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Cichlids / Africa / Lake Malawi / Mbuna / Johannii

Johannii, Johann's Mbuna
Melanochromis johannii

Synonyms: Pseudotropheus johannii
Physical description: An elongated cichlid with an arched forehead. The Johannii has a "typical" mbuna body shape. The color depends greatly on the sex and age of the fish. Juvenile and female coloring is as followS: the body is dark indigo blue to black. Three yellow horizontal stripes extend from the gill cover to the base of the caudal fin. The first stripes runs along the back, and is often faint. The second stripe is located just below the previously mentioned one, and the final stripe is located below this one. The male has a similar pattern, but differs in having blue stripes. The intensity depends on the mood and age of the fish. On both sexes, the fins are black with a bright colored fringe, having the same color as the other body stripes.
Size/Length: Males to 4.7" (12 cm), while females only reach 4.1" (10.5 cm)
Similar species: Auratus (Melanochromis auratus), Chipokae ( M. chipokae), Black Mbuna ( M. melanopterus ), Parallel Mbuna (M. parallelus)
Habitat: Found in rocky areas between large boulders. Eastern Africa; Lake Malawi.
S: All
Aquarium: 36" (91 cm) or 35 gallons (132 L). See the introduction of mbunas for recommendations concerning the tank set-up.
Water chemistry: pH 7.5-9 (8.0), 10-25 dH (18), 72-81°F (22-27°C)
Social behavior: A territorial fish that is combined well with other mbunas. Several females should be kept to every one male.
Suggested companions: Small Haplochromines, mbunas, Synodontis
FOOD: Algae; flake; live; snails, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, microorganisms, crustaceans, snails, Tubifex ; pellets; tablets; plant matter; vegetables; peas, lettuce, spinach; fruit.
Sexual differences: Females are smaller and are orange to yellow in color. The male is dark blue with obvious egg-spots on the anal fin.
Breeding techniques: Use alkaline water with a pH of 8.2-8.5, a water hardness from 12-18 dH, and a temperature from 81-82°F (27-28°C). Be sure to keep one male with at least three females as males are overly aggressive in their spawning attempts. Up to 35 eggs are laid and fertilized via the "dummy egg" method. The mother mouth broods the eggs for 18-24 days, and guards the fry for one week after emerging from her mouth. The young can be fed on Artemia .
Breeding potential: 7. Breeding this mbuna is moderately difficult, due to the aggressiveness of the male during courtship.
Remarks: All young have the coloring of the female. At 2" (5 cm) the males will develop their normal, adult coloring. Several different color morphs are known. For example, juvenile fish in some areas have bright yellow-orange coloring with no markings.
Difficulty of care: 5. A hardy, but aggressive mbuna.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com