Sam Borstein's Cichlid Page

Aulonocara baenschi
Meyer & Riehl, 1985

Sunshine Peacock, Yellow Regal Peacock, Benga Peacock

Sunshine Peacock Male
Above: A male Sunshine Peacock. Photo by Sam Borstein.


Genus- Aulos= flute (Greek), kara= head (Greek), referring to sensory pores in theĀ  head.
Species- baenschi= named after Ulrich Baensch.


Aulonocara baenschi is one of the most popular peacocks in the hobby. The gorgeous yellow coloration mixed with blue striations and a blue face creates a magnificent looking fish.

This fish was first typed in 1985 by Meyer. The type locality was Nkhomo, not far from Benga in Lake Malawi.

This fish is not to be confused with the other sunshine peacock, Aulonocar sp. "Stuartgranti Maleri". The easy way to tell the two apart is looking at the snout. Aulonocara baenschi has a round snout where as Aulonocara sp. "Stuartgranti Maleri" has a pointed snout, like a Aulonocara stuartgranti.


The Sunshine Peacock is found at a reef near Benga in Lake Malawi.

Size, Maturity, and Sexual Dimorphism:

Size: Males- 6 inches, Females- 4.5 inches
Maturity: 2.5 inches
Sexual Dimorphism: Males are colorful, mostly yellow, as females are gray.

Female Sunshine Peacock
Above: A female Sunshine Peacock. Photo by Sam Borstein.


Aulonocara baenschi is pretty easy to care for. The fish is generally shy and peaceful, but once in a while, a rogue male will develop. The fish can usually be successfully kept as a group of 5 in a 40 breeder with some gentle mbuna.


Like all Aulonocara species, Aulonocara baenschi has sensory pores on its face. With these they can sense movement underground on the lake floor from worms, snails, insect larvae, etc. Although this fish is a carnivore in the wild, they will gladly eat anything in the aquarium. One of my favorite foods to feed is spectrum, as it really brings out color in the males.


Aulonocara baenschi is not hard to breed. Once you get the fish breeding they will spawn readily. Spawning is typical for peacocks.

The Sunshine Peacock has a mouthbrooding term of about 21-24 days. The eggs are relatively small, and numerous. The females generally hold term with no issues. Fry grow quickly, hitting an inch within a month. The best first food for them is baby brine shrimp.


Aulonocara baenschi is a beautiful species of peacock. They are easy to breed, and will be a nice group of fish, but adding a male to show tank of Malawi Haps and Peacocks is also a good choice. This fish is readily available, but drives a pretty hard price.