Aulonocara (Aulonocara) or otherwise African Akara – freshwater tropical fish belonging to the family of tsikhlovyh from the order perch-shaped.
The most popular species for keeping in an aquarium are the Queen of Nyasa (Aulonocara nyassae), Aulonocara purple (Aulonocara stuartgranti “chilumba”) and Aulonocara Mayland (Aulonocara maylandi).
They are endemic to Lake Malawi (Nyasa) in eastern Africa. They live on sandbanks.
Characteristic differences are clearly visible indentations located on the head – presumably the senses.
The body is elongated, the back is high, the head is large and angular, the dorsal fin is long.
Juveniles, like females, have an unremarkable gray color with dark gray spots and stripes.
However, growing up, males radically change the color, for which they got the name “peacock cichlid – peacocks cichlids”. An adult male is usually blue or blue with a metallic tint. Some areas of the body may be frosted, lemon or cherry tones.
There are hybrid types of turquoise, pink, sky and black colors. The color of males gains final brightness and saturation by 2 years.
The fins are always of bright colors – blue, yellow or blue, on the upper edge of the dorsal fin there is a bright border, and on the anal edge there are small orange or yellow spots.
The length of an adult fish, depending on the type and sex, can vary from 8 to 20 cm.
These fish require a spacious aquarium of at least 80 liters for a pair of fish, the optimal volume for a group is 150-400 liters.
Fine sand is used as a soil, the fraction of which is not more than 2 mm. The soil thickness and bottom area should allow the fish to equip the spawning grounds.
Be sure to have shelters of stones, grottoes and caves in which young individuals and females can hide.
Temperature: 24 – 28 ° C;
pH: 6.0 – 9.0;
Stiffness: 12-25 ° DH.
It is important to constantly monitor the preservation of high optical quality of water, to prevent silting of the soil, since even small doses of ammonia are dangerous for fish. In the aquarium, constant aeration and filtration are necessary.
It is completely peaceful and get along with almost all non-aggressive cichlids. Males can manifest territorial behavior during breeding, with only the representatives of their own species.
To males of other cichlids are absolutely indifferent. Undesirable sharing with aggressive fish.
The diet in the natural environment consists mainly of live food and 20% of vegetable. They are characterized by “soaring” – the ability to freeze without moving over the sand.
With the help of sensitive pores on the head, they are able to catch the slightest vibrations of invertebrates under the ground, rushing at prey with lightning speed.
In the conditions of the aquarium take live and frozen food, flakes. You need to feed in small portions no more than once a day, as these fish in captivity are prone to obesity.
Females differ from males in smaller sizes, rounded dorsal and anal fins and inconspicuous color — yellowish-gray with vertical stripes.
Males become sexually mature at 10-15 months, females earlier by 2-3 months.
Spawning doubles. Fecundity is small – from 15 to 80 eggs.
Different species of this genus are capable of interbreeding with each other, therefore in one aquarium it is better to keep only representatives of one group.
Spawning is possible both in spawning and general aquariums. Males often pursue females who are not ready for spawning and can sometimes cause damage to them, therefore there should be more shelters than females.
This does not allow the male to concentrate on one of them.
Almost all types of Malawians are bred eggs in the mouth, swimming in the shelter. The incubation period is 16-21 days, after which the fry leave the female’s mouth, but may return at first, sheltering from danger.
To preserve the fry, you can deposit the female or themselves in a separate container.
Artemia and nauplii cyclops are used as initial feed for fry.