วันจันทร์ที่ 2 กันยายน พ.ศ. 2556

Fish Data : Nkhomo Benga Peacock

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Common name:

    Sunshine Peacock, Benga Peacock, Baensch's Peacock, Yellow Peacock Cichlid, Yellow Regal Cichlid. 
General Body Form:
    Very long anal, two pelvic, and dorsal fin. Has classic cichlid shape, lots of body curve. Males tend to be larger.

Coloration:
    In one word the colors are striking. Usually is yellow-orange with blue color on the face. Males tend to have more color. 
    The Nkhomo Benga Peacock Aulonocara baenschi is a relatively small Peacock cichlid that grows to an average length of about 4 - 5 inches (13 cm). It is a real eye catcher with its bright yellows accented throughout the body and head with vibrant blues. It is known by a number of common names including Benga Peacock, New Yellow Regal Peacock, Yellow Peacock, Baensch's Peacock, Sunshine Peacock, Benga Yellow Peacock, Aulonocara Benga, and Yellow Regal-Buntbarsch.
The Benga Peacock is a part of a small, but popular group of cichlids from Lake Malawi, Africa known as the Peacock Cichlids. They are members of the Aulonocara genus which has only about 28 species, but with many subspecies. It is the brilliant colorations of blues, reds and yellows that have given rise to the well deserved name of "Peacock cichlids".

    This cichlid has a limited range in the lake, so there are not as many color forms as with other Peacock cichlids that have a wider distribution. Like other peacock cichlids, this yellow beauty is easy to breed and captive bred specimens are readily available. However because the Peacocks have been so inbred, true strains are hard to find unless they are wild caught or from a reputable dealer.
The Aulonocara, along with the Utaka Cichlids Copadichromis and other non-Mbuna's, are members of the Haplochromis group. Haplochromis is the type genus of free-roaming browsers sometimes call "haps" or "happies". They live in more sandy areas and open waters, and are generally larger cichlids than their Mbuna "rock-dwelling" counterparts. They also are more peaceful cichlids and should not be housed with the highly active and aggressive Mbunas.

   The fish has a mellower temperament than other peacock cichlids. Even when spawning, they are less aggressive. Consequently there is a greater selection of tank mates you can keep with this cichlid species. They are also easy to care for, thus making them a desirable pet. Provide open space for swimming and a lot of caves in which to hide, sleep, or breed. Water changes that are frequent also help in keeping this cichlid. They will eat a meaty diet and have an almost puppy like excitability when being fed, thus adding to their appeal.

  The Nkhomo Benga Peacock grows to an average length of about 4 - 5 inches (13 cm) in length, though males may reach up to about 6 inches (15 cm). It can take the male up to 2 years to get its full gorgeous coloring. With proper care this fish may live up to 10 years.

The males are mostly yellow with blue coloring in different areas of the body to some being mostly blue with yellow coloring. They have a curved forehead and nose and large eyes, thus distinguishing them from the other yellow/blue peacocks such as the Aulonocara stuartgranti "maleri" male. Females are a light gray/silver with vertical brown bands running the length of the body with the dorsal, anal and tail fin being clearish ice blue to clear or light brown, depending on location. The females do seem to have a very faint yellow patch in the front middle area.

This peacock cichlid has limited distribution, so there are not as many color forms as other Peacocks. There are said to be four color morphs, but there may be more. These four include:
  • Nkhomo Benga
    The Peacock from this area is called the Yellow Regal Cichlid, Yellow Peacock Cichlid and the Sunshine Peacock Cichlid. It has the coloring that is the most popular. It is a basic yellow all over with blue pale vertical stripes. The lower half of the head is blue and the back tail does not seem to have much if any marbling.
     
  • Chipoka
    This Peacock coloring has an electric blue head, yellow forehead, pelvic fins, anal and dorsal fins and body with several vertical lighter blue bands that begin just behind the pelvic fins and alternate with blue to the tail. The tailfin is marbled in light blue and an orange/yellow.
     
  • Marleri
    This Peacock coloring is a little different, having a blue head, not just the bottom half. The anal, dorsal, and pelvic fins are yellow as well as the forehead. The body has 13 or more vertical stripes "in the background" that alternate from white and blue. On top of this background are a muted pale yellow. The caudal fin has a mix of blue stripes over an orange coloring.
     
  • Usisya
    This Peacock coloring is similar to the Marleri variety, except the vertical stripes are very pale. The dorsal, anal and pectoral fins are very dark blue/black and the tail fin is yellow with blue stripes.
   All cichlids share a common feature that some saltwater fish such as wrasses and parrotfish have and that is a well-developed pharyngeal set of teeth that are in the throat, along with their regular teeth. Cichlids have spiny rays in the back parts of the anal, dorsal, pectoral, and pelvic fins to help discourage predators. The front part of these fins are soft and perfect for precise positions and effortless movements in the water as opposed to fast swimming.
Cichlids have one nostril on each side while other fish have 2 sets. To sense "smells" in the water, they suck water in and expel the water right back out after being "sampled" for a short or longer time, depending on how much the cichlid needs to "smell" the water. This feature is shared by saltwater damselfish and cichlids are thought to be closely related.
  • Size of fish - inches: 5.1 inches (13.00 cm) - This cichlid grows to an average length of about 4-5" (13 cm). Males can reach up to about 6" (15.24 cm) in the wild, but are generally smaller in the aquarium.
  • Lifespan: 6 years - They have a lifespan of 6 to 10 years with proper care

 Natural habitat: sandy bottoms that have a few rocks around Nkhomo reef.


 Natural foods/prey: small invertebrates found in the sand and other small fish.

Water chemistry in the wild: pH 7.5-9.0, 10-11 dH.

Predators: birds and other fish.

 Minimum tank size: standard 3ft for a small colony but a larger tank is preferred

Sex ratio: ideal would be 1m and 4-6f

Tolerance of conspecifics: usually quite peaceful with only the occasional chase when a males territory is invaded.
Tolerance of heterospecifics: good - should only be kept with other peaceful Malawis.

Water chemistry in aquaria: pH: 7.2-8.2, general hardness 10-20 gH, carbonate hardness 4-9 dKH

Temperature range: 23-27 degrees Celsius, can tolerate slightly higher temperatures temporarily but optimum is 25

Feeding :
  • Diet Type: Omnivore - Although they may feed on some vegetable matter in the wild, their diet is primarily carnivorous and they mostly seek out meaty foods.
  • Flake Food: Yes
  • Tablet Pellet: Yes
  • Live foods (fishes, shrimps, worms): Some of Diet
  • Meaty Food: Most of Diet - Avoid tubifex worms, and do not offer mammal meat, as they may contribute to a disease called "Malawi bloat".
  • Feeding Frequency: Daily - Juveniles can be fed daily, but adults need only 5 - 6 feedings a week

Water Changes: Weekly - Suggested water changes of 20-50% a week, as these are messy fish producing a heavy bio load.

Aquarium Setup

    The streams that flow into Lake Malawi have a high mineral content. This along with evaporation has resulted in alkaline water that is highly mineralized. Lake Malawi is known for its clarity and stability as far as pH and other water chemistries. It is easy to see why it is important to watch tank parameters with all Lake Malawi fish.

    Rift lake cichlids need hard alkaline water but are not found in brackish waters. Still salt is sometimes used as a buffering agent to increase the water's carbonate hardness. Forturnately this cichlid has some salt tolerance. It can be kept in slightly brackish water conditions, however it not suited to a full brackish water tank. It can tolerate a low salinity that is about 10% of a normal saltwater tank, which means a specific gravity of less than 1.0002.
A minimum 40 gallon aquarium is suggested for a single specimen with 100 gallons or more being recommended for a school. They do fine in either freshwater or slightly brackish freshwater but need good water movement along with very strong and efficient filtration. They prefer subdued lighting.
Some rock decor is good to create hiding places and areas of retreat. Make sure to provide open space that offers plenty of swimming room on the bottom of the tank. A sandy substrate with smoother rocks is good for hiding and staking out territories. Be careful in your selections as their large eyes can be injured on sharp rocks. Gravel is acceptable as well. Crushed coral or aragonite sands do tend to dissolves easier than salts. Keeping a higher pH however, means that ammonia is more lethal, so regular water changes are a must for these fish. A nice thing about these guys is they do not damage plants as much as other cichlids, so you can add some to your decor if desired.
  • Minimum Tank Size: 40 gal (151 L) - A 40 gallon tank minimum is suggested for a single fish, but a larger tank, 100 gallons or more, is best for a group.
  • Suitable for Nano Tank: No
  • Substrate Type: Any
  • Lighting Needs: Low - subdued lighting
  • Temperature: 73.0 to 84.0° F (22.8 to 28.9° C)
  • Range ph: 7.8-8.6
  • Hardness Range: 10 - 18 dGH
  • Brackish: Sometimes - Salt is not found in their natural environment, but they do have a slight tolerance, keep levels below 10% - a specific gravity of less than 1.0002.
  • Water Movement: Moderate
  • Water Region: Bottom - These fish will tend to swim in the bottom areas of the aquarium.
Social Behaviors
The Nkhomo Benga Peacock can be kept alone, but does better as a group consisting of one male and 6 females in a 100 gallon tank. They are peaceful toward those of the same species as long as it is not 2 males, unless tank is very large and can support different territories.
This fish can kept with their own kind as well as with a mix of other more peaceful similar sized and tempered Malawi cichlids, and a few rainbow fish as well. If they are kept with unsuitable tankmates they may be eaten, especially the small females, or they will not get enough to eat.
Mbunas are not good tankmates for the more peaceful Peacocks. Try to not house with other Aulonocaras to prevent hybridization. They can be kept with Utakas. Good tankmates include friendly Haplochromis like the Blue Moorii Cyrtocara moorii, Sulphur-Crested Lithobate or Red-top Aristochromis Otopharynx lithobates, and the Copadichromis species.
  • Temperament: Semi-aggressive
  • Compatible with:
    • Same species - conspecifics: Yes - They do best in groups of one male kept with 6 females in a large (100 gallon+) tank. Two males will fight.
    • Peaceful fish (): Safe
    • Semi-Aggressive (): Monitor
    • Aggressive (): Threat
    • Large Semi-Aggressive (): Threat
    • Large Aggressive, Predatory (): Threat
    • Slow Swimmers & Eaters (): Threat
    • Shrimps, Crabs, Snails: Threat - is aggressive
    • Plants: Monitor

Breeding / Reproduction 

   The Nkhomo Benga Peacock has been bred in captivity. All Cichlid parents tend to their young, making them easy to breed. Keep 6 females with one male in a 40 gallon tank for the best breeding success. Males are very rough on the females so there is a need to "spread out" the aggression. The male will display an intense coloration to attract the females. They should have their own breeding tank as a couple guarding their babies can be a force to reckon with and this aggression is acted out on other tank mates.

   It is difficult to witness a spawning of this peacock because it is done secretly in a cave. They are mouth brooders. This is where the females will lay the eggs and then pick them up in their mouths. After that they pick at the male's anal fin to get him to produce "milt" or sperm. The female will then take this milt into her mouth and the eggs are fertilized at that time. She will carry 20 to 40 of them in her mouth until the fry are old enough to be able to feed on their own. With other Peacocks this takes around 21 days so it is assumed the same is true for this fish. She will nibble and eat next to nothing during this time. Never house fry from different strains in the same tank, as it will be almost impossible to tell the fry and juveniles apart (until they grow).


Credits :

http://animal-world.com/encyclo/fresh/cichlid/NkhomoBengaPeacock.php

http://www.badmanstropicalfish.com/profiles/profile168.html

http://www.sydneycichlid.com/sunshine-peacock-cichlid.htm

http://www.aquariumlife.net/profile-images/sunshine-peacock.jpg