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Albino Auratus - Melanochromis auratus - Juvenile

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Item: 234985

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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!
Common NameAlbino Auratus
Min Tank Size (in gallons)45
Max Size (in inches)4.5
Temperature Range76-80
OriginLake Malawi (Africa)
pH Range7.8-8.6
Community SafeNo
Scientific NameMelanochromis auratus

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Great Fish


I enjoy mine. When locking down territory, he has a North Carolina shade blue. Is the Alpha of my tank with 3 other lids and 2 Gouramis, and a pictus. They like to defend thier space and will chase around others, so be weary when choosing tankmates.