Cichlid Fish Forum banner

Ilangi Variation

10069 Views 46 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  myjohnson
My 23 1-2" "Ilangis" were received 5 months ago. Today they are much larger, but have inconsistent coloring. Here, I'm not refering to the change from dark to color depending on mood and background.

There are several "classes" of fish.
- Larger striped fish that are consistent in the body but have bluish tinted dorsal fins. These appear to have specific areas of the rocks they "defend". No red or yellow.
- Medium sized fish with classic Ilangi coloration.
- Smaller striped fish that stay dark.
- Fish that are usually hiding around the foam filter, but when come out for feeding have (albeit darker) Ilangi coloring.

I have observed only a little spawning-type behavior - usually after feeding - and rarely liplocked fighting involving the Ilangi-colored ones.

So, my questions are...
1) Do others observe the same thing?
2) Are all on my fish Ilangis?
3) Any comments about which is which sex, which is dominant etc.....?
1 - 20 of 47 Posts
If your fish have not grown past 2" in 5 months than it is more likely a diet issue. You have them in a 120 gallon aquarium with what looks like plenty of filtration so that does not appear to be any issue.

Water changes help with growth I believe. You need to be performing weekly 30-50% or Bi-weekly 50-75% water changes.

Feed twice a day a high quality pellet food, or spirulina based flake food.

Personally, I would feed New Life Spectrum Cichlid Formula - 1mm pellet, or Hikari Excel - Mini Pellet, or Dainichi Veggie FX or Deluxe - Baby Pellet twice a day. Make sure that if your switching to one of these foods, be sure to blend it in over a two week period with whatever food you are feeding now.

If you are already feeding one of these foods, then start feeding a larger quantity, but not more than they can consume in less than 2 minutes. You might even consider adding a higher protein food such as New Life Spectrum Growth Formula, or a higher protein Spirulina Based Flake food.

The higher protein will also help with growth rate.

The published growth rate of Tropheus is 1 cm per month. If they have not grown in the 5 months you've kept them there is a issue.

If you are already doing all this, and the fish are still not growing, I would go back to the Vendor and find out where the fish came from, and start talking to them.

Hope this helps..

See less See more
Also...I forgot...

The only true way to sex your Tropheus is at about 3.5" to examine the vent. If the vent is the same size or smaller than the anus, it is male. If the vent is larger or wider than the anus, it is female. The vent is the hole closes to the anal fin.

You can tell somewhat by personality behavoir, but venting is the only 100% way to be certain.

In order to determine if the fish are all Ilangi or not, a picture is going to be needed. Can you post one?


They have grown quite a bit since I got them and I am rigorous with feeding and water changes. The question was whether it is normal with Ilangis to have such a variation in color and markings for fish that are less than one year old.
Can you post a pic?
Can't seem to be able to...
It's possible you have different varaints. I saw some variations in markings and colour as adults, but not as you describe in young ilangi. You may a couple of strays in your group. Please post pics if you can.
use this code : paste the URL here [img]

You need to upload pics into similiar website) and then copy the URL.

Give that a try.

I have never seen an Ilangi with a blue dorsal. The fish you have in there are really nice, the guys with the light blue dorsal and solid yellow body is Kala Island, really nice fish by the way. ... es/35d.jpg

The guys with the red dorsals and yellow in the body, I'd say definately look Ilangi.

The other guys with no yellow in the body, but with red/orange dorsals, too early to tell if they were not Ilangi. They are Moorii definately, from the southern part of the lake.

You might want to contact where you got the fish, and ask them what other Tropheus they had in their facility or store. When you get very small fry, it can be confusing, and almost to the point of grab bag fry.

Hope that helped..

See less See more
I got these fish from a commercial breeder who sold them (and charged me) as Ilangi. Should I be upset about this? I am happy with the fish and have no intent to sell any offspring. OTOH is it too optimistic to hope that the fish with the blue dorsals will mature into Ilangis - as represented? Or is the blue coloring the expression of a recessive gene inherent to Ilangis? Or is the wild stock (unbeknownst to the breeder) contaminated with the genes of another variant?
Ilangi are some of the most popular, sought after Tropheus in the industry and tons of people have posted pics of them. I hate to say it, but I never seen any with blue dorsals such as the one you have posted.

I guess anything is possible. The breeder you purcahsed these fish came from his own wild Ilangi stock? or he acuired Ilangi fry and sold them to you?

Kala Island is a nice fish, but in your case where you were paying and expecting Ilangi, I'd be peaved and not buy again from that person for sure.

The small spit sized fry is almost impossible to tell what fish it is, and a honest mistake can happen anywhere in the chain.

Who knows...

Thank you for your replies...
Not to start a tangent, but gee Geoff, 1cm per month? Up to what size?? Starting to think I'm underfeeding mine - they've grown at about half that rate...
I should, but the fish already have names. If I have to cull later I will select in favor of Ilangi coloration. Also, I am still hoping that everything will work out as I have confidence in the breeder....
T. moorii "Kala Island" are not very common, I do not think I have ever seen any for sale before. As for T. moorii "Ilangi" I can find these almost every day of the week. Either way both are nice…..
That is very good of you to have that much confidence. IMO, you should still contact the seller and attempt to confirm the variant/origin of the blue dorsal specimens - if there is even the slightest chance that they are not Ilangi, that way, anyone that may come to "maintain" these fish will know what exactly what they are getting into.

Just my $0.02.

I can't see any reason how the blue dorsalled individuals could be Ilangi. I'd be asking for an explanation and some compensation.

Good luck,

PS Your tank scape looks really, really good :).
Am I missing something? From the picture they posted where are the fish with the "blue dorsals?"

I say they are still too small to tell what they are exactly. If they are Kala Island and if they are so rare then why would the breeder sell them as Ilangi and not Kala Island? I'm sure Kala Island being so "rare" and all could fetch a premium like Ilangi. Time will tell as they are still small and not fully colored. When they are adults the true color of the fish will be seen and then we can pass judgment on what they might be if they are not in fact Ilangi.
1 - 20 of 47 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.