Pseudotropheus sp. polit – Lion’s Cove

Pseudotropheus sp. polit is a small but though and fierce Mbuna. They have a great looking mask over their head.

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Pseudotropheus sp. polit “Lion’s Cove”

Pseudotroheus sp. Polit has no official scientific name yet, hence the sp. in its name).


Pseudotropheus sp. Polit is a small tough and fierce Mbuna from Lake Malawi. They can grow an 8 to 10 centimeters long. Males have a great color patern while the females are rust brown. When the males feel threatened they can immediately change color to a dull grey/blue. Keeping multiple males in one aquarium often results in death of one of them.

Males in full color are light blue. Over their head runs a black mask. The black runs from their head downwards over their throat to their pelvic fins. Their anal fins show some black too as do the fin rays of the caudal fin. You can distinguish them from other similar Mbuna species by the lack of black in their dorsal fin.

Juvenile Pseudotropheus sp. Polit are brown like the females. Females are slightly smaller than males.

Despite being a small Lake Malawi cichlid, Pseudotropheus sp. Polit can be described as aggressive. Especially males show a high degree of intraspecific aggression. They fight each other and lock lips if they can. Males are always willing to mate and chase the females around relentlessly. Other species are often ignored. It is best to keep them in a harem, keep one male with at least 3 females.


Kaart Malawimeer Lions Cove

Kaart Malawimeer Lions Cove

Pseudotropheus sp. Polit can only be found near Lions Cove, halfway Lake Malawi on the western side of the lake.

Lions Cove is also the place where you can find the bright yellow strain of Labidochromis caeruleus.


As most Mbuna Pseudotropheus sp. Polit is herbivorous. It feeds mainly on algae. In the wild it sifts through the aufwuchs growing on the rocks. In the aquarium it will take all food you offer. It is advised to keep this species with other Mbuna so you can give them the diet they ned. You can feed them with spirulina, spinach, lettuce, zucchini, squash, herbivorous flakes and granulate. You can give them light meaty foods from time to time like brine shrimp, mysis or daphnia but make sure you dont feed them to much as they will grow too fat on these foods.

The Aquarium

Decorate the aquarium for Mbuna cichlids. As a substrate use sand so the fish can sift it through their gills. To prevent the sand from clogging you can use filtersand.

Use plenty of rock for algae to grow on. Make sure to create lots of caves and crevices where the females can hide from the male if he chases them for too long to mate. Holding females will use the rocks to stay away from the chasing male.

The aquarium should be at least 100 centimeters long but bigger is better. It give you more room to create hidings and apply some bigger rocks to break the visual lines to give the fish some space.


As with all Mbuna form Lake Malawi, Pseudotropheus sp. Polit is a Mouthbrooder. After laying one or two eggs the female turns around and pics up the eggs in her mouth. The female will brood on the eggs that hatch in a couple of days. She will continue to hold the fry in her mouth till around 3 weeks after spawning. After 3 weeks she spits out the fry that will have to take care of their own from then on. Pseudotropheus sp. Polit nests usually have a maximum of around 15 to 20 fry.

You can raise the fry on spirulina and crushed flakes. If you keep them in an aquarium with adult fish most young will be eaten. If you want to keep some young you will have to create a couple of spots with smaller rocks and pebbles to provide some hiding where the adult fish cant reach them.

If you want to keep the entire nest just catch the female around 2 weeks holding. Put her in a separate aquarium and only decorate it with some rocks for hiding. After spitting out the fry the female wont eat for the first couple of hours. You will have plenty of time to remove the female and put her back with the other adult fish.


Pseudotropheus sp. Polit is great looking Mbuna. It is however a fierce cichlids so you must keep its character in mind and give it the aquarium decoration it needs. Keep them with other tough or even bigger Malawi cichlids. Keep a close eye on your aquarium to take action whenever your Polit male is misbehaving.



John de Lange

Copyright Images

J. de Lange
Kevin Bauman –

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