The Ruby Red Peacock is a variety that is not found in the wild in Lake Malawi. It is an aquacultured variant bred from A. stuartgranti found in the Maleri region of the lake. It is commonly referred to as "Aulonocara rubescens" although this is not a valid scientific name. The color on these fish has been developed by several breeders from Germany, The dominant males achieve magnificent orange to red-orange body color with some blue accents on the face. Females are not brightly colored, but do have a distinct yellow edge on the dorsal fin. Juveniles are silver in color with faint darker bands.
Aulonocara are called Peacock Cichlids due to the fantastic coloration developed by dominant males. There are many color variants that have developed within species at different points in the lake. Females and juveniles are generally silvery-grey in most Aulonocara.
They are mouthbrooders and will carry fry for 3 weeks or more before expelling the fry. These fish are rock dwellers and should be supplied with a rocky environment to establish territory. Males should be housed singly with several females, and preferably not with more aggressive Mbunas (rock-dwelling cichlids), as peacocks are not terribly aggressive, relatively.
Peacock cichlids may be housed with other species of Lake Malawi fish with similar temperament. They should not be housed with other Peacocks unless ample room is provided, and males may not develop brilliant colors due to dominance issues. Research will help the aquarist pick out the most appropriate fish to mix.
Aulonocara will accept both flake or pellet food soon after being introduced into the aquarium. A variety of foods is recommended to encourage coloration and supply the fish with appropriate vitamins and minerals. They may also be fed frozen foods as a healthy treat.
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