Whether this fish will keep to itself in the company of other Mbuna or not depends on its level of dominant behavior. My friend's alpha-male terrorized every other African, some larger than itself, in a 200 liter setup. The only fish that stood its ground was a larger female Auratus. The two fish nearly killed each other, which led to my inheriting the Johanni. Amazingly enough, this fish has been fine among my larger American cichlids. Fish are individuals, and it is difficult to predict their behavior. Apparently, this particular Johanni despises other Africans but will coexist peacefully with larger, dominant American cichlids. I hated this fish upon first receiving him, for I knew of his past. In my large tank, however, he has been reformed, and I can truly appreciate his more redeeming qualities.
The Johannii is one of the most aggressive cichlids I have kept to date. I have a 6 cm dark blue male, who is clearly the most dominant in my tank, after being placed with 2 blue cobalts, 1 auratus female, 2 electric yellows, and 2 peacocks. I found that when I overstocked my tank (after a suggestion from a pet storer owner) it greatly reduced the amount of bullying and predatorial behavior my Johannii had been exhibiting. He had taken some good bites out of my other fish earlier, when there were just six, but now after adding another four, I find his behavior has calmed incredibly. Apparently, it is very difficult for a dominant fish to completely defend his territory having to constantly chase other fish, hence the notion of overstocking for these cichlids. I keep my tank set at 24°C and feed them about 3-4 times per day. The feeding times and amounts also seem to displace aggression as well. I just want to forewarn potential enthusiasts: this is a very aggressive fish...be very careful as to what kind of fish you stock with the Johannii.
I used to have a female and a male Johanni in a 100 litre tank. They were called Priscella and Elvis. I first bought them when they were about 5 cm, and after about 1 1/2 months of owning them, Elvis began to display. He whipped around the tank always pursuing Priscella, shaking his fins and sort of vibrating in front of her. This lasted about 2 days, and finally I came home to see Priscella's mouth bulging with eggs! If you have a good look into a brooding Johanni's mouth, you will be able to see the eggs, as they are bright orange. I placed her into a separate tank, and she released the babies about a month afterwards, which is actually a little bit of a late release. Shortly afterwards, I gave her away to an LFS, as we did not want continous broods. Unfortunately, about 5 months afterwards, my beautiful male decided to wriggle into a shell, and about a week afterwards I found his corpse inside it. They were a great couple of fish, and in my opinion they were quite peaceful, even when they were breeding. If you have an African cichlid tank above the 100 liter mark, these are an excellent fish to introduce.
I recently purchased a small pale little Johanni in the corner of a pet-store tank. The second he was dropped in the tank he immediately began to brighten. Soon he was the brightest little fish in the african in the tank. He is also the first fish to come and beg for food. The tank also includes some yellow labs that are much smaller than he is. He has never chased them! I have affectionately named him Joe. Joe is constantly chased by Kanjis Khan the red zebra bully of the tank. This fish is very easy to keep and is in my opinion the most beautiful fish that swims. I love my little Joe.
I got three Johannis and two Auratus as fry, with the larger Auratus quickly killing the other before moving onto the Johannis. I had to remove him. The three Johannis - all male - are placid and peaceful. I would strongly recommend them for first time Cichlid tanks, and both the males and females look absolutely stunning. The blue males in particular are noteworthy for their stunning colouration, although they don't seem to be carried by as many stores as the yellow females - for cohabitation reasons maybe. I've never experienced any issues with my three boys in a smallish feature tank, with only three other fish.
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