Demasoni Cichlid (Pseudotropheus demasoni): Ultimate Care Guide


Demasoni Cichlids are a relatively rare dwarf Mbuna from the warm freshwater lake in Tanzania, Africa called Lake Malawi. 

The Demasoni Cichlid is relatively rare and originates in Lake Malawi which is a warm freshwater lake located in Tanzania, Africa.  The native habitat for the Demasoni Cichlid contains many rocky outcroppings, with countless places for this fish to explore and hide, which speaks to its curious nature.  This stunning banded white-and-black Cichlid has a bright blue tone that is very distinct.  The Demasoni Cichlid is considered a dwarf Mbuna, with an elongated style body shape.  It is also known as the Midnight Demasoni and was discovered by Ad Konings who named it after his good friend Laif Demason.  

Demasoni Cichlid Care

When caring for a Demasoni Cichlid, the tank temperature should be kept between 75°F and 82°F (23.9° C to 27.8° ) with a general hardness of between 10GH and 18GH.

An intermediate aquarist experience level is recommended when caring for the Demasoni Cichlid, as the habitat required for these fish is moderately difficult to maintain.  These fish come from Africa, so they are used to a warmer temperature water, with a 10GH to 18GH hardness range.  While salt is not found in their natural environment, they do have a slight tolerance to it.  If you are using salt, it is recommended that the salt levels should be kept below 10% with a specific gravity of less than 1.0002.  

Demasoni Cichlid (Pseudotropheus demasoni)
Demasoni Cichlid (Pseudotropheus demasoni)

Demasoni Cichlid pH

Water pH in a Demasoni Cichlid habitat is usually between 7.8 and 8.6, which is very alkaline.

Demasoni Cichlids will swim in the middle areas of the aquarium and thrive in water that has a pH between 7.8 and 8.6, which is very alkaline.  Since most Malawi Cichlids will have health related issues in unmonitored or overlooked water conditions, the stability of the pH levels are very important.  Any abrupt changes in pH can be poisonous and will lead to sickness or death, and these fish have a very narrow range of pH that they tolerate.  While there are a plethora of products on the market, you can try using peat moss in the filter to lower pH, and a small amount of baking soda if you need to raise the pH.  

Demasoni Cichlid Size

In the wild, a Demasoni Cichlid ranges in size between 2.5 to 3 inches (6.4 to 7.6 cm), but when kept in a tank may grow slightly larger.

When in its natural habitat, the Demasoni Cichlid can be found in moderate school and are very active and competitive.  In an aquarium, their numbers are more limited, and they tend to be more well fed.  Because of these things, these little Mbuna have a tendency to be slightly larger in a domestic environment. 

Demasoni Cichlid Tank Size

It is recommended that Demasoni Cichlid be kept in a tank larger than 55 gallons.

A single Demasoni Cichlid needs approximately 40 gallons of water, however, when you take into account the maintenance and social needs of this fish a much larger tank is recommended.  As a matter of fact, a group of about 12 Demasoni Cichlids is recommended to alleviate aggression between the fish, therefore 100 gallons or more may be necessary to keep the Cichlid happy. 

Demasoni Cichlid Food & Diet

Demasoni Cichlid are omnivores that eat many herbivorous foods. 

The Demasoni Cichlid eats mainly herbivorous foods, and their basic diet should be maintained with an all purpose, high quality Cichlid formula.  Vegetable supplements to their diet help keep their intestinal tract free of disease or issues, and an occasional treat of live foods such as smaller fishes and shrimps can be good.  Additionally, it is best to offer several small feedings a day rather than a single large feeding, as this helps with maintaining the water quality.  Demasoni Cichlids cannot eat mammal meat, such as beef heart, and feeding this to them will cause infections and death. 

The lifespan of a Demasoni Cichlid is about 8 to 10 years. 

This is a great fish for the intermediate and experienced level Cichlid keeper, although aggressive, and smaller than most other Cichlids, it is very active and fun to watch.  The Demasoni Cichlid lives between 8 and 10 years, depending on appropriate tank mates, and their habitat being strictly maintained. 

Demasoni Cichlid Tank Setup

Tank setup for Demasoni Cichlid should include an alkaline water that is highly mineralized, with an established filtration system; doing water changes of 30% a week is needed to prevent Malawi bloat.

When setting up your tank for a group of Demasoni Cichlid, start with a tank size that is appropriate to the amount of Cichlid you intend to have.  The substrate should include a sand/gravel mix, and the lighting should be moderate.  Water movement should be moderate as well, and there should be a variety of rocks and hiding places for these little Mbuna to explore and hide in.  Moving rocks around in the tank occasionally will also help minimize aggression between males. 

Breeding Demasoni Cichlid

Breeding Demasoni Cichlids are mouthbrooders that are easily bred in captivity.

If you are thinking about breeding Demasoni Cichlids, it is important to note that your base population should be at least 12 with at least 2 or 3 males.  These Cichlids are mouthbrooders, and a one-inch female may start to brood, but the number of fry will be low.  Once the dominant male decides to breed, he will become severely aggressive to other males, his coloring will change, and he will circle the female until he moves her to a flat rock in his territory. 

The female will lay between 5 and 15 eggs, then immediately take them into her mouth.  The male will flare out his anal fin which has an egg spot patterning.  Since the female, at this point, mistakes the male patterning for her own eggs she tries to take them in her mouth as well, which stimulates the male into discharging a milt cloud.   The female inhales the milt could, fertilizing the eggs in her mouth.  It takes approximately seven days at about 80° F for the eggs to hatch, and the fry are free swimming in another 14 days. 

Demasoni Cichlid Male and Female

The difference between a male and female Demasoni Cichlid cannot be seen until almost adulthood. 

Since the male and female are almost identical as juveniles in both size and shape, it is difficult sexing them unless you vent them.  As these Mbuna grow, the males develop elongated ventral fins and an egg spot patterning.  Males are also generally larger than females when they are fully developed. 

Demasoni Cichlid Disease

Most Demasoni Cichlid diseases stem from improper tank care and range from bloat to Ich. 

As previously discussed, most diseases that affect these Cichlid are because of overlooked water conditions, and include Malawi bloat, Ich or Ick, and other skin flukes or parasitic infestations such as protozoa, worms, fungal and bacteria infections.  Knowing common issues and keeping a close watch on tank conditions prevent the majority of these issues from happening. 

Demasoni Cichlid Tank Mates

Common tankmates for the Demasoni Cichlid are other yellow Mbuna or a yellow species of Labidochromis caeruleus. 

Some examples of acceptable tankmates are a yellow species of Electric Yellow Labidochromis caeruleus, the Red Zebra Maylandia estherae, and the Cobalt Zebra Maylandia callainos.  Tankmates should not look similar to your Demasoni Cichlid or have the same coloring or bars.  Additionally, tankmates should have the same tank water requirements as well as a similar temperament. 

Examples of tankmates that the Demasoni Cichlid do not get along with include similarly colored species such as the Dogtooth Cichlid or Kenyi Cichlid. 

When looking for species of fish to cohabitate with the Demasoni Cichlid, make sure to avoid large aggressive species, including most Melanochromis and Labeotropheus.  Instead, choose other Cichlids that have a similar nature and different coloring and pattern. 

Demasoni Cichlid are aggressive and should be kept in a group of about 12 to help disperse aggressive behavior. 

As previously mentioned, a school of 12 or more Demasoni Cichlid helps disperse aggressive behavior between males.  If you only have 1 male, it will kill off the rest of the population though, so the balance of male to female can vary.  Demasoni Cichlid are also aggressive towards other fish, so placing them in a tank with more docile species can be problematic.

Demasoni Cichlids and Oscars are not compatible as tankmates and have different tank requirements.

Since the male Demasoni Cichlids are aggressive, and the Oscar is very docile, putting them in the same tank is a problem.  The Cichlid is likely to bully the Oscar to death.  The water requirements for these fish are also very different, so one or the other is likely to succumb to health related issues due to environment if you put them in the same tank.   

Demasoni Cichlids and Yellow Labs are a good tank combination and can be aesthetically pleasing. 

Since Yellow Labs have similar water requirements and a similar temperament, they are a great option as tankmates for Demasoni Cichlids.  The vibrant yellow in combination with the beautiful blue tones of the Demasoni Cichlids create a very pleasing visual experience as well. 

Demasoni Cichlid and Peacock Cichlid might be a compatible tank combination if you have enough space and know how to target feed your fish. 

The Peacock Cichlid is not as aggressive as the Demasoni Cichlid, therefore as common tankmates they are not generally kept together.  If you are an advanced aquarist and know how to target feed and have plenty of space in a large tank with a lot of rocks and hiding areas, they may do okay together, but not ideal. 

Angelfish and Demasoni Cichlids may not be compatible tank mates because they have opposite temperaments.

Much like the Oscars, Angelfish have a very docile temperament, which places them in danger of being bullied, chased, and stressed in an environment with your Demasoni Cichlid.  This pairing is not recommended, especially since the Angelfish has long flowing fins that are sensitive and can be severely damaged by domineering Mbuna. 

Where to Find Demasoni Cichlids for Sale

You can find Demasoni for sale online and in some pet stores that specialize in more rare forms of fish.

In stores, Demasoni are usually sold when they are about 2 inches long, and they tend to be more expensive than other striped Cichlids.  Juviniles are occasionally available and more moderate in price at the beginning of the season.  If they are out of season, you can special order them online.  You can find Demasoni Cichlids, also known as Midnight Demasoni, in fish stores, or in specialized pet shops, or online. 

Demasoni Cichlids Price

Demasoni Cichlids range in price between $8 and $25 per fish with some discounts if you buy larger quantities. 

Some online fish retailers will give you a discount if you place an order for more than 1 fish, but in general the cost is between $8 and $25.  This price range has to do with availability, season, and the age of the stock. 

Fish Laboratory

With decades of collective fishkeeping experience, we are happy to share the fish care tips that we've picked up along the way. Our goal at Fish Laboratory is to keep publishing accurate content to help fishkeepers keep their fish and aquarium healthy.

Recent Posts