Peacock Cichlid Care, Types, Tank Mates And More

Peacock Cichlids are known for their vibrant colors and unique personalities.

They require specific care and attention to ensure they thrive in their environment.

As someone who values creating a welcoming and peaceful atmosphere, learning about the different types of Peacock Cichlids, their care needs, and compatible tank mates is essential.

Species Summary

The Aulonocara genus of freshwater fish, commonly known as peacock cichlids, are some of the most peaceful and easy-going cichlids you can find for your aquarium.

Native to the ninth-largest lake in the world, Lake Malawi in East Africa, these fish inhabit the depths of the warm lake, searching for food on the sandy substrate.

Aulonocara cichlids come in over twenty varieties, but only a few are kept in home aquariums.

These include the African Butterfly Peacock, the Flavescent Peacock, the Sunshine Peacock, the Nkhomo-benga Peacock, the Maulana Bicolor Peacock, the Aulonocara Fort Maguire Cichlid, and the Aulonocara Blue Gold Cichlid.

It’s no surprise that peacock cichlids are such a popular aquarium fish, given their vibrant colors and docile demeanor.

They share their name with the regal peacock for a reason – they have a beauty equal to that of the bird.

These fish can bring a sense of serenity and life to any tank, making it difficult to resist adding them to your collection!


You’ll be amazed to know how long these colorful fish can live if you properly care for them.

Peacock cichlids have a relatively long lifespan compared to other fish species.

Proper care of a peacock cichlid can help it live a long life – usually six to eight years.

It is rare, but they can live up to 10-15 years in captivity with the proper breeding techniques and growth factors.

However, their lifespan may be greatly reduced if not taken care of properly.

Here are some factors that can affect their lifespan:

  • Water quality: Poor water quality can lead to various health problems, shortening their lifespan.
  • Diet: A balanced and nutritious diet is essential for their growth and overall health. A poor diet can lead to health problems and a shorter lifespan.
  • Tank size: They need a spacious tank to swim around freely and exercise, which is important for their physical and mental well-being.

Appearance and Coloration


Take a closer look at these dazzling Peacock Cichlids, and you’ll appreciate the intricate beauty of their appearance and the stunning array of colors that adorn them.

These fish are known for their vibrant and iridescent scales that reflect various colors, including blue, green, yellow, orange, and red.

The males are typically more colorful than females and have longer fins, while the females have a rounder body shape.

It’s important to note that gender identification can be difficult, especially in juvenile fish.

It’s best to observe their behavior and coloration to determine their gender.

Peacock Cichlids also come in different color variations, such as the red shoulder peacock and the sunshine peacock, which add even more diversity to their already stunning appearance.


So, if you’re considering adding these beautiful fish to your aquarium, it’s important to know that the size of Peacock Cichlids can vary greatly depending on the species.

Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Peacock Cichlids can range from 4-6 inches, with males typically larger than females.
  • Tank filtration is crucial for keeping these fish healthy, as they produce a lot of waste.
  • Feeding frequency should be adjusted based on the fish’s size and growth rate. Smaller fish may need to be fed more often than larger fish.
  • It’s important to research the specific species of Peacock Cichlid you’re interested in to better understand its growth rate and potential size.
  • Compared to other cichlid species, Peacock Cichlids tend to be smaller, making them a great choice for medium-sized aquariums.

Overall, keeping Peacock Cichlids can be a rewarding experience, but it’s important to keep their size and growth rate in mind to provide them with the best care possible.

Types of Peacock Cichlids

So, let’s talk about the different types of Peacock Cichlids.

These peacock cichlids are widely popular because of their unparalleled beauty.

Every variety has unique, vivid colors that make them stand out in any freshwater aquarium.

We need more space to go into detail about every variety, but rest assured that you won’t be disappointed no matter which one you choose.

So why not spice up your tank with one of these gorgeous cichlids?

Red Peacock Cichlid


If you want to add a pop of vibrant color to your aquarium, the red peacock is a stunning and lively option.

These fish are known for their striking red coloration, ranging from a bright orange-red to a deeper maroon shade.

They are also relatively easy to care for, making them an excellent choice for beginner fish keepers.

OB Peacock Cichlid


As you explore the OB Peacock Cichlid section, you’ll discover a fascinating fish with unique color patterns and a playful personality that will excite your aquarium.

The ‘OB’ in its name stands for ‘orange blotch,’ which refers to the orange splotches on its body that contrast with its blue and black stripes.

Blue Peacock Cichlid


The blue peacock cichlid has a dazzling azure hue, with dark vertical stripes that begin at the tip of its dorsal fin and extend to the tail base.

Depending on the region, gender, and age of the fish, its coloration can vary.

Its vibrant and splendid colors make it a delightful sight to behold.

Strawberry Peacock Cichlid


These fish are named after their stunning reddish-pink coloring, resembling the sweet fruit they’re named after.

Finding a real strawberry can be difficult, but I wish you good luck!

Dragon Blood Peacock Cichlid


Have you ever confused the Dragon Blood Peacock Cichlid with the Strawberry variety?

Although they may seem alike at first, a subtle difference distinguishes them.

If you observe them closely, you’ll notice a dotted pattern on the Dragon Blood Peacock Cichlid’s body, which is a reliable way to tell them apart.

Peacock Cichlid Care

When caring for Peacock Cichlids, we need to consider several important factors.

  1. First, we must ensure they have a suitable tank size, as they can grow large.
  2. Next, we must provide appropriate decoration and substrate to mimic their natural habitat.
  3. Maintaining proper water parameters and quality is crucial to their health and well-being.
  4. Lastly, we should be aware of possible common diseases affecting these fish and take preventative measures to keep them healthy.

Tank Size

If you want your fish to thrive, provide ample swimming space by choosing the right size aquarium.

When it comes to peacock cichlid care, tank size is crucial.

These fish need a lot of swimming space; a minimum of 55 gallons is recommended for a single peacock cichlid.

However, if you plan on keeping a group of peacock cichlids, you’ll need a much larger tank.

It’s also important to consider filtration needs, maintenance schedule, cost considerations, and tank size.

A larger tank will require a more powerful filter to maintain water quality and keep your fish healthy.

You’ll also need to establish a regular maintenance schedule to keep the tank clean and healthy for your fish.

Finally, a larger tank will have a higher price tag, so budget accordingly before purchasing.

Considering these factors, you can ensure your peacock cichlids have the right environment to thrive in.

Decoration and Substrate

Decorating your aquarium with the right substrate and decor can create a beautiful and comfortable home for your vibrant fish.

Regarding a substrate, you have a choice between sand and gravel.

Sand is a popular choice as it’s easier to clean and maintain and provides a natural look to the aquarium.

Gravel, on the other hand, offers a variety of colors and sizes to choose from, making it a great option for creating a unique and personalized aquarium.

Whatever substrate you choose, clean it thoroughly before placing it in the tank to prevent harmful chemicals or bacteria from harming your fish.

Adding decorative plants to your aquarium enhances its beauty and provides a natural habitat for peacock cichlids.

Depending on your preference and budget, you can choose between natural or artificial plants.

Natural plants require more maintenance, but they provide a more authentic look to the aquarium and create a healthy environment for your fish.

Artificial plants, however, require less maintenance and can be cost-effective.

While decorating your aquarium, it’s essential to remember the cleaning and maintenance required.

Decorations can accumulate algae and debris over time, harming your fish.

Keeping your aquarium clean and well-maintained is vital to ensure the health of your fish.

Water Parameters and Quality

You need to pay close attention to the water parameters and quality of your aquarium to ensure the health and well-being of your beloved peacock cichlids.

Testing the water regularly is essential to keep track of the levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.

These chemical compounds can quickly accumulate in the tank, harming the fish’s gills and immune system.

Therefore, monitoring the water parameters and taking appropriate measures to maintain a healthy environment for your peacock cichlids is crucial.

Water changes are necessary to remove the accumulated waste and maintain the water quality.

Replacing 10-20% of the water weekly is recommended, using a water conditioner to neutralize the chlorine and chloramine in tap water.

Filtration systems also play a vital role in maintaining water quality by removing debris and maintaining biological balance.

A good filtration system should have mechanical and biological filters to remove debris and break harmful toxins.

Additionally, maintaining the pH balance of the water is crucial for the health and survival of peacock cichlids.

The ideal pH level for these fish is between 7.5-8.5, and it’s essential to use a pH test kit to monitor the levels regularly.

Do your best to keep the water temperature within the range of 74°F to 82°F, aiming for the upper half of this range if possible.

The water hardness should be between 4 and 6 dH.

By paying close attention to your aquarium’s water parameters and quality, you can ensure that your peacock cichlids thrive and live healthy and happy life.

Common Possible Diseases

It’s important to watch for any symptoms of illness, such as discoloration, spots, or abnormal behavior.

One common disease is ich, caused by a parasite that can be introduced into the tank through new fish or contaminated equipment.

Treatment options include raising the temperature of the water and adding medication, but prevention measures such as quarantining new fish and regularly cleaning equipment are key to avoiding outbreaks.

Peacock cichlids can also be subject to a dangerous condition known as Malawi bloat, which is comparable to dropsy and results from an overabundance of meaty foods.

Signs of this issue include a disinclination to eat, a bloated abdomen, difficulty breathing, and a preference to remain near the bottom of the tank.

Another issue that a bad diet can cause is swim bladder disease, caused by intestinal gas or parasites that invade the swim bladder.

A fish with this condition will float at the top of the tank and cannot stay near the bottom to look for food.

To avoid this disease, avoid giving your fish too much protein or dried food and add more fiber, such as vegetables.

By staying vigilant and quickly addressing any signs of illness, you can help ensure your peacock cichlids remain healthy and happy.

Food and Diet Requirements

Feeding these colorful peacock cichlids can be a fun and rewarding experience, but knowing their unique dietary needs is essential.

These fish are omnivores, meaning they eat plant and animal matter.

They have a high protein requirement, so their diet should contain plenty of meaty foods, such as brine shrimp, krill, and bloodworms.

Peacock cichlids also need vegetable matter, including spirulina, spinach, and algae wafers.

Regarding feeding habits, peacock cichlids are generally not picky eaters.

However, ensuring they’re getting a balanced diet is important.

Feed them small meals several times a day instead of one large meal. This will help prevent overfeeding and keep the water quality in the tank stable.

You can also try feeding them using different methods, such as floating pellets or sinking wafers, to keep them interested in their food.

Feeding peacock cichlids a varied and nutritious diet will help keep them healthy and happy.

Behavior and Temperament


Some are shy and prefer hiding, while others are bolder and more active.

Understanding aggression is important for these fish as they can become territorial and aggressive toward other fish in the tank.

It’s important to provide ample hiding spots and territories within the tank to prevent aggression and allow each fish to establish its own space.

Peacock cichlids are social fish and enjoy being in groups. They often display fascinating feeding habits as they chase after food and interact with one another.

Breeding behavior can also be observed in these fish as males establish territories and display their colors to attract females.

Watching these fish is a great pleasure. Their behavior and temperament only enhance their beauty and appeal.

Tank Mates for Peacock Cichlids

If you want to create a vibrant and harmonious community aquarium, you’ll need to carefully choose compatible fish that won’t trigger aggression among your colorful and lively Peacock Cichlids.

While these fish can be quite aggressive towards their species, they can coexist peacefully with other fish if you follow a few key rules.

Here are some things to keep in mind when selecting tank mates for your Peacock Cichlids:

  • Cichlid Compatibility: When choosing tank mates for your Peacock Cichlids, it’s important to select fish that are similar in size and temperament. This means avoiding smaller, more timid fish that might be seen as easy prey and any fish prone to nip at fins or engage in aggressive behavior.
  •  Community Aquariums: If you want to create a community aquarium that includes Peacock Cichlids, provide plenty of hiding spots and territorial boundaries. When stocking the tank, ensure you have more females than males, which will help reduce aggression and provide an environment that encourages natural social behavior.
  • Alternative Tankmates: If you’re looking for a compatible tank mate for your peacock cichlid, why not consider the Botia loach? Not only is its temperament suitable, but it also requires similar water conditions.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your Peacock Cichlids will thrive in a community aquarium and provide a stunning display of color and activity for you and your guests.

Breeding and Reproduction

Breeding peacock cichlids can be a thrilling experience, but it requires careful attention and preparation.

Here are some breeding tips to help you successfully breed your peacock cichlids.

First, it’s important to understand their reproductive behavior.

Peacock cichlids are mouthbrooders, meaning the female will hold the fertilized eggs in her mouth until they hatch into fry.

During spawning, the male will display his bright colors and try to entice the female to lay her eggs on a flat surface, such as a slate rock.

Once the eggs are laid, the male fertilizes them, and the female scoops them into her mouth.

From there, it’s up to you to provide proper care for the fry.

With the right breeding techniques, you can increase their chances of successful reproduction and help them live longer.


So there, you have everything you need to know about caring for peacock cichlids!

These stunning fish are a great addition to any aquarium, and you must ensure you provide them with the proper care to keep them healthy and happy.

Remember to keep their tank clean and well-maintained, provide a varied diet, and choose tank mates carefully.

With a little effort and attention, your peacock cichlids will thrive and bring beauty and life to your aquarium.