Lake Tanganyika Species • Super dominant female tropheus

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Super dominant female tropheus

Postby sicklidmad » Sat Aug 29, 2020 11:10 pm

I have a group of tropheus firefox. Made up of the following:

13 2" young that I brought and grew up together.
2 larger 3" fish.

Until yesterday I had thought the larger 2 fish to be males due to aggression and dominance. However I vented them and they are both females.

These dominant females chase everyone around and don't let any other fish breed in the tank.

I am not sure what to do. My thoughts are:
1. Leave it alone and hope eventually one of the boys gets big enough to take on these girls and get them breeding.
2. Remove the larger 2 and allow the smaller ones to mature and get some size/dominance. Attempt to reintroduce the larger females later.
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Re: Super dominant female tropheus

Postby sir_keith » Sun Aug 30, 2020 6:22 pm

How big is the tank? That really will determine the best strategy going forward. And what is the original population from which this 'Firefox' strain was derived?
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Re: Super dominant female tropheus

Postby sicklidmad » Sun Aug 30, 2020 8:17 pm

The tank is around 350L.

Unfortunately we just get "firefox" here. Think they called Moliro.
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Re: Super dominant female tropheus

Postby sir_keith » Mon Aug 31, 2020 1:16 am

Actually, what is most relevant are the dimensions of the footprint, not the volume.

'Moliero' is a pretty aggressive Tropheus, and require lots of room.
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Re: Super dominant female tropheus

Postby sicklidmad » Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:12 am

Footprint is 1.2 x 0.5m.

It appears the colony has been a bit messed up ny these 2 matriarchs I have added.

With that in mind I am wondering if I should put my duboisi colony in this tank and the firefox in the 1.2 x 0.7m tank that they are in. Duboisi don't seem anywhere near as aggressive.
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Re: Super dominant female tropheus

Postby noddy » Mon Aug 31, 2020 8:19 am

For what it's worth, I believe a firefox is a line bred red Bishop. AKA, Black Caramba. Not Red Moliro.
I would probably get rid of the two new females myself.
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Re: Super dominant female tropheus

Postby sir_keith » Mon Aug 31, 2020 12:33 pm

sicklidmad wrote:Footprint is 1.2 x 0.5m.

It appears the colony has been a bit messed up by these 2 matriarchs I have added.

With that in mind I am wondering if I should put my duboisi colony in this tank and the firefox in the 1.2 x 0.7m tank that they are in. Duboisi don't seem anywhere near as aggressive.


Duboisi are the least aggressive Tropheus species, and I don't think that switching tanks will solve your problem, if anything, the added space may make it worse. In general, a 48" x 18" tank should be sufficient for a colony of 12+ individuals of most (but not all) Tropheus populations, assuming a decent sex ratio. It does seem that the easiest solution here would be to re-home your two large females, but as the smaller ones grow up, you may wish you had more females, so it's a bit of a conundrum.

The real question in my mind is whether you're seeing anything more than typical Tropheuss aggression. If you're used to keeping Duboisi, perhaps you're just not accustomed to seeing this level of aggression, which is part and parcel of Tropheus keeping. Are the two larger females actually damaging the smaller fishes, or bullying them to the extent that they are constantly hiding? You don't want to let the larger fishes stress out the smaller ones, but there is always going to be aggression in this tank. As long as it's spread out amongst the entire group, and is not causing undue stress, it's just typical Tropheus behavior.
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Re: Super dominant female tropheus

Postby sicklidmad » Mon Aug 31, 2020 1:36 pm

Thanks for the help.

The females are not super aggressive in terms of damaging any other fish. The other fish are out and about eating etc not cowering in the corners in fear. It is just stopping them from breeding.

I have read about removing all tank decorations to minimise territories and reduce aggression. What would you say about that?

I have a number of other tanks running so may just remove the biggest most aggressive girl and let the colony settle down a bit. I will reintroduce her at a later stage.
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Re: Super dominant female tropheus

Postby sir_keith » Mon Aug 31, 2020 2:04 pm

sicklidmad wrote:Thanks for the help.

The females are not super aggressive in terms of damaging any other fish. The other fish are out and about eating etc not cowering in the corners in fear. It is just stopping them from breeding.

I have read about removing all tank decorations to minimise territories and reduce aggression. What would you say about that?

I have a number of other tanks running so may just remove the biggest most aggressive girl and let the colony settle down a bit. I will reintroduce her at a later stage.


I wouldn't remove all the decorations, but if you have tons of rocks etc. you might remove a few. Sometimes this can reduce aggression; sometimes not.

If you have other tanks available, I wouldn't hesitate to remove one or both of the aggressive females. Once the colony has settled down and a new pecking order has been established, you can try to add the females back. This can sometimes cause problems, but if they are that much bigger than the other fishes, I would expect things to settle down in a day or two. And if by that time you have a dominant male in the tank, he may be very happy to see two big girls! Good luck. :thumb:
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Re: Super dominant female tropheus

Postby sicklidmad » Tue Sep 01, 2020 3:02 am

Thank you for your help. One of the females is very dominant. The other not so much. Will remove the super dominant one and hope a male can take on the other female and take over the colony. Then reintroduce the big girl later and see how it goes..
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Re: Super dominant female tropheus

Postby sir_keith » Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:59 pm

Any update here? I'm curious as to how this worked out.
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