Peacock Cichlid Care Guide (17 Shocking Facts)

Peacock cichlids are some of the most beautiful fish around the world. Among many aquarium hobbyists Peacock cichlids are a favourite because they are very attractive and easy to care for.

These fish are indigenous in Lake Malawi and are one of the most peaceful and friendly species of the Cichlid family.

In our comprehensive guide to peacock cichlids, we will discuss all you should know about them about species that are known, methods to maintain the fish, best tank companions, and much additional…

Peacock Cichlid Care Guide

Peacock Cichlid Facts & Overview

Care Level:Easy
Color:Various; typically blue
Lifespan:8 years
Size:4 to 6 inches
Minimum Tank Size:55 gallons
Tank Setup:Freshwater: caves and driftwood

It is believed that the Peacock Cichlid is a stunning species of fish that is native to Lake Malawi; it belongs to the Astatotilapia genus. It is believed that there are at least 22 distinct varieties of Peacocks , most of which sport amazing colors.

Their colors can range between reds, blues, and yellows, and they will make an impact at any time in an aquarium. The most well-known can be the blue (Aulonocara Nyassae); it is, therefore, the subject of this article.

Most Cichlids have a reputation of being aggressive while they are peaceful. Peacock Cichlid is fairly peaceful.

Males may be territorial, However, on the whole, they are calm and are a good community fish.

Typical Behavior

Peacocks are bottom dwellers, and in the wild of Lake Malawi, will be located at depths between 6 to 40 meters.

The most typical behavior they exhibit is the hunt for food in the sand. They hover over the sand and, when they spot any movement of any invertebrates, they’ll strike. This is a similar behavior that you can observe in aquariums when they sort across the bottom.

They are active swimmers and are among the quietest Cichlids on the market.


If you’ve ever seen other kinds of Cichlids and you’ve seen other varieties of Cichlids, you’ll be aware that they are one of the most vibrantly and vibrant freshwater fish in the world of fishkeeping. Peacock Cichlids are no exception.

They are among the most colorful fish that you can find, with colors ranging from gold, blue as well as orange, and yellow.

It is also noticeable that instead of a matt-colored color their color is actually shimmering.

It is interesting to note that their color remains, whereas other Cichlids’ color is dependent on their mood and their breeding status.

The diverse varieties of Peacock Cichlid are essentially the same fish, but with different colors and this color is contingent on the area of Lake Malawi it came from. It’s crucial to mention however that both juveniles and females typically have grey, and therefore if you’re trying to brighten up your tank, be sure to purchase males.

Your Peacock is expected to grow to approximately 6 inches long and is distinguished by its large system of lateral lines.

Peacock Cichlid Types

At present, there are at the very least 22 recognized species of Peacock Cichlids However, none of them are sold in the aquarium hobby The most well-known species are:

  • African Butterfly Peacock (Aulonocara jacobfreibergi)
  • Flavescent Peacock (Aulonocara stuartgranti)
  • Nkhomo Benga Peacock (Aulonocara baenschi)
  • Sunshine Peacock (Aulonocara stuartgranti)

According to my experience, the two most popular species are the blue and red Peacocks.

It is the Red Peacock Cichlid (Aulonocara stuartgranti)

This is actually an adaptation that is a variation of Flavescent Peacock. It is a creation of man and is not naturally occurring. It’s about exactly the same size as other Peacocks but with red coloring.

If you purchase one, you may be able to find them under different names, such as Ruby Red and Rubin Red.

The Blue Peacock Cichlid (Aulonocara Nyassae)

Metallic blue to an intense yellow, and during the breeding season the color will be more vibrant.

Like other varieties of Peacock, the female version is gray.

Then, let’s talk about this species: the OB Peacock. They are hybrids that are crossbreeds that crossbreed pure Peacock Cichlid breeds. The OB Peacocks are similar in size and shape to normal Peacocks and come with distinct hues.

Peacock Cichlid Size: How large do Peacock Cichlids Get?

In case of a house aquarium, it is usual for male Peacock Cichlid to attain growth to about 6 inches long, with females being a bit smaller than the males.

Habitat and Tank Requirements

As we have mentioned in our overview of general aspects the majority of Peacock Cichlids are directly from Lake Malawi, therefore your aquarium needs to closely resemble the conditions that are found in Lake Malawi.

The lake is famous for its alkaline water that is renowned for its clarity and clarity. It is extremely stable with regard to its pH and other crucial parameters.

The areas of the lake in which Peacocks reside are marked by rocky and sandy areas. Therefore, we suggest that you replicate these conditions inside the tank.

In keeping with their natural environment, you will lower the stresses of the fish as well as give them the ideal conditions to remain fit and healthy.

It’s time to put your aquarium up for Peacocks.

First of all, you’ll need at the very least a 55 gallon tank. The tank must have an arid substrate and plenty of rocks.

Because they love to move around in the substrate, do not use gravel since it may cause gills to be cut. The rocks should be placed in a way that creates numerous caves and concealing areas.

While Peacocks aren’t well-known to be aggressive animals, they can be territorial. The aquarium’s break-up with numerous caves will help decrease their territorial behavior.

In the event that you’d prefer to add some color to the aquarium with plants, you can make it happen. They don’t eat plants, but as with other Cichlids are known to tend to dig and then reposition plants. This is why it is recommended to use only robust species (think Java Ferns or Water Wisteria) and be sure that you anchor the plants.

If you’re thinking of keeping an entire community of them then a tank that is at minimum 100 gallons is needed. The larger the tank, the fewer territorial disputes you’ll encounter.

Remember that they are swimmers who are active therefore a horizontal tank is preferred as it allows them more space to swim in.

Another point regarding tank and habitat requirements. If you’re mixing several kinds of Peacocks be sure to meet their specific requirements.

Some prefer more rocky surroundings while others prefer sandy areas. This is the reason a bigger aquarium is required for mixing Peacocks to ensure you are able to accommodate their needs.

Tank Conditions

In terms of the water’s condition inside the tank, it is recommended to keep the temperature in the range of 76 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. The PH level should be maintained within 7.8-8.6.

Incredibly, since Lake Malawi is a huge lake, it’s not susceptible to sudden changes in the chemistry of water or sudden fluctuations in temperature. This is why it is important to make sure that your aquarium’s temperature is as stable as is possible.

What Size Tank Do Peacock Cichlids Need?

The Peacock Cichlid will need at minimum a 55 gallon tank. If you’re looking to maintain a community of them, a 100 gallons tank is needed.

Diet and Feeding

Peacock Cichlids are omnivores which means they consume both meat and vegetable and plant foods.

In the wild in the wild, they are bottom dwellers that mean they will sift the sandy substrates in search of food. It is usually insect, larvae, zooplankton as well as other crustaceans.

Try to replicate this in your aquarium.

Begin by making a good Cichlid pellet as the basis of their diet. You could then add meat and other vegetables.

You can make your own meat using:

  • Brine Shrimp (live or frozen)
  • Daphnia frozen

It is important to avoid tubifex worms as well as all mammal flesh as it may be the cause of Malawi bloat.

However, you can offer them food flakes but be sure that the food is suitable for Cichlids.

When it comes to frequency of feeding You should try to feed them in tiny portions over the course of the day rather than one big meal. This will help keep the water’s chemical balance.

Tank Mates: What Fish Can Go With Peacock Cichlids?

Cichlids have the reputation of being aggressive, and in general, they have earned the reputation they have earned.

Fortunately, even though Peacock Cichlids aren’t the same as other Cichlids and are considered to be the most ‘tamer’ of the family, they are also more peaceful.

The first thing to be sure of is that the fish you wish to include in your Peacocks are able to survive within the same conditions of water This is why many people select tank mates that are from Lake Malawi.

You can also keep a lot of the delicate Haps (Haplochromis) in your peacocks, for instance:

  • Copadichromis
  • Placidochromis
  • Nyassachromis
  • Sciaenochromis

But not all Lake Malawi cichlids can be tank mates with Peacocks. Others that are more active, like Petrotilapia, Labeotropheus, Pseudotropheus, and Mbuna are not recommended.

Can You Keep Peacock Cichlids Together?

Simply put, yes.

The best method to ensure they are all together is to keep an appropriate percentage that is 1 male to 4 females. This can help to establish schools in the aquarium.

Be aware that males are territorial, so ensure that you ensure they have sufficient space. A 100-gallon tank is enough for a group of six.


In the previous section about behavior Male Peacocks tend to be territorial, and are more likely to be lonely.

If you are planning to breed Peacocks The first step is to ensure that each male is in their own area to prevent conflicts.

Fortunately, despite being similar to other Cichlids they are easy to breed in your aquarium at home. If they require a boost to breed, you can increase the temperature of your water to 82°F since the spawning process usually occurs in warmer waters.

After they’ve established their territories (typically an underground cave) the courting process will begin. This is extremely interesting to watch.

To lure females to enter their caves, Males will perform in front of their cave. It is usually males making rapid, abrupt moves and scurrying around to catch the attention of their female companion.

After the female has joined, the male is able to enter the cave. The female will place eggs into the nest. The Male fertilizes the eggs, and the female will collect the eggs and put them in her mouth. They are known as mouth brooders. The female will stay in the cave for a while until the fry is ready to hatch.

She will remain in the cave and keep the fry within her mouth for between 28 and 28 days before they hatch (you are likely to see between 12 and 50 tiny Peacocks). Once the fry has hatched in the aquarium, the female will usually let them be at their individual needs.

Peacock Cichlid

Is the Peacock Cichlid Right For Your Aquarium?

It is believed that the Peacock Cichlid is one of the easiest and calm Cichlids to care for. Their gorgeous color and engaging personality make them popular and most loved.

When preparing their aquarium, remember to make a variety of zones using caves and rocks to avoid aggression.

They’re great for novices and experienced fishkeepers and can be a wonderful addition to any tank.

Have you ever kept Peacock Cichlids before? What was your experience? Let us know your experience and opinion in the comments section below…


How many Peacock Cichlids can I put in a 30 gallon tank?

An ideal amount for a stocking plan, to begin with, would be four (4) to six (6) peacock cichlids to the size of a 30-gallon aquarium.

Can I mix mbuna and peacocks?

It’s possible. But, there are a few things you need to be aware of. Mbuna or Peacocks are known for their conspecific aggression. This means they attack fish that look similar to them.

What is an OB peacock cichlid?

The OB Peacock Cichlid is a hybrid species. It is a branch of the Aulonocara Species (Peacock Cichlid) from Lake Malawi.

How big do bumblebee cichlids get?

The Bumblebee Cichlid (Pseudotropheus crabro) will grow to an average length in excess of six inches and may live for more than ten years in the enclosure.

What pH do Peacock cichlids need?

In your aquarium, it is essential to maintain peacock cichlids between a pH of 7.5 to 8.5, the highest pH range that freshwater fish require.

Are Peacock cichlids good for beginners?

Although peacock cichlids should not be recommended for beginners, they can be an excellent option for beginning keepers of cichlids. They are surprisingly gentle, easy to handle and extremely durable.


Dibyajyoti Bordoloi is the creator and author of, a third-generation experienced fish keeper and owner of a successful pet breeding farm. He is also a member of the Center for Wildlife Rehabilitation And Conservation (Assam), the Marine Aquarium Societies of North East India, and the Kaziranga Nature Conservancy of Assam.

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