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This profile was written by aquagirl900 an active contributor to the site.  

Lake Malawi



Melanochromis cyaneorhabdos

Melanochromis cyaneorhabdos

    With a navy background and light blue vertical striping, this fish makes a beautiful and colorful addition to any mbuna aquarium.

Quick stats:

    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: Up to 4 inches (10 cm)
    Tank: 36 inches, though 48 inches is better.
    Strata: All, mostly middle.
    PH: 7.5-8.5
    Hardness: Hard to very hard. 15 - 30° dGH
    Temperature: 73°- 82°F (23 to 28°C)


    Order: Perciformes
    Suborder: Labroidei
    Family: Cichlidae
    Genera: cyaneorhabdos

Common name:

    Electric Blue Maingano, Maingano, Electric Blue Johanni, Electric Blue.

Image gallery:

    Additional species photographs


    Badmans' Forum


    Africa, Between Mbako Point and Membe Point of lake Malawi.

General Body Form:

    A maingano has an elongated, torpedo shaped body. Their dorsal fin is continuous and continues down the length of their back. Maingano also are smaller mbuna’s reaching only about 4 inches or 10cm.


    Maingano are one species of mbuna where both the male and the female have bright, vivid color. Their coloration is dark blue and light blue vertical striping. Each Maingano has two light blue stripes on the body as well as 2 thin stripes on their dorsal fins. Male Maingano have three dark blue stripes and females have four. Females also tend to have shorter pelvic fins.


    While not the easiest fish to keep provided clean water and proper ratios, maingano should thrive in an mbuna only aquarium. They should be kept in a large community aquarium with other Mbuna type fish such as many Psuedotropheus species, Labidochromis caeruleus, and Iodotropheus sprengerae. The minimum length of the tank should be three feet though four works much better as this fish is more aggressive and territorial than many other mbuna. The aquarium should try to mimic the environment where they are from in nature. This should include extensive rockwork with caves and other hiding places which will allow the fish to develop territories. Sometimes plants can work with this species, though it is not uncommon for them to dig them up as they enjoy digging in the substrate. As noted from the stats above these fish prefer a hard alkaline water with a fairly high pH. If your water is soft or a lower pH, you can use crushed coral as a substrate or place it in your filters as a media/buffer. Maingano are voracious eaters and will readily accept flake or pellet food. The food should be high in plant matter with occasional treats of live food. Because they are susceptible to a condition called Malawi Bloat, it is best to feed them smaller, more frequent meals, rather than occasional large ones.

    Rocky regions of the lake free of sediment.

    Breeding of these fish is extremely interesting. They are known as mouth brooders. The males and females do not develop bonds and each male should have a minimum of 7 females. This is because Maingano tend to be more aggressive and can bully females to death if there are not enough females to spread his attention. They are called mouth brooders because as the female lays her eggs, she scoops them up in her mouth. She then goes near the male’s anal fin and takes his milt into her mouth, thus fertilizing the eggs. The female will then hold her eggs in her mouth for about three weeks before spitting rather large, fully formed fry into the tank.

Your comments:


Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.







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