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Firebird Peacock

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The Firebird Cichlid, also known as Peacock, belongs to the Cichlidae family and is native to Lake Malawi, Africa. It reaches a maximum size of about 13 cm or 5 inches and thrives in freshwater environments. This species, scientifically named Aulonocara hansbaenschi, is peaceful in temperament.

In the aquarium, it's recommended to keep Firebird Cichlids with other peaceful Malawi cichlids, particularly those of the same species. The ideal water parameters for them include a temperature ranging from 23-27°C or 73-81°F and a pH level of 7.5 – 8.5.

When setting up the aquarium for Aulonocara hansbaenschi, provide plenty of stone formations to create hiding places and territories. It's crucial to leave open areas for swimming. Avoid using roots in the tank as they can lower the pH levels.

In terms of feeding, Firebird Cichlids accept various foods, including pellets. They are known to be mouth brooders, where the female lays eggs on a rock and then takes them into her mouth for protection. During this period, which can last up to 4 weeks, the female won't eat. You can identify a brooding female by her enlarged mouth. The fry, once released, accept a variety of foods.

For breeding purposes, it's recommended to isolate brooding females to ensure a more successful process. However, it's important to keep the isolation period short to prevent the female from losing her social status within the group, as stress may lead her to eat the eggs and fry.