The Demanson’s Cichlid is an extremely sharp looking African cichlid. This is a great fish for both the intermediate and experienced aquarist as they are easy to keep with the right tank set up (200 litres+). They are a good beginner’s cichlid, but be warned, although it’s a lively little cichlid, it’s very aggressive.
The Demanson’s Cichlid or Demasoni Cichlid or Dwarf Mbuna (Pseudotropheus demasoni) comes from Lake Malawi and is a more recent addition to the aquarium hobby. It was first described and brought into the hobby in 1994 by Ad Konings and was named after his good friend Laif Demason. It is also known by the common names Demasoni Cichlid and Midnight Demasoni. The Demanson’s Cichlid is sometimes confused with the Pseudotropheus minutus, being similar in size and color. Differences are that on the P. minutus, the lines stop before the tail fin and are less distinct. Also the Demanson’s Cichlid males have an egg spot.
This is zebra-type cichlid is a member of a group called Mbunas. There are 13 genera full of very active and aggressive personalities of Mbuna cichlids. The name Mbuna comes from the Tonga people of Malawi and means “rockfish” or “rock-dwelling”. This name aptly describes the environment these fish live in as opposed to being open water swimmers like the Utaka cichlids and other “haps”.
This is a dwarf Mbuna that only reaches about 6 to 7.5 cm in length. It is a pretty cichlid that has a very inquisitive nature with lots of personality and spunk. It is an interesting fish to watch as it follows the contours of the rocks, swimming along at odd angles to the point of being upside down. The body pattern consists of crisp alternating stripes that are dark blue (almost black) and light blue. On the dorsal fin the stripes angle back with the lighter ones being thinner than the dark ones. The upper and lower fins, as well as the tail fin, are edge in a light blue.
No matter what size the aquarium is they should to be kept in a group of twelve or more to help disperse aggressive behavior. And with be plenty of hiding places. This helps keeps the dominant male from exhausting females and others as a result of constant chasing, by spreading the “love” out. Make sure the aquarium has ample rock formations that provide lots of hiding places, as this will also help ward off brutal aggression between them. Piles of rocks can be arranged to create multiple caves and passageways.
A 200 litre or larger with an aragonite based substrate (helps with pH) and lots of rock work to provide cover and caves for them is needed.
This is a great fish for both the intermediate and experienced cichlid keeper. Although it’s a lively little cichlid, it is moderate to hard to care for and is very aggressive. This is not a community tank specimen to be housed with fish other than cichlids. Because of its small size, it can be housed in a bit smaller tank than what is typical for Mbuna, but of course bigger is better.
Some hobbyists recommend keeping them in a school of 7 or more and others think at least 10 or 12 or more is needed for better long term success. This is to limit any behavioral issues and spread out any male aggression among the group.
They can also be kept in a large aquarium of mixed Mbuna species, but again there must be plenty of hiding places. Success is dependent on the aquarists willingness to do frequent water changes, have sufficient numbers and hiding places, and provide appropriate tank mates. The Mbuna’s have been bred in captivity and with all the different hybrids that have been formed, there is no way to tell exactly what you are getting unless it is from a reputable dealer. Try and keep the different species blood lines pure.
Feed them a steady diet of algae type foods such as spirulina, algae wafers and you can try nori on a veggie clip. Mix in brine shrimp, mysis shrimp or similar occasionally. Its diet, however, should focus more on herbivorous food. Vegetables are essential to their diet.
One of the biggest problems while caring for a Demanson’s Cichlid is making sure it does not develop the Malawi Bloat. It can happen if the fish is not properly cared for or if the tank conditions are not optimal. This disease can be easily contracted if the dietary needs of the fish are not met. Thus, quality food needs to be provided to prevent this disease.
The water in which this fish naturally resides in is full of minerals. It is important to provide the fish with stable and clear water. Salt can be used to add minerals to the water for these fish. However, too much salt would be detrimental to their health, so be careful about that.
See Fish Disease Diagnosis and Treatment at Rebel Pets for help with diagnosing and treating diseases.
|Adult Size:||6 to 7.5 cm|
|Aquarist Experience Level:||Intermediate|
|Minimum Tank Size:||200 litres|
|Temperament:||Very aggressive, males very aggressive with other males|
|Tank Level:||All levels|
|Diet:||Omnivore, eats most foods|
|Lifespan:||5 Years or more|
|Temperature:||23 to 27°C|
|pH:||7.4 – 8.4|
|Hardness:||7 – 30 dGH|