Date Line: Spring 1997
sp nov., we can just call them demasoni, if its okay with you! This is a fairly new fish, it was just collected in 1993 and Ad Konings did the description, he named it after Laif DeMason who is an importer/exporter of cichlids. It is a gorgeous fish, it has outstanding color, powder fluorescent blue with black, black bars. They are available if you want to pay the price, about $25.00 for one inch fry.
A lot of people, including me are waiting for the price to come down. We feel like we have been through this before with other Mbuna
that were new. Pseudotropheus saulosi
is a fine example. When this fish first became available to hobbyists they were buying them up like crazy for $25.00 each. There was a breeding frenzy and within a year the going price was $5.00 each. I must admit that demasoni has been around for 3+ years and it has yet to flood the market, and the price has been steady. So now we don't know what to do! Should we buy or wait!!
What is so exciting about this fish?
Everyone is impressed with the fantastic color, it is impossible to distinguish the males from the females by color, both are equal, and even the juvenile fish have this color at only 1/2".
It doesn't get very large 2-3" and 3" is a big fish.
Although this is a Pseudotropheus it is fairly mellow.
It breeds in typical "Mbuna fashion", and breeds best in groups.
They have only been found on Pumbo Rocks in the North East part of the Lake near the Tanzanian coast. Since they are so small for Pseudotropheus I am not surprised to see them listed as dwarf. It seems to be in a class by itself at this time.
Update: August 1999
Well, I finally broke down and bought some of these little beauties, at ACA 97 in Chicago, the price finally came down some, but I figure that I stilled paid around $6 - 7 per fish.
Strike #3, this is not a mellow fish!!! They may call this a dwarf, and I agree that it does not get very large, but they are very aggressive towards one another, and the males are brutal on the females, which only reach about 1/2 their size. Out of 16 fry from two different sources, I probably only ended up with 5 or 6 females. I wasn't prepared for their nasty behavior and lost a couple of females as soon as they became mature enough to spawn. Because the females are so small, the spawns are quite small, in fact, the first couple of spawns only netted about 4 fry total. It wasn't long before I was down to only 2 females.
I started removing the dominate males, one by one, and eventually sold most of them off. I was down to one original female, and have decided to give up working with this fish. I now have about 8 Â 10 of the progeny left that haven't killed each other from previous spawns that are now sexually mature. I have them in with some Copadichromis borleyi "Kadango Red Fin" that I am using as dither fish. I have had several spawns from them and have a few fry coming up, but I am not sure that this fish is one I want to continue to work with.
Although the color is gorgeous, pound for pound I feel that this Cichlid is one of the most aggressive fish that I have worked with, and it has been exhausting!