Species group: Cichlids
Other common names: Yellow Peacock Cichlid; Aulonocara Benga; Benga Yellow Cichlid; New Yellow Regal
Scientific name: Aulonocara baenschi
The Nkhomo-Benga Peacock 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 Nkhomo-Benga 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 common at Usisya, Chipoka, Maleri Islands, Nkhomo and Benga (south of Chia lagoon). Occurs over sand and rocks from 4-6 m deep although it has also been observed in 10-16 m of water. It is a sand sifting species. Breeding males occur over rocks whereas females move over sand in groups." Peacock Cichlids are mostly carnivorous, appreciating live and frozen small invertebrates, crustaceans, bloodworms, and mosquito larvae.
Male Nkhomo-Benga are a yellowish-orange color with an iridescent blue color around their jaw.
The Nkhomo-Benga Peacock Cichlid is best kept with similarly sized and peaceful Lake Malawi Cichlids, such as the Haplochromis genus species. 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.