Systematics.  The genus Pseudotropheus was formerly used for a variety of Lake Malawi mbuna species.  Recent revisions split the genus into three sub-genera (Pseudotropheus (Pseudotropheus), P. (Tropheops), and P. (Metriaclima) [Note:  Metriaclima -or Maylandia; depending upon which arguments you follow; see Cichlid Fish of Lake Malawi or Cichlid-Forum for info. on this debate- has been given full genus status].  Ps. sp. "polit" is an undescribed species and likely belongs to the Pseudotropheus (Pseudotropheus) complex.



Pseudotropheus sp. "polit"


Pseudotropheus sp. "polit"  male 70 mm TL


Natural Habitat.  This species may be restricted to Lion's Cove, located in the central portion of the western shore of Lake Malawi and was most often observed at depths of 5-12 m (Ribbink et al. 1983).  In the natural habitat, Ps. sp. "polit" have been reported to graze on aufwuchs (rocky bicover) and detritus collected amongst the rocks (Ribbink et al. 1983).



Pseudotropheus sp. "polit"


Pseudotropheus sp. "polit"  Males 50 mm TL


Captive Maintenance.  Ps. sp. "polit", like many of the "dwarf" Pseudotropheus types, can demonstrate an extreme degree of intraspecific aggression.  Though perhaps not as aggressive as Ps. demasoni, this species is probably best maintained in  groups of at least 6-8 with a male/female ratio of 1:3 and in aquaria of at least 100 L (40 gallons).  Dominant males will display pattern of bright whitish-blue, sharply offset by the black facemask and ventral fins.  The pattern can quickly lapse to a solid brownish-gray, similar to adult females and juveniles, when the male has been startled or involved in an aggressive encounter.  Ps. sp. "polit" often require being among the most dominant fish in the aquarium to display the brilliant coloration.  It should be noted that young juveniles 5-18 mm TL (0.25-0.75") are a pleasing orange-brown in color prior to turning brownish-gray at approximately 25 mm TL (1").  Suitable tankmates for this species include other moderately aggressive mbuna species such as Labeotropheus trewavasae, and most Labidochromis and Cynotilapia spp.  Robust Haplochromines such as Aulonocara jacobfreibergi, most Protomelas spp., and Lake Victoria species, may also be housed successfully with this species.  Other dwarf Pseudotropheus spp. and larger, more aggressive mbuna should be avoided as hybridization may occur or coloration of adult males may be inhibited.  Captive diet should include a base herbivore "green" flake and may be supplemented with pelleted and frozen foods.

Literature Cited 

Ribbink, A.J., B.A. Marsh, A.C. Marsh, A.C. Ribbink, and B.J. Sharp.  (1983).  A preliminary survey of the cichlid fishes of rocky habitats in Lake Malawi.  South African Journal of Zoology 18(3):  149-310.




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