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Butterfly Peacock

(Aulonocara jacobfreibergi)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Easy   • Temperament: Semi-aggressive   • Maximum Size: 8"
• Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons   • Water Conditions: 76-82° F, pH 7.5-8.5, KH 15-25
• Diet: Carnivore, Insectivore   • Origin: Lake Malawi   • Family: Cichlidae
• Species: African Cichlid   • Aquarium Type: African Cichlid, Rift Lake

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Species Information

Butterfly Peacock native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

The Butterfly Peacock is one of the most colorful and popular of all the Peacock species, making them an excellent choice for any Malawi, African cichlid aquarium. The Butterfly Peacock males are unique in having thick, iridescent-white dorsal and caudal fin margins that contrast nicely with their dark base colors and metallic hues; as well as their tendency to be a little more aggressive and territorial compared to other peaceful Peacock species.

Butterfly Peacocks are a hardy, easy to care for and are among the largest of the Peacocks, further adding to their popularity. They are great for beginners and readily available within the hobby.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Butterfly Peacock in the home aquarium.

Butterfly Peacocks require an aquarium of at least 55 gallons (75 gallons or larger is recommended) and should be provided with a fine sand substrate as well as plenty of rocks that will form multiple caves and areas for territory throughout the aquarium. Unlike the other Peacocks, Butterfly Peacocks tend to spend a lot of time close to or inside large, dark caves.

They will appreciate open space and should be provided with enough room to cruise around the water column when they are in the mood. They are considered to be somewhat aggressive when compared to the other Peacocks (which are quite peaceful) and they will eagerly fight for their territory. They can coexist with other Malawi cichlids as long as their tank mates are not overly aggressive like several of the Mbuna species.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to properly feed Butterfly Peacock and provide a healthy diet.

Butterfly Peacocks are specialized micro-predators, feeding on insect larvae and planktonic crustaceans in the wild. They should be fed a variety of live, frozen, or freeze-dried bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia as well as high quality, vitamin-enriched, African Cichlid pellets and flakes. Feed what will be consumed in a few minutes, once a day.

Breeding Information

How to successfully breed Butterfly Peacock in the aquarium environment.

For breeding, one male and 3-4 females is ideal. Butterfly Peacocks are maternal mouthbrooders. The female cichlid lays her eggs in a cave or rock crevice and then gathers up the eggs in her mouth. The male has egg-like spots on his anal fin and the female will be attracted to them thinking that they are more eggs to gather up in her mouth; when she tries to gather them she receives sperm from the male, which fertilizes the eggs.

The female will carry the eggs (usually a clutch of 25-50) for up to around 28 days before she releases free-swimming fry. If yolk-sacs still remain, the fry can finish them off; if not, immediately start to feed them Artemia nauplii.

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