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Freshwater   Fishes

Aulonocara Blue Neon
(Aulonocara steveni)

Aulonocara Blue Neon

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


Scientific name
Aulonocara steveni
Haplochromis steveni

Common name
Aulonocara Blue Neon
Pale Usisya aulonocara


what are its countries of origin?

Origin: Africa (Lake Malawi)
Biotope: African


what are the physical differences between males and females?

Females are smaller than males and are duller





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°: 24 à 28°C or 75 to 82°F
pH: 7.5 to 8.5
Hardness: 8 to 15°dGH





what is the maximum size of this fish?

9 to 14 cm (3.5 to 6")


what is the average Longevity of this fish?

8 years and +

Living zone

in which area of the aquarium does this fish live?



sociability of the species

4 (harem)


How to feed the Aulonocara Blue Neon?


How to feed the Aulonocara Blue Neon?

Compose their meals with artemia, tubifex, chironomid, larvae. They also accept freeze-dried foods (special foods for good quality cichlids). For the plant part, it can be given in the form of industrial foods with a high concentration of spirulina or other plants. In any case, vary its diet for a beautiful form.


What kind of behavior does the Aulonocara Blue Neon have?


What kind of behavior does the Aulonocara Blue Neon have?

This fish lives in open water but near the bottom. It does not depend as closely on the rocky scenery as the Mbunas, but remains attached to its territory that it rarely leaves.

Interspecific relationships can sometimes be stormy, especially for matters of internal group hierarchy. However, in a well-established group, aggretions become rare. In captivity, form your Aulonocara group with one male for every three females.

They are relatively peaceful compared to other species but they do know how to be respected if necessary. For example, they are perfectly capable of dominating larger species. The Aulonocara are nonetheless territorial, especially during the breeding season.

Sometimes shy, they are quite stressful.


Who can live with the Aulonocara Blue Neon?


Who can live with the Aulonocara Blue Neon?

Remember that with African cichlids, the key to good maintenance in the community aquarium is an aquarium large enough for everyone to cohabit serenely.

It is not really aggressive towards its roommates (even territorial roommates) as long as they respect him. However, avoid cohabitation with very aggressive species, which can bully him (the presence of such species can also cause breeding problems). For example, Mbunas or Aulonocara jacobfreibergi should be avoided in all cases. Similarly, if your aquarium is just 450 liters or 100 Imp Gal or 120 S Gal, avoid associating it with other species sharing the same area of life. This is however possible in larger volumes.

Good companions for Pale Usisya Aulonocaras are for example Sciaenochromis or Copadichromis and Otopharynx.


How to breed the Aulonocara Blue Neon?


How to breed the Aulonocara Blue Neon?

The Pale Usisya Aulonocaras are very aggressive during their breeding season, it may even surprise you because it really contrasts with their usual behavior.

Eggs are laid in crevices or holes in the soil. The female lays its eggs and picks them up in its mouth (maternal oral incubator). It then sucks the semen of the male (position called "T"): the eggs are thus fertilized. They will incubate in the female's mouth about 21 days. All the while, she will stop eating, but it is normal. The number of eggs is variable: between 50 and 80 per egg.

After the expulsion, she continues to protect its fry for a while. At any sign of danger, everyone takes refuge in its mouth! Once the danger is removed, the little ones come out and resume their life. The fry grow as a shoal until maturity.

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

Its aquarium

Which aquarium for the Aulonocara Blue Neon?

Its aquarium

Which aquarium for the Aulonocara Blue Neon?

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.

The rocks may be limestone to maintain a fairly high hardness, and the soil may consist of fine sand. To complete the decor, install some hard plants like Anubias or Microsorum.

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!

The Aulonocara Blue Neon are part of the "super species" Stuartgranti.

If black bars appear on its body, it is because it is stressed!

There are variations in its color according to its geographical origin. For example, those from Malawi are called Usisya and those from Tanzania are called Hongi. Here is the list of variants:

- Chiwindi

- Hai Reef

- Hongi Island

- Kande Island

- Londo

- Mbamba Bay

- Mkondowe

- Ntumba

- Sanga

- Ungi

- Usisya

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