Meyer & Riehl, 1985
Red Shoulder Peacock, Flavescent Peacock, Blue Neon Peacock
Above: A male Aulonocara stuartgranti "Ngara Flametail". Photo by Sam Borstein.
Genus- Aulos= flute (Greek), kara= head (Greek), referring to sensory pores in the head.
Species- stuartgranti= named after the famous collector and exporter of many Lake Malawi cichlids, Stuart Grant.
Aulonocara stuartgranti is a mainstay peacock cichlid in the hobby. This rock dwelling species has many location variants. Some of the popular color morphs currently are the Ngara, Cobue, Usisya, and Undu.
The fishes that used to be sold as the Red Shoulder Peacok (Aulonocara hansbaenschi) and the Flavescent Peacock (Aulonocara steveni) should be regarded as synonyms of Aulonocara stuartgranti (Konings, 1995). Although the color patterns on Aulonocara stuartgranti vary quite a bid depending on location, Konings states that there are gradual changes from neighboring location to neighboring location.
This fish is found at many locations in Lake Malawi. It is the most common of all rock dwelling Aulonocara in Lake Malawi.
The fish can generally be broken into a few color groups:
- Red Shoulders (Formerly Aulonocara hansbaenschi)- From Cobue-Thumbi West on the Southeast side of the lake.
- Flame Tails- Ngara, Mdoka, on the Northwest side of the lake.
- Blue Neons- Northeast side of the lake.
- Flavescent Peacocks (Formerly Aulonocara steveni)- Northwest part of the lake.
Here are some photos of popular location variants as well as their trade name. Click on the thumbnail for a fullsize photo.
Size, Maturity, and Sexual Dimorphism:
Size: Males- 6 inches, Females- 4.5 inches
Maturity: 2.5 inches
Sexual Dimorphism: Males are colorful, mostly blue, as females are gray.
Aulonocara stuartgranti is pretty easy to care for. This fish for a peacock can be a tad bit aggressive, so do keep that in mind. This fish does best in a group of at least 5. It is best to have a few males, and mostly females. You do want a few sub-dominant males in your group to take pressure of the females. A group of 5 would do fine in a 55, and 10 in a 75. These fish can be kept successfully with mbuna.
Like all Aulonocara species, Aulonocara stuartgranti has sensory pores on its face. With these they can sense movement underground on the lake floor from worms, snails, and 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 stuartgranti is easy to breed. Once you get the fish breeding they will spawn with very few problems. Females need to be pretty fed up in order for them to be in spawning condition. Because of this the fish may spawn only 1 time per 2 months.
Breeding take place in the style typical for the genus. The females are poor holders at first, but eventually become pretty reliable. Females will hold a brood for 20-22 days. I like to strip the fish a few days prior to the fry being completely free swimming. This is usually around day 18. Broods can be 15-40 fry depending on age of the fish. Fry are easy to raise and grow relatively fast.
Aulonocara stuartgranti is one of the most popular peacocks, and easily attainable. Not only is it beautiful, but it is easy to keep. If you are just getting into Malawians, or cichlids, give this peacock a shot. You can probably even find this fish at your local pet shop.
- Konings, A. (1995) Malawi cichlids in their natural habitat. 2nd ed., Cichlid Press, El Paso, Texas, 352 pp.
- Konings, A. (2007) Malawi cichlids in their natural habitat. 4th ed., Cichlid Press, El Paso, Texas, 424 pp.
- Meyer, M. K. & R. Riehl; 1985; Aulonocara baenschi n. sp. and Aulonocara stuartgranti n. sp. Baensch Aquarium Atlas. Band II; pp. 836-846.