For a colorful African cichlid aquarium, imagine a palette of beautiful Tropheus Moorii!
With just this one species, you can select from around 50 different fabulous color varieties. Then go even further and add another type from the seven groups of Tropheus cichlids listed below!
The Tropheus Moorii, commonly called the Blunthead Cichlid, is an exotic fish with a spunky nature. Design your aquarium with a palette of reds, blues, oranges, greens, or a multitude of hues found in this fish, to create a spectacular and lively effect!
These attractive rock-dwelling African cichlids originate from Lake Tanganyika. The Tropheus Moorii can be found spread throughout this enormous lake at almost every single reef, and each area has a unique color variety. Tropheus cichlids are similar to their Zebra Cichlid counterparts found in Lake Malawi, commonly known as the Mbuna. Mbunas are handsome rock-dwellers too, but there are a lot more species.
There are over 120 color varieties of Tropheus cichlids, spread out across only six species. Mbuna on the other hand, are comprised of many species and are found in 9 separate genera. As a general rule the Mbuna coloring is blue males and yellow females, sometimes with black bars and yellow hues mixed in.
The rock-dwelling African Cichlids are all handsome fish, but the multitude of color selections found in the Tropheus Moorii Cichlids tops them all. Still, the other Tropheus species are also incredible beauties with a number of their own impressive variations.
Blunthead Cichlids are lively fish and a colony of 12 or more can make an amazing display. But these beauties are quite aggressive and don’t do well mixed with other types of cichlids. You don’t want to design their aquarium in a willy-nilly manner. Fish selection, aquarium setup and tank maintenance go hand in hand for a successful display.
For a beautiful tank with colors that remain true, it’s best to keep only a single gorgeous group of the same type Tropheus Moorii. They are constantly sparing to dominate their territory and they may even breed! Mixing multiple types may result in interbreeding, with the colors becoming diluted and possibly even dull.
However, you can usually keep two different types Tropheus species together with much less chance of mixed breeding.
Besides the Blunthead Cichlid, there are 5 more Tropheus cichlids that are scientifically described. Then there’s a sixth group, simply called Tropheus Sp., that contains the many undescribed species.
Each group has a number of color variants and many of the varieties are picture on their respective pages, so check them out!
Seven Groups of Tropheus cichlids
The beautiful Blunthead cichlid has the largest number of color varieties, with around 50 unique types!
Brichardi Cichlids were called ‘Blue-Eyed Tropheus’ by hobbyists well before they were scientifically described. This is because the iris of their eyes can be a fabulous blue color if they are kept in optimal conditions.
Juveniles are so adorable! They are all black with white to bluish polka dots. But they change as they mature, with the adults have a bluish head, a dark slate to almost black body and fins, and a bold contrasting yellow band around their middle. For this they are often called the Blue-Faced Duboisi Cichlid. There are 3 basic types with the most popular being the Maswa, or yellow band. Then there is the Karilani with a narrow white band and the Kigoma with a wide white band.
Tropheus Species “black,” “red,” “ikola,” “mpimbwe,” and a whole bunch more are undescribed species. They are recognized as distinctive varieties, but they have not yet been described. Each has a different color patterning depending on the locale from which they originate. Color morphs can vary greatly, ranging from solid colored with a broad band and a large mid-section blotch or two of yellow or red. They have various amounts of coloring on the head, fins, and upper back. They can also have a striped patterning on the body or they can have various other combinations.
This is a unique species because it has a forked caudal fin rather than the fan shaped fin found on the others. In 1977 G. S. Axelrod placed it in a category of its own due to it having this ‘lyre’ type tail fin and an individual place of orign at Bula Point on the eastern side of the lake. A couple other common names they are known by are Wimpel Moorii and Polli and there are at least 3 color morphs.
Tropheus annectens Tropheus annectens
This species has a form similar to that of T. polli, but is found at the opposite side of the lake. These two species also behave similarly and it has been speculated they may be conspecifics. At some point, T. polli may be determined to be a junior synonym of T. Annectens.
Tropheus kasabae Tropheus kasabae
This species is known only from the southern portion of Lake Tanganyika. It is a more recently described species. It was given a species status by Nelissen in 1977. As most of the Tropheus cichlids were once all grouped together under Tropheus Moorii, you may find it listed as Tropheus moorii kasabae.
African Cichlids, Dwarf Cichlids, and the large cichlids from Central and South America are fascinating fish and fun to keep. Pictures and information for all kinds of different cichlids can be found in Types of Cichlids!
Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
Featured Image Credit: Abhishek R, Unsplash