Johanni Cichlid Care: Complete Guide for Beginners

The Johanni Cichlid, also referred to as Blue Mbuna or Electric Blue Johanni, among other names is an amazing freshwater fish species. Native to Lake Malawi, it is renowned for its vibrant blue hues and dynamic nature.

johanni cichlid

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Johanni Cichlid Species Profile and Identification

The Johanni Cichlid, or its scientific name Pseudotropheus johannii, is an attractive species originally from Lake Malawi. Known as the Blue MbunaElectric Blue JohanniBlue Johanni, or Bluegray Mbuna, its striking blue tones draw interest to any aquarium.

Key Johanni Cichlid Features:

  • Size: The Johanni Cichlid typically grows to a size of 3 inches or about 7.5 centimeters in size.
  • Color: Their bright blue hues range from electric blue to dusky blue-gray, providing visual appeal.
  • Lifespan: They live up to 12 years under optimal conditions.
  • Behavior: Known for their aggression, their active demeanor requires aspects of care to be taken into consideration.

The Johanni Cichlid exhibits slight sexual dimorphism, meaning males and females differ in appearance. The males showcase vibrant blue striping, while the females often present with yellowish-brown bodies.

Take the time to familiarise yourself with these species traits. As not all cichlids are alike, identification becomes crucial to provide the best care. Remember, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hobbyist, it’s all about understanding your aquatic friends better.

Johanni Cichlid Supplies

When preparing the ideal environment for your Johanni Cichlid, selecting the correct supplies tops the list. Remember, each item significantly contributes to the cichlid’s wellbeing.

First, you will require a tank of considerable size. The minimum recommended size is 75 gallons or larger, hence you need to invest in one of suitable capacity to meet the cichlid’s needs.

Secondly, a good filtration system is crucial. Given the size of the tank, a powerful filter helps maintain clean and healthy water condition necessary for the cichlid’s survival. It is, also, important to note that Johanni Cichlids prefer water with a pH between 7.7 – 8.6, while the temperature should be anywhere between 73°F – 82°F (23°C – 28°C).

Alloted next in the list are substrate and decor. The bottom of the tank needs to be filled with sand and carefully selected rocks, which double as hiding spots for the cichlids.

Remember, Johanni Cichlids are omnivores, so an appropriate mix of proteins, vegetation, and specially tailored cichlid food forms a wholesome diet. Hence, food supplies should include everything from live food, frozen food, to flakes and pellets manufactured for cichlids.

Lastly, get your hands on a reliable water testing kit. This ensures that the water is in the right condition and fine-tunes the environment per the cichlid’s requirements.

Johanni Cichlid Tank Setup

Tank setup is an integral part of Johanni cichlid care. Start by choosing a tank size. For these vibrant fish, aim for a minimum tank size of 75 gallons (about 340 liters).

Acquiring the Tank

Your first step is to get a sturdy tank. Compromising on tank quality is never an option. Your fish’s life depends on it.


Next, focus on the layout. Johanni cichlids are endemic to Lake Malawi. That’s your design clue. Layer the bottom of your tank with sand to mimic their natural environment.

Placing Rocks and Caves

Followed by, the placement of rocks and caves. Cichlids are territorial. They need ample hiding places.

  1. Arrange several rocks on the sandy floor.
  2. Create caves or crevices with these rocks.

Adding Plants

However, be careful when adding plants. Even though they look beautiful, Johanni cichlids can be destructive towards plants. Still, a few sturdy varieties can work.

Finally, note that these fish are quite active and aggressive. Therefore, they need ample swimming space. So, don’t clutter the tank excessively with decor.

Heating and Filtration

Don’t forget the basics. A good heating and filtration system is crucial. Maintain a water temperature between 73 and 82 F (23 and 27.8 C). For cichlids coming from Lake Malawi, a strong filter is a must. They are used to highly oxygenated water.

This quick guide should help you set up a comfortable tank for your Johanni cichlid. It’s a fun exercise when done right. Happy aquascaping!

Johanni Cichlid Water Requirements

Understanding the water requirements of the Johanni Cichlid is a key aspect of successful fish care. Firstly, these fish thrive in a specific pH range of 7.7 to 8.6.

  • Water with a pH value lower or higher than this range can mean stress or even danger for the fish.
  • Regular testing and adjustment of the pH level in your tank is thus an unavoidable routine.

Secondly, being the inhabitants of the tropical Lake Malawi, Johanni Cichlids prefer relatively high temperatures. The optimal temperature range is 73 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (23 to 28 degrees Celsius).

  • Ensuring your tank water stays within this degree range is crucial for your fish’s comfort and health.
  • Consider installing a reliable aquarium heater that can help maintain a consistent temperature.

Finally, the carbonate hardness of your tank water, represented by the KH value, plays a role in maintaining the optimal pH. For Johanni Cichlids, a KH ranging from 9-19 dGH is considered safe.

  • Maintaining this KH range safeguards the pH stability in your tank and contributes to a safer living environment for your Cichlids.
  • A test kit is helpful here too, as it can measure the KH value of your tank water.

Being aware of, and managing these crucial water factors, you can provide your Johanni Cichlids with conditions close to their natural habitat. Remember, consistency is key when it comes to maintaining water parameters in your Cichlid tank.

Johanni Cichlid Diet and Feeding

When catering to your Johanni Cichlid’s dietary needs, a vital fact you must grasp is their omnivorous nature. This means their diet comprises both plant and animal matter.

  • The main bulk of their feed should comprise high-quality cichlid pellets. These pellets are formulated to have a balance of nutrients needed for their optimal growth.
  • Do remember to feed them small amounts frequently rather than large amounts infrequently; Johanni cichlids thrive on several small feedings a day. Try to establish a feeding schedule that provides 1-2 meals per day.
  • Despite being omnivorous, vegetation should play a more significant role in their diet. Enhance their meals with added spinach or peas, as this is beneficial for their digestive system and helps meet their nutritional requirements.
  • Keep them delighted with an occasional treat of brine shrimp or bloodworms. But remember, these foods should be given sparingly and should never substitute regular feedings.

Remember, a well-rounded diet is key for your Johanni Cichlid to maintain vibrant coloration and good health. Ignite their pursuit for food by simulating natural feeding behavior, such as hiding food within tank decorations.

Never ignore the significance of diet in cichlid care. The consequences of an imbalanced diet are often health problems that may sadly cut their lifespan short. Feed wisely, keeping in mind their requirements. Your efforts in adhering to a balanced diet will reflect in your Johanni Cichlid’s coloration and life quality. Keep them healthy and bright. Keep your tank a delight.

Johanni Cichlid Care Schedule

Caring for your Johanni Cichlid involves a routine that fulfills their requirements for a healthy life. Consistency is key with these fish, and by following the schedule below, your fish should thrive.

Weekly Monitoring: Test the tank’s water conditions weekly. This includes checking for pH, temperature, and hardness. Keep the pH between 7.7 and 8.6, temperature from 73 to 82°F (23 to 28°C), and hardness between 9 and 19 dGH.

Daily Feeding: Johanni Cichlids are omnivores. Feed them once a day with the appropriate mix of vegetation and protein. Quantity should be sufficient for them to consume within two to three minutes.

Regular Cleaning: Maintaining cleanliness is crucial. Perform partial water changes (25-30%) every two weeks. This helps to stabilize the water conditions, removing potential toxins and promoting the health of your fish.

Frequent Observation: Watch your fish daily for signs of stress, disease, or aggression. Johanni Cichlids can be aggressive, so it’s vital to step in before any serious damage occurs.

Yearly Health Checks: Just like any other pet, it’s recommended your fish receive a health check at least annually. This can be done at home or by an aquatic vet.

Remember, your Johanni Cichlid care schedule should fit your specific situation. Paying close attention to your fish’s behaviors, energy levels, and appetite can provide additional indications of their health. Always adjust the care schedule depending on their needs.

Johanni Cichlid Health Problems

It is paramount that you are always on guard for any health issues your Johanni Cichlid might face. These vibrant fish are susceptible to common fish diseases if their living conditions are not up to par.

Ich, a prevalent disease, strikes when your tank conditions are poor. Look out for white spots on the skin and gills. Bloat is another disease that strikes often. You’ll notice your cichlid looking swollen or distended. A proper diet and regular tank clean-up can help prevent these ailments.

The good news is, both ailments are treatable. For treating Ich, raise the tank’s temperature gradually to 86°F (30°C) over a couple of days. Simultaneously, administer copper-based treatments for a week. When it comes to Bloat, reduce the amount of protein in your cichlid’s diet and incorporate more plant-based foods.

Remember, prevention is always better than cure. Keep the tank clean, feed the fishes properly, and maintain stable water parameters. This will drastically reduce health issues and keep your Johanni Cichlid in top shape.

Johanni Cichlid Tank Mates

Choosing suitable tank mates for the Johanni Cichlids is an important task. Due to their aggressive nature, special consideration is needed. Let’s delve into what might make good candidates.

Avoid Smaller Fish: Avoid keeping them with smaller fish species. Johannis, with their maximum size of 3″ (7.5 cm), can easily intimidate or harm smaller companions.

Keep with Similar Sized Cichlids: Johannis can cohabit well with other cichlids similar in size. Notably, Johannis adapt well with AulonocaraCopadichromis and their other Pseudotropheus cousins.

Remember Community Dynamics: While selecting tank mates always be mindful of the community dynamics. High aggressive species should not correspond with extremely passive ones. This could lead to unnecessary stress and possible harm to the less aggressive species.

Select Same-sex Groups: Consider same-sex groups of Cichlids. If possible, keeping male to male or female to female would help curtail aggressive tendencies associated with breeding.

Environment Matters: Finally, the arrangement of the tank environment can also influence behavior. Essentially, having plenty of hiding and territorial spaces can promote a healthy cohabitation environment.

While the aggressive nature might seem intimidating, with appropriate species matching and habitat arrangement, you can create a harmonious tank for your Johanni Cichlids and their tank mates.

Johanni Cichlid Breeding

Breeding Johanni Cichlid is quite a fascinating process. These fish are maternal mouthbrooders – this means the females hold the eggs in their mouth for incubation. Ensure she gets ample space and comfort during this period.

After the courtship display, the female lays eggs on a flat surface. The male, then, fertilizes them. After fertilization, she promptly picks them up in her mouth. This behavior is known as ‘mouthbrooding’.

  • Duration: The incubation period lasts for about 2-3 weeks. Throughout this time, the female refrains from eating, focusing solely on safeguarding the brood.
  • Frys: Once the eggs hatch, she releases the free-swimming fry but continues to protect them, allowing them to return to her mouth when danger is sensed.
  • Number of Eggs: For a single batch, a female cichlid can lay between 10 to 60 eggs.

A crucial part in breeding Johanni Cichlids is setting up a separate fry tank. This is vital for the survival of the young ones, shielding them from potential bullying or cannibalism. Make sure to feed them high-quality fry food, and they’ll rapidly grow to adulthood.

The best way to ensure the success of the breeding program is to maintain quality water parameters suitable for these cichlids.

  • Temperature: 73 to 82 F (23 to 28 C)
  • pH: 7.7 – 8.6
  • KH: 9 – 19 dGH

Overall, breeding Johanni Cichlids is a rewarding venture. Observing their parental instincts and unique brooding behavior makes it a captivating affair for both beginner and experienced aquarists alike. Of course, mindful care and detailed planning can ensure the successful hatch of these vibrant, electric blue creatures.


Caring for your Johanni Cichlid doesn’t have to be challenging once you understand these basics. These lively fish will add a splash of beautiful electric blue color to your aquarium and provide an endlessly engaging display. What’s your favorite Johanni Cichlid care tip from this guide? Feel free to leave a comment!

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