Caring for and Breeding Pseudotropheus Demasoni Cichlids

The Pseudotropheus Demasoni Cichlid is a dwarf species of Mbuna that’s native to the rocky shores of the Pombo Rocks area of Lake Malawi in Africa. Demasoni cichlids will only grow to a maximum length of 3′ and have an average a lifespan of about 8 years. Like other Mbuna, males are typically much larger than females and a dominant male will display brighter colors than females. Males have either black or dark blue vertical stripes and lighter stripes ranging in color from a light blue to white. Males, unlike the females, have spots on their anal fin.

Aquarium Requirements

The aquarium for the Demasoni Cichlid should be a minimum of 55 gal, however, a larger tank is much better, because this will provide more space for the fish to claim territories and seek refuge from more aggressive males. The aquarium should include a variety of caves, rocks and crevasses and the temperature should be 72 – 82°F . The water hardness should be 10 – 18 dH and the pH range should be between 8.0 and 9.0. Demasoni cichlids prefer caves to explore, so there should be plenty of caves for each of the species in the aquarium.


The Pseudotropheus Demasoni cichlid, a dwarf Mbuna from Lake Malawi in Africa.

This species of fish is highly aggressive and should kept in groups of no less than 12 to help reduce the aggression. A large group will reduce the chances of a single dominant male bullying and possibly harming other less aggressive Demasoni. This species with other species of Mbuna which are similar in temperament like Polit cichlids or Red Zebra cichlids.


The Demasoni will accept all types of food, however, they are typically vegetarians and should be fed foods that are high in vegetable content. A diet of commercially prepared flakes that are high in vegetable content, like spirulina flakes, will keep Demasoni healthy and displaying their best colors.

Breeding Pseudotropheus Demasoni

When breeding there should be a minimum of three females to one male. Having a ratio of six females to one male will provide for optimum results. When spawning, a female will find a flat rock to lay the eggs on, then she will pick the fertilized eggs up into her mouth for brooding. The female will keep the eggs inside her mouth for approximately three weeks of incubation before releasing them. The easiest way to determine if the female is brooding is to watch if she is isn’t eating and check for her to have a larger mouth. For more productive breeding, the brooding females can be isolated from the rest of the group.

Once hatched, the fry and the female should be closely observed. If the female becomes stressed, such as from extended isolation, she may eat the eggs and the fry. The fry should be fed small brine shrimp, crushed pellets or flakes or daphnia.

Demasoni cichlids are relatively new to the aquarium hobby and they quickly became a favorite among those who choose to keep African cichlids. Most local pet stores will have these fish readily available. However, a better option to make sure to get the healthiest fish, is to find Demasoni cichlids for sale from an experienced breeder. If you are interested in keeping these cichlids in your aquarium, you can read this related article to learn more.