Comments: These are fabulous fish, the males develop a very bright yellow color band on top of their heads, which extends across their top fin and contrasts with their dark purple-blue body coloration.
Origin: the Lake Malawi Cichlid's ancestors live near Zimbabwe Rock. There are several color varieties of this fish, and this variety from Zimbabwe Rock is the most colorful.
In fact a mature fully colored male is one of the most colorful fish in Lake Malawi.
The ancestors of this fish lived only in Lake Malawi in East Africa. But now they live in aquariums all over the world.
This species is said to live in caves in the piles of huge rocks in Lake Malawi.
Maximum Size: In aquariums males can grow to be about 6.5" long, including their tails, which is a nice size for aquariums with 80-gallon of water or more.
Females are smaller and remain gray or dull, without the brilliant colors shown by males.
Behaviors: This species also has the advantage of being one of the mildest Cichlids in Lake Malawi, and so should not be kept with the more aggressive fish from that lake.
Compatibility: Some recommended tank mates include Lake Malawi Peacocks, mild tempered Mbunas like the Lemon Yellow Mbuna, and Synodontis Catfish, but probably not Cichlids from Lake Tanganyika.
Click here for more about Synodontis Catfish.
Click here to read more about compatible groups of pet fish.
Temperature: Peacocks live best from about 75 to 80-degrees F., with 78 being perhaps ideal.
Click here to learn about aquarium temperature, aquarium thermometers, and aquarium heaters.
Feeding: Premium Fish Food Pellets is the best type of food to feed to these Cichlids, and can be fed to them throughout their entire lives.
Click here to learn more about and shop online for premium fish foods.
Water Conditions: Lake Malawi has water that is hard with a high pH that is best for all the fish, whose ancestors lived there.
But these fish can adapt to most types of water, and so as usual it's best not to try to change your water's pH or hardness.
Click here for a lot more information about aquarium water conditions.
Aquarium Size: This fish will eventually need to live in an aquarium with at least 80-gallons of water but 100, 120 and 150-gallons are better.
Each fish will need at least 5-gallons of water, and they'll live best in an aquarium with at least 12 other compatible Cichlids of about the same size.
Decor: they do not need gravel, and a layer of gravel more than 1/4" thick will usually fill with bits of uneaten food that will contaminate the water.
Click here for more about aquarium gravel.
Live plants are beautiful and improve the water quality, but these fish will usually dig plants up, so most aquariums with this fish do not have live plants.
They like medium size gravel about the size of rice mixed with a few aquarium-safe rocks.
Aquarium Filter: Bio-Wheel Filters are highly recommended. Most 80-gallon aquariums have room along the back for two Penguin 350B Filters, and this is sort of the minimum set up for Peacocks.
Better is a 120, 150, or 200-gallon aquarium with as many Penguin 350B Filters as will fit across the back.
Click here to learn more about aquarium filters.
The addition of Lava Rocks will keep nitrates in the ideal range. Click here to learn more about using Lava Rocks in aquariums.
Life Span: this fish can live for several years. Keep the water conditions excellent and feed them premium foods, and they will most likely breed and produce the next generation of fish for your aquarium.
Gender: It's difficult to tell males from females, when they're very small, but easy when they're mature, because a male changes from gray to brilliant colors.
Breeding: this fish is a mouthbrooder. A female lays eggs, a male fertilizes the eggs, and the female picks up the eggs in her mouth.
She'll brood them for about 3-weeks, then release them in the aquarium. They are miniature versions of their mother and very cute!
This species of fish is very easy to breed in aquariums.
Click here to read more about breeding mouthbrooders. the aquarium.
Click here for a lot more about breeding various tropical fish in aquariums.
Popularity: Since the 1960s species like this one from Lake Malawi have been very popular fish.
Names: The scientific name for this fish is Otopharynx lithobates.
Long ago this species was misidentified as a member of the Aristochromis genus, which it was not. It was called the Red Top Aristochromis in error.
Later similar fish with a white or yellow or orange or combinations of white and yellow/orange edges to their dorsal fins were discovered, and they too were called Aristochromis.
But many aquarists have continued in error to call these fish Aristochromis.
Variations: There are several color variations of this species including the White Blaze and Red Blaze varieties.
Click here for a lot more information about keeping and caring for Lake Malawi Cichlids, including a picture gallery.
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