- Scientific name: Pseudotropheus demasoni
- Synonyms: Demasoni Cichlid, Midnight Demasoni
- Common name: Demanson's Cichlid
- Group: Cichlids
- Habitat: Africa; Tanzania, Lake Malawi
- Size: 7.5 cm
- Biotope: Inhabits only one rocky area in the lake around Pombo Rocks over shallow rocky areas.
- Social behavior: One of the most aggressive and territorial mbuna that live in large groups. Do not keep with peaceful species, or with similarly colored fish, but it can be combined with other robust mbuna. It is a fearless dwarf Mbuna, and will attack fish much larger than its own size.
- Diet: Omnivorous; Algae and vegetable matter such as spirulina and spinach should be their main diet, but they will accept most live and frozen foods. Avoid beef heart, Tubifex worms, and red mosquito larvae as these foods will quickly result in intestinal disorders.
- Breeding: Quite hard
- Tank: Minimum 250 litres
- Population: 25-30 fish for 500 litres
- Decoration: Use a set-up with rock formations that reach the surface of the water. Provide many hiding places including caves, crevices, over-hangs, and tunnels. Use sand as substrate. Use strong lighting to increase the growth of algae.
- Temperature: 24-28 °C
- pH: 7.6-8.8
- Hardness: 10-25 NK°
- Lifespan: 8-10 years
Description: Males have dark blue or almost black vertical stripes with alternating lighter stripes of light blue to white on their whole body. There are 2-3 typical yellow eggspots on their anal fin and the females often have these spots too. All fins have light blue edges. It is similar in appearance to Pseudotropheus minutus, only that the latter's lines are less distinct and stop before the tail fin. Under stressful conditions or when they are frightened, their color lightens drastically and they hide among rocks until they feel safe. The name Mbuna comes from the Tonga people of Malawi and means "rockfish" that properly describes the environment where these fish live. In the wild, these fish are living in extremely large groups among the rocks, and members of these groups show very little aggression towards each other, therefore they should be kept in a large group in a sufficiently large aquarium. They should to be kept in a group of twelve or more to avoid extreme aggression by the dominant male towards females and subdominal males. In a small group the dominant male will systematically kill off each tank mate. Male to female ratio is unimportant when they are kept in large groups. Also they shouldn’t be kept with similarly patterned fish as they will attack them. Pseudotropheus demasoni is one of the more recent introductions into the hobby, and also a quite popular cichlid, but because of its aggressive nature it is not recommended for the beginners. It will often be seen swimming on its side or upside down as it explores caves and crevices. As with other mbunas Demanson's Cichlid also have flat teeth which are designed for scraping algae from rocks. Pseudotropheus demasoni is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened species, because it has a very restricted range in Lake Malawi.
The sexes are hard to distinguish, as both males and females have identical coloration and patterning. Mature males are slightly larger, and have longer and more pointed anal and dorsal fins, but best way to indentify them is by observing their behaviour as males are more territorial and aggressive than females.
It is possible to breed them in aquarium: they are maternal mouthbrooders. It is best to purchase 20-30 young fish and allow them to grow on together in a large tank. The dominant male will form a territory containing either a flat rock or simply an area of the substrate in which he excavates a pit. The male will display around the spawning site showing intense color and tries to lure females to mate with him. During this time the male becomes very aggressive, so they should be spawned in a harem. If there are other tankmates in the aquarium, they will not be allowed to enter the male’s territory. When a female is ready to spawn, she swims into the spawning area, and lays the eggs there, and quickly takes the eggs into her mouth where the male fertilizes them. The male fertilize the eggs with the help of its eggs spots on the anal fin: the female mistakes the patterning for her own eggs and tries to take them in her mouth as well, and the male releases his sperm. The number of the eggs can vary between 6 to 20, and is largely depend on the size of the female. The eggs are incubated in the female’s mouth for a period of 3 weeks before she releasing the free swimming fry. She will not eat during this period and can be easily spotted by her distended mouth. Overly stressed females may spit out or eat the brood, so do not disturb them during this period. Some experienced breeders strip the fry from the mother’s mouth at the 2 week stage and raise them artificially, as this usually results in a larger number of fry. Demanson's Cichlid begin to mature at approximately 25 mm.
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