The Blue-Eyed Tropheus Tropheus brichardi is a favorite cichlid as it has many different color varieties. Brichardi Cichlids were called 'Blue-Eyed Tropheus' by hobbyists well before they were scientifically described. True to this name, the iris of their eyes can become blue colored if they are kept in optimal conditions.
There are several varieties/races of this species and their coloring is dependent on where the fish are collected. The Skunkback Tropeus pictured above is from the Nyanza area of Lake Tanganyika, Africa. The main characteristic of these fish are their vertical stripes, which are very colorful on some varieties. However the stripes are primarily seen on juveniles and females as the males loose them over time.
A colony of 12 to 30 of these pretty cichlids can make an amazing display and their personality is a definite plus. The Tropheus have a really interesting social structure that is built upon a colony of consistent tank mates. They are very active and have individual behaviors, from curiously lining up to watch the goings on in the room to their 'dolphin-like' antics when eating. Feeding time can be very 'wet' for their keepers, but make this fish very fun and desirable.
The Blue-Eyed Tropheus have a reputation of being one of the most aggressive of the Tropheus species. In the wild they are very aggressive with conspecifics, but are said to be less aggressive, even shy, with other fish. In the aquarium their aggression level towards unrelated fish can vary depending on the personalities of the individual fish.
Truly a rewarding fish for the aquarist who is willing to provide the necessary care. This hearty cichlid can be easy to moderate to keep as long as attention is paid to its diet and mandatory water changes are done, and difficult if they are neglected. They are rather expensive fish, and initial attempts to keep them often met with difficulty until aquarists became familiar with their rather specific, though uncomplicated needs. They can be afflicted with the occurrence of 'bloat', and there seems to be no explainable rational as to its cause.
Provide a sandy substrate, strong lighting to encourage algae growth, and several rock piles along with rocks formed into caves. Having a very aggressive nature, they are best kept in a species specific tank. Do not add a new fish to an already established colony as this will cause an upset and death. They may also be kept in a larger aquarium with some other herbivorous rock dwelling African cichlids. The larger the tank and the more hiding places you have will help with aggression.