Lake Malawi Species • Confused about spawning

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Confused about spawning

Postby Jasoncham2003 » Sun Apr 13, 2008 7:56 pm

a week ago what i thought was my female johanni (1) was building a nest, had a swolen and protruding vent and was flashing in front of another Johanni (2). I was told this was male behavior and that my (1) was a male. For the past few days the other Johanni (2) has had a swolen vent. As of this morning (2) and (1) seemed to have a bond. I watched them circling in a sedluded area and flashing in front of each in circles. I now believed that my (2) was my female and she was about to put out eggs. I went to the beach came home and it appears (1) has a swolen face and appears to be moving eggs around in her mouth. I was shocked as i thought this was the male. Any insight on this matter? THanks
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Postby Joea » Sun Apr 13, 2008 10:56 pm

Male M. johannii are blue, females are orange, there shouldn't be much confusion unless you have M. cyaneorhabdos, in which case, the fish holding eggs is female.
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Postby Jasoncham2003 » Mon Apr 14, 2008 12:08 am

Yeah I actually think it is a maingano myself but was sold as Johanni. Anyway I guess I discovered the male and female althought the female as of now is about an inch longer. There is another one in the tank as well and should soon find out the sex as well. Thanks
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Postby Joea » Mon Apr 14, 2008 12:20 am

M. cyaneorhabdos are often sold as Electric Blue Johanni. It's that confusion that leads some lesser experienced aquarists to believe they are the same species and why hybridization is very common with these species.

It's best to keep these fish in groups, not pairs. A pair often ends up with a dead female. Once the male matures more and grows in size, the female may not be safe.
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Postby Jasoncham2003 » Mon Apr 14, 2008 8:44 am

Thanks for the heads up When i saw them I even questioned the LFS and they assured me they were Johanni but all this time i had my doubts just waiting for them to change color and never did so I knew all along.....LFS sometimes just dont seem to care.

By the way I LOVE Cichlid TV
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Postby MalawiLover » Mon Apr 14, 2008 9:00 am

Jasoncham2003 wrote: but all this time i had my doubts just waiting for them to change color and never did so I knew all along..


With M. johanni and almost any other sexually dimorphic species. They all start out as female coloration. It is the males that then change when they mature. There for all M. johanni (the real johanni) would all be orangeas juveniles. That fact they they were all blue definitely proves you have Maingano (M. cyaneorhabdos).

Your LFS was at least half right when they said they were johanni. They are Electic Blue Johanni, as Joea stated one of the two most common trade names for M. cyaneorhabdos. The problem is that while yes that is one of the trade names, it is incredibly misleading. It is a distinct possibility that the employees at your LFS don't even know there is a difference. I was browsing the ordering list at one of my LFS and most of the cichlids were only listed by rather old and out of date trade names, only one species out of 30+ had any form of scientific name and that was way, way out of date. (Ps acei listed as Gymnochromis acei).

It is getting to the point where we are going to have to take one of Ad Konings books with us, just to by a fish and have any chance of figuring out what it is.
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Postby Joea » Mon Apr 14, 2008 10:02 am

MalawiLover wrote:That fact they they were all blue definitely proves you have Maingano (M. cyaneorhabdos).


Careful... that doesn't prove anything. They could be pure M. cyaneorhabdos but they could also be a hybrid of any combination as well. M. cyaneorhabdos X M. johannii or even M. interruptus.

A LFS near me had a tank with juvenile (all 1.5") M. johannii and M. cyaneorhabdos together, with a sign that read:

"Electric Blue Johanni" $9.99/pair.
Females are orange.


When dealing with an LFS that has no clue one way or the other, it always pays to be a bit suspicious.
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Postby MalawiLover » Mon Apr 14, 2008 10:29 am

Joea wrote:
Careful... that doesn't prove anything. They could be pure M. cyaneorhabdos but they could also be a hybrid of any combination as well. M. cyaneorhabdos X M. johannii or even M. interruptus.


You're right Joea, I should have said "are likely" instead of definitely. Hybrids are all too rampant in the stores, and with what you saw at your store, makes them even harder for hobbyists to to keep things straight.


When dealing with an LFS that has no clue one way or the other, it always pays to be a bit suspicious.


Sometimes more than a bit.
125gMale peacocks/haps
95g-Malawi Mbuna
55g-Mixed community
30g-x2 Grow out
12.5g-Fry
IS YOUR DECHLORINATOR WORKING??
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Postby Dave » Mon Apr 14, 2008 11:23 am

Ah, the old Melanochromis cyaneorhabdos/johannii/interruptus issue. This is definately one group that you really have to know your fish and supplier before you buy.

Way to trust your gut instinct on this one.

One other thing to keep in mind. With mouthbrooders, the females will drop eggs and pick them back up even if there are not mates in the tank. Sometimes two females will perform a "mock" spawning as well. It is entirely possible that both of these fish are females. Venting them would be the best way to determin sex at this point, for the other two fish.
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