Tim's Tropical Fish






Blue Johanni

Lake Malawi Mbuna African Cichlid

Malawi African Cichlid Gallery

Electric Blue Johanni Melanochromis johannii
Electric Blue Johanni Female Melanochromis johanni

Blue Johanni are African Cichlids originating in Lake Malawi.  They are classified as Pseudotropheus Johannii, formerly Melanochromis Johannii.  They are very similar to but a distinct species from Pseudotropheus cyaneorhabdos (formerly Melanochromis maingano).  The Johanni males have light blue on a black background, while the females are orange.  For Mainganos, both males and females are black/blue and they have more of a striped appearance.  The Maingano tends to be a bit smaller than johannis too.  Johannis should not be kept with Mainganos, as they produce hybrids.  The striping effect for Johannis is not that similar to the Blue Ahli and it is an mbuna, which is a smaller, more aggressive cichlid.  The juveniles are a bright yellow/orange regardless of their sex.  They will eat flake foods, algae based flake foods and cichlid pellets.  Do not feed live worms or live brine shrimp, as these can bloat and kill the fish.

Electric Blue Johanni Melanochromis johannii

Although one of the less aggressive mbunas, Blue Johanni are very territorial, aggressive fish, even more so than Haplochromis Cichlids like the Blue Ahli.  They need large swimming spaces, so a 75 gallon tank is recommended.  Although some recommend using underground filters, external filters and bio-wheels  simultaneously to maintain quality, my experience is that underground filters are not suitable for mbunas.  They build nests by picking up rocks in their mouth and moving them, so underground filters are quickly exposed in an mbuna tank. Rocks and other hiding areas should be provided and there should be little or no gravel.  They enjoy plants, but will destroy them.  A grouping including more than 10 mbunas is recommended, as it tends to reduce aggressive tendencies in a larger grouping.

It is preferable to have several females for each male.  The male will attract the female for breeding.  Up to 50 eggs are fertilized externally before the female picks them up to brood in her mouth for a period of approximately two weeks.  This protection makes it easy to breed them in a community tank.  Move the female to a separate tank just before she releases the brood.

Scientific Name: Pseudotropheus johannii
Family: Cichlid
Temperature: 22 - 28 C; 72 - 83 F
pH: 7.5 - 8.5
Size: 10 cm; 4 inches
Life Span: 10 years
Breeding: Normal, Egg Layer, Mouthbrooder


Mbuna Cichlids such as the Auratus, Cobalt Blue, Lemon Yellow, Pindani, Tropheops, Red Zebra and Kenyi.  Also synodontis catfish.  Too aggressive for Haplochromis and Peacock Cichlids.

Other fairly aggressive unrelated species such as New World cichlids and barbs, may be ignored.