Preferred Water Parameters:
- Water Temperature: 23-27 degrees celsius
- pH Level: 7.5-8.5
- General Hardness: Hard
- Maximum size in aquariums (min-max):
10 - 12 cm ( 3.94" - 4.72")
- Recommended pH of water for Ruby red peacock:
7.5 - 8.5
- Water hardness (dGH):
16 - 24 °N
- Recommended water temperature for Ruby red peacock:
24 - 26 °C ( 75.2 - 78.8 °F )
- Compatibility (temperament to it's species):
- Compatibility (temperament to other fish species):
aggressive to smaller
- Preferred swimming area in the aquarium:
The Rubin Red Peacock Aulonocara stuartgranti "Chipoka" is a favorite with its outstanding colors. It has bright oranges and reds strongly contrasted with bright blue markings on the face, tail, and fins. Both in its natural appearance and in color forms developed even further through captive breeding, these are some of the most sought after cichlids originating from Lake Malawi, Africa.
This cichlid is one of several well known varieties of the Flavescent Peacock Aulonocara stuartgranti. They are members of a very small group of fish that are known as the Peacock Cichlids, and they are very popular with aquarists. The Peacock Cichlids members of the Aulonocara genus which contains only about 23 species, but with many subspecies. It is the brilliant colorations of blues, reds and yellows that give this group the well deserved name of "Peacock".
The Rubin Red Peacock pictured above is a popular captive bred color morph. It has a more reddish coloration than the pure natural form. This variety was intentionally bred to enhance its red color. With extensive inbreeding carried out in Germany, in-line bred fish have been developed into two recognized color forms, today's popular German Red Peacock as well as the 'Rubin Red Peacock. However as with all Peacock cichlids, the Aulonocara stuartgranti "Chipoka" may be so inbred that 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.
This is a moderately sized Peacock reaching only about 5 inches (13 cm) in length. Along with its bright coloring and reasonable size it will quickly adapt to the aquarium, thus making 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.
Be careful not to confuse these fish with their very close relative the Sunshine Peacock Aulonocara stuartgranti "Maleri". Both these Peacocks have a similar body coloring. The Sunshine Peacock is yellow in its natural form but has been developed in captive breeding for more orange in its coloring. The Aulonocara Stuartgranti "Chipoka" is naturally more orange or reddish, but it can be mistaken as is often imported under the common names Sunshine Peacock or Orange Peacock.
Fish Keeping Difficulty
These cichlids make a great choice for the beginning cichlid keeper, and are appealling to the advanced aquarist as well. They are easy to care for, easy to feed, and relatively undemanding aquarium residents. They are also fairly peaceful, making good inhabitants for the community tank, and will readily breed. The aquarium does need regular water changes. They are susceptible to Malawi bloat as well as the typical diseases that effect all freshwater fish if the tank is not maintained.
- Aquarium Hardiness: Moderately hardy
- Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner
Though the Aulonocara Stuartgranti "Chipoka" is an omnivore it will eat mostly meaty foods. It there are plants in the aquarium it won't touch them. In the wild they feed on a variety of live foods, especially small bottom dwelling invertebrates. In the aquarium provide them with a meaty diet; pellets, frozen and freeze-dried daphnia, bloodworms and brine shrimp are excellent choices. Avoid tubifex worms as they contribute to a disease called "Malawi bloat." Shrimp mixes are also a good choice, and if you use the European Shrimp Mix, it costs less than other prepared foods and is just as nutritious.
Feed once a day when young and 5 to 6 times a week when adults unless they are breeding. Avoid the desire to feed this fish more often than it needs, as this will keep the water quality higher over a longer time.
- Diet Type: Omnivore - Although they may feed on zooplankton, which can contain some vegetable matter, 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.
Peacocks are hardy fish, but like all Malawi Cichlids, they will deteriorate under poor water conditions. The Malawi fish are usually kept at a higher pH, which means that ammonia is more lethal, so regular water changes are a must. They are also a messy fish because they eat mostly protein foods, which puts an additional biological load on the filtration system. The tank will need water changes of between 20 - 50% a week, depending on the bio load.
- Water Changes: Weekly - Suggested water changes of 20-50% a week, as these are messy fish producing a heavy bio load.
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 55 gallon aquarium is okay a single fish, but 100 gallons is suggested when keeping more than one. They do fine in either freshwater or brackish freshwater but need good water movement along with very strong and efficient filtration. Gravel makes a good substate and the addition of crushed coral can help keep the pH up. 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.
Some rock decor is good to create hiding places and areas of retreat, just be sure to leave open spaces along the bottom of the tank as well. These fish need plenty of swimming room on the bottom and in the mid portions of the tank. 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. They prefer subdued lighting.
- Minimum Tank Size: 55 gal (208 L) - A 55 gallon tank minimum is suggested for a single fish, with 100 gallons or more 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: 7.7-8.6
- Hardness Range: 6 - 10 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.
The Peacock cichlids are best kept alone in a 55 gallon tank, or as a group of one male and 2 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.
The Aulonocara Stuartgranti "Chipoka" are much more peaceful than other Malawi cichlids so are best kept with their own kind. Mbunas are not good tankmates for the Sunshine Peacock. If they are kept with unsuitable tankmates they may be eaten, especially the small females, or they will not get enough to eat.
This cichlid is best kept alone, or as a group of one male and two females. They are peaceful toward those of the same species as long as there are not two males. More than one male works only in a tank that is very large and can support different territories.
Try to not house with other Aulonocara species to prevent hybridization. This cichlid can be kept with Utakas that are similar in size, but avoid female Utakas that are similar in appearance to the Aulonocaras as they will cross breed. You can use dither fish such as Rainbowfish Melanotaenia sp. and/or Congo Tetras Phenacogrammus interruptus, because sometimes they can be very shy fish.
- Temperament: Semi-aggressive
- Compatible with:
- Same species - conspecifics: Yes - One male can be kept with 2 females in a large (100 gallon+) tank. Two males will fight.
- Peaceful fish (): Monitor
- 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
Males Cichlid are more colorful with the back part of their dorsal and anal fins being sharper. Females are drabber with darker vertical bars and rounded anal and dorsal fins.
Reproduction: These cichlid is mouthbrooder: after spawning, the females incubate the eggs in their mouth until the fry are free-swimming. Males will mate with multiple females. The fry are easily raised with first foods such as baby brine shrimp.
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