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Freshwater   Fishes

Peacock Cichlid
(Aulonocara jacobfreibergi)

Bloodfin tetra

Alternative species (click on the thumbnail to see the card)


Scientific name
Aulonocara jacobfreibergi
Aulonocara Mamelela
Trematocranus jacobfreiberg

Common name
Peacock Cichlid
Fairy cichlid
Malawi butterfly
Freiberg’s Peacock
Eureka Red Peacock
Lemon Jake
Feenbuntbarsch (DE)


what are its countries of origin?

Origin: Africa (Lake Malawi)
Biotope: African


what are the physical differences between males and females?

Very easy: males are larger and much more colorful than females (the latter are quite dull)





what is the minimum volume for this species?

350 L / 80 imp gal / 90 US gal


what are the water parameters for the maintenance of this fish?

T°: 26 à 28°C or 79 to 82°F
pH: 7.8 to 8.8
Hardness: 15 to 20°dGH





what is the maximum size of this fish?

Female: 10cm (4") - Male: 17cm (7")


what is the average Longevity of this fish?

8 to 12 years

Living zone

in which area of the aquarium does this fish live?



sociability of the species

4 (harem)


How to feed the Peacock Cichlid?


How to feed the Peacock Cichlid?

In its natural environment, it searches the ground to find its prey. The peacock cichlid is an omnivorous fish that accepts a lot of food: feeding it should not be a problem.

On the menu: artemia, tubifex, chironomids, larvae. It also easily accepts freeze-dried foods (we encourage you to choose special foods of good quality for cichlids). You’ll also need to provide a plant part in the form of industrial foods with a high concentration of spirulina or other plants. In any case, vary its diet for a healthy form.


What kind of behavior does the Peacock Cichlid have?


What kind of behavior does the Peacock Cichlid have?

This fish has a very strong temperament and makes shows it! It is also one of the rare species of Aulonocara able to stand up to Mbunas, and even fish much bigger than him! This temperament asserts itself with time. Thus, a relatively cool Aulonocara jacobfreibergi in its early years can become more difficult as it gets older.

They are very territorial, sedentary fish with cavernicolous habits.

The group, consisting of one male and several females, will establish a hierarchy. The dominant male will defend its territory (usually near the rocks) and females (and possibly other dominated males) will live not far away, usually in groups. You will recognize the dominant in its way of standing up to observe its area and other males.

Always watch for the aggressive nature of the dominant male, who can sometimes be violent towards his females if they refuse to breed (depending on the temperament and age of the male in question).


Who can live with the Peacock Cichlid?


Who can live with the Peacock Cichlid?

For a specific aquarium in which you will only maintain one male for every 3 females, a 350 liter or 77 Imp Gal or 92 US Gal aquarium is enough. Note that males are very aggressive between them and it is recommended to maintain only one per aquarium whose volume is less than 600 liters or 132 Imp Gal or 158 US Gal.

For a community aquarium, given its territorial nature, the male Peacock Cichlid does not tolerate any intrusion at home. An aquarium of at least 600 liters or 132 Imp Gal or 158 US Gal must be provided for everyone to have their own territory. Avoid associations with other territorial fish because disputes can lead to violent fights (like Mbunas for example). Prefer non-territorial fish that do not share the same area of life.

Good companions for this species are, for example, Copadichromis, Nyassachromis or Placidochromis (electra).

If this fish is dominated by others, its beautiful colors could tarnish. What a pity!


How to breed the Peacock Cichlid?


How to breed the Peacock Cichlid?

Aulonocara jacobfreibergi are easy to breed. It does not seem to have any breeding season and the male spawns with the first female to accept. The recommended water parameters for triggering spawning are: temperature at 25°C or 77°F, pH at 8 and hardness at 15°dGH.

The laying may comprise between 15 and 20 eggs (sometimes up to 50) and it is deposited directly on the substrate. This fish is an oral incubator, that is to say that the female, after the laying, will gather her eggs in her mouth. It then sucks the semen of the male (position called "T"): the eggs are thus fertilized.

The female will keep the eggs in her mouth for the duration of the incubation (between 18 and 21 days depending on the temperature). During this period, the female stops feeding, which is perfectly normal.

After the expulsion, fry growth is quite fast. The males will still take 6 to 8 months to put on their beautiful colors. They will increase month after month until they reach full maturity.

Fry food: artemia nauplii, cyclops, fry food or finely chopped strawberries.

Its aquarium

Which aquarium for the Peacock Cichlid?

Its aquarium

Which aquarium for the Peacock Cichlid?

In the wild, it lives near rocky areas and caves. In captivity, the decoration adapted to this species will be mainly composed of rocks forming numerous caves and hiding places. The soil will leave large areas of fine sand.

If you install this species in a community aquarium, think carefully about the layout of your decor. Far from being left to chance, it must form separate and satisfying territories for all the species you plan to maintain.

To complete the decor, install some hard plants like Microsorum or Anubias.

As for filtration, a flow equal to 4 to 5 times the volume of the tank per hour is sufficient because the species does not appreciate the currents too strong, but the water must be sufficiently oxygenated. To keep the water clean, change from 20 to 25% of the volume each week with a water that is strictly identical in terms of parameters (Lake Malawi is very stable and hardly changes).

Good To know

Find all additional information!

Good To know

Find all additional information!

When they are young, it is difficult to differentiate the males from the females because they all have the same livery. To be certain of the sexes, examine (or the seller) the genital papillae of your fish because the selection by the variations of colors is too random at this age.

Its name "jacobfreibergi" refers to Jack Freiber, the first importer of African cichlids in the United States.

This species is robust and resistant. Like many haplochrominated members, there are many color variants of this species depending on their place of origin. They can be bright red (Eureka) or yellow (Undu Reef) through many shades (Otter Point which has shades of gray on a yellow / orange background).

  • A.j. Aulonocara jacobfreibergi eureka red
    Aulonocara jacobfreibergi eureka red

  • A.j. Aulonocara jacobfreibergi undu reef
    Aulonocara jacobfreibergi undu reef

Here is the list of variants belonging to the Aulonocara jacobfreibergi:

  • A.j. Reginae

  • A. lwanda

  • A. Jalo

  • A.j. Boadzulu Is.

  • A.j. Hongi Island

  • A.j. Mbowe Island

  • A.j. Cape Maclear
    Aulonocara jacobfreibergi cape maclear

  • A.j. Mamela
    Aulonocara jacobfreibergi mamelela

  • A.j. Otter Point
    Aulonocara jacobfreibergi otter point

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