johanni vs maingano

Johanni Vs Maingano


If you are stocking your aquarium, you might be trying to decide whether to put Johanni or Maingano into your tank, and wondering about the differences between these species. They are both great additions to a tank, but they are also quite similar in some ways – so let’s learn more about them.

Maingano and Johanni can be very hard to tell apart once they reach adulthood, as they are often similar in terms of size, shape, color, and patterning. You can distinguish between them when they are juveniles, and some people say that Maingano males are more docile.

In this article, we’re going to look in more detail at these two species of fish, their size, and how they behave in the tank.

How Big Do Maingano Cichlids Get?

Maingano cichlids tend to be quite small, and usually only reach around 3 inches in the wild. They can get a bit bigger in captivity, perhaps due to a better diet or longer average lifespan, and may reach as much as 4 inches, or just under.

They are therefore not a large fish, and you should be aware of this if you plan to add them to an aquarium with big, aggressive fish in – as they may get eaten. They are very popular cichlids due to their impressive colors. They are also ideal if you have a small setup and the larger cichlids are not an option.

A lot of people therefore choose these cichlids for their aquariums when they only have room for a small fish. Mainganos are attractive and flashy, in spite of their limited size, so they make a superb addition. You won’t regret adding them to your tank once you’ve seen them darting around, even if they aren’t the biggest fish!

However, they do need a minimum of 40 or 50 gallons, especially if you want them to coexist peacefully. If you put them in a space that is too small, they may attack each other, and might also get sick due to stress.

Are Maingano Cichlids Aggressive?

Maingano cichlids are considered pretty aggressive, but by no means the most aggressive cichlid. They should not be kept with smaller fish or fry, as they will bully or eat them, but as long as they have enough space, they can be a fairly easy option to keep. They are not the gentlest fish in the world, but as cichlids go, they aren’t bad.

Most fish in this genus are pretty aggressive, and the Maingano are considered feisty, but not as fierce as others. It is possible to house them with other species without running into compatibility issues.

Make sure that you keep them with fish of a similar size (preferably in different colors) or a little larger, and you shouldn’t have too many problems. However, it’s worth noting that fish do vary by individual, and you might end up with particularly aggressive or particularly docile Maingano cichlids.

For many people, the lower aggression levels make these a popular species to keep, particularly among cichlids. If you have never dealt with an aggressive species before, however, you may find them challenging.

A lot of people report that the Maingano cichlids are more docile than the Electric Blue Johanni, but this seems to be under some debate.

How Big Do Electric Blue Johanni Get?

Like the Maingano cichlid, Electric Blue Johanni usually reach around 3 inches in the wild, but can get bigger in captivity, and may reach around 4 inches long. This is one of the reasons that it can be quite challenging to tell the two kinds of fish apart.

They are another excellent species if you need a small, flashy inhabitant for your tank. Like Maingano cichlids, they tend to be popular in setups where space is limited but color is needed, and they will bring beautiful blue hues to the waters.

It is worth noting that when they are juveniles, the Electric Blue Johanni are actually orange-yellow, and the females retain this orange color into adulthood. This means you can easily distinguish between a female Electric Blue Johanni and a Maingano of either sex, but male Electric Blue Johannis can look a lot like Mainganos.

You will never see an Electric Blue Johanni get bigger than 4 inches, so they make a flexible addition to the stock in your tank, particularly if you have a limited space to fill. The minimum tank size is around 30 gallons, but they do better if kept in 40 gallons or larger, especially if you want to keep them with other fish.

How Long Do Electric Blue Johanni Live?

You might expect a small fish to have a shorter lifespan, but Electric Blue Johanni can reach a surprising 10 years if they are kept in suitable conditions. Some people even find that their fish survive for around 12 years.

Maingano cichlids may not manage to quite match this lifespan, although they are also fairly long-lived. Most will survive for about 9 years in total, even if they are well cared for. If you want the fish that will last the longest, an Electric Blue Johanni is likely to have a slightly better lifespan overall.

Of course, many factors affect a fish’s lifespan, and a Maingano can outlive an Electric Blue Johanni in some circumstances, so don’t be surprised if you keep both species and notice a similar degree of longevity in both.

Is A Johanni A Mbuna?

Yes, a Johanni is a Mbuna, and several of its common names refer to this – it is often called the Bluegray Mbuna or the Blue Mbuna. It can be kept with some other kinds of Mbuna, and it is one of the more peaceful types, with low levels of aggression.

This is another reason that it is likely to do well in your tank, especially if you want to keep it alongside other kinds of fish.


Both Electric Blue Johanni and Mainganos are great additions to a tank, and they are very similar in terms of shape, size, and appearance. They can both be kept in small aquariums, and make beautiful stock, with flashy blue colors.