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 1-2 in size with the male showing very little color.  They were placed in a 30-gallon and it didnt 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 males 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 - 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.