Scientific Name: Aulonocara baenschi

 Breeding Strategy: Mouthbrooder.

 Ease of Breeding: Easy.

 Introduction: These spectacular fish from Lake Malawi are peaceful compared to many cichlids, but become aggressive and territorial during spawning.

 Sex Differences: Males have bright yellow bodies, and depending on color morph (of which there are several), varying amounts of blue on their heads, bodies, and tails. Females are grayish brown.

 Water Conditions: Hard, alkaline water, with a pH of 7.8 to 8.2 and dH of at least 10. Temperature should be between 77° and 82°F.

 Equipment: These fish will spawn in a species or community tank of at least 40 gallons, but there should be several females for every male, since males can be aggres­sive. Add heater, power filter, and fine grav­el or sand substrate, since peacocks like to dig, and rock caves to provide hiding places for females (and eventually fry). Plants can also provide shelter, and are rarely bothered by this species.

 Conditioning and Triggers: Remove the male from the tank during conditioning, leaving the females. Feed mosquito larvae, brine shrimp, and bloodworms until the females are plump with eggs.

 Spawning: After two or three weeks, place the male back in the tank. He should soon begin to court his chosen female, extending his fins and parading in front of her as his colors brighten. The female releases eggs and picks them up immediately; the male fer­tilizes them by releasing sperm into her mouth. The male should be removed after spawning, as he will often harass the female.

 Brood Size: Up to 40.

 Fry Care: The mother will spit out the fry after 18 to 20 days. Feed baby brine shrimp, fry food, and crushed flakes.

 Special Notes: Females will sometimes swallow the eggs or fry; usually after several spawnings, they become more proficient and are able to successfully raise a brood. Do not keep with other species of peacocks, as they will interbreed.

 Species with Similar Breeding Habits: Most of the nearly two dozen species of Aulonocara, including the firebird peacock (A. hansbaenschi); blue gold peacock (A. korneliae); sulfur crest peacock (A. maylandi); Grant's peacock (A. stuartgranti); blue orchid peacock (A. kandeensis).