Spawning Aulonocara sp. Rubin Red
By Dave Gauthier
I bought these Malawi Peacocks from a friend and fellow club member a couple years ago. I had picked up a trio (1m/2f) at the time, and they were about 1½”-2” in size with the male showing very little color. They were placed in a 30-gallon and it didn’t take long for them to grow. Within 6 months, they had more than doubled in size with the male showing brilliant color. I then bought a pair (1m/1f) of similar sized fish from a different group. The males have a metallic blue head with a deep orange/gold body color with a hint of vertical striping along the body. The sub-dominant male does show some color, but not near the intensity of the dominant male. Typical of the Aulonocara genus, the females stay brown with this particular species showing a very slight tint of yellow in the dorsal and anal fins.
They were moved to a 55-gallon tank when I put all five fish together. The tank has an undergravel filter with two power heads and is kept at 78-80F. I also added some 11/2” PVC tubing for additional cover. A 20 gallon water change is done weekly.
They are fed a combination of cichlid pellets and flakes. Nothing fancy, just your ordinary over-the-counter cichlid food. Oh, they also like to go for a ride in the car on Saturdays. (Please forgive my sleep-deprived humor.)
It did not take long for the dominant male to entice a female near the PVC tube he called home. The spawning ritual of these fish consists of the male and female circling each other while she drop a couple of eggs at a time and scoops them up in her mouth. The male then fertilizes them when she attempts to pick up the eggspots on the male’s anal fin.
I let the female hold them for a week to ten days and then strip the eggs from her and place them in an egg tumbler until they are free swimming, usually a good two weeks more. Then the fry are placed in a 10 gallon tank and fed crushed flake and a specialty fry food until they are roughly ½ - ¾” in size. I will then move them to a larger tank to give them enough room to grow.
I have kept a good number of peacocks in the past, and these are definitely one of my favorites.