The Demasoni Cichlid Resource

Demasoni Cichlids
Demasoni cichlid © 2006 Lee Nachtigal

The fish that make up the Pseudotropheus demasoni species are known as Demasoni cichlids. That’s their official common name. However, people also refer to them as Midnight Demasonis.

Adult size: 2-3 inches
Minimum tank size: 30 gallon
pH: 7.2-8.8
Temperature: 72-82°F (22-28°C)
Decor: Rocks, Driftwood, and Plants
Substrate: Any
Lighting: 8-10 hrs/day
Diet: Omnivore


How to Keep Demasoni Cichlids


If you adopt Demasoni Cichlids from a contaminated source, your aquarium may become infected. As a result, you need to ensure you only adopt ones that are kept in a healthy environment.

They can be adopted from:

Before adopting them, understand:

  • Demasoni Cichlids have an average life expectancy of 6-10 years.
  • Demasoni Cichlids may be identified under the common names of: Midnight Demasoni

Tank Requirements

Tank Size & Population Density

If your Demasoni Cichlids are in an aquarium that is overstocked, they will become stressed – weakening their immune systems – causing them to be more prone to diseases, and they won’t grow to their appropriate size. As a result, you need to follow the rule of one inch of fish per gallon of water, but keep in mind:

  • Demasoni Cichlids must be kept in at least a 30 gallon aquarium.
  • Demasoni Cichlids eventually grow to be 2-3 inches long.

How do I setup a fish tank? (Opens new tab)
How do I determine the size of my aquarium? (Opens new tab)

Canopy & Lighting

The canopy of your aquarium ensures:

  • Your fish don’t jump out of your aquarium.
  • No contaminates enter your aquarium.

As a result, equip your aquarium with a canopy that completely covers it.

As far as lighting goes, if you want your Demasoni Cichlids to be most comfortable, the amount of light they get needs to mimic the amount of sunlight they receive in their natural habitat. The amount of time you should leave their aquarium’s lights on to achieve this varies. If it’s in a room that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight, you should turn their lights on during sunlight hours. However, if it’s is in a well-lit room, then 2-3 hours per day is all that is necessary.

Decor & Substrate

When keeping Demasoni Cichlids, they will thrive if you decorate their aquarium with decor and substrate that mimics their natural habitat.

The natural decor for them consists mainly of rocks, so you should add plenty of them to their aquarium. In addition, you can also add decorative pieces such as driftwood and plants. When arranging these things though, you need to ensure you:

  • Place the decor so that it creates plenty of caves and hiding places.
  • Place the decor in a fashion that allows you to see them – don’t create a barrier for them to hide behind.

The natural substrate for them is sand so, you should fill their aquarium with it. With that being said though, gravel is still a suitable option for them. In either case, you need to ensure you:

  • Clean their substrate beforehand. Otherwise, the residue that is on it will make their aquarium cloudy.
  • Fill their aquarium with at least 2 inches of substrate.

Water Parameters

If the water in your Demasoni Cichlids’ aquarium doesn’t reflect that of their natural habitat, they can become stressed – weakening their immune systems – causing them to be more prone to diseases. As a result, you need to ensure their aquarium has a pH level of 7.2-8.8 and a temperature of 72-82°F (22-28°C).

• pH
pH can be measured by using a Freshwater Master Test Kit. If you measure your water’s pH level and it needs to be altered: remove your fish, adjust the pH, then acclimate your fish back into your aquarium – since they are sensitive to drastic changes of pH.

• Temperature
To measure your aquarium’s water temperature, equip your aquarium with an aquarium thermometer.

Ammonia, Nitrites, & Nitrates

The subject of Ammonia, Nitrites, and Nitrates tends to be very dry. In its simplest form, they are all a byproduct of fish waste (fish poop & uneaten food) and are toxic to Demasoni Cichlids. As a result, you need to ensure their aquarium has:

  • An Ammonia concentration of 0-0.2 mg/L.
  • A Nitrite concentration of 0-0.2 mg/L.
  • A Nitrate concentration of 0-20 mg/L.

If you need to test these concentrations, use a Freshwater Master Test Kit.

If you need to reduce these concentrations, ensure proper:


Demasoni Cichlids are omnivores, so their diet regimen should consist of meats and vegetables.

They should be fed twice per day – for a total of 14 feedings per week. For a majority of the feedings, they should be fed a staple food consisting of either flakes or pellets. For the other feedings, they should be fed special foods.

During each feeding, they should be fed as much food as they can eat in 2 minutes. The exact foods they should be fed varies, depending on their size:

Of course, this is just our feeding method. You are more than welcome to design your own diet regimen for your Demasoni Cichlids. In either case though, ensure you:

Health Issues

Demasoni Cichlids are most-commonly affected by Ich or Malawi Bloat.

Tank Mates

Demasoni Cichlids can be kept solo or with other fish. If they are kept with other Demasoni Cichlids, it’s best to have a ratio of 1 male to at least 2 females. Maintaining this ratio will help minimize the male’s aggression towards the females.

In regards to keeping Demasoni Cichlids with other kinds of fish, ensure the species you keep with them with are compatible. To determine if they are, use this Compatibility Chart.


How to Breed Demasoni Cichlids

Reproduction Process

The reproduction process of Demasoni Cichlids begins after 6 months of life. First, the male digs a pit in the sand or claims ownership over a flat surface. After this is done, the male moves his fins in a seductive manner to attract a potential mate. As a female approaches, he’ll continue the dance. Then, if the female is interested, she’ll shimmy her body too.

After their dance is done, the female will lay a batch of 10-30 eggs in the pit of sand or flat surface that the male has provided while immediately picking them up in her mouth afterwards. Just as she does this, the male will flair his anal fin’s egg spot. In doing so, the female mistakenly believes she missed some eggs so she grabs the male’s anal fin with her mouth. When this happens, she stimulates the male to release a cloud of sperm into her mouth which officially fertilizes the eggs.

The fertilized eggs will stay in the female’s mouth for about three weeks – or until the fry are free-swimming. During this time, it’s not common for the female to eat anything as she does not want to swallow any of her eggs/fry.

After the three weeks are over, the fry are released from the mother’s mouth and are ready to compete on their own. The only time the mother will ever take all the fry back into her mouth after this point is if there is danger near.

Our Recommended Breeding Technique

Required Aquariums:

  • 55 gallon (breeder)
  • 10 gallon (grow-out)


  • Keep 3 males and 10 females in a 55 gallon aquarium and provide them with an appropriate aquarium setting. Make sure the aquarium has plenty of flat rocks, this will make it easier for them to breed.
  • After the reproduction process occurs, wait 3 days to ensure the eggs are fertilized. Then, transfer the female to a Breeding Net that is inside the aquarium. However, if you have a female who is a poor holder, strip her of her eggs 3-5 days after she begins holding them in her mouth. Then, place the eggs in an Egg Tumbler inside a 10 gallon aquarium.
  • Once the female has spit out the fry, transfer the fry to a 10 gallon aquarium. The 20 gallon aquarium should not have any decorations or substrate, this makes it easier for the baby fry to eat. It should also have a sponge filter so they don’t get sucked up.
  • Let the female recover in the Breeding Net for 7-10 days. Then, transfer the female from the Breeding Net to the aquarium to start the process over again.
  • In the early stages, it is best to feed the fry New Life Spectrum Small Fry Starter.


Other Information About Demasoni Cichlids


Demasoni Cichlids were first found and identified in 1994 in Africa’s Lake Malawi. Up until now, it is their sharp looks and ease of care that has made them popular among fishkeepers.

Conservation Status

The Conservation Status of Demasoni Cichlids was most recently published in 2006 as Vulnerable, according to the IUCN.

Taxonomic Status

The Taxonomic Status of Demasoni Cichlids was most recently published in 1994 by Ad Konings as the following:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Cichlidae
Genus: Pseudotropheus
Species: P. Demasoni