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Spotlight On: Albino Sunburst Peacock (Aulonocara)

Blake B

Posted on February 01 2020

Each species of African cichlid has its own unique charm, quirks, and of course beautiful coloration. As America’s premier cichlid purveyors and enthusiasts, we’re taking some time to speak in detail about some of the cichlid species we specialize in. Continuing our series of spotlight posts, this month I’m covering Aulonocara, also known as the albino sunburst peacock cichlid, a beautiful species from Lake Malawi.


This brightly colored albino cichlid from Lake Malawi is a hybrid known best for it’s peculiar coloring, which is of course it’s namesake. Like a burst of sunlight, this species seems to shine or glow, and it’s red albino eyes are evocative, to say the least. In addition to its coloration, it has a moderately aggressive temperament, by cichlid standards, and an interesting personality, as all cichlids do. They may also be found under the names albino gold peacock, or albino dragon blood. 

Appearance and Behavior

While all African cichlids have interesting coloration, albino sunburst peacock cichlids really do stand out. Coming in a band of colors ranging from reddish to bright orange-yellow, they also often have interesting camouflage patterns on their upper fins, which sometimes shimmer blue. Like all albino creatures, they’re pinkish or red eyes are sure to grab people’s attention, whether they find them scary or beautiful will depend on the person. 

Their temperament is mid-range as cichlids go, which is of course more aggressive than many other fish. In the wild, they dwell mostly in sandy, open areas, making them a less territorial and aggressive species than many others. They are mouth brooders, so if you breed them, you’ll get to see the fry being reared in the mother’s mouth.

Care and Requirements

Sunburst peacock cichlids are not particularly picky eaters, and most cichlid flakes will work for them, although they may tend to be more carnivorous, and some variety is always recommended. Like all cichlids, they do require a higher-pH, hard water that is changed relatively often. While it’s fine to have some rocks for them to have hiding spaces, in the wild these are free-swimmers, so having at least some open space for them to swim is more important than with other varieties. 

Gravel or crushed coral make an excellent substrate for these fish, and helps to keep your water hard, although you will of course want to have water supplements and tools to maintain just the right pH, mineral content, and temperature. 

Tank Community Needs

These are not the most aggressive cichlids, especially when kept without females. They can do well with others who are of their same temperament or milder, but won’t do well with especially aggressive species. The ideal situation for albino sunburst peacocks is to have them alone in a tank of their own, or in sets of 2:1 female to male ratios.

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