Duboisi Cichlid
(Tropheus Duboisi)
White Spotted Cichlid

Duboisi Cichlid

(Tropheus Duboisi)

Size:  5 Inches

Temp Range:  73°F to 81°F

pH Level:  8.5 to 9.0

Lifespan:  5 to 8 years

Tank Size:  85 gallons

Diet: Pellet, Flake, Vegetable

Difficulty: Moderate

Geographic History

This interesting little guy originates from lake Tanganyika in Burundi, Congo, Tanzania, and Zambi.  They are found in rocky areas of deep water.


The Duboisi Cichlid prefers a sandy or fine gravel substrate with lots of larger rocks scattered around.  Some of the rocks should be stacked to form caves so that they will have dark areas to hide.  Be sure to leave quite a bit of open area in the middle of the aquarium for swimming room.  This fish likes to graze on algae, so allowing some to grow in your aquarium will be necessary. 


These are a generally peaceful cichlid that are a good choice for community aquariums stocked with like sized fish.  In small groups they will be aggressive to their own kind and are best kept in communities of ten or more.  Only one or two males should be present in order to reduce aggression.

A pecking order will be established within the group soon after it is added to your aquarium.  When stocking these active fish, be sure to add the entire group at once.  Never add a new Duboisi Cichlid to an established group.  This will upset the order of the community and it will probably be killed.


Adult males tend to have noses that turn upward.  The males grow faster and lose their juvenile spots quicker.  Females have a more sloped nose that is rounded in appearance. The females will also have a more streamlined body, giving them a narrow look.


Duboisi Cichlids will spend a lot of time scraping algae off of rocks, driftwood, and aquarium glass.  The males will chase the females during daylight hours. Having many females and just a few males will reduce overall stress in their community group. 

The males tend to develop micro-habitat territories and will actively defend them from other males.  To reduce aggression in aquariums under 100 gallons, only one male is advised.  At least two feet of territory with a rock in the center will be needed to keep the males happy.


Duboisi Cichlids are interesting mouthbrooders.  The female will lay 20-30 eggs in mid water.  She will then either catch them in her mouth or pick them off of the bottom.  The males will fertilize the eggs while they are in the female's mouth.

The eggs hatch in a few days, and the female will protect the fry by keeping them in her mouth for about 4 weeks. The fry will leave her mouth to feed on baby brine shrimp and crushed flake.  The female will stay close to the fry and allow them to swim into her mouth again if they feel threatened.  Males will have no part in the protection of the fry after spawning.

If spawning occurred in a breeding tank, getting the female back into her community tank as soon as her eggs are fertilized is important.  Failure to keep her among the established community for more than just a few days could cause her to lose her place in the pecking order. She may be attacked and killed on re-introduction.  After the eggs have hatched, take care to not remove the female from the aquarium where her fry were spawned. She may then become stressed and eat the fry. 

For more information, go to Wikipedia's Duboisi Cichlid page.

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