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Aulonocara stuartgranti "Ngara"

Aulonocara stuartgranti

A beautiful Aulonocara stuartgranti "ngara" Male. Photo courtesy Melissa Corcoran of seriouscichlids.com.

General

This fish is one of the many subspecies of fish originally grouped together as Aulonocara stuartgranti. Included in this subspecies are Mdoka, Usisya, Cobue and Flavescent and others. Re-classification of fish is constant and the Aulonocara is no exception. Some of these fish have been renamed Aulonocara hansbaenschi.

As far as I know, the Ngara is still classified as a stuartgranti, but reclassification of this fish is not beyond reason. When this fish was first imported into the country it was called the "flametail peacock". This name has recently resurfaced with a whole new connotation, higher prices. A. Ngara "Flametail" now seems to mean that the fish has been bred for color.

There is an intensely red strain of A. Ngara in the Chicago area, originally bred by Rick Boester, that is sometimes referred to as A. Ngara "Red".

Habitat

Aulonocara stuartgranti "ngara" is from the northwestern shore of Lake Malawi, not surprisingly near Ngara. Males reach a size of about 6-8 inches, females somewhat smaller. As with most Aulonocara, the Ngara like a rocky area close to a sandy bottom. Lone males will stake out a claim near rocks and lure females from their groups to spawn.

Care

In the aquarium, a good sandy bottom with caves will do nicely. One male with 4-6 females is a good ratio for a breeding colony. I house my Ngaras, as well as most of my Aulonocara colonies, in 50 breeders. Smaller Aulonocara may be housed in 30 longs or 40 breeders.

Feeding

Aulonocara stuartgranti "ngara" is a crustacean and insect larvae eater by nature. I fed mine anything from redworms to frozen brine shrimp to flake food. They accept all with vigor. The young are fed newly hatched brine shrimp exclusively for about two weeks and then I integrate flake food.

Breeding

Aulonocara stuartgranti "ngara" can breed about every thirty days with females carrying anywhere from 5 to 50 eggs. The size of the spawn is relative to the size of the female. The longer you allow the female to brood the eggs, the longer the interval will be between spawns.

Retail Price

Fry $1 to $10 Adults $20 to $40.

If you plan on obtaining Aulonocara stuartgranti,, know what color variety you are purchasing. Don't be fooled! The price can vary greatly. When buying adults, the difference is obvious. When purchasing fry, if at all possible, see the parents first. If not, buy from a reputable dealer.

Report May 1999 by Jim Stigliano. Updated 2009 by Rick Borstein.

Aulonocara stuartgranti "Chitimba"

Above Aulonocara stuartgranti "Chitimba Bay" Male. Photo by Rick Borstein.

General

Aulonocara stuartgranti "Chitimba Bay" is a member of the Stuartgranti complex of Aulonocara species and is often sold by the trade name of "White Tip Masoni", thus a synonym for this fish is Aulonocara masoni. Another designation for this fish is "Chitimba Deep".

The Aulonocara species flock are often called "Malawi Peacocks" generically.

No matter what you call it, this is a nice looking peacock. Males get an overall royal blue metallic cast with an impressive white or ice blue edging to the dorsal fin. Males also have nice orange ventral fins, too.

Females, like most peacocks, are drab with an overall grey-tan case a few markings.

You should not keep Aulonocara stuartgranti "Chitimba Bay" with any other Aulonocara species as it may interbreed.

About eight to ten years ago when first introduced, this fish caused a considerable stir in the hobby. If I recall, a variety of fish were exported as "Masoni" but not all of them matched the description we know today.

The common name for this fish is The White Tip Masoni

Habitat

Aulonocara stuartgranti "Chitimba Bay" is a deeper water peacock often found at 20M or so over rocky areas.

Care

Aulonocara stuartgranti "Chitimba Bay" presents no problems. I recommend a tank at least four feet in length. Water conditions are the same a recommended for other Malawi cichlids (hard and 76 to 80F).

In my experience, Aulonocara species do better over a sand substrate. The fish can be observed picking through the sand which is the natural feeding behavior of this fish.

Feeding

Aulonocara species generally feed on invertebrates found in the sand and I assume Aulonocara stuartgranti "Chitimba Bay" does as well. I fed a variety of foods such as Dainichi Veggie Deluxe, HBH Graze, HBH Soft and Moist Veggie and the occasional treat of frozen Bloodworms.

Breeding

I obtained a trio of Aulonocara stuartgranti "Chitimba Bay" from fellow GCCA member Mike Garibaldi. The fish were in good shape and only needed a few weeks to fatten up before spawning. I placed the fish in a 125G tank which also house a few Tanganyikans and Synodontis. The Malawians were ignored by their tankmates as I expected.

On 1/23/2010, I observed a female holding. The female turned out to be a very good holder. At the time the fish bred, the male was about 4-1/2 inches long and the female about 3-1/2 inches.

I let the female hold until 2/6/2010 at which time I stripper her of 28 fry with only the slightest bit of egg sack remaining.

I immediately began feeding freshly hatched baby brine shrimp and the fry grew quickly. At one week, I transition the fry to flake food.

Retail Price

Aulonocara stuartgranti "Chitimba Bay" is sometimes found at pet shops that specialize in cichlids. Colorful large males would be $35 to $50 US .

Availability

Aulonocara stuartgranti "Chitimba Bay" is available in the hobby at the time of this writing. You can find this fish on many wholesalers lists..

Report February 2010 by Rick Borstein.

Aulonocara maleri

Aulonocara maleri

General

Aulonocara maleri "Maleri Island" was first brought into the United States in the early to mid seventies. This is the fish that was originally named the "Sunshine Peacock". Since that time, no fewer than three other peacocks have been called that in the marketplace. Although fish such as Aulonocara baenschi are just as beautiful, A. maleri will always be the "Sunshine Peacock" to me. These fish were bred to enhance the orange color in some males and is the ancestor to the famous "German Reds" and the newer "Ruben Reds".

Habitat

A. maleri are, of course, from Lake Malawi. I don’t know where they were originally collected, but my guess is from somewhere along the Tanzanian coast. They are presently no longer collected from the lake. A. maleri are classic peacocks. They love a sandy bottom and also do best when provided with several caves.

Care

A. maleri likes hard alkaline water around 76-82 degrees, although they will tolerate slightly higher or lower temperatures. Some salt may be added but they do fine without. As stated, A. maleri likes a sandy to rocky habitat and caves and/or flowerpots should be included. Minimum tank size is a 5 gallon tank for one fish. They do best when kept in groups. For a group of 5 or 6 adults (1 male and 4 or 5 females) do well in any tank that is 36 inches long or over. They also do well as part of an Africa

Feeding

A. maleri fry can eat anything. Start them out with newly hatched brine shrimp or if you prefer a quality flake food. They will also accept micro worms. Within weeks the fry will be large enough to accept white worms. Adults will readily eat flake food, pellet food, adult brine shrimp, bloodworms and earthworms.

Breeding

A. maleri are harem spawners. Adult fish do best when one male is in a tank with 4-6 females. You can have more than one male but he will be harassed. My breeding colony consists of 4 females and 1 male. Each female produces approximately one spawn every five weeks consisting of anywhere from 20 to 30 eggs.

Retail Price

Fry $5 to $20.
Adults $10 to $40.

If you plan on obtaining A. maleri fry know what you are purchasing. Because of extensive inbreeding, A. maleri has a tendency to contain a lot more blue than the original fish taken from Lake Malawi. Try to see the male that fathered the fry. He should only have blue on his chin, not in his body. Some blue veins of color are normal.

Because A. maleri are no longer exported from Lake Malawi, finding adults may be difficult. Buy from a reputable dealer. My suggestion-- buy a dozen fry, raise them up, keep the yellowest male with the least blue and the nicest finnage, sell the extras and voila, a breeding colony.

Report September 1999 by Jim Stigliano

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