Star Trinity / Trofeus duboisi (Tropheus duboisi) Marlier, 1959
It is one of the most popular cichlids of Lake Tanganyika. Its popularity is mainly due to the fact that young fish of this species have excellent color, which disappears when they become sexually mature, the body color becomes blue-black with a white or yellow vertical stripe under the dorsal fin.
Teenage color, lasts almost a year.
Africa, Lake Tanganyika is its northern part.
The species is endemic to this lake. They live in rocky coastal areas at depths of up to 30 m. In nature, adult males do not occupy a permanent territory. Most T. duboisi live in small groups or individually.
They move into habitats in search of food. Their diet consists mainly of algae, more precisely of biomass that grows on rocks, it may contain insect larvae, crustaceans, snails and zooplankton.
Since T. duboisi is located at somewhat deeper levels of the lake, between 7 and 25 meters, the algae growths are not very thick, and therefore the fish must constantly move to get enough food.
Four subpopulations are distinguished in different parts of the lake, commonly referred to as the Trofeus Duboisi or the Star Trofeus. But they are also named after their place of origin, along with the appropriate name, and their difference is the color (white or yellow) and the width of the vertical strip, which is present in adult fish.
Trofeus Duboisi “Masva” (T. duboisi Maswa) – this subpopulation known as yellow broadband, originates from the port area Kalemie, Congo.
Trofeus Duboisi “Kigoma” (T. duboisi Kigoma) – this subpopulation is the largest, has a wide white band, but not as wide as in Bemba, comes from the Malagaria region, Tanzania on the border with Burundi.
T. duboisi Karilani Trofeus Duboisi, a subpopulation known as a narrow-band, has a narrow white stripe, caught in the area of the island of Karilani, Magambo.
Trofeus Duboisi “Bemba” (T. duboisi Bemba) – this subpopulation is known as broadband, has a wide white band, comes from part along the coast of the lake in the region of Bemba, Congo.
The Masva population is perhaps the most popular in aquarism because its yellow stripe is especially wide. Males and females have the same color.
Star Trofeus is a strong fish that has a large head in proportion to its body, and its body narrows to form a tail. Tail fin in the form of a propeller blade.
Adult fish have a bluish-blue head with an almost black body and fins, and a bright contrasting strip in the center. Teenagers are very attractive – with a black body covered with bluish-white spots.
The change in coloring of young fish to the coloring of adults is really impressive. As it grows, a band begins to appear, like a faded yellow or white color.
Gradually, the spots on his body disappear and his head begins to turn blue, although he still has spots. Spots on the body begin to form into irregular stripes, which then also disappear to a solid color when the fish mature.
Maximum standard length 12 cm.
This species has a somewhat dubious reputation for aggressive behavior, but this is unfair. In fact, they are relatively peaceful with respect to other species, but there will be clashes with conspecificities, that is, with individuals of their own species. The fish is very active and should not be kept with timid and sedentary species.
Possible aquarium neighbors are species of Julidochromis, Eretmodus and Tanganicodus, since they require a similar diet, as is the case with Trofeus.
Unfortunately, obtaining a peaceful species group of Duboisi is quite difficult. These fish are not schooling by nature, and will usually compete with each other in an aquarium until a natural order is established – the hierarchy.
Despite this, in small groups (5-6 units) the fish do not calm down and can fight to the death. Therefore, it is usually recommended to acquire a group of 10-20 fish in order to reduce territorial aggression. There are exceptions to this, it happens that small groups and even couples of Trophies live peacefully together, but these are most likely just exceptions to the rules.
The main problem associated with the successful maintenance of the colony of Trofeus is the size of the aquarium, while the minimum size for a group of fish of this species is 150x45x45 cm. If they are contained in a large group, the social interaction between the fish is truly fascinating.
New individuals should never be planted in the established group of Trophies, since they will not be allowed.
Some species of fish, as well as catfish Synodontis, have a calming effect on aggressive cichlids. Adding schooling fish, such as the iris, will help to divert males from displaying aggression towards females.
120 cm x 30 cm x 30 cm – 110 liters for a single copy. A group of fish requires a much larger aquarium.
Many aquarists keep Troféus in bare aquariums to reduce their territorial behavior, but they can also be kept in decorated aquariums. If you want to arrange an aquarium, then use for this pile of stones to form a lot of caves and shelters, alternating with open places for swimming.
In any case, use sand as a substrate, strong light to stimulate algae growth and make sure that the water is well saturated with oxygen.
Temperature: 23-27 ° C
Hardness: 8-25 ° dGH
The water in Lake Tanganyika is quite hard and very alkaline, its parameters are fairly stable, that is, the indicators remain almost unchanged during the seasons. Cichlids in the lake have adapted to these specific conditions and thus live in water with a pH of about 9, and a temperature of 26.5 ° C. According to the experience of Trofeus lovers, water hardness or conductivity plays a minor role, but pH is very important.
Thus, the pH of the water in the aquarium should be in the range of 7.8 to 9.5 in order to obtain an optimal result in a breeding colony of fish. If the pH is below pH 7, T. duboisi is unlikely to multiply and become vulnerable to all types of diseases.
At pH below 6.5, Trofeus Duboisi will die in a short amount of time. Acidic water (pH below 7) may be suitable for cichlids of Lake Tanganyika only with the addition of salts.
Not ordinary table salt (NaCl), but carbonates. A mixture of one part NaHCO (bicarbonate) and one part (carbonate) added to water raises the pH to about 9.5. How much this mixture needs to be added depends on the conductivity of the water.
You will have to experience it by experience. Therefore, the salts are mixed until dissolved in water.
This mixture acts as a buffer; therefore, the pH will not be higher than the target pH of 9.5. Another option is to use sea salt designed for aquariums. It gives a pH of about 8.3, which is enough for T. duboisi.
Add as much salt as needed to raise the pH to 8.3. If the water you start with is very soft, you need some salt. If the water is hard but does not have the desired pH, it is better to use a mixture of Na / NaHCO.
The water temperature should be between 25 ° and 27 ° C. The temperature above 29 ° C damages all Tanganyika cichlids.
T. duboisi need to maintain good water quality. Regular partial water changes are very important, change 15% twice or 30% once a week, depending on the number of inhabitants.
Trophy starfish does not tolerate sharp fluctuations of water parameters. This intolerance is due to the fact that Lake Tanganyika is very deep, and the water in it tends to remain stable despite seasonal changes in the weather.
They need good water flow along with very strong and effective filtration. Regularly check the nitrates and pH, nitrates should be no more than 25 ppm, and pH less than 7 is not allowed.
Will take most of the proposed feed, but the vegetable component in the form of flakes of spirulina, blanched spinach, etc. should be the basis of the diet. Herbal ingredients can be supplemented with live and frozen small feeds.
Never feed the meat of animals, because it damages the digestive system of these fish.
One of the most important moments for the well-being of Trofeus Duboisi is nutrition. As already mentioned, T. duboisi eats a lot in the wild, but most of it has no digestive value.
All swallowed material moves at relatively high speed through the long intestine. If you feed them easily digestible food, they will voraciously collect as much as possible, this is implicit in nature.
If the food is soft and easily digested, it forms a mucous substance in the first part of the intestine. The digestive tract is upset, and soon he will not be able to digest anything.
Trophy will get a swollen belly and loss of appetite. He will be vulnerable to various diseases or just die from bloating.
Thus, never feed your Duboisi soft, easily digestible food. Do not feed him with a Tubber (or any other type of worms), Motyle and Coretra or beef heart.
One of the best feeds for T. duboisi is Cyclops or, to some extent, Daphnia. These products should not be given alive, only frozen.
The safest choice is quality dry food. Green flakes (Spirulina flakes) are especially recommended, but other types are also good.
Granulated feeds can be used, but here you risk an intestinal obstruction. Therefore, the granules should be softened (soaked with water) prior to their submission. Another important factor related to nutrition is the relatively small amount of food consumed daily.
All artificial foods contain a high percentage of proteins, so a small amount is enough for daily intake.
Duboishi trophies are voracious feeders who eat everything that goes into the aquarium and rarely let the food fall to the bottom. Providing more food in an attempt to feed the neighbors in the aquarium can lead to overeating by the Trophies themselves, which can lead to bloating.
Feeding 3 times a day in small portions, instead of a large one. This will maintain good water quality over a longer period.
Gender is difficult to determine, the differences between male and female are weak. There are some subtle differences in growth rate, body size and shape, but the only guaranteed method is to examine the genital papillae (papilla / tubercle) of the fish, but this is recommended only to specialists.
The genital nipples are pointed at the male and rounded at the female.
Incubation of calves in the female’s mouth. The tank should be prepared as described above.
It is recommended to purchase about 20 young fish and allow them to grow together. It is difficult to get an ideal group, and some fish (especially subdominant males) may be lost. Another method is to remove the dominant males as they develop, until you have the desired sex ratio.
If you want to contain more than one male, you must provide each of them with about 50 cm of territory, each of which contains a mound of stones that the male will protect. 6-10 females should fall on one male.
If there are several males in an aquarium, but only one or a solid mound of stones, then only one male will become dominant and will spawn with females.
Fish spawn in open water, usually over rocks. During spawning, the female can either take the eggs into the mouth before they reach the substrate, or allow them to fall between the stones before collecting them.
Then she presses against the male, which releases its milt directly into the female’s mouth, thereby fertilizing the eggs.
The female can carry its offspring from 5-15 eggs for more than 4 weeks before freeing the free-swimming fry. She usually continues to eat during this period and can be seen with her mouth full.
If the female is exposed to excessive stress, she may spit out the brood prematurely or eat it, so caution should be exercised if you decide to move the fish. This is not recommended for Trofeuses, since if the female is too long away from the colony, she will lose her position in the hierarchical order of the group and can be severely attacked when she is returned.
Conversely, if left in the main aquarium, it can lose most of the brood due to stalking by other fish. If you move the female, turn off the aquarium’s lights and cover it with a blanket for as long as it is returned.
Most breeders who want to raise more fry artificially take them out of their mother’s mouth for 2 weeks and pick them up on their own from now on. However, this approach applies only to specialists.
Fry large enough to immediately take Nauplii brine shrimp, mikrochervei, crushed flakes of spirulina and powdered dry food specifically designed for this purpose, as soon as they become free to swim.
If they stayed with their mother, care of the brood continues for a while, while the fry take refuge in their mouth when they feel threatened.
Like others in the genus, Tropheus duboisi is something of a puzzle in aquarism and, despite its popularity, is not a suitable species for beginners. There have been many arguments and discussions about how best to keep it in an aquarium, and some of this debate still continues. Here is the generally accepted method of keeping these fish, but in fact what works for one aquarist may not be suitable for another.
One aspect, which is always fair, is that water quality is of paramount importance in the Trophy fish tank, as they are very susceptible to “bloating”.
Teenagers of this type look amazing, with a pattern of white or light blue spots on a black body. This color fades to a blue-black color with a yellow or white vertical stripe on the body when the fish becomes mature.
There are several geographic morphs * of the Trofeus Duboisi. Obviously, they should not be mixed in aquariums, as they will hybridize freely.
* A morph is a biological designation of a population or subpopulation of the same species, which differ from each other among other things by phenotypes.