Tropheus brichardi "Kipili" group in the home aquarium of Sergey Anikstein. Photo by Sergey Anikstein.
Tropheus brichardi was described by a group of specimens caught near Nyanza Lac in Burundi (Nelissen & Thys van den Audenaerde, 1975) according to Ad Konings. This cichlid was known as Tropheus "Chocolate moorii," and has a wide distribution in Lake Tanganyika. The main characteristic of Tropheus brichardi is its color gamma of vertical bands. Such striping is most typical for the adult females and juveniles, while the males as a rule in due time lose these "bands" and change to a general dark green or brown coloring in the body. On the east side of Lake Tanganyika near Kipili there is a site where the Tropheus brichardi are collected that have a wonderful bright turquoise color in the eye, and the juveniles show good color with desirable striping.
Many authors state that Tropheus brichardi is one of the most aggressive species of Tropheus. This may be true in the wild, but in the aquarium based on my observations, I have not found them to be as spiteful as their reputation.
Tropheus brichardi "Kipili"" male in the home aquarium of Sergey Anikstein. Photo by Sergey Anikstein.
I obtained my Tropheus brichardi "kipili" from a German firm (MalTaVi), through my local fish store in Moscow, thanks to Arkady Chernishev. These fry are totally different from other Tropheus fry, by their extraordinary brightness in color. They practically began to eat at once, immediately after I received them, which was a good sign. They began foraging with greed and swallowing anything they thought was food. I began feeding them Cyclops and the coloring of the fry increased and they began to show red on the back and anal fins.
Tropheus become sexually mature at about one year. My first spawnings were not very productive, but later from one of the females I was able to get 16 fry. She held them to term and was observed eating many times while holding. I didn't keep track of each and every spawn, but I would say the average female produced about 10 fry each time.
Now I elect to strip the females and incubate them separately, so that I can increase my production. The fry begin to eat about the 4th week of the incubation process, even though they may still show a rather large egg sac. I think it is important to feed them quality foods when they are young and I like to feed freshly hatch baby brine shrimp. As they get older and a bit larger about 1 cm., you can begin to feed them dry foods such as; Tetra Rubin, Tetra Phill, Sera Vipan, Sera San.
At different times the Tropheus brichardi "kipili" have been housed together with other species of Tropheus and Eretmodus, in various sized tanks up from 200 liters to 800 liters. I have not noticed any cruel aggression towards these other species. The water conditions for T. brichardi "kipili" do not differ from the "standard" for all cichlids of Lake Tanganyika. Water: GH 20-25, KH 12-15, pH 8,0-8,5, NH3/NH4-0, NO2-0, NO3- 2-5. Filtration is accomplished by means of a UniStar pump with an external filter Prime-3; all the filter chambers are filled BioMax (Hagen). Water changes are 1\4 - 1\6 every 2 - 4 days. Lighting is by two Aqua Glo lamps that are on 10-12 hours per day. Temperature is around 25 - 26°C. Feedings consist of 1-2 times per day, a dry food from Tetra, Sera, or Wardley, sheets of lettuce, Cyclops, sometimes glass worms (fed very gradually).
Now they coexist in 250 liter with fry and Tropheus sp. "ikola." The T. brichardi dominate the aquarium, the Ikola- male, only at time of a spawning challenges the male T. brichardi "Kipili" to a flat stone.
Tropheus brichardi "kipili" have been an enjoyable species to observe and spawn in my own aquarium.
- Konings, Ad; 1998; "Tanganyika Cichlids In Their Natural Habitat"; Cichlid Press.
Tropheus brichardi "Kipili" juvenile in the home aquarium of Sergey Anikstein. Photo by Sergey Anikstein.
A special thanks to Pam Chin for reviewing this writing.