Electric Blue Johanni Cichlid (Pseudotropheus Johannii)

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The electric blue johanni cichlid (Pseudotropheus johannii) is perhaps the most beautiful African cichlid there is, and definitely one of the most colorful. It has an electric blue body and pink fins, with only its belly remaining yellowish-white in color. For this reason, this stunning fish goes by many names such as electric blue cichlid, melanochromis johannii, electric blue johanni, electric blue johannii, bluegray mbuna, or simply blue johanni cichlid.

This Mbuna cichlid originates from Lake Malawi and has an electric blue base with gray scales sprinkled throughout the body and fins. While these Mbuna cichlids are peaceful fish by nature, they can be territorial if kept in too small of an aquarium or with fish that are too similar in coloration to them; therefore, it’s important to choose tank mates carefully if you want your fish to live happily together.

Origin and descriptions

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This fish was discovered in 1967, in the rift lakes of Africa, including Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika. The coloring of this fish isn’t natural but actually the result of an overproduction of melanin, making it even more valuable due to its rarity and difficulty to breed in captivity.

The electric blue Johanni cichlid is one of a number of color variations that occur in wild-caught mbuna cichlids. These colorful fish are known as penguin fish because they look like small penguins as they swim through their rocky habitat. They are also known by other names such as Mbuna, or rock-dwelling cichlids.

They have a stocky, round body that’s colored with black and blue stripes, as well as an electric blue tail and a bright orange spot near their belly and chest area.

Males are easily identified by their dark eyes and more vibrant coloration compared to females. In addition, males sport a prominent hump on their heads, which can be used for locking together during mating; their lower lip is also longer than those of females.

Females boast lighter coloring throughout their body and face but still have very pronounced tails; they both lack humps on their heads as well. When they reach adulthood, these fish don’t get much bigger than 6 inches; however, they can grow up to 10 or 12 years old.

This species has been introduced to Lake Malawi, but it was originally collected from Lake Malombe on Mafia Island, Tanzania. The electric blue Johanni cichlid has been bred extensively in captivity and there are dozens of color varieties available today.

Species profile

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The electric blue Johanni cichlid, Pseudotropheus johannii, is a dwarf cichlid from the Cichlidae family and lives inside Lake Malawi in East Africa. In fact, it’s one of about 300 species of fish that are endemic to Lake Malawi, which is also home to over 200 species of mbuna or rock-dwelling cichlids—the most diverse genus of fish in Africa.

Because of its bright coloration and unique shape, Pseudotropheus johannii was selected as an official symbol for Mozambique by their government and enjoys somewhat of celebrity status within cichlid collecting circles; however, despite being one of the most popular fish available in pet stores today, many details about its biology and ecology are still poorly understood by scientists who study tropical freshwater fishes.

Scientific name

The scientific name of the electric blue johanni cichlid was previously Pseudotropheus johannii but was recently changed to Melanochromis johannii.

Electric blue johanni cichlid habitat

Pseudotropheus johannii is endemic to Lake Malawi where it can be found only in small pools and tide pools of rocky shorelines. The blue johanni cichlid has a specific diet that consists primarily of zooplankton and is often observed on outer reef ledges foraging for food during daylight hours.

Because these fish are tide pool fish, they typically come out during high tide when there is a large amount of plankton in their environment. At low tide, these fish will retreat into very shallow tidal pools until the water covers them. They prefer more turbid water than many other Mbuna species, although it will tolerate some sunlight.

Electric blue johanni cichlid size

The electric blue Johanni cichlid is a stunner. The male measures 5 to 6 inches (13-15 cm) in length, while females are just a little bit smaller at 4.5 to 5 inches (11-13 cm) in length.

Electric blue johanni cichlid tank size

Due to their size, the minimum recommended tank size is 30 gallons (114 liters), although bigger tanks like 40 gallons (151 liters) are better.

Tank requirements

A 40-gallon tank with a fine gravel substrate and smooth rocks to serve as caves. Pseudotropheus johanniis prefer water that is on the acidic side and oxygen levels are moderate to high.

In their natural habitat, they are found in lakes surrounded by aquatic grasses, reeds, and papyrus, so a tall plant or two added to your aquarium will do nicely. When choosing decor for your aquarium, ensure it has plenty of hiding spots, but remember not to overcrowd.

Ideally, you should provide at least three to four square feet of space per fish. The electric blue joahni cichlid prefers live foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia, but they can adapt well to an all-frozen diet if preferred. Feed only what they can consume within 30 minutes.

Electric blue johanni cichlid tank mates

While Pseudotropheus johanni cichlids don’t prefer a particular water pH, they do need to live in a tank with other members of their own species. If you plan on purchasing a pair, make sure they’re compatible and won’t pick at each other. They will also need to be housed with members of their own genus.

Some good tank mates are Tropheops, Metriaclima, and Cynotilapia. However, they’re really great with other cichlids as well, such as Pelvicachromis pulcher, Haplochromis nyererei, Pseudocrenilabrus philander, Labeotropheus sp. Tanzania, and Julidochromis marlieri. They can also be kept with almost any fish that is active and peaceful.

Electric blue johanni cichlid breeding

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The electric blue johanni cichlid is an easy fish to breed and does not require any special conditions, just like all other mbuna. To breed them, simply introduce a sexually mature male into a group of females that are ready to spawn. The female will lay her eggs on rocks, caves, or any firm surface above water level.

After she has laid her eggs, she then kicks out any other female from his territory who may try to take over his role as guardian of the eggs. Once you have removed these egg-eating invaders, allow your guarding male to continue for about two weeks until he no longer fans his fins. If at any time during incubation you notice your guard has been off for more than two days, remove him immediately so he won’t eat any of their own eggs.

Incubation lasts anywhere between 48 hours to four days. When your fries appear, they should be fed very small foods such as baby brine shrimp (live), microworms, and newly hatched baby guppies.

It’s also a good idea to offer a variety of food sources while they grow up so they get used to what’s offered in nature because different types of live foods will become available when you begin breeding your next generation.

Are they aggressive or peaceful?

Electric blue johanni cichlid fish are very peaceful and should be kept with other peaceful cichlids. Be careful when picking other cichlids for your tank because some species may view Pseudotropheus johanni as a snack. However, if you have another species of mbuna in your tank, such as Cynotilapia afra or Labeotropheus fuelleborni, you will not have any problems at all.

Electric blue johanni cichlid care

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The electric blue johanni cichlid needs similar care to other mbuna cichlids. Like most Pseudotropheus species, they are fairly adaptable and are generally easy to keep in a community aquarium as long as there is plenty of open swimming space and a lot of rockwork or other decorations. They do well with similar-sized mid-level fish.

They are best kept in at least a 30 gallon tank. They get along quite well with most African Rift Lake cichlids but will not tolerate dominant males of their own kind; it’s best to keep only one male per tank unless you’re keeping them in a large enough setup that two can have adequate space. Like all rift lake cichlids, Electric blue johanni cichlid does best when provided with hard alkaline water conditions.

They come from Lake Malawi where water hardness is always high and pH rarely dips below 8.3! That said, many aquarists have had success keeping these fish even in moderately soft water conditions; use a good conditioner to help buffer your water if necessary.

Electric blue johanni cichlid food

To keep their body shape, they eat algae and small invertebrates in their natural habitat. In aquariums, they are usually fed a diet rich in meaty foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, and tubifex worms. They also need a good selection of greens such as spirulina flakes or other algae-based food.

Electric blue johanni cichlid lifespan

This species can live for 10 or 12 years.

Parasites and diseases

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In an aquarium, keeping your fish healthy is a part of daily care. Just like other pets, if you want to keep your fish in good condition, you need to look out for things that could be causing them harm. And unlike dogs and cats, fish can’t tell you when they aren’t feeling well. It’s up to you to catch any illnesses or infections before they become too bad.

Parasites are one such threat; they feed on their host organism, weakening it over time and eventually killing it if left untreated. If your fish have a parasite infection, there are several steps you can take to get rid of it. However, parasites are often very hard to treat; some medications only work on certain kinds of parasites at certain stages in their life cycle.

Electric blue johanni cichlid fish tank can be a death trap for its inhabitants. Their illness most commonly occurs when poor water conditions get worse. They are particularly vulnerable to oodiniums, microscopic blue-green algae that grow on dirty aquarium glass and are often lethal for fish if present in large numbers. But Mbuas also have other common diseases such as gill disease, swim bladder disorder, and even dropsy disease.

Do Electric blue johanni cichlid make good pets?

Yes. These fish make great choices for both beginners and advanced hobbyists. They are relatively small, colorful, peaceful, and well-suited to most aquariums. However, they can be aggressive towards each other at times; therefore it is advised that you have at least 3 of them in your tank at all times.

Pseudotropheus Johanni grows to a maximum length of around 6 inches, so they are easy to keep without taking up much space in your tank or requiring frequent water changes.