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Tropheops Chilumba Keepers

3235 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  noki

I'm looking to get some information from those of keepers that have Tropheops Chilumba? I'd really like to know more about the species but there is very limited information online concerning them.

To clarify I'm interest mainly in information directly from those keeping the fish, or articles and studies you have found concerning them. If you do share some articles can you please credit and cite the source?

Below is a list of things you might want to consider telling us about the species:

- Your tank size?
- Your water parameters?
- How many you keep in your tank?
- Do you keep any other species with them? i.e. is it a community or species tank?
- What do you feed them?
- Observations, such as breeding behaviour, temperament, behaviour etc.

I'm quite interested in the species so any information you can provide would be great! :thumb:

Tropheops Chilumba
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I'm pretty new to keeping Tropheops Chilumba, but totally understand the difficulty in finding info online. I have spent many hours over several months trying to find stuff on them and apparently they just aren't a popular fish. Likely because of their aggressiveness, however, I'll share what I've experienced in my short 3 months.

Current tank is a standard 4ft, 55 gallon. I have a 6ft, 150 gallon which I plan to have setup and cycled by the end of the year. All of the fish in the 55 tank will go over to the 150. I have 2 Aquaclear 70s and water temp is set at 79 degrees. They all eat New Life Spectrum pellets.

The tank consists of 8 Tropheops(4M/4F), 4 Elongatus Chewere(2M/2F), 5 yellow tail acei(I'm not positive, but I think I have 2M/3F) and 6 Synodontis Lucpinnis. These were all bought as juveniles which is why I have so many males. Everyone is actually getting along quite well at the moment, but the time will soon come to get rid of the extra males and add more females. The larger males of both the Tropheops and Chewere are 3.75-4 inches. Almost all of the others are at least 3 inches.

These are a beautiful fish and it's a shame they aren't more popular. They are really hard to get a hold of, but I wonder if most people forego them because of a few people's reports on their aggressive behavior. Anyways do yourself a favor and get them. I can see why a 6ft tank is recommended, however with a little work a 4ft is doable or at least for some time. The main thing is rocks, rocks and more rocks. Also, I have found that you can absolutely not have separate rock piles or higher/lower rocky parts. The rocks pretty much have to be an even height across the tank. Once I figured this out, the aggression dropped dramatically. It's possible the 6ft tank will be different, but at least for the 55 gallon, this has worked for me. Since the rocks hide a lot of poop I have to pull out a number of them every week for cleaning so this might help too.
The 2 dominant males have each claimed a side of the tank. The 2 male Chewere have each claimed a side as well and pretty much share with the corresponding Tropheops. All of the other fish pretty much hang out wherever. On most days there isn't much issue with fish other than the other dominant males coming into the territories, but when it's mating time for either species everyone else gets pushed out until the deed is done. Afterward, everyone resumes normal life. My 2 dominant males are really changing their colors. Especially the one. It's an incredible blue/lavender with electric blue/yellow fins and a turquoise anal fin. His throat can be a deep purple at times too. He isn't fully colored yet so there is still some muddy orange mixed in at the moment. He is going to be one incredible fish in a couple months.
The females are also quite aggressive when they want to be. Especially toward themselves. Their deep orange/yellow bodies look fantastic too. Lighting plays a huge part. My lighting is terrible. I have 2 different 18 inch T5 bulbs so on one side the fish look one way and the other side is different. I'm saving up for an LED system. With the tank being in the living room facing the rising sun, every fish looks spectacular in natural sunlight. I've tried several cameras and techniques and none come close to showing what natural sunlight makes them look like. Oh well...
As for aggression. In my opinion, yes, they're aggressive, but not terrible. They'll chase others from time to time and the 2 dominant males have had a couple big fights where they take turns gripping the other's side and spinning around, but there has not been any damage to each other. The females get hit pretty hard when the males want to mate, but even then it's mostly just chasing. I had my first successful Tropheops spawn last week, but the female only held for 3 days. Oh and they love to dig a lot. They make huge sand mountains. Some have approached 8 inches high. An interesting observation too is that unlike most other mbuna I've seen, the Tropheops release the sand in 3 separate spits while the others release all of the sand in one spit.

Lastly, I'll include a couple terrible phone pics. When I get my new computer, I'll share photos taken with a real camera as well as some video. I hope the info helps.

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Cincy - What a super response, it really give us a good insight into these relatively unknown and I think a little under appreciated mbuna. I hope we can get some more keepers posting in here so we can build up a little bit a of a knowledge base for other prospective keepers.
The problem is that there are many similar Tropheops species, and they have been confused with each other for years, the scientific names unsure, often sold as hybrids unknowingly. So the information is vague, and Tropheops have been considered pretty much the same, true or not.

As for popular, Mbuna that are common are usually because the juveniles are attractive and sell easily. These are dimorphic, if the juveniles and females are colorful they should be more common, but they are not as bright as Yellow labs, etc.

As for aggression, I don't know why lately they have been said to be super aggressive. Tropheops always seemed like typical old Pseudotropheus, average territorial, yes they can be aggressive like most mbuna but not psycho like Melanochromis.
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