them, and never stop learning about them.

Share your questions in forums, and share your experiences good and bad to help everyone.

The fish deserve the best care we can give them, they did not ask to be in our homes, we did.

Best of Luck!


PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:13 am
by geoff_tropheus
One more thing that is extremly important.

Keep Stress Minimized-

Do this by getting the best shipping method (direct flights overnight etc..), proper acclimation when they arrive, proper tank decoration, and purchasing a proper group size for which species of them you are keeping.

Take care,


PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 7:42 am
by 24Tropheus
Now that little summery should replace the articles on Tropheus on the site. :thumb:

Just a further note.

In the 6 foot tanks (and 5 foot tanks to some extent) you can (also) keep them at lower dencities than those given by Geoff. Anything over 20 fish.

Advantage? You can leave the females in to brood and raise the young more often and more succesfully than in densly populated tanks (Well thats what I find). :wink:

Best ratio about 1 male to 3 females or more.

PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 8:08 am
by geoff_tropheus
Thanks 24T.. :)

I cannot edit my post, but I wanted to express that on 6ft tanks you could keep a maximum of 20 fish per 60 gallons with the recomended filtration rates and water change schedule.

My own 125 has 24 Ujiji that breed like crazy, and I think the agression could be toned down a bit with a 4-6 more fish.

PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:01 pm
by Jake Jackson
I don't have a question, and was just looking for some info on keeping trphs.... so just wanted to say geoff_tropheus that was an excellent post!

Greatly appreciated. :thumb: