Pseudotropheus minutus

Common Names:
Family: Cichlidae
Category: Cichlids
Distribution: Africa; Endemic to Lake Malawi, Africa.
Main Ecosystem: Rift Lake; Found close to submerged rocks and rubble upon which mats of Aufwuchs algae grow.
Temperament: Territorial; Territorial with conspecifics, but relatively mellow compared to some other Mbuna – in a sufficiently large aquarium, it is possible to keep more than one male, though males must always be outnumbered by females – a typical ratio being 1 male to 5 females. Territorial demands in terms of area relatively modest compared with some other Mbuna species. Can be integrated into a multi-species Mbuna aquarium provided that the companion species are chosen with care, and the fish is not expected to co-exist alongside the extremely aggressive species.
Diet: Herbivore; Primarily herbivorous, an aufwuchs algal grazer in the wild, feeding both upon the algae and small invertebrates living in the algal mats. Should be provided with algae to graze upon in the aquarium, or equivalent dietary supplements containing vegetable matter. Failure to provide a significant amount of vegetable matter in the diet, or too heavy a feeding upon protein-rich meaty foodstuffs, precipitates the metabolic complaint known as ‘Malawi Bloat’, which is often fatal. Celery tops, fresh spinach, lettuce and shelled fresh peas are suitable items to provide in the diet. Some animal matter is, however, essential, but should be a minority component in the diet.
Care: A modest sized Malawi Mbuna aquarium will house this species – 40 gallons should be considered the minimum size, and 55 gallons the minimum size if the intention is to house the species with other mellow-tempered Mbuna. Of course, larger aquaria are very much preferable, and increase the stocking options for the aquarist. Aquarium should be furnished with rocks arranged so as to provide numerous caves for the fish to inhabit (along with any other Mbuna present). Standard water chemistry parameters for Lake Malawi fishes apply to this species. As with all Mbuna, should be provided with top quality filtration and regular water changes.
8 - 8.5
24°C - 28°C
75°F - 82°F
10 dH - 20 dH
Potential Size: Male: 10cm (3.9")
Female: 10cm (3.9")
Water Region: All; The fish will swim throughout all layers of the aquarium while remaining within close proximity of the rock cover provided.
Activity: Diurnal; An active grazer throughout daylight hours.
Gender: Males are brilliant blue with black bars, while females exhibit a more pastel lilac hue between the black bars, this ground colour sometimes exhibiting a neutral greyish tinge. Males exhibit two prominent ‘egg spots’ at the rear of the anal fin, one larger than the other. Note that both male and female typically exhibit vertical bars that are solid and well defined at the anterior end of the fish, becoming indistinct toward the posterior end, and disappearing altogether before reaching the caudal peduncle.
Breeding: A typical mouthbrooding Mbuna. Males spawn with multiple females, the females brooding the eggs and fry in buccal (cheek) pouches until the fry are between 20 and 28 days old. Spawns likely to be modest in size in keeping with the small size of the fish.
Variants: Thus far, not regarded as one of the Mbuna species exhibiting a plethora of geographical variants or colour morphs, but it is possible that some remain to be discovered, as Lake Malawi is a VERY large lake and the ichthyofauna, while extensively studied, is still incompletely documented. For the time being, however, no markedly different colour variations upon the ‘standard’ fish have appeared in the trade.
Comments: This fish bears considerable resemblance both in colouration and elongated body shape to Psuedotropheus elongatus, but there the similarity ends. Psuedotropheus minutus is a species exhibiting a relatively mellow temperament by usual Mbuna standards, whilst Pseudotropheus elongatus is an EXTREMELY aggressive fish – the aquarist should take GREAT CARE to distinguish between the two fishes correctly! Specialist dealers that sort their Mbuna with care, and label their stock with correct scientific names, should be sought out in order to be certain of the identity of purchased specimens. While Pseudotropheus minutus USUALLY displays fewer and thicker vertical bars on the body than Pseudotropheus elongatus, this characteristic should NOT be regarded as reliable, as there are ‘borderline’ instances where the appearance of the two fishes overlaps sufficiently to require expert determination of identity. Specialist dealers in Rift Lake Cichlids will segregate the species correctly in advance, and while their prices may be somewhat higher, the known provenance and prior correct determination of identity is worth the extra cost, particularly as mistaken acquisition of Pseudotropheus elongatus instead of Pseudotropheus minutus could prove disastrous!
Main Colours: Blue, Black
Markings: Striped Vertical
Mouth: Normal
Tail: Flat
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Submitted By: Calilasseia
Contributors: Calilasseia
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