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MELANOCHROMIS CYANEORHABDOS (MAINGANO))


Editor's note : After several emails exchanges with Owen and comparisons with pictures of the wild Melanochromis cyaneorhabdos on differents sites and cichlid books to the ones shown in those pages, we came to the conclusion that the fish in the pictures below may not represent the "typical" M. cyaneorhabdos. In fact, we would dare to assume that those fishes are - most probably - hybrids. Owen thought he bought these fish from a trustful source (not revealed for obvious reasons - we don't want to start an endless fight on this topic), but this seemed not to be so "trustful" true in the end! The owner of the shop told Owen that these fish could have colour variation because they were the result of a long history of breeding in captivity thus far from the wild strains. Although this has been observed in some cases, the degree of difference between the "typical" fish and the ones Owen has is too great to be attributed to that alone. The most upsetting thing is that Owen is a truly  dedicated cichlid enthusiast, and he paid too much money for these *so called* Melanochromis cyaneorhabdos beauties!

A sad story, that can be a lesson for all of us: know what cichlid you want, and know how it should look like before you buy anything!

The MCH team


Melanochromis cyaneorhabdos ("maingano")

Another member of the Melanochromis genus although in this case the "Melas" (black) is not applicable. However, the species name is far more descriptive (cyaneo=blue & rhabdos=bar). The fish is a typical mbuna growing to 10 cm. Water parameters are the same as with all mbuna. This species is an omnivore and will readily accept any dry food offered. It is a member of the M. Johanni complex and is closely related to the typical johanni.  It stays small, like the johanni.  A major difference is the lack of sexual dimorphism.  Aggression is about the same level as the typical johanni as well.  I imagine you could probably keep a group of one male and three females in a small 30 gallon tank as long as it is heavily furnished.  They are getting along well in my tank so far.  Hopefully they won't get much more aggressive as they get bigger.  Some of  them have already started to dig pits. More information to be added in the near future.

Information from other sources:

"Melanochromis cyaneorhabdos (formerly known as Melanochromis "maingano" or misspelled as "manigano"). This species is endemic to a small region on the northeast shore of Likoma Island from Mbako Point to Membe Point (Maingano is a village on this stretch of shoreline), feeding on benthic invertebrates and zooplankton (Ribbink et al., 1983: 207)."

"According to Bowers & Stauffer (1997: 53-54), M. cyaneorhabdos ...[M]ay be distinguished from other members of this genus, except M. johannii Eccles, 1973, by the dark navy-blue ground color with a pale blue stripe running from the dorsal region of the caudal fin to the interorbital bar and a pale blue stripe running from the ventral region of the caudal fin to the pectoral region. Breeding M. cyaneorhabdos males tend to have an overall bluish hue, whereas M. johannii males tend to be almost black rather than blue. Melanochromis  cyaneorhabdos tends to have more gill rakers on the first epibranchial (9-11) than does M. johannii (8-9; Eccles, 1973)."

Text and Photos by Owen Hoffman.

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