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Cichlids / Africa / Lake Malawi / Peacock Cichlids / Yellow Peacock Cichlid

Baensch's Peacock, Yellow Peacock Cichlid, Yellow Regal Cichlid, Sunshine Peacock Cichlid
Aulonocara baenschi*

Synonyms: None
Physical description: 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/Length: Males to 6" (15 cm); females to 3.5" (9 cm)
Similar species: *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.
Habitat: 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
Aquarium: 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 chemistry: pH 7.5-8.8 (8.2), 10-25 dH (15), 77-84°F (25-29°C)
Social behavior: 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.
Suggested companions: 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.
Breeding techniques: 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 77-82°F (25-28°C). The parents are ovophile mouthbrooders with a matriarchal family. The spawning at this point is similar to A. hansbaenschi.
Breeding potential: 6. Breeding this Peacock is not especially difficult.
Remarks: Like all Peacocks, this fish's colors become enhanced during the spawning season.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com