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Malawi Cichlids

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.

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