Teale Miller, 2002
Cichlid Room Companion
Tropheus basics

Sexing Your Tropheus

By , 2001. image
Last updated on 01-Feb-2001

Learning how to properly vent your fish is very important if you are serious about breeding your fish and acquiring a group with a good sex ratio.

Tropheus moorii 'Red Chimba' Female Older females can look very much like a male! In fact, if you have no males that are sexually mature in a tank a female will often take over the dominant role known as a matriarch.

Sexing Tropheus can be very difficult, especially at a young age. This is partially due to the lack of sexual dimorphism and partially a result of their similar actions between sexes. Luckily, there are a few tricks you can use to help you figure out what ratio of males and females you have ended up with.

Sexual Dimorphism - Okay, I know I just said this wouldn't work, but as always when it comes to cichlids there are a few exceptions. Tropheus polli (also called the 'Wimple Moorii' or 'Flag Moorii') shows very definite differences between the sexes. The males will show a silvery blue coloration while the females and juveniles show a distinctive striped grayish blue pattern.

Venting - This is by far the best and the only really reliable way to tell your Tropheus apart. This can be done at a very young age and is important if you are trying to gather a productive breeding group. I will try to get a picture of this soon with a description on how to do it. For now there is a very nice article on Gary Kratochvil's page Exotic Tropicals.

Physical Appearance - Until you are experienced and have seen a lot of Tropheus through adulthood, this is the least reliable method of sexing your fish. Even then, it can be hard to tell.

The things to look for are:

  • Differences in the head shape - males will have a more noticeably turned up nose whereas females tend to have a greater slope and rounded nose.
  • Bolder colors - males will typically start to show off their colors once they start to become sexually active. Females tend to be more subdued and retain juvenile coloration longer.
  • Larger size - males tend to grow at a faster rate then the females do and generally gain a deeper body as they age. Females often will look more streamlined.

NOTE: Again, these are just hints to help you guess at what sex your Tropheus are if you are squeamish about venting them or do not know how, by no means are these 100% reliable ways to sex your fish.

Tropheus polli male


Miller, Teale. (Feb 01, 2001). "Sexing Your Tropheus". Cichlid Room Companion. Retrieved on Sep 23, 2023, from: