I've kept a colony of duboisi for about a year and a half. I keep them in a 200 L tank decorated with lava rock, and last month they began producing fry. Since I got them at less than 1 cm long, I have had the best success with them of any fish, not having lost even one. The two things I would attribute this to are small feedings, which avoid bloat, and good water quality.
I have had my Duboisi for over 5 years in a 280 L Tanganyikan setup. I feed him (and his other tankmates) a flake diet heavy on Spirulina, and he has flourished. He likes to "graze" on the algae-encrusted rocks in the tank, and seems to enjoy the mysis shrimp I feed from time to time. This species is extremely active and mine does pick on and chase some of my other fish, notably my Lamprologus brichardi, but he never seems to cause any real damage. From the polka-dot covered juveniles, to the blue-headed, yellow-striped adults, these are very beautiful and active fish. As some other posters have noted, do not feed these fish a regular diet of high protein foods (eg bloodworms, beefheart, etc). It is a recipe for disaster. Finally, like most Tanganyikan cichlids, they appreciate very clean, highly oxygenated, hard water, with strong lighting to induce algae growth, which they enjoy grazing through.
I have a large group of Duboisi babies (100) that I am growing up from the wild parents which I have sold. The babies are about 3 cm now. They are not that hard to take care of, I have never lost a single one over the last 5 years, the trick is Spirulina and be very careful not to over feed them. You can buy them cheaper if you know a breeder. I just bought a group of 30 F1 Tropheus sp. "moliro red" for 6 US dollars each, which go for around $12 to $15 on the internet. I had to drive 3 hours to get them though. Another thing is with Tropheus the more the better, also the bigger the tank the better. I recommend a minimum of 15 for a good group. Another thing: never add more Tropheus to an established colony, they will more than likely be killed.
These are definitely not beginner cichlids! I had a school of 8 in a 470 L tank and they did well for over a year. Unfortunately, I had to move and the fish didn't survive the transfer. My suggestions for these fish are these: 1) only add them to established tanks with a pH of 8.0 to 8.4; 2) keep them in schools of 5 or more to spread the aggression between males; 3) keep a higher ratio of females than males; 4) and only feed them spirulina flakes. These fish are VERY sensitive to water changes, so don't change more than 25% of your water at a time. As for feeding, only spirulina flakes...the purer the better. All other fish foods have fillers in them and that tends to cause the Tropheus to get bloat. They become unhealthy and slowly die off. They do well with other cichlids. I had a male and female Cynotilapia afra 'orange back', a breeding colony of Pseudotropheus polits (3 dominant males, 1 less dominant male, and 6 females), a gold nugget pleco that I acclimated to the higher pH, and 4 albino snow white Pseudotropheus socolofi. I had onyx sand as gravel because its fine enough for the other fish to move around when they were clearing their territories, and over 20 kg of holey/honeycomb/limestone rock to provide adequate hiding places for the fish and their fry. Last thing...if you add new Tropheus to an existing school, add smaller ones so you don't interrupt the heirarchy. A dominant male will go after large enough Tropheus he feels threatened by. I'll usually cut off the lights when I add new fish, so the other fish won't pick on the them as much. Sometimes I also move rocks around to disrupt the territories of the old fish.
An absolutely beautiful fish, but definitely not for beginners. I had 2 small Tropheus duboisi in a newly established 450 L Malawi cichlid tank. I realised that the Tropheus duboisi isn't a Malawi cichlid, rather it is from lake Tanganyika but due to the similar size of the fish I figured they would be compatible. Both of the fish seemed happy in their new environment for the first month or so. They swam the tank continuously and interacted with the other fish. Suddenly, in both cases, the fish would not come out of the rocks and refused any form of food. They became very pale and seemed to just float wherever they went. The first of the two cases died in about 5 days of falling obviously ill and I found his body in the gravel having being substantially devoured by the other fish. About 2 months later I noticed there was a repeat of behavior in the second of the two fish and was shocked as the fish was rapidly growing and seemingly very healthy. After about two days of this behaviour, in an attempt to save the fish, I managed to catch it and put it in a seperate 60 cm tank on its own. The next morning I found it dead on the bottom of the tank with a very large belly which wasn't obvious when he was put in. All in all I do recommend this fish if you are willing to take a risk due to the expensive pricing (expensive in Australia, possibly cheaper in other countries).
The best advice for keeping tropheus is to do research. There are numerous web resources to learn how to care for these sensitive fish. With proper care anyone should be able to keep trophs. First, for a colony to really be successful, you need at least a 300 L tank and 15-20 fish. They do benefit from some protein in their diets. New Life Spectrum is a great food and they can be fed this exclusively, and it will meet the dietary requirements of any other tank mates that may be carnivores. Trophs should ideally be kept with other Tanganyikan cichlids. If you don't want to keep a colony go with just one fish. Smaller groups just tend to kill each other.
I started off a bit over one year ago with 9 duboisi and 5 bemba red flames. I just did a trade in for fish credit for 25 bemba red flames and 92 duboisis! Obviously I didn't have much issue with keeping them healthy and having them breed! I was keeping them in a 510 L with OVER filtration and doing a 75% water change every Saturday and feeding only danichi veggie pellets! Key with these fish is 100% veggie diet and water changes. My fish mated EVERY water change! Right as the new water began coming in. I tried these fish because everyone said it was hard, so I just had to. They were so much easier than anything I have ever tried. I did NOTHING but weekly water change. No chemicals, nada!
I began keeping Tangs six months ago. Was a little dubious at first on reading how many had rated them not for beginners and hard to keep. I kept cold water for 10 years, tropical for 18 months, but when I came across Tangs I had to set up a new tank which I have had for 6 months. I keep 3 Yellow Cheeks (1 male 2 female), 1 Red Rainbow, 3 Duboisi (1 male 2 female), 1 Kaiser and 2 Synopetricola Catfish. The Duboisi are the most dominant in the tank, but don't go looking for trouble. One of my Yellow Cheeks is a bit of a bully but knows not to mess with the ones with the blue face. I have just had my first batch of Duboisi fry from both females (the male has been busy) like another has stated, with every water change he shakes his stuff.
I don't find them hard to keep, a fortnightly water change, some water conditioner along with good filtration is all it takes for me. I feed them Aquarian Tropical Flakes as it is lower in protein than other brands (never had a bloat problem). Coral gravel and plenty of sea rock with a few plants (never get raked up). Don't be put off at keeping Tangs thinking they won't survive, I had them with my Malawis at first but they have different habits and despite being able to exist together they are happier with their own kind. Duboisi are my favourites in the tank and now I have about 15 babies to raise which I am really looking forward to.
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