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PEACOCK CICHLIDS

peacock cichlids


AULONOCARA OR PEACOCK GROUP


Peacock Cichlids are a recent introduction to the hobby, which are rapidly becoming very popular. About 10 species have been described although several others likely exist. Lake Malawi Biotope Setup

SIZE: Peacock Cichlids usually range in size from 4-6" (10-15 cm).
TANK: A tank of 40" (101 cm) or 45-55 gallons (170-209 L) is usually sufficient. It should have a rocky set-up with a number of crevices and caves. Use a coral sand substrate to keep the water alkaline. Use a filter that creates little or no water current. Robust, thick-leafed plants that can tolerate hard water can also be used. Water changes should be made regularly.
WATER: Peacock Cichlids are used to the hard alkaline water caused by the high mineral content in the water of Lake Malawi. Most Lake Malawi Cichlids prefer water with a pH between 7.5-9.0, and a water hardness of 10-20 dH. The temperature should be between 75-81F (24-27C).
SB: Unlike most other Lake Malawi Cichlids, Peacocks are relatively peaceful fish. They will set-up territories and defend them, but otherwise are not aggressive. Peacock cichlids can be combined with each other, catfish, and other peaceful, mid-sized fish in a community tank. Most hobbyists agree that Mbunas are not the best choice as tank mates, as they are far more aggressive than Peacocks.
SC: Synodontis, Lamprologus (and allies), Lake Tanganyika Rainbowfish ( Lamprichthys ).
FOOD: Peacocks care omnivorous and can easily be fed in an aquarium on suck live or frozen foods as: bloodworms, mosquito larvae, crustaceans, snails, and Tubifex. These fish also readily take pellets and tablets.
B: Peacock Cichlids are ovophile mouthbrooders that form a matriarch family. The pair should be conditioned separately on mosquito larvae, bloodworms, and crustaceans. The water should have a pH from 8.0-8.2, a water hardness 10-18 dH, and a warmer temperature of 79-84F (26-29C). The female spawns a small number of eggs on the rocky bottom. These are fertilized by way of the dummy-egg method. The young should be raised on newly hatched Artemia and fine-grade flake foods.
BP: Breeding difficulty depends entirely on the species.
DC: See individual descriptions, as the difficulty of care varies with the species.

Baensch's Peacock, Yellow Peacock Cichlid, Yellow Regal Cichlid, Sunshine Peacock Cichlid [Pictures]
Aulonocara baenschi *
SYN: None
PD: An elongated, high backed cichlid. This Peacock has large lips and eyes. The pelvic and pectoral fins are elongated. Four color morphs are occasionally available to the hobby. The first and most common is the blue-yellow morph from Chipoka. Its head is usually indigo blue and 6-8 indigo blue vertical stripes can be found on the rear part of the fish. The first is located around the mid-section of the fish, while the last is at the base of the caudal fin. The body, from the gill cover to the stripes, including the forehead, is yellow. The fins, except for the pectoral, are yellow with the tail also having a marbling of blue. The pectoral fins are transparent. A popular, new color morph from Nkoma/Benga is all yellow except for the lower half of the head and the pale 6-8 blue stripes. It is known as the Yellow Regal Cichlid, as the Yellow Peacock Cichlid, and as the Sunshine Peacock Cichlid. The morph from the Marleri Islands has a blue head. The forehead is yellow as are the anal, dorsal, and pelvic fins. From the base of the pectoral fin and back are 13-16 vertical bands that alternate in color from blue to white. Overlaying these stripes are pale yellow scales. The caudal fin is orange with and over-laying pattern of horizontal blue stripes. The final variation, the Usisya morph has a yellow body and a blue head. The vertical stripes that are found on the other morphs are very pale on the Usisya form. The fins, except for the transparent pectoral fin, are deep blue-almost black. The caudal fin is yellow with 8-12 blue horizontal stripes. All these color morph are very hard to describe, but the pictures will do them justice.
SIZE: Males to 6" (15 cm); females to 3.5" (9 cm)
SS: *Some experts believe that A. baenschi could be a color morph of A. nyassae, although the relationship is unclear at this time. To add to the confusion the Yellow Peacock ( Aulonocara species), has the same common name as A. baenschi , but differs in color by having no blue on its head. It also is found near Chipoka.
HAB: Eastern Africa; rocky and sandy areas of Lake Malawi. Two commonly bred and imported color morphs come from the Marleri Islands and the rocky shore areas near Chipoka.
S: bottom, middle
TANK: 40" (101 cm) or 45-55 gallons (170-209 L) is required for adult fish. Use rocks to construct structures and caves. A scattering of pebbles over a coral sand bottom makes an ideal substrate. Tough plants that can tolerate hard water (Anubias, Cryptocoryne) can be used as this fish will not usually disturb them. Roots can be used to provide additional hiding places. Use a filter that creates little or no water current and perform frequent partial water changes.
WATER: pH 7.5-8.8 (8.2), 10-25 dH (15), 77-84F (25-29C)
SB: A delightful fish that can be combined in most community tanks containing other robust fish. Occasionally territorial, this fish is otherwise peaceful. Only during spawning do the fish begin aggressive behavior. It is still a wise idea to provide a retreat for each fish as this makes them more comfortable.
SC: Synodontis, Lamprologus (and allies), Lake Tanganyika Rainbowfish ( Lamprichthys ).
FOOD: Live; bloodworms, mosquito larvae, crustaceans, snails, Tubifex; pellets; tablets
SEX: Females are brown or black with some darker stripes. Males are multicolored and considerably larger. See "Physical Description" for coloring details.
B: For this peacock, it is important to condition the pair separately prior to spawning. This can be done by feeding them Brine Shrimp, mosquito larvae, and bloodworms. After a two or three week period, the pair should be reintroduced and spawning will usually occur shortly thereafter. The tank should have a pH of 7.8-8.2, a water hardness from 10-15 dH, and a temperature from 77-82F (25-28C). The parents are ovophile mouthbrooders with a matriarchal family. The spawning at this point is similar to A. hansbaenschi.
BP: 6. Breeding this Peacock is not especially difficult.
R: Like all Peacocks, this fish's colors become enhanced during the spawning season.
DC: 4. Among the hardiest Peacock Cichlids.

Peacock Cichlid, Red Shoulder Malawi, African Peacock
[Pictures]
Aulonocara hansbaenschi
SYN: None
PD: An elongated, high backed cichlid. In males, the dorsal fin is elongated and pointed. The upper ridge of this fin a white while the rest is body colored. The body is indigo blue with 7-9 faint horizontal black stripes. Alternating with the blue scales, are red to pink scales that are not as numerous as the blue ones. The belly and the area immediately behind the gill cover are more red to pink scales. The other fins are the same color as the body. The females has less elaborate fins and is brownish-gray in color. The eye appears larger and the fins are brown or transparent.
SIZE: To 6" (15 cm)
SS: Aulonocara korneliae, Lake Malawi Butterfly Cichlid ( Aulonocara jacobfreibergi), Nyasa Peacock (Aulonocara nyassae ), Grant's Peacock (Aulonocara stuartgranti)
HAB: Eastern Africa; rocky and sandy areas of Lake Malawi. Often found in caves.
S: bottom, middle
TANK: 40" (100 cm) or 45-55 gallons (170-209 L). The tank should have a rocky set-up with caves and shelter for hiding places. Hardy plants can be used as this fish will not usually bother them. This cichlid, like all those from Lake Malawi, prefer a coral sand substrate.
WATER: pH 7.5-8.8 (8.2), 10-25 dH (15), 77-84F (25-29C)
SB: A fish that is peaceful, yet territorial. It can be combined with other medium sized cichlids. Retreats for each fish are important. Keep several females with one male.
SC: Synodontis, Lamprologus (and allies), Lake Tanganyika Rainbowfish ( Lamprichthys ).
FOOD: Live; bloodworms, mosquito larvae, crustaceans, snails, Tubifex; pellets; tablets
SEX: Females are pale, while males are colorful-usually dark indigo blue.
B: The parents are ovophile mouthbrooders with a matriarchal family. The female spawns on the rocky bottom and performs mouth brooding responsibilities. The eggs are fertilized through the dummy-egg method. 20-60 eggs are incubated in the mouth for 20-22 days at 81-86F (27-30C). Start feeding the fry with Artemia and small dry foods.
BP: 6. Breeding the African Peacock is not especially difficult.
R: Groups of males of this species are often found in large groups in caves. In these schools, only one male has full colors.
DC: 5. A hardy Peacock when kept under a regime of frequent partial water changes and given a varied diet.

Jacobfreibergi, Lake Malawi Butterfly Cichlid [Pictures]
Aulonocara jacobfreibergi
SYN: None
PD: An elongated cichlid whose body shape is similar to that of other Peacock Cichlids. Several different color variations are known, although only one is common in the hobby. A dark, indigo blue color extends along the lower jaw and to the rear part of the body. The forehead and the upper back is reddish-brown in color. Nine to ten faint, but dark, horizontal stripes are located on the body. The first starts just behind the gill cover, and the last ends at the base of the tail. The dorsal and caudal fins are iridescent blue and the pectoral fin is transparent. The anal fin is red and black with an electric blue trim. The first ray of the pelvic fins is also an electric blue color.
SIZE: To 5" (13 cm)
SS: Peacock Cichlid ( Aulonocara hansbaenschi) Aulonocara korneliae, Aulonocara nyassae, Grant's Peacock ( Aulonocara stuartgranti )
HAB: Eastern Africa; rocky and sandy areas of Lake Malawi.
S: bottom, middle
TANK: 40" (100 cm) or 40 gallons (150 L). Set-up the tank as one would for other peacock cichlids. See the introduction for Peacock Cichlids.
WATER: pH 7.5-8.8 (8.2), 10-25 dH (15), 77-84F (25-29C)
SB: A peaceful fish that can be combined in a community tank containing other robust fish. Keep one male with several females. The Lake Malawi Butterfly Cichlid has similar behavior to other Peacocks.
SC: Synodontis, Lamprologus (and allies), Lake Tanganyika Rainbowfish ( Lamprichthys ).
FOOD: Live; bloodworms, mosquito larvae, crustaceans, snails, Tubifex; pellets; tablets
SEX: Females are pale, while males are more colorful-usually dark indigo blue.
B: See A. hansbaenschi.
BP: 6. Breeding this Peacock is not especially difficult.
R: Several different color morphs are imported.
DC: 4. A hardy Peacock, whose diet should include live foods.

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