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Spotlight On Aulonocara Peacocks

Blake B

Posted on October 02 2019

As many of you will already know, each species of cichlid is unique, and has its own charm, quirks, and of course beautiful coloration. As America’s premier cichlid purveyors and enthusiasts, we wanted to take some time and speak in detail about some of the cichlid species we specialize in. The first on our list is Aulonocara, also known as Peacocks. So sit back, and get ready to learn all about the Peacocks of the cichlid world!


Aulonocaras come from Lake Malawi, and are notable for being among the most peaceful of the many, often quite aggressive cichlid breeds out there. This makes them great candidates for those who want to have multiple fish, particularly multiple males in the same tank. With Aulonocaras, it can be doable. 

Aulonocaras are also known to be relatively easy to care for, as compared to other cichlids. They are omnivores who typically live to about 8 years of age, grow to about 4-6” in length, and are often blue or orange. 

Appearance and Behavior

With a name like peacock, you’d expect Aulonocara to be quite colorful, and you’d not be disappointed. Of the 22 species available, the blue types are the most popular, although they also have orange and yellow variations, as well. A peacock will typically be the star of any given aquarium, with iridescent colors that can’t be ignored!

As already noted, Aulonocara Peacocks are known for being particularly peaceful, for cichlids. This is not to say that they can’t be territorial, and at least a 55 gallon tank is still recommended, but compared to the many other cichlids, they are much more likely to make good community fish. 

Care and Requirements

As Malawi natives, Aulonocaras require similar conditions to their home lake, and that means hard, alkaline water, and ideally sandy and rocky environs. Malawi’s water conditions are remarkably stable, with very little variation in temperature or PH, so you should do your best to mimic that. Water should be between 76-82 degrees Fereinheit, and a PH of 7.8-8.6. 

As with all other cichlid species, breaking up the space of the aquarium with caves is ideal, and will reduce whatever aggression your Aulonocaras are prone to have. 

Any plants you would like to include should be quite hardy, as cichlids in general tend to be rough on plants. The preferences of different varieties of cichlids can vary, so be sure to read up on whether the kinds you’ll have prefer rocks or sand, for instance. It is possible to include both in the same aquarium. 

For food, they can and should have a variety, but they are omnivores, so for meat you can feed them frozen daphnia or brine shrimp, and avoid mammals and tube worms. They also do best with frequent snacking rather than a single feast per day. 

Tank Community Needs

As previously noted, Peacocks can do quite well with other cichlids, which is the exception more than the norm with this wonderful category of fish. One thing that will determine which fishes you decide to add as tank-mates with your Peacock(s) is that they must be compatible with the tank conditions required by your Peacocks, those which mimic lake Malawi. This means that other Malawi cichlids are ideal tank-mates, so long as they are not excessively aggressive species. 

As with other types of cichlids, it’s best to have 2-4 females for every male, so that they can group themselves into schools and the males won’t feel the need to fight over a shortage of females. Of course, the number of cichlids you have will determine the size of tank you need, and every group of 1 male to 3-4 females needs about 55 gallons’ worth of tank. So, two such groups will need a 110 gallon tank, etc.

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