Yellow Peacock Cichlid

Yellow Peacock Cichlid

Here is the complete description of yellow peacock cichlid fish that you can add to your home aquarium to glow up the aquarium. These are around 4 to 5 inches in size and easy to manage.

Yellow Peacock Cichlid

Yellow peacock cichlids are extremely beautiful and attractive fish. They can increase the color charm and brightness of your aquarium. The striking yellow coloration in the peacock pattern looks mesmerizing when swimming in the tank. 

Every aquarist wants all fish in the aquarium to have better compatibility with each other. These can cohabit and live peacefully with several other freshwater fish species but sometimes can be aggressive. Good care and diet can help you maintain the fish calm and active.

Like other cichlids, the yellow peacock is very famous and popular among fish-keepers due to its unique coloration and appearance.

Before adding it into the tank, you have to get the information about it for appropriate tank setup and maintenance. All you have to do is mimic and create the tank environment similar to its natural habitat.

Yellow Peacock Cichlid Profile 

Categories Features
Scientific name Aulonocara baenschi
Phylum Chordata
Order Cichliformes
Family Cichlidae
Genera Aulonocara
Species Baenschi
Common name Yellow peacock cichlids
Care level Easy
Temperament Semi-aggressive
Diet Omnivores
Size About 5 inches
Origin Africa – lake Malawi
Water type Hard
Breeding Mouth brooder
Habitat Freshwater – tropical

Scientific and common names

The fish has the scientific name, Aulonocara baenschi and is also famous with the name nkhomo benga peacock. The fish has many different names in different countries, like the yellow peacock, benga peacock, new yellow regal cichlid, baensch’s peacock, and sunshine peacock. All these names indicate its fresh, bright yellow coloration. 

Origin of yellow peacock cichlid

These fish have their origin from the Lake Malawi of Africa, where they live in the moving water. Yellow peacock cichlids are also present in other islands like the nkhomo reef island, maleri islands, and chipoka. Kande island and its surrounding areas also have these fish. 

Background and discovery:

Meyer and Riehl were the first to discover these beautiful creatures in 1985. there are around 23 to 24 peacock species that live with a yellow peacock in the same habitat. They get the name baenschi in honor of a man named Dr. Ulrich baensch. 

With time, the distribution of these fish is becoming more widespread, but there are also some threats. Due to their appearance, their demand is increasing rapidly for home aquariums and commercial fish tank. This increasing demand has an impact on the fish distribution and population, making them endangering. 

The natural habitat

Yellow peacock cichlids live in the shallow water of Lake Malawi and the surrounding lake where they inhabit to live deep in the water or at the bottom. Unlike other peacock species, they come upward to the depth of 12 to 20 feet from the water surface and also live deep in the water. 

They live in transitions area where the rocky shoreline converts into the sand. Generally, their substrate choice is the mix of sand and rocks for the convenience of feeding. The water of the lake is hard-water and more towards alkalinity. 

The water hardness is because of the presence of large amounts of minerals in it. 

There are no plants present in their surroundings, and they are habitual to live in these plant-less areas. 

How many yellow peacock cichlid in one aquarium?

The number of cichlids suitable for the aquarium is dependent on the tank’s size and the selection of males and females.

Usually, it is preferable to add 4 to 6 females for a male fish. They love to live in groups of more females and one male where the male makes the territory. 

More males of the same size and pattern in the tank increase aggression and anger of the existing male fish.

They never accept any male to come to their side and can start competing and fighting with them. More males are only acceptable when the tank is large.

Appearance and size

They have a moderate size with an average length of 4 to 5 inches for females and around 5 to 6 inches for a male fish. They usually remain small grow less in the aquarium than their length in the wild habitat.

It is a beautiful fish due to its bright, shiny coloration. As the name indicates, it is yellow that looks like sunshine. There is a blue color on the different parts of the body, which creates a peacock appearance. 

The male is more yellowish with slight blue integration and has big eyes. The forehead and the nose are slightly curved-shaped in males and pointed dorsal and anal fins.

Females have less yellowish color as compare to males and have blue patches or stripes that run vertically. Yellow peacock cichlid has an elongated body having large lips, and a high back.

Usually, they have their head in iridescent blue color and body in yellow color. The blue stripes run through the sides of the body. More morphs have a different distribution of blue and yellow patches on the body.

In many species, the fins are all yellow with vertical stripes and marbling of blue. Other morphs have dark-blue to black fins and the yellow body. The number of color-stripes on all the morphs ranges between 6 to 12.

Are they aggressive?

Yellow peacocks are semi-aggressive especially, the male fish. They are not aggressive all the time but particularly at the time of breeding and spawning. They only become aggressive when the male fish of their species invade their territory. 

Also, at the time of feeding, they form small territory to get the maximum opportunity and not allow other fish to enter their place. Despite having semi-aggressive nature, they are not aggressive towards other species. They remain peaceful with other species when the tank is large enough.

Social behavior

They are not too social and friendly, and you can keep them alone in the tank. In a large tank, these fish live peacefully with other species. Usually, the fish remain calm until it faces other males. They keep swimming in the tank and does not require any plants to feel safe as their natural habitat lacks plants.

Their natural habitat includes rocks and sands, and they remain happy when you provide them all these in the tank. They dwell in the bottom or mid of the aquarium and make their territory. They stay in their places, such as caves or spaces between rocks in the aquarium, and are not too active or playful.

They are not too demanding and keep themselves engage in their activities. They also compete for food in the tank and can start fighting, but these are some typical situations they are not angry all the time. 


Like all other fish, the lifespan depends on a balanced diet and suitable tank conditions. The more you provide them quality nutrition and a healthy environment, the more they will live. The average life span of these fish is 6 to 10 years. They can live more when you provide them extra care.

However, some cases show yellow peacock cichlids have a lifespan of 14 years, but there is no proof. Overall, an adequate and ideal nutrition and tank atmosphere can increase their survival time and life expectancy.

Yellow Peacock Cichlid Care

They are easy to care for, and you do not have to put extra time and effort to keep them healthy. All you need is the optimum water parameters and condition.

They are one of the best choices for beginners because of easy-care, easy feeding, and easy breeding. A good-quality diet is necessary for their growth and appearance, so you have to provide adequate nutrition.

They are hardy and can tolerate changes and fluctuations in water parameters, but poor-water conditions are too harmful to these creatures. A regular check of ammonia, nitrates level, water renewal, adequate oxygenation, and proper filtration are compulsory for their health and well-being.

Diet of the yellow peacock cichlid

The fish is an omnivore and can eat meat, fruits, vegetables, and other live foods. In the wild, it can prey on small crustaceans by finding them through sand and rocks. It is a substrate feeder and feeds on sand sift in their natural habitat.

A balanced diet is necessary for the growth, coloration, and survival of cichlid. The diet should include the diversity of food containing meat and vegetables; preferable is to feed it a food-mix.

You can give it fruits once or twice in the week as a treat. Vegetables help to prevent the disease, Malawi bloat, and their carotene content help bring out the color.

The fish is a meat lover and can eat invertebrates and crustaceans in the tank that are smaller in size. Also, avoid breeding other fish species in the tank as the fish seems the fish fry as a snack. 

Frozen food, live foods, flakes, pallets, daphnia, blood worms, mosquito larvae, brine shrimps, and spirulina are the favorite food of this fish, so you must provide it all. Several commercially made fish-food is ideal for it. Meat is the first preference, so try to add more frozen or live meaty food. 

Feeding size and frequency

These fish are moderate in size and can eat chunks and chopped food particles of appropriate size. You have to feed them such foods that sink in the tank and stay at the substrate to offer them food like their natural habitat.

You should give them the amount that they can eat completely without leaving residues to prevent algae growth.

Feed them more when they are young to achieve the bright coloration, and the color foods can change their color. Feed the young fish 1 or 2 times a day and feed adults 5 to 6 times a week.

During the breeding season, they require more amount and frequency of feedings. Supplementation is necessary for the sick fish to provide them all the essential nutrients.  

Yellow peacock cichlid Breeding

One of the reasons that make these fish the best choice for beginners is their easy breeding. Like all other fish, you have to make a breeding tank and shift the parents to this tank for careful and efficient breeding.

You do not have to put so much effort and care into successful breeding as they are not selective for the partner.

It is preferable to keep at least six females with a male for breeding. The reason behind is the aggressive nature of male during spawning.

It will not accept other males to invade their area, so you must keep only one breeding group in a tank at a time. Also, the males are very aggressive on females during this time so adding more females is necessary to divide or reduce the stress.

Spawning of the fish

The spawning takes place in hidden places or caves, and the male attracts the female by showing bright colors. After laying eggs, the female carries eggs into its mouth to protect them, and the fertilization of eggs also takes place in the mouth.

It is an incubation period of about 21 days, and it carries around 25 to 50 eggs in the mouth. For this behavior, they come in the category of mouth-brooders.

Once the eggs start hatching, the female removes them out of the mouth after 1 or 2 days, and the young fry starts swimming freely.

Remove the parents immediately out of the tank. Feed the fry with finely-ground flakes and other small-sized fry foods. Also, it is necessary to feed the adults well before shifting them to the breeding tank.

Are yellow peacock cichlid hybrid fish?

Yellow peacocks are hybrid fish, and if you keep them with too much fish from peacock species leads to the birth of hybridized fish. It results in many birth-defects and also the sterility of the newborn fish.

It occurs when you do not determine their breeding time as they breed in caves and come to know when seeing fry swimming in an aquarium. 


Due to their semi-aggressive nature of yellow peacock cichlids, they can not live with all types of fish. They have better compatibility with some other freshwater fish.

They love to live in their groups, so the first choice should be the same species. Other species with which yellow peacock can live are:

  • Copadichromis 
  • Placidochromis 
  • Nyassachromis 
  • Otopharynx lithobates
  • Barbs
  • Rainbowfish
  • Pleco 
  • Botia Loach 
  • Peaceful haplochromis 
  • Synodontis catfish
  • Redtail shark 
  • Red-top aristochromis
  • Crytocara moorii

Other African cichlids that belong to the same habitat can be aggressive, so you should not keep them with yellow peacock cichlids. You have to keep other fish that are peaceful and calm with yellow peacock to achieve better cohabitation. 

Tank Requirements and water conditions

To keep any fish healthy and growing in a tank, you have to mimic their natural environment in the aquarium. The ideal tank setup for yellow peacock cichlid is:

Tank size

To keep several fish, you should choose a tank size of at least 55-gallons. The ideal tank size is 75 to 100 gallons to avoid aggression if you want to add more than one group in the tank. Also, they are habitual of their area, and a large tank can provide enough space for all of them.

Water parameters

You have to create the same environment in the aquarium as their natural habitat. Regular or weekly water renewal and changes are necessary. The ideal water parameters are:

  • Water pH – 7.5 to 8.5
  • Water temperature – 22 to 28 degrees celsius
  • Water hardness – 10 to 18 dGH
  • Water movement- moderate


Lake Malawi’s water has a slight hot temperature, so a heater is essential to keep the temperature stable. There is no requirement for the heater in summers but keep a heater in winter.

Good filtration is compulsory with moderate water movements and current. The filter is necessary to remove all the wastes and excess toxic compounds from the water. 

Adequate lighting and oxygenation keep the tank’s environment healthy, and you can add air-pump or light sources.


Their natural habitat contains a lot of minerals that increase the alkalinity of water. They also love to dig in the sand and move around it. Sand is a choice of substrate for these bottom dwellers as it keeps water hard and gives a feel of natural habitat. 

Plants and decor

Plants are not essential for the tank, but you can add driftwood, rocks, and decor such as caves to provide them hidden spaces. They will eat up the plants or damage them too badly, so avoid them.


The fish is not prone to many diseases as it is hardy, but Malawi bloat is the most common and typical disease. It does not only occur in yellow peacock but all other peacock species of cichlid. As they all belong to lake Malawi, so the name of the disease is Malawi bloat.

It is a disease with occurs when you provide inadequate or excess nutrition to it. It occurs due to poor-quality food having symptoms like swelling of the abdomen, loss of appetite, fast-breathing pattern, and change feces color.

It also severely affect the liver and kidney and can lead to death. The cause is not very clear, but protozoans can be the reason. 

Another disease is the ich disease, which is typical in all freshwater fish and causes scratches, redness on the skin, and a parasite is a cause. Regular water changes and immediate treatment prevent the fish from dying. Also, other parasitic, fungal, and bacterial infections can harm it. 


The cost of these fish is not too high, and one can afford them easily. They live in groups, so you should buy them in groups of 5 to 6 fish at once.

The group of 5 to 6 will not cost you more than $18 to $20. if you want to add two groups to the tank, the total cost will around $35 to $40.

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