Peacock Cichlid is a fresh water aquarium fish that are not aggressive but mostly peaceful with the males being a little territorial. They can easily be kept in the same aquarium with other Cichlid species or even other peaceful species of fish. The species of the fish primarily originates from Lake Malawi. This lake is one of the many lakes that are found within the Great Rift Valley of Africa. It is the second largest lake within the Rift Valley and also the ninth largest lake in the world. The Peacock Cichlid belongs to the fish genus Aulonocara. There are up to twenty two species of peacock cichlid that have been named and all of these are just found in the Lake Malawi. The scientific name of the fish is Aulonocara Nyassae.
Appearance of Peacock Cichlid
Cichlids are some of the most brightly colored fish that live in fresh waters you will in the world. The male peacock cichlid fish are slightly more brightly colored than the females and you will see them exhibit iridescent shades of bright colors. The females of the fish species however don’t show many colors like the male do. The males are known to transform dramatically as they mature and will exhibit a variety of colors which may include; yellow, blue, red, gold, orange, and purple. Unlike other cichlid fish species, the peacocks have permanent colors and will not change their colors due to mating or mood status. In general though, both the sexes are quite interesting to look at due to their amazing colors. You will find many varieties of the peacock exhibiting various colors but of course it is just the same fish. Basically, the color of the fish will be different owing to the region of the lake that the fish is coming from. This makes them a perfect aquarium fish for use in display aquarium where people can come to watch their brilliant colors.
Cichlids are mostly found in Lake Malawi a freshwater lake that is found in Malawi and Tanzania which are two East African nations. Lake Malawi is found within the Rift Valley, a large valley depression that was formed many years ago after the African plate tectonic split into two. It is a fresh water lake which is considered the ninth largest in the world and thus provides an optimum environment for the thriving of the peacock cichlid.
The temperature of the lake is fairly warm and it deep level temperature is about 72 degrees Celsius. The surface temperature ranges between 75° and 84°. Peacock cichlids dwell in the bottom part of the lake and like to hunt for food in the sand that is found at the bottom of Lake Malawi. They are active swimmers who will look around for movements of invertebrates that they feed on.
Because peacock cichlids are excellent swimmers and like hunting for their food while in the wild it is best to give them a spacious tank. So, to successfully keep the fish in your aquarium, you will need a tank that can hold at least fifty five gallons of water. The water temperature in the tank should be controlled to between 76° and 82°F as these are the temperature conditions almost similar to those they experience in the wild.
In addition, the pH of the water in the tank should be kept within 7.8 – 8.6. The water needs to be fresh and free of any saltiness so that the fish can live there comfortably. For the hardness of the water, it should be kept between 4 – 6 dH. The tank needs to have sandy substrate with lots of rocks at the bottom. This will provide cave-like structures for the fish to hide because they like to do this in the wild.
As for tank decoration, you can use plants to achieve this because the peacocks will not eat the plants in there. Ensure that you keep the water in the tank clean at all times and replace the water if you notice the pH has changed to alarming levels.
The fish are predators in nature and usually feed on insects and other forms of invertebrates that they meet while in the wild. In the wild, that is Lake Malawi, the peacock like diving deep near the sandy bottom to feed on the insects that they find there. This means that in the aquarium they should be offered:
- Food pellets that sink easily so that they can get to eat them at the bottom of the tank.
- You can also offer them live insects that will easily sink to the bottom of the tank so they can feed on.
- Granules, fresh, and frozen foods can also be given to them to eat.
Male peacock cichlids are super polygamous and even in your aquarium you will readily see a male courting numerous females at ago. For easy breeding in the aquarium, you can as well put a single male with several females and they will readily breed.
The females lay eggs and the males will fertilize them during spawning then the females will then pick the fertilized eggs and incubate them until they get hatched. After the eggs are hatched, the females will care for the young ones for a brief period usually ranging from one week to just a few more days. They later then let the fry fend for themselves.
There are numerous species of the peacock cichlids. In fact about 22 species have been identified. However, not all of these are aquarium favorites. Below are some of the common aquarium varieties:
- Sunshine peacock
- Flavescent peacock
- Nkhomo Benga peacock
- Maulana Bicolor Peacock
- African butterfly peacock
- Auonocara Blue Gold Cichlid
- Aulonocara fort Maguire Cichlid
The peacock cichlids are territorial and like to set up territories that they will defend. Unlike their other members of the cichlid group, they are mildly aggressive and therefore they can be kept with other less aggressive fish species. They are hunters who like diving deep in the water to look for food in the sandy areas of the water.