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Yellow Peacock Cichlid (Aulonocara baenschi)

Welcome to the fascinating world of the Yellow Peacock Cichlid! This guide provides detailed information about these vibrant freshwater fish, popular among aquarists for their striking appearance and engaging behavior.

Yellow Peacock Cichlid Facts

Fact Detail
Scientific Name Aulonocara baenschi
Common Names Yellow Peacock Cichlid, Nkhomo Benga Cichlid, Yellow Regal Peacock
Origin Lake Malawi, East Africa
Adult Size 4-6 inches (10-15 cm)
Lifespan 6-10 years
Diet Omnivorous
Water Parameters Temperature: 75-82°F (24-28°C) , pH: 7.5-8.5
Aquarium Size Minimum 50 gallons
Temperament Peaceful but territorial during breeding
Breeding Maternal mouthbrooders

Yellow Peacock Cichlid Profile

The Yellow Peacock Cichlid, scientifically known as Aulonocara baenschi, originates from the sandy shores of Lake Malawi in East Africa. These fish are part of the Cichlidae family and are known for their unique colors and peaceful nature. Typically, they grow to about 4-6 inches in length, making them a suitable size for home aquariums. New Yellow Regal Peacock have a lifespan of 6-10 years.

Yellow Peacock Cichlid Coloring

One of the most distinguishing features of the Yellow Peacock Cichlid is its vibrant yellow coloring. Males exhibit a more intense hue, especially during breeding seasons, with additional iridescent blue markings on their face and dorsal fins. Females and juveniles are usually paler, with more subdued coloration.

Yellow Peacock Cichlid Habitat

The Yellow Sunshine Cichlid, native to the clear, rocky shores of Lake Malawi in East Africa, thrives in a habitat characterized by sandy substrates and abundant rocky hideaways. In these waters, they enjoy a stable, warm climate, with water temperatures ranging between 76-82°F and a slightly alkaline pH. The lake’s unique environment supports their vibrant coloration and natural behaviors.

Yellow Peacock Cichlid Aquarium Setup

Setting up the perfect aquarium for aulonocara yellow is crucial for their health and happiness. This section explores the various aspects of creating an ideal habitat for these vibrant fish.

  • Tank Size and Type

A minimum of a 50-gallon tank is recommended for Yellow Peacock Cichlids. A larger tank is preferable, especially for keeping multiple cichlids, as it provides ample space for swimming and territory establishment. Rectangular tanks are ideal as they provide more surface area for oxygen exchange.

  • Water Conditions

Yellow Peacock Cichlids thrive in water temperatures between 75-82°F (24-28°C). The pH level should be maintained between 7.5-8.5 to mimic their natural Lake Malawi habitat. Regular monitoring of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels is essential to ensure a healthy environment. A good quality aquarium heater and a reliable filtration system are vital components for maintaining these conditions.

  • Substrate and Decor

The aquarium substrate should consist of fine sand to replicate the sandy floors of Lake Malawi. Avoid sharp-edged substrates that can harm the fish. Decorate the tank with rocks, driftwood, and caves to provide hiding spots and mimic natural structures. Be cautious with live plants, as Yellow Regal Peacock Cichlids tend to dig and may uproot them.

  • Lighting and Filtration

Adequate lighting is important for displaying the vibrant colors of the Baenschi cichlids. However, the lighting should not be too intense as it can stress the fish. A moderate level of lighting that mimics natural daylight cycles is ideal. For filtration, use a system that can handle the bioload of the tank and provide efficient mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration. Regular maintenance of the filter is crucial.

  • Water Changes and Maintenance

Regular water changes are critical for maintaining water quality. Change approximately 20-30% of the water weekly to keep nitrate levels low. Regular maintenance should also include checking the equipment, cleaning the substrate, and ensuring the tank’s overall cleanliness.

Yellow Peacock Cichlid Breeding

Breeding Nkhomo Benga Peacock can be both fascinating and rewarding. This section explores the nuances of creating an optimal breeding environment and understanding the spawning process.

Breeding Environment

To encourage breeding, replicate the natural conditions of Lake Malawi as closely as possible. This includes maintaining a water temperature around 78-82°F and a pH level between 7.8-8.6. The tank should be spacious, with plenty of hiding spots and territories created using rocks and caves. Dim lighting can also help mimic their natural habitat and promote breeding behavior. It’s important to ensure that the environment is calm and stress-free, as Regal Peacock Cichlid are sensitive to disturbances during this period.

Spawning Process

The spawning process of aulonocara baenschi is unique and intriguing. The male cichlid displays an elaborate courtship dance to attract a female. He will show off his brightest colors and perform specific movements to entice the female to spawn. Once the female is ready, she lays her eggs on a flat rock or in a pit in the sand, which the male then fertilizes. After fertilization, the female collects the eggs in her mouth for incubation, a process known as mouthbrooding.

Mouthbrooding and Fry Care

The female aulonocara yellow will carry the fertilized eggs in her mouth for about 21-28 days until they hatch. During this time, she may not eat and should be monitored for health. Once the fry are released, they can be fed with specially formulated fry foods or finely crushed flake food. It’s crucial to provide a safe area in the aquarium for the fry to avoid predation by other tank mates.

Post-Spawning Care

After spawning, both the male and female may show signs of stress or aggression. It’s important to monitor their behavior and, if necessary, separate them to prevent harm. Regular water changes and maintaining optimal water quality are crucial during and after the breeding process.

Yellow Sunshine Cichlid Diet & Feeding

These cichlids are omnivores and thrive on a diet that includes both plant and animal matter. High-quality cichlid pellets or flakes, supplemented with frozen or live foods like brine shrimp or bloodworms, will ensure they receive all the necessary nutrients. Feed them small amounts several times a day to avoid overfeeding.

Yellow Regal Peacock Cichlid Compatibility

Nkhomo Benga peacock are generally peaceful but can be territorial, especially during breeding. They do well with other Malawi cichlids and similar-sized peaceful fish. Avoid housing them with aggressive species or much smaller fish that might be seen as prey.

Yellow Peacock Cichlid Common Diseases

Baenschi cichlid are susceptible to common freshwater fish diseases such as Ichthyophthirius (Ich), which manifests as white spots on the body and fins. They can also suffer from Malawi Bloat, characterized by abdominal swelling and loss of appetite. Good tank maintenance, regular water changes, and proper diet are crucial in preventing these diseases and ensuring the fish’s well-being.


The Yellow Peacock Cichlid is a wonderful addition to any freshwater aquarium. With proper care, the right environment, and compatible tank mates, these stunning fish can thrive and bring vibrant life to your aquatic setup. Their unique coloring and peaceful nature make them a favorite among aquarists and a delightful species to observe.