Demasoni cichlid - the poor man's marine?
Cichlids are lovely looking fish to keep and one in particular is an absolute stunner and can definitely live up to the tag of a poor man's marine fish. It's called the Demasoni Cichlid.
It's a gorgeous looking fish with a brilliant metallic blue body covered with black bars. It has thick black edges to its fins and what appears to be a black mask across its face. Another appeal of this fish is that both males and females are equally colourful.
It's a dwarf Mbuna from lake Malawi, reaching a length of between 3 and 5 inches so is a great candidate for the smaller cichlid set-up.
You'll need to provide lots of caves and hiding spaces. Large piles of white ocean rock not only provide adequate hiding places but also create a stunning contrast to the bright colours of this fish.
For its size, this has got to be one of the most aggressive cichlids out there and we have watched one chase another cichlid six times its size away from his cave! This being the case, it's always recommended to keep these either in a large group or as a single individual in an aquarium (but be careful with similar coloured fish). In the wild they are found in large groups where any aggression is diluted down and fish being picked on get almost 'lost in the crowd'. If you wanted to keep a group, we would recommend at least 10. Some people say a minimum of 12 individuals to keep everyone safe.
As with all Mbuna, a high vegetable content diet is important and as algae appears on your rocks you will often see these fish ripping off pieces greedily. Water changes are important as with all cichlids so your weekly 20-30% should be stuck to if possible.
This is without doubt one of the most attractive and interesting cichlids available. One of the best set-ups we have seen consisted of white sand, piles of white ocean rock, and about 14 Demasoni cichlids..... stunning!!