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Melanochromis auratus — Auratus, Malawi Golden Cichlid

Auratus comes from the rocky shores of Lake Malawi.

When the male reaches around 5 cm in length, it begins to develop mature male colours. The female colours are now reversed on the male, resulting in a black body base colour with yellow stripes. Sometimes the yellow stripes are turquoise or blue depending on the original location where the fish is found. The caudal fin is black with a few white stripes and the dorsal fin is yellow. The anal, pectoral, and pelvic fins are black and have a white fringe, with yellow egg spots on the anal fins. A pale blue variation is found around the LikomaIslandsin Lake Malawi.

Males grow to 12 cm, Females to 10 cm, however fish up to 20 cm have occurred

Tanks of around 150 litres are sufficient for these fish if they do not exceed 10 cm in length. Larger fish require at least a 200—250 litre tank. This species requires the typical Mbuna set—up: algae covered rocky structures with plenty of caves and hides.

The Auratus is hardy but quite aggressive, particularly to its own and similar species. Solve the problem by providing at least one cave for each fish, and match only with non-similar companions. The correct ratio is one male with several females. Since the females are ‘prettier’ this should pose no problems. When disturbed, the male can undergo rapid colour change, usually assuming female colours.

These fish are “Aufwuchs” feeders in nature. Their diet should thus be heavily biased toward vegetarian foods.

Breeding this fish is relatively easy, but aggression is a factor. Raise the water temperature to 26-28°C to initiate spawning. Place at least 4 females with one male in a breeding tank as the male is extremely aggressive when breeding. 10-30 eggs are laid and are immediately taken into the female’s mouth. The male should be removed just after spawning is complete. The eggs are incubated for three weeks, until they hatch. The fry remain in mouth of the female for another week, after which they become free swimming and ready to feed on fry foods.

African Cichlids need to be kept only with other African Cichlids due to their high ph requirements and aggressive nature. They are the closest you will get to Marine colours at a much easier care aquarium.


Price: $18.00

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