General Article: Lake Malawi

The Aulonocaras

by Lee Ann Steeves

Aulonocara maulana
'Bicolor 500'

Aulonocara mbenji

Aulonocara sp.
'Lwanda black'

Aulonocara sp. 'Marleri'

Aulonocara sp.
'ruben red'

Aulonocara stuartgranti 'maisoni'

Aulonocara usisya

Aulonocara are one of the most popular African cichlids in the hobby. The striking coloration of the male, and relatively peaceful disposition makes them very popular with cichlid enthusiasts, both beginner and seasoned veteran alike.

Also known as 'Peacocks', Aulonocara are a welcome addition to just about any community setup, with just about any decor. Like other Africans, they should be kept in groups of six or more (for breeding). Tank size appears to be unimportant, but since many of these animals can reach 5", larger tanks are recommended (3' or longer). A general rule of thumb is that only one Peacock species is kept in each tank, because Aulonocara are notorious for crossing with each other, and females look nearly identical across species, so separating them out in the future might prove to be very difficult. An exception to this, of course, is the 'all male' display tank.

Peacocks are not fussy eaters, and will thrive on a basic diet of flake. They do appreciate varied supplements including pellets, and live and frozen foods.

While the Peacock is at home in nearly any African community tank with nearly any decor, they seem to be happiest when there is plenty of swimming room and a large area on the floor of the tank where they can sift through the substrate looking for tiny bits of food. The usual rock caves across the back or in 'islands' are appreciated. Peacocks do not seem to disturb plants, and the addition of such greenery to the tank makes a very pretty contrast to the bright colors of the males.


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