The Auratus Cichlid is one of the first African Cichlids ever to be imported and are an extremely attractive species that is endemic to Lake Malawi. The Auratus Cichlid can also be one of the most aggressive of all African Cichlids and is the most aggressive of member the Mbuna group; they have been known to terrorise fish twice their size.
Males and females are distinguished by their coloration; males have light markings on a dark blue to black base color while females are the exact opposite. Auratus Cichlids are very popular but definitely not a species for beginners, but they can be a joy to own as long as you do your research and understand their needs.
The Auratus Cichlid requires an aquarium of at least 90cm (120cm or larger is recommended) and should be provided with a fine sand to crushed coral substrate as well as plenty of rocks and caves for territory as well as plenty of open swimming space. Live plants may be used, but should be a hardy species that can be attached to rocks (i.e., Anubias nana, Anubias hastifolia, Java Fern).
Auratus Cichlids are mouthbrooders. The female cichlid lays her eggs in a cave or rock crevice and then gathers up the eggs in her mouth. The male has egg-like spots on his anal fin and the female will be attracted to them thinking that they are more eggs to gather up in her mouth; when she tries to gather them she receives sperm from the male which fertilises the eggs.
The female will carry the eggs (usually a clutch of 25-50) for up to around 28 days before she releases free-swimming fry.
- Species – Melanochromis auratus
- Common Name – Auratus
- Origin – Lake Malawi
- Diet – Omnivore
- PH Range – Alkaline 7.5 – 8.5
- Water Type – Hard
- Temperature – Tropical 24°c
- Breed Type – Mouth brooder
- Current Size – approximately 5cm (Grows to approximately 12cm)
- Sex – Un-sexed