Tropheops sp. ‘red fin’
by Nick Laferriere

Location: Occurs from Mara Rocks to Charo on the northwestern shore and between Lumbaulo and Lundu on the eastern shore.

Biotope: Sediment-rich Rocky Habitat found below 10 metres.

Size: 11cm in the wild.

Diet: It feed from the sediment-rich rocks where it grazes on algae strands and diatoms. Their mouth is designed to feed at a 45º angle. They grab and shear off algae strands with a headshake. This method is pretty efficient but not as efficient as Labeotropheus.

Temperment: They’re territorial but not overly aggressive. When territories are over sand they will tend to dig tunnels under rocks but in the rocky biotope, they’ll use pre-existing caves as the center of their territory. In the aquarium they’re territorial and will chase but not as aggressive as some. Keep with similar sized mbunas.

Spawning Behaviour: Spawning takes place within the males cave. The male will turn bright orange/yellow with black barring which then he shows off for the female, dancing and vibrating. This species is different from the rest of the Tropheops in that they have a more elongated body compared to the broad, tall bodies of the species found in fast moving water like Tropheops sp. ‘red cheek’. The mouth of the Tropheops is what gives it away from the rest of the mbunas.

Breeding: Females are very prolific holding anywhere from 20-40 eggs at a time and hold for a period of 25 days. The fry are very attractive with beige bodies, black in the dorsal fin, and yellow anal fin. Females are similarily coloured but can exhibit faint dark stripes when mouthbrooding. Males are orange/yellow with black vertical bars extending about ¾ up the body from the bottom of the fish. They also have a black mask and black pelvic fins as well.

Tropheops sp. "Red Fin" (Lundu)


Konings, Ad. (1990). Ad Konings's Book of Cichlids and All The Other Fishes of Lake Malawi: NJ: T.F.H. Publications Inc.

Konings, Ad. (1997). Back to Nature Guide to: Malawi Cichlids: Germany: Fohrman Aquaristik AB

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