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Electric Blue Johanni Cichlid

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The Electric Blue Johanni Melanochromis johannii (previously Pseudotropheus johannii) is a real beauty that offers pizzazz to the African cichlid aquarium. The coloring of both the male and female is very appealing, and they almost look like two separate species.

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Electric Blue Johanni

The Electric Blue Johanni Melanochromis johannii (previously Pseudotropheus johannii) is a real beauty that offers pizzazz to the African cichlid aquarium. The coloring of both the male and female is very appealing, and they almost look like two separate species. Electric Blue Johanni Cichlid  male has a brilliant blue body with darker blue striping, but the dark colors “bleed” onto the lighter blue creating a checkerboard effect. The female and juveniles are a bright yellow-orange.

Electric Blue Johanni Cichlid  fish belongs to a group called Mbuna cichlids. This group has 13 genera of very active and aggressive personalities of Mbuna cichlids. The name Mbuna comes from the Tonga people of Malawi and means “rockfish” or “rock-dwelling”. This name aptly describes the rocky environment these fish live in as opposed to being open water swimmers like the Utaka cichlids and other “haps”. 

Confusion can arise because of the term “Electric Blue” used in its common name. There is another very popular African cichlid that has been known by this name for a number of years. It is the Electric Blue Hap Sciaenochromis fryeriw which is a much different type of cichlid. It is a Hap and so one of the more peaceful open water swimmers. Some other common names M. johannii is known by are Johanni Cichlid, Blue Johanni, Bluegray Mbuna, and Blue Mbuna.

The male of this species is also very similar in appearance to its close relative the Maingano Melanochromis cyaneorhabdos and these two Mbuna species can easily be confused. The Maingano is sometimes called the Electric Blue as well, which adds to the confusion, but it is a separate and distinct species. The male of the M. johannii and both sexes of the Maingano have dark blue to black horizontal bands that runs across the back, but on the M. johannii they are often broken up with spots of light blue. Both these cichild species have also been bred in captivity and there are many captive strains. When obtaining either of these fish, it is best to know the scientific name as well as the common name to make sure you get the species you want.

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