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Pseudotropheus demasoni

Ad Konings introduced this beautiful fish to the hobby for the first time in 1994.

No matter its relatively small size (final size about 6–8 cm) this fish has a lot of temperament. Unless you intend to keep at least 12 individuals (preferably 1-2 males and at least 10 females) don’t add that little fish in your tank. It’s extremely aggressive and able to kill every other fish which has a color combination resembling his (a great variety of blue bars with different hues). Males and females show the same colours from the first months of their life. Thus, sexing them is anything but easy. A hint: Males (as with many other cichlids) will get a larger final size and theirs pelvic and dorsal fins are more pointed. But this is not the rule nor is it always easy to tell. After all, what does "pointed" mean ? Alternatively, the only fool proof way to tell them apart is venting but this requires some experience.

Males and females fight in the same way and intensity between each other but the Alpha male (or the dominant male) will soon make his supremacy known to the others. Every fish in the tank (especially the other males) will avoid fights with him. The Alpha male will soon choose one of the females in order to mate. During this procedure every other male in the tank will be chased ferociously and - if the tank is not large enough - beat them to death. Hiding places are extremely important if you want to minimize casualties. A heavy rockwork with a lot of hiding places and - if possible - green algae will be extremely appreciated since this fish belongs to the Mbuna flock and loves staying near the rocks biting algae all day long. It will also eat plants like every herbivore fish. Its diet should mainly contain vegetable matter but the fish will enjoy almost every kind of food.

Appropriate tankmates are Mbuna’s with a different coloration and no bars like Labidochromis caeruleus sp. ‘Yellow’, Maylandia estherae, Maylandia callainos etc.

Pseudotropheus demasoni is a challenge for every cichlid-lover but the difficulty in separating the males from the females and the extreme aggression between them (and other species) could easily end in a disaster. So, if you want to keep them but all you have is a tank smaller than 40 gallons or 150 litres be sure that only one male is in there.

Text and Photos by Antonis Roussos /MCH

Photos submitted by Boyan Kalinov. Click on the photos to see the high resolution ones.

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