Demasoni Cichlid – Care, Size, Tank Mates & Details!

Demasoni Cichlid, scientifically known as Pseudotropheus Demasoni, are a striking and unique species of cichlids from Lake Malawi, known for their vibrant blue and black vertical stripes.

The is a semi-aggressive dwarf fish with a feisty personality. Also known as the midnight Demasoni and Dwarf Mbuna, this cichlid was first discovered in 1994 by Ad Konings and named after his friend Laif Demason.

These small fish, growing up to 2.5-3 inches in length, are an excellent addition to a Mbuna tank. However,

Demasoni Cichlids are not suitable for beginners due to their aggressive nature and specific care requirements.

Discover the fascinating world of the Demasoni Cichlid, an energetic and captivating African Cichlid, perfect for intermediate to experienced fish keepers.

Dive into our comprehensive guide to learn everything you need to know about caring for and breeding these unique fish.

Quick Stats About Demasoni Cichlid

Name: Demasoni cichlid
Scientific name: Pseudotropheus demasoni
Alternative name: Dwarf mbuna
Family: Cichlidae
Size:3 inches (7.6 cm)
Care level: Moderate to hard
Minimum tank size: 55 gallons or more for larger groups (recommended to keep in large groups)
Temperature: 23 degrees to 27 degrees Celsius
Water conditions:5 to 8.5 pH
Diet: Omnivorous
Lifespan: 10 years
Temperament: Aggressive

Demasoni Cichlid Appearance

The Demasoni Cichlid is a visually striking fish, known for its vibrant blue and black vertical stripes that adorn its body. They possess a robust and slightly elongated body, with an average size of three inches in length.

Both males and females are similar in appearance, making them difficult to differentiate, especially during their juvenile stage.

Natural Habitat of Demasoni Cichlid

Demasoni Cichlids are native to Lake Malawi, which is located in East Africa. This beautiful lake is characterized by crystal-clear, alkaline water with a rich mineral content.

The lake is also home to numerous rocky formations and caves, which serve as a natural playground for the Demasoni Cichlid.

They prefer dwelling in the shallow areas, where they can easily access Aufwuchs algae and other food sources.

Origin and Distribution

As previously mentioned, the Demasoni Cichlid was first discovered by Ad Konings in 1994. This species is endemic to Lake Malawi, where they inhabit a small area known as Pombo Rocks, located in Tanzanian waters.

Due to their limited distribution, the Demasoni Cichlid is considered relatively rare in the wild.

However, the species has become increasingly popular in the aquarium trade, with captive-bred specimens now widely available.

Growth, Size & Lifespan of Demasoni Cichlid

Demasoni Cichlids are considered dwarf cichlids, with adult specimens reaching an average size of around three inches in length.

Their growth rate is relatively slow compared to other cichlids, with juveniles taking approximately six to eight months to reach maturity.

When it comes to lifespan, these vibrant fish can live up to 10 years under optimal conditions.

Factors that contribute to their longevity include a well-maintained environment, a balanced diet, and regular monitoring for potential health issues.

By providing proper care and meeting their specific needs, you can ensure that your Demasoni Cichlids live a long and healthy life.

Demasoni Cichlid Behavior and Temperament

The Demasoni Cichlid is known for its lively and curious nature, often displaying entertaining swimming patterns and exploring its surroundings.

However, they are also characterized by their territorial and aggressive behavior, especially towards members of their own species or similar-looking fish.

To mitigate their aggression, it is essential to provide them with an appropriate environment and carefully selected tank mates.

Tank Setup For Demasoni Cichlid

Creating a comfortable and healthy environment for your Demasoni Cichlids is essential for their well-being.

Here’s a detailed guide to help you set up the perfect home for these vibrant fish.

Tank Size

Given their territorial nature, Demasoni Cichlids require ample space to thrive. For a single fish or a pair, a 30-gallon tank is the minimum recommended size. If you plan to keep a group of Demasoni Cichlids, opt for a 55-gallon tank or larger.


A sandy substrate is ideal for the Demasoni Cichlid’s habitat, as it mimics their natural environment in Lake Malawi. You can also use aragonite substrates, which help maintain the water’s pH and hardness.

Decorations and Hiding Spots

To replicate the rocky environment of Lake Malawi, incorporate plenty of rocks, caves, and hiding spots in your aquarium.

These structures will not only provide shelter but also help dissipate aggression among your fish.

Water Parameters

Demasoni Cichlids prefer alkaline water with a pH range of 7.8 to 8.6. Maintain the water temperature between 75 to 82°F, and ensure a hardness of 10 to 14 dH.

Filtration and Aeration

A powerful filtration system is crucial for maintaining water quality and removing waste products.

Additionally, providing aeration will ensure sufficient oxygen levels for your Demasoni Cichlids.


Moderate lighting is suitable for Demasoni Cichlids, as it creates a comfortable environment and promotes the growth of beneficial algae. Use a timer to maintain a consistent day and night cycle.

Tank Mates

Due to their aggression, Demasoni Cichlids should not be housed with similar-looking or less aggressive fish. Suitable tank mates include other aggressive Mbuna species,

Yellow Electric Cichlids, Red Zebra Cichlids, Cobalt Zebra Cichlids, Peacock Cichlids, and Haplochromis species.


Demasoni Cichlids are omnivores, requiring a balanced diet of both plant and animal-based foods.

Offer them high-quality cichlid pellets, vegetable-based flakes, spirulina, and occasional treats like brine shrimp and bloodworms.


Regular tank maintenance is essential for the health of your Demasoni Cichlids.

Conduct weekly water changes of 10-20%, and monitor water parameters frequently. Clean the substrate and decorations as needed to prevent the buildup of waste and algae.

Tank Maintenance of Demasoni Cichlid

Proper tank maintenance is crucial for the well-being of your Demasoni Cichlids.

It ensures a clean and healthy environment that encourages growth and reduces the risk of diseases.

Here are detailed instructions on maintaining your Demasoni Cichlid tank.

Regular Water Changes

Conduct weekly water changes of 10-20% to maintain water quality and remove waste products. This will help keep ammonia and nitrite levels low, which is essential for the health of your fish.

Make sure to use a water conditioner to remove chlorine and other harmful substances from the tap water before adding it to the tank.

Also, ensure that the new water has a similar temperature and pH to avoid stressing the fish.

Cleaning the Tank and Decorations

At least once a month, clean the tank walls with an algae scraper or a sponge to remove any buildup of algae and debris.

Be cautious not to disturb the fish or the substrate during this process. Regularly clean tank decorations and rocks to prevent excessive algae growth and to maintain a healthy environment.

You can use a soft brush to clean them, and rinse well before placing them back in the tank.

Filter Maintenance

Clean your filter at least every 4-6 weeks to ensure efficient operation. Carefully disassemble the filter and clean the mechanical components, like sponges and filter pads, using old tank water.

Avoid using tap water, as it may kill beneficial bacteria present in the filter media.

Replace any chemical media, such as activated carbon, as per the manufacturer’s recommendations. Lastly, inspect the filter for any damage and repair or replace parts as needed.

Monitor Fish Health

Keeping a close eye on the health of your Demasoni Cichlids is essential.

Observe their behavior and appearance for any signs of illness, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or abnormal swimming patterns.

If you notice any unusual symptoms, consult a veterinarian or a fish expert to diagnose and treat the issue promptly.

In summary, maintaining a clean and healthy environment for your Demasoni Cichlids is crucial for their well-being.

By performing regular water changes, cleaning the tank and decorations, maintaining the filter, and monitoring the health of your fish, you can ensure that they thrive in their aquatic home.

Acclimating Demasoni Cichlid

Introducing a Demasoni Cichlid to its new tank environment requires a careful acclimation process. This helps the fish adjust to changes in water parameters and reduces stress, which could lead to illness.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on acclimating your Demasoni Cichlid:

  1. Turn off the aquarium lights to lower stress levels and keep the fish calm.

  2. Float the unopened bag containing the fish in the tank for 15-20 minutes to equalize the temperature.

  3. Open the bag and add a small amount of tank water, then wait for 5-10 minutes.

  4. Repeat step 3 every 5-10 minutes until the bag is full.

  5. Use a net to gently transfer the fish into the tank. Avoid pouring the bag water into the tank, as it may contain contaminants.

Demasoni Cichlid Diet and Feeding

Demasoni Cichlids primarily consume algae and plant matter in their natural habitat, making them herbivorous by nature.

To maintain a healthy diet, offer them high-quality pellets or flakes specifically designed for herbivorous cichlids.

Enhance their diet with fresh vegetables, such as blanched spinach, zucchini, or cucumber.

Although their primary diet consists of plant matter, occasionally provide protein sources like brine shrimp or bloodworms for variety.

Feed your Demasoni Cichlids 2-3 times per day in small portions, ensuring that all food is consumed within 5 minutes.

Remove any leftovers to prevent water pollution and maintain a clean tank environment.

Demasoni Cichlid Tank Mates

Selecting compatible tank mates for your Demasoni Cichlid is crucial for a peaceful and harmonious aquarium.

Because they can be territorial and aggressive, it’s advisable to avoid housing them with smaller or slower-moving fish species.

Ideal tank mates for Demasoni Cichlids include other Mbuna cichlids, such as Yellow Labs (Labidochromis caeruleus) or Rusty Cichlids (Iodotropheus sprengerae).

Additionally, consider non-cichlid species like Synodontis catfish or larger African tetras, which can coexist well with Demasoni Cichlids.

Always keep a close eye on the interactions between your fish, and be prepared to separate them if aggression becomes a concern.

This will help to maintain a stress-free environment for all the inhabitants of your aquarium.

Breeding Demasoni Cichlids

To successfully breed Demasoni Cichlids, follow these steps:

  1. Tank setup: Establish a dedicated breeding tank with hiding spots and flat rocks for the fish to lay their eggs. Ensure water parameters are stable and within the appropriate range for Demasoni Cichlids.

  2. Fish selection: Introduce a healthy breeding group with a ratio of one male to several females to reduce aggression and competition.

  3. Diet: Provide a balanced, high-quality diet to encourage breeding behavior and ensure optimal fish health.

  4. Monitor behavior: Observe the fish for signs of courtship and spawning, which typically involve the male displaying vibrant colors and engaging in a “dance” with the female.

  5. Post-spawning care: After spawning, the female will carry the fertilized eggs in her mouth for approximately 21-28 days. It’s crucial to separate her into another tank during this time to protect the eggs and reduce stress.

  6. Raising fry: Once the female releases the fry, provide them with crushed flakes or specialized fry food until they can consume regular cichlid food. Maintain optimal water quality and monitor the fry’s growth.

Signs of Stress in Demasoni Cichlids

Demasoni Cichlids can exhibit various signs of stress, including:

  1. Loss of color or fading

  2. Lethargy or lack of activity

  3. Loss of appetite

  4. Rapid breathing or gasping at the water surface

  5. Hiding or avoiding other fish

  6. Erratic swimming or darting

Common Health Issues and Treatments for Demasoni Cichlids

Demasoni Cichlids may encounter health issues, including:

  1. Ich: This parasite causes white spots on the fish’s body. To treat, raise the water temperature to 86°F for a few days and administer an over-the-counter ich medication.

  2. Fin rot: This bacterial infection causes frayed or decaying fins. Treat with a broad-spectrum antibiotic and maintain optimal water quality.

  3. Bloat: A digestive disorder often caused by overfeeding or an inappropriate diet. Provide a herbivore-specific diet and avoid overfeeding.

  4. Swim bladder disorder: Fish may struggle to maintain buoyancy. Adjust the diet to include more fiber and avoid overfeeding. Consult a veterinarian for severe cases.

Additional Tips for a Healthy Aquarium

  1. Regular maintenance: Conduct water changes, clean decorations, and monitor water parameters to maintain optimal water quality.

  2. Proper filtration: Choose a suitable filter with adequate capacity to ensure proper filtration and aeration.

  3. Quarantine new fish: Isolate new fish for 2-4 weeks before adding them to the main tank to prevent the spread of diseases.

  4. Monitor fish behavior: Observe your fish regularly to identify any signs of stress, illness, or aggression.

  5. Research tank mates: Choose compatible tank mates to create a harmonious and stress-free environment for your Demasoni Cichlids.

Should You Get a Demasoni Cichlid for Your Aquarium?

Deciding whether to add a Demasoni Cichlid to your aquarium depends on several factors:

  1. Tank size: Demasoni Cichlids require a minimum of 40 gallons, with larger tanks recommended for multiple fish.

  2. Compatibility: Demasoni Cichlids can be aggressive, especially towards their own species, so consider the compatibility with other tank mates.

  3. Maintenance: Be prepared for regular maintenance to ensure optimal water quality and a healthy environment.

  4. Experience level: Demasoni Cichlids are best suited for intermediate to experienced aquarists due to their specific care requirements and temperament.

Conservation Status

Demasoni Cichlids are not currently listed as endangered, but their natural habitat in Lake Malawi is threatened by overfishing, pollution, and habitat destruction.

By purchasing captive-bred fish, you can contribute to the conservation of wild populations.

Availability & Pricing

Demasoni Cichlids are relatively common in the aquarium trade and can be found at local pet stores or online.

Prices vary depending on factors such as size, age, and coloration but generally range from $10 to $30 per fish.


Frequently Asked Questions About Demasoni Cichlids

Q: How long do Demasoni Cichlids live?

A: With proper care, Demasoni Cichlids can live up to 10 years in a home aquarium.

Q: What should I feed my Demasoni Cichlid?

A: Provide a high-quality, herbivore-specific pellet or flake food along with occasional treats of fresh vegetables or spirulina.

Q: Can Demasoni Cichlids be kept with other cichlid species?

A: While it is possible to keep Demasoni Cichlids with other compatible species, exercise caution due to their aggressive nature. Research potential tank mates and monitor their interactions closely.


Demasoni Cichlids are beautiful and fascinating fish that can make a great addition to the right aquarium.

Their vibrant colors, active behavior, and unique social dynamics can provide endless entertainment for aquarists.

However, due to their specific care requirements and territorial nature, they are best suited for intermediate to experienced fish keepers.

With proper care and attention, Demasoni Cichlids can thrive in a well-maintained aquarium and provide years of enjoyment.