Melanochromis auratus - Small

$5.99 $11.99
SKU: 213021
Manufacturer: That Fish Place
MPN: F90 0022 1194

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Female and juvenile coloration of the Auratus is a combination of bright yellow with black horizontal stripes bordered with white. Adult males have a similar coloration, but they become mostly black with a horizontal white stripe, gray-brown in the dorsal area, and white markings on their fins. Melanochromis are especially aggressive with other male Melanochromis, particularly if there are females present, and multiple Melanochromis species should not be mixed to prevent cross-breeding.

Malawian and Victorian cichlids are similar in care and temperament, leading to fish from these two lakes being grouped together in the hobby. Several hundreds species of cichlid are found in Lake Malawi, along with many regional variations, but Lake Victoria has far fewer due to the introduction of invasive predators. Most cichlids in both lakes are rock-dwellers. They seldom stray far from the rocky bottoms and sides of the lake and will quickly dart into the rocks to hide. As with all cichlids, they are very territorial and will not tolerate other cichlids around “their” crevice.

Two of the most popular groups of these cichlids are the “Peacocks” (mostly the Aulonocara genus) and “Mbuna's” (native term for “rock fish” and including the genera Pseudotropheus, Labidochromis, Maylandia, Melanochromis and others). While aggression and compatibility can vary from species to species, mixing Mbuna and Peacock cichlids is not usually recommended. Mbuna cichlids tend to be more aggressive and may bully the usually more passive Peacocks but some Mbuna cichlids are far more aggressive than others. Several other groups of cichlids can also be found from these lakes, some of which can be large and aggressive predators; research all choices carefully.

Décor for a Malawi/Victoria aquarium should be very rocky. Rock “piles” and shelf-like backgrounds are common designs and can be made from tufa rock, lava rock or slate. Substrates can range from the whitish coral sand used in saltwater aquariums to black freshwater sand or even regular decorative gravels. Wood tends to lower pH and is not usually recommended for African cichlid aquariums.

Visit That Fish Blog for more information from our marine biologists and aquarium staff on African cichlids and many other topics!


F90 0022 1194
That Fish Place
Common NameAuratus - Small
Scientific NameMelanochromis auratus
OriginLake Malawi (Africa)
Max Size (in inches)5
Community SafeNo
pH Range7.8-8.6
Min Tank Size (in gallons)45
Temperature Range76-80
Internal Id

State Restrictions
Armed Forces Americas
Armed Forces Europe
Armed Forces Pacific
Puerto Rico


Ratings & Reviews

3 reviews

Melanochromis Auratus


I have not gotten one from That Fish Place. No issure with them at all.

Just wanted to warn others. This fish is EXTREMELY TERRITORIAL! PROFOUNDLY AGGRESSIVE! If you want to keep one in a tank all by itself, no problem.That's what I have done. Perhaps others have had different experiences with this fish but I want to flush mine as she has quickly killed several of my fish, is taking up a tank and hides all of the time. Not very interesting or economical.

Aggresive Indeed!


This colorful fish can be very aggresive, so I would never recommend putting them in a community tank unless it is with other Africans who are similiar in nature. I have them in a 150 gal tank and they seem to be a little less agressive because they is so much room there for them. I have a couple males and 6 females and they are regularly providing me with new fry on a failry regular basis.

Very hardy and active fish.


The auratus is an excellent fish. It is hardy and eats a large variety of foods. The auratus is a beautiful fish, but will tend to be more aggressive than other mbuna cichlids.