Name: Melanochromis johannii|
Origin: Lake Malawi (Africa)|
Possibly the least aggressive of all the Melanochromis types, the Johanni is still far too aggressive to be considered for the community tank set up. In a tank with Mbuna species it seems to keep to itself with just the occasional scuffle. It is an easy species to breed and will produce on average a dozen or more fry. As these fish are mouth brooders the female is best removed to another tank when she stops feeding and her brood pouch (Buchal Pouch)is full. After about 14 days she will spit out her well formed fry and immediately lose interest in them, she can then be returned to the main tank. The fry are quite large and can be fed easily with crushed up flake food.
I used to keep this fun fish. I had 1 male and 4 females. I always had at least one female brooding at a time. One time a female was holding 90 babies! Eventually, I needed to find another home for these fish, as no other fish in the tank would breed with the male johannii doing his stuff all the time.
The johanni is one of the most beautiful cichlids available to the aquarist so far. Its colour is particularly impressive when viewed under a "marine glow" blue light. As with most other cichlids they are very intelligent and are incredibly interesting to watch. In my experience, my johanni eats almost any food but his favourite food is probably bloodworms.
Many people recommend to have one male with several females. I have them in large groups, like ten males with twenty females, just like Tropheus. The males show nice colors and form a hierarcy - just like Tropheus.
This is one cool fish and mine like to build neat caves. I keep a male and female alone in a tank. At first the male was very agressive towards her, but after the first day he settled down and let her swim in peace. Now they stick to themselves, even if it was a little frustrating at first it was worth it. They're beautiful fish with a crazy personality and very intelligent, but DO NOT stick these in community tank or your learn what I learned the hard way, after it ate or bit off a piece of most of my poor fish. I hope you have a good experience with these fish.
After noticing that one of my johanni was having a hard time chewing something, I decided to investigate what was happening. I thought "he" was just trying to suck back one of the many snails I keep in my planted tank, but to my surprise, he was a she, and she was holding eggs. It was even more of a surprise to me because she is still under 5 cm long, and the resident male hasn't even begun to color up yet, being about the same length. As I have found out the hard way, it is not so easy to sex these fish when they are still juvenile, or at least appear to be. From what I can see, she only has 3 or 4 eggs stuffed in there, but she could be hiding many more. I ended up moving her and two "males" to my planted tank to leave what I know are a partial developed male, and what I think is a smaller female in my main tank. Little did I know that I was moving the ripe female to my "males only tank".