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The Sunshine Peacock Aulonocara stuartgranti “Maleri” is a relatively small sized Peacock cichlid from Lake Malawi, Africa. It only reaches about 5 inches (13 cm) in length. It is a striking yellow in color highlighted with icy blues, especially on the dorsal fin. Captive bred color morphs can also be orange.
This cichlid is a member of a very small group of fish from Lake Malawi, Africa known as the Peacock Cichlids, and they are very popular with aquarists. The Peacock Cichlids are placed in the Aulonocara genus which contains only about 28 species, but with many subspecies. It is the brilliant colorations of blues, reds and yellows that give this group the well deserved name of “Peacock”.
The Sunshine Peacock is one of the well known varieties of the Flavescent Peacock Aulonocara stuartgranti. This bright sunny variety is also commonly known as Aulonocara stuartgranti “Maleri”, Orange Peacock, and Yellow Regal Peacock. It is widely distributed in Lake Malawi and there are a number of natural color forms.
The color forms of this variety are distinguished from one another by the place where they are found, and then named accordingly. They include the Aulonocara Stuartgranti “Maleri” (Chidunga Rocks), Aulonocara Stuartgranti “Maleri” (Chipoka), Aulonocara Stuartgranti “Maleri” (Maleri Island), Aulonocara Stuartgranti “Maleri” (Nakantenga Island), and Aulonocara Stuartgranti “Maleri” (Nankoma Island). Captive bred varieties have also been developed for particular colors. These will often be called by descriptive names such as Aulonocara stuartgranti “Marleri Gold” and Aulonocara stuartgranti “Marleri Red Flash”.
The Aulonocara Peacock cichlids, along with the Utaka Cichlids Copadichromis and other non-Mbuna’s, are members of the Haplochromis group. Haplochromis is a type genus of free-roaming browsers sometimes call “haps” or “happies”. They live in more sandy areas and open waters, and are generally larger cichlids than their Mbuna “rock-dwelling” counterparts. They also are more peaceful cichlids and should not be housed with the highly active and aggressive Mbunas.
Along with their beautiful colors these cichlids will quickly adapt to the aquarium, thus making them a desirable pet. They will eat a meaty diet and have an almost puppy like excitability when being fed, thus adding to their appeal. Provide open space for swimming and a lot of caves for them to hide and sleep in, and for breeding. Frequent water changes will help in keeping this cichlid.
The fish pictured above is captive bred and has a more orangish coloration than wild caught varieties. Due extensive inbreeding, captive bred fish also tend to have more blue than the pure species. The fish shown here has lots of blue in its dorsal fin while pure breeds just have an ice blue edging on the top of that fin. This variety was also intentionally bred to enhance its orange color.
Like all Peacocks cichlids, the Sunshine Peacock may be so inbred that true strains can be hard to find unless the specimen is wild caught (and they are not currently being collected) or from a reputable dealer. Be careful not to confused this fish with the Nkhomo-benga Peacock Aulonocara baenschi, which is also sometimes called the Sunshine Peacock. Although both these peacocks have a strong yellow body coloring, the Nkhono-benga Peacock can be distinguished by the solid bright blue coloring on its head.
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Video of Sunshine Peacock Cichlid (Aulonocara stuartgranti)
Infographic of Sunshine Peacock Cichlid (Aulonocara stuartgranti)
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