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Pseudotropheus polit


Article by Ben Moremon

Species information

Species: Pseudotropheus polit

Synoma: Pseudotropheus sp. polit

Common name: Polit

Origin: Africa ? Lake Malawi

Localities/Morphs: Lion's Cove

Maximum size: 12cm

Natural habitat: Some males will defend a territory several meters in diameter while others will happily defend a small cave. Females will school around the outer perimeter of the male?s territory until enticed by a dancing male.

Natural foods/prey: Vegetable matter. When you look closely you will notice their white lips. The pigment is lighter due to their consistent greasing.

Water chemistry in the wild: Ph 7.8 ? 8.5. Temp 25-28 Degrees Celsius. Up to 20dH.

Predators: Anything with a large enough mouth that?s quick enough to catch one.

Brood size: Depending on the time between spawns, can be anywhere from 6 to 25 fry. Commonly only 12.

Sexual dimorphism: Males have light blue bodies and dark heads with two conspicuous white interorbital bars. However, males are known for their ability to change colour from full spawning dress to female colouration in a second. Females have a light purple-brown colouration without bars once they reach sexual maturity.

Breeding method: Maternal mouth brooder, incubation about 26 days. A brooding female will hide amongst rocks or will school with large numbers of other females.

Husbandry requirements

Minimum tank size: 280 litres ? due to the males territorial behaviour.

Sex ratio: 2m/10f works well. 1m/3f would be fine.

Tolerance of conspecifics: Males will hassle females to spawn even while they are brooding, a good size colony is required to dissipate aggression and to give the female a chance to hold full term. Two males will fight mouth to mouth however, rarely damage each other, in fact they often don?t even make contact.

Tolerance of heterospecifics: Even though a small mbuna, the dominant male polit will rule the tank over fish twice his size.

Water chemistry in aquaria: A very hardy fish that will tolerate most water conditions with a ph above neutral. Given the right conditions they will breed like rabbits.

Temperature range: 25-28 Degrees Celsius. Have had them, in times of heater problems, survive temps between 24 and 32 Degrees Celsius.

Foods accepted: Everything I have tried they have eaten.

Special requirements: Don?t require any special attention.


I have read many articles about the aggression between males and between the dominant male and his females, but haven?t seen any signs of increased aggression with polits over any other Pseudotropheus.

Have had huge success keeping two males and 11 females in a 4x2x2 with a large cave at each end of the tank and some PVC piping in the 2 top back corners of the tank. In fact my males tend to allow the females to swim freely around the bottom of the tank while each male will take over one side of the tanks group of PVC piping.

Still quiet a new fish to our shores, they require company in the aquarium. Preferably an open water species like a furcifer to help entice them out into the open water. I have four 5 to 6cm furcifer in the 4x2x2 with my colony and ever since I introduced the furcifer the polits have been much less skittish.


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