Species group: Cichlids
Other common names: Red Shoulder Peacock; Aulonocara Fort Maguire;
Scientific name: Aulonocara hansbaenschi
The Firebird Cichlid is a member of the of Aulonocara genus of cichlids, and ives in the shallow, open coastal waters of Lake Malawi in Africa. There are 22 species of Aulonocara cichlids, which are commonly known as the "Peacock cichlids". Peacock cichlids like the Firebird Cichlid are prized in the aquarium hobby because of their bright colors. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (ICUN), "The species is endemic to Lake Malawi where it is only known from four separate locations. Occurs in the rocky habitat at 4–6 m where it prefers to dwell near holes and crevices formed in the rocks. Spawning occurs in the caves. Feeds on small invertebrates in the sand." The Firebird Cichlid is best kept with similarly sized Lake Malawi Cichlids, such as the Haplochromis genus species. Peacock Cichlids are mostly carnivorous, appreciating live and frozen small invertebrates, crustaceans, bloodworms, and mosquito larvae.
Aulonocara hansbaenschi has an indigo blue body with faint black horizontal stripes up to 9 in the full grown male. The bright blue coloration gives this species group the name “Peacock” or “Firebird.”
Semi-Aggressive, Peacocks are territorial; therefore, all residents of the tank must be given enough caves and formations to stake their claim. Several females can be kept with one male. In a group of many males, one will dominate and be the only one with the bright colors.
The minimum tank size for the Peacock Cichlid is about 50 gallons. Because Peacock Cichlids tend to hide, the tank should be decorated with numerous caves and rock formations, which will also allow for proper territorial boundaries. Plants will be safe with the Peacocks, which prefer coral sand as the tank’s substrate. There should be sufficient swimming space and a subtle current (using a power filter) to simulate the Lake Malawi waves.
calm, vibrant colors, Beautiful, community tank
trace minerals, salts, high pH, NaCl, great hiding places