Aulonocara species, also known as Peacock Cichlids, are popular freshwater fish in the aquarium hobby known for their vibrant colors and interesting behavior. Here’s a care sheet to help you provide the best care for these beautiful cichlids:
– Tank size: At least 55 gallons (208 liters) for a small group of 4-6 individuals.
– Substrate: Fine sand is ideal since these fish like to sift through it to find food.
– Filtration: Use a good quality filter to maintain water quality and promote a healthy environment.
– Decorations: Provide hiding spots with rocks, caves, and driftwood. Aulonocara cichlids appreciate areas with some open swimming space.
– Temperature: 74°F to 80°F (23°C to 27°C).
– pH Level: Slightly alkaline to neutral, ideally between 7.6 to 8.4.
– Water Hardness: Moderately hard to hard water, between 10 to 20 dH.
– Perform regular water changes of about 20-25% every 1-2 weeks to keep the water clean and stable.
– Use a gravel vacuum during water changes to remove debris from the substrate without disturbing the fish.
– Aulonocara species are omnivores with a preference for protein-rich foods.
– Offer high-quality cichlid pellets or flakes as their staple diet.
– Supplement their diet with frozen or live foods like brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia.
– Occasional treats of blanched vegetables can be offered to add variety to their diet.
– Aulonocara cichlids are generally peaceful but can be territorial during breeding.
– Suitable tankmates include other peaceful cichlid species, catfish, and peaceful African tetras.
– Avoid keeping them with aggressive or fin-nipping fish that may stress or harm them.
**Behavior and Social Structure:**
– Aulonocara cichlids are generally peaceful within their species, but aggression may occur during breeding.
– Males are more colorful than females and may display territorial behavior during courtship.
– It’s best to keep a small group of 4 or more individuals to distribute aggression and avoid stressing a single fish.
**Health and Disease:**
– Keep a close eye on your fish for any signs of illness or distress, such as loss of appetite, lethargy, or abnormal behavior.
– Quarantine new fish before adding them to the main tank to prevent the spread of diseases.
– Maintain good water quality and a balanced diet to enhance their overall health and immunity.
– Breeding Aulonocara cichlids can be achieved in the home aquarium under the right conditions.
– Provide a separate breeding tank with flat rocks or caves for egg-laying and protection.
– The water temperature should be slightly warmer, around 78°F to 82°F (25°C to 28°C), to stimulate breeding behavior.
– Male Aulonocara will display vibrant colors to attract females during courtship and breeding.
Remember that specific Aulonocara species may have slightly different care requirements, so it’s essential to research the particular species you plan to keep to ensure their specific needs are met. With proper care, Aulonocara cichlids will reward you with their stunning colors and engaging behavior, making them a joy to keep in your aquarium.