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Yellow Peacock

(Aulonocara baenschi)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Moderate   • Temperament: Semi-aggressive   • Maximum Size: 6"
• Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons   • Water Conditions: 76-84° F, KH 10-25, pH 7.5-8.8
• Diet: Carnivore   • Origin: Lake Malawi   • Family: Cichlidae
• Species: African Cichlid   • Aquarium Type: African Cichlid, Rift Lake

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Species Information

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

The Yellow Peacock (Aulonocara baenschi) is endemic to Lake Malawi and the areas of around Nkhomo reef and Kande Island. They are generally found living where the rocky shoreline transitions into the more sandy substrate of the lake bottom. Yellow Peacocks feed in a similar fashion as Geophagus species in that they sift through the sand substrate by pushing the sand through their gills and extracting small invertebrates hidden in the sand.

However, unlike the South American Geophagus, Yellow Peacocks are also active hunters that will also actively prey on small prey items that it detects moving about the substrate or if it spots movement in the sand. Like most species of African Cichlid the Yellow Peacock lives in small groups of a single male and a small group of females. They will lay claim to small piece of territory that provides them adequate feeding opportunities. Once they have established their territory they will aggressively defend it from similarly sized and patterned fish species or anything that they determine to be competition for food.

Yellow Peacock (Aulonocara baenschi) make a good addition to most any community Lake Malawi aquarium, as they will generally get along with most other Lake Malawi species that do not have the same pattern and size as the Yellow Peacock. However, they are peaceful enough to keep with similar species providing the aquarium is large enough to provide multiple territories for each group of fish.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Yellow Peacock in the home aquarium.

Yellow Peacock Cichlids do best in Lake Malawi biotope aquariums, which contain a sand substrate, large rock piles, rocky caves and some scattered hard water tolerant plants. A sand substrate is most critical as the Yellow Peacock is a species likes to feed by taking in mouthfuls of sand and blowing it out of its gills, removing any food items it finds.

Be sure to leave plenty of areas of open sand between the rocks to provide feeding areas and to create multiple territories within the aquarium. The Yellow Peacock is considered a good Rift Lake community aquarium species, as it will only exhibit aggression towards fish species that are very similar in size and pattern.

Yellow Peacocks are also peaceful enough to be housed with some non Cichlid hard water Barb species and Rainbow fish. Care should be taken when keeping this species with aggressive substrate dwelling African Cichlid species as they will often be out competed for food by these more boisterous fish.

Feeding & Nutrition

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

The Yellow Peacock is a substrate feeder that in nature will both sand sift and actively prey on small invertebrates and crustaceans living on and in the sandy lake substrate. In the aquarium environment, the Yellow Peacock will readily accept a wide variety of commercial meaty foods. Ideally they should be fed foodstuffs that will sink to the aquarium substrate, where they can feed in a more natural manner.

Commercial pellet and frozen foods designed for African Cichlids should make up the bulk of their diet, with live or frozen worms as a supplement. Given time they may become bold enough to feed from the water column; however, the hobbyist should make sure that some of the food reaches the aquarium substrate so that the Yellow Peacock can feed in a more natural manner.

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