Saturday, October 8, 2011

Aulonocara - Peacock Cichlids.

Aulonocara is a genus of African cichlids most commonly known as Peacock Cichlids. They are very popular among the aquarium industry because of their brilliant colors and also because they are peaceful and fairly easy to care for. There are more than 20 known Aulonocara species and subspecies based on their variations of colors and characteristics. This eye catching fish is nicknamed the Peacock Cichlid for its similarity to the bird it is named after because the males are bright and colorful while the females are plain and not quite as attractive.
Peacock Cichlids reach lengths between 4-6 inches. They come in a wide variety of colors and color combinations usually consisting of blue, orange, red, yellow, gray, black and white. Peacocks have and elongated body shape with vertical stripes. Many times, their cheeks and faces are a different color from the rest of their body. 

Peacock Cichlids will thrive in aquariums that are 50 gallons or larger. They are open water dwellers that prefer to have a rocky set up with plenty of caves toward the back and sides of the aquarium. A little bit of hardy, robust vegetation would be a great addition to the aquarium since cichlids tend to be a little rough on plants. Peacock Cichlids prefer a little bit of a sandy bottom to reflect their natural habitat. These fish will live well with each other as well as other peaceful cichlids and bottom dwellers but they are not to be trusted with fish that are small enough to fit in their mouths. They might be aggressive toward other fish when establishing territories but will otherwise accept one another.

      Aulonocara prefer their water to be hard and alkaline because those are the natural conditions of Lake Malawi. Their preference in pH ranges between 7.5 and 9.0, with a temperature ranging from 75-81°F.

    Aulonocara are omnivorous fish and can be fed a variety of prepared flake or pellet foods. Live or frozen foods should also be incorporated into their diet for extra protein. Bloodworms, snails and brine shrimp are a great addition to their diet a couple of times a week.

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