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Nyasa peacock - Aulonocara nyassae

Nyasa peacock - Aulonocara nyassae

Scientific name: Aulonocara nyassae

Common name: Nyasa peacock

Family: Cichlidae

Usual size in fish tanks: 7 - 8 cm (2.76 - 3.15 inch)


Recommended pH range for the species: 7.8 - 8.5

Recommended water hardness (dGH): 10 - 25°N (178.57 - 446.43ppm)

0°C 32°F30°C 86°F

Recommended temperature: 22 - 25 °C (71.6 - 77°F)

The way how these fish reproduce: Spawning

Where the species comes from: Africa

Temperament to its own species: peaceful

Temperament toward other fish species: peaceful

Usual place in the tank: Middle levels


Africa; this species is endemic to Lake Malawi.


The expected life span for Nyasa peacock is 5-8 years.

Short description

Plenty of hiding places should be provided for Aulonocara nyassae. Nyasa peacock’s are classed as a fairly peaceful species of Malawi, keep 1 male to a group of females. If your aquarium is large enough you can get away with housing more than one male but they do need their own areas to set up territories. Hiding places are always handy for the females to give them rest from the constant advances of the male wishing to spawn.

These are sometimes known as the Emperor cichlid but be careful as other species have also been given this common name. Never keep these fish with Mbuna species, they do far better with other Aulonocara but try to avoid similar colourations to prevent cross breeding.

They tend to inhabit the middle regions of the aquarium but will venture down to the substrate when grazing for food.

Food and feeding

In the wild, Nyasa peacock will sift through the substrate looking for small crustaceans. In the aquarium it will accept quality flake and cichlid pellets. Adding vegetable matter to the tank will benefit this fish, lettuce and shelled peas are ideal.


Very difficult to sex, it is best to buy a group of juveniles if you wish to breed and let them pair naturally.


Provide plenty of rock work for hiding places, plenty of water changes and these fish will breed themselves. The female will mouth brood the young for 3-4 weeks before releasing the fry. The fry will be able to consume crushed flake immediately. Upon any sign of potential danger the female will gather her young back into her mouth for safety, this is a truly amazing sight to see but do not create this reaction purposely for the sake of the mother and young. When the female is holding the eggs/fry you must be careful not to stress her or she could spit and eat the brood, always take care when performing water changes and tank maintenance.

It is best to rest the female after she has produced young as the can soon get weakened with constant spawning and the constant attention from the males.


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Nyasa peacock Nyasa peacock, image 2

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