Poor Man’s Tropheus (A Beginner’s Guide)

Poor Man's Tropheus

Poor Man’s Tropheus is a freshwater fish from the Cichlid family.

It used to be the only species in its genus, Neetroplus. In 2007, it was moved to the Hypsophrys genus.

However, in 2016, genetic research by Říčan and others placed it back into the Neetroplus genus.

Poor Man’s Tropheus lives in Central America in lakes like Xiloá, Managua, Masaya, and Nicaragua. It’s also found in rivers along the Atlantic coasts of Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

Poor Man’s Tropheus mainly eats algae and plant materials scraped from rocks and other surfaces similar to African algal grazing cichlids found in Lake Malawi.

Its primary diet includes aufwuchs – organisms that cover rocks and submerged trees, as well as filamentous algae. Some populations clean other fish of parasites too.

Poor Man’s Tropheus also feeds on chironomid larvae and effectively sifts through soft sediment on riverbeds using its snout while moving sand with its mouth, fins, and tail.

You can check out what this fish looks like over here.

Poor Man’s Tropheus Interesting Facts

  • Poor Man’s Tropheus is a Central American cichlid fish.
  • It thrives in hard, alkaline water and eats algae and plant materials.
  • The species uses its snout to sift through soft sediment for food.
  • Both parents care for offspring and change color during breeding.

Poor Man’s Tropheus Habitat

Poor Man’s Tropheus is found in Central America, specifically on the Atlantic side of Nicaragua and western Costa Rica.

It lives in the San Juan River drainage system, including Lake Nicaragua and Lake Managua. It’s a freshwater fish that stays close to the bottom (demersal).

Poor Man’s Tropheus is found both in lakes and rivers at elevations between 35 to 535 meters above sea level thriving particularly well in medium-to-high velocity rivers.

The ideal water pH level is 7.0 to 8.0, and hardness (dH) is between 9 to 20. Also, the ideal temperature for this tropical fish ranges from 70°F to 93°F (21°C to 34°C).

Water Temperature:70°F to 93°F (21°C to 34°C)
Water pH:7.0 to 8.0 pH
Water Hardness:9 to 20 dH

Poor Man’s Tropheus Physical Characteristics

Size: 5.5 inches (14.0 centimeters)

Poor Man’s Tropheus grows up to 5.5 inches (14.0 centimeters) long. It has 18 to 19 dorsal spines, 9 to 10 dorsal soft rays, 7 to 8 anal spines, and 6 to 7 anal soft rays.

Key features that set this species apart are:

  • Teeth are incisor-like, even in young fish,
  • The unique shape of the caudal edge of the mesethmoid bone,
  • Straight and forward-slanting supraoccipital crest; its height is 27% of the postethmoid skull length,
  • The width of the posterior premaxillary expansion is more than 41% of the bone’s length,
  • Equal lengths of articular bone arms,
  • In adults, the gut folds into an S-shape toward the front, with anal and medial loops nearly touching each other, and
  • A sharp and steep head profile.

Poor Man’s Tropheus Reproduction

Poor Man’s Tropheus lays its eggs in caves. It uses digging skills to create holes for its nests.

Both parents take part in caring for their offspring as seen with most cichlids, often changing color during breeding.

Poor Man’s Tropheus Scientific Classification

Scientific Name:Hypsophrys nematopus
Also Known As:Poor Man’s Tropheus
Conservation Status:Near Threatened

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