Synonyms of Auratus cichlid fish: Pseudotropheus auratus, Chromis aurata, Chromis auratus, Tilapia aurata.
From the Cichlid family, the species was described by Boulenger in 1897. The first importation began in 1958.
Frequent rock scree areas in the western part of the lake. Between Jalo reef and Crocodile Rocks. The place of capture of the holotype was made Monkey Bay, where he lives at a depth of 10 to 20 meters. It is found much more rarely in upper strata, in search of food. These filamentous green-yellow algae of the Colothrix and Cladophore type form a skein with numerous micro-organisms, invertebrates, and crustaceans. Providing essential proteins for life, Aufwusch provides the essentials for many auratus cichlid or Malawi Cichlids.
Native: Native to Africa, endemic to Lake Malawi.
About a dozen centimeters on average for the male, the female remains smaller about 9 cm, in their natural environments, they are much larger (20 cm). The species has an elongated body, very slightly compressed. This form gives an impression of power and speed. The mouth is small and in the terminal position, it is strong enough to pull the algae. Patterns of coloring are interesting to observe, in females like male juveniles.
These have a main robe of yellow-gold color, with three longitudinal black stripes, on the periphery of each strip there is a small white band. The dorsal fin has the same color and pattern as the body and ends with a yellow border, the pectoral is transparent and yellow. Pelvic are; yellow, black and white. The anal is yellow, black, white. The caudal fin is predominantly yellow in its lower part and has dark patterns in the upper part (the different colors are more or less intensify depending on the individual).
A young male begins to stain to a height of 5 cm, unlike females the dominant color is black, purplish black with bands of a white-bluish. The caudal fin is black with some bluish-white, while the dorsal fin has some yellow. The other fins are black with a bluish-white border.
Sexual dimorphism :
The auratus cichlid fish male is larger, wearing ocelles of yellow coloring in the form of eggs on the anal fin. Females are more colorful than males.
Auratus cichlid fish behavior :
Robust, very warlike, intolerant and territorial. He does not support any species that looks like him, many aquarists consider him a killer. It is obvious that cohabitation with fish is appropriate if it turns out to be disastrous. Also, it is advisable to maintain it in a specific tank. As the behavior between males is catastrophic. Unless you have large volumes, around 1000 liters and still !!!, it is not advisable to cohabit several sets, it would lead to some death for the weakest. It should be known that a dominant male can appropriate the whole of a tank. Females, support themselves more easily. They live in groups and are constantly harassed by the male. The species does not dig or touch plants.
It is important not to maintain auratus cichlid fish with strong character in aquariums of less than 250 liters. This base is valid for one male and three-four females (three is really the minimum number). They need space for freestyle. Also, 500 liters would be more interesting, in order to restore the most faithfully the biotope.
A decor consisting of rock masses representative of their natural environment. Territories are more or less defined in a large tank so that everyone can find his place. These must extend to the surface of the water so that the dominated individuals can take refuge there (to envisage at least 1 cave, not subjects). The aeration and the mixing of the water are ensured thanks to a good filtration, with a settling tank, whose pump can assure easily a flow of 3 or 4 times the volume of the aquarium per hour. Filtration materials usually used are blue foam loaves. The parameters of the driving water are very suitable in the majority of cases.
A pH greater than 7.5 and a hard water of the order of 10 to 15 ° dGH, although the pH of the lake is at 8.3 and the conductivity at 200 micros S / cm. The temperature, around 24-26 ° C, makes it possible to restore the characteristics of Malawi. “Melanochromis” is relatively sensitive. Brightness is important, to promote the development of green algae consumed by fish. A plantation is really not necessary it would be even problematic in such a biotope. Frequent water changes help maintain nitrates in reasonable proportions. A new water intake of 20% per week is a base that will have to be modulated according to the population.
Like the majority of auratus cichlid fish, M. auratus has maternal-type oral incubation, with the female keeping eggs and larvae in the mouth for three weeks after laying.
Melanochromis auratus cichlid fish do not form a fixed pair, the male being polygamous.
The male attracts females ready to lay on its territory. Once spawned, the female retrieves the eggs in the mouth and remains sheltered throughout the incubation period, during which time she will not eat. It is advisable to transfer the female to a dedicated aquarium after one week of incubation or to recover the fry at birth to ensure successful reproduction. The young Melanochromis auratus are not very resourceful and will not have a chance in a community aquarium.
It is advisable to restore as faithfully as possible the vegetable portion in the diet of auratus cichlid fish. Flakes food usually marketed, studied for vegetarian fish, are a good solution to remedy this. A fill of poached lettuce or spinach is however welcome. The meat food with beef heart is to prescribe, it can indeed cause a fatty accumulation or degeneration of the liver. A homemade blend of mussels, shrimp, and fish meat, all finely chopped, mixed with peas and then packaged in portions before freezing, is impeccable. The species appreciates; snails, towards vases, daphnia. Once or twice a week, a multivitamin solution is added to this staple food, and which is distributed alternately with commercially available Cichlid foods. You have to be careful not to feed the auratus cichlid fish too much.
Note: When an auratus cichlid fish male becomes too aggressive, towards a female who is in incubation period it is better to remove it.
Size: Male 12, female 9 cm. In their natural environment, they can reach a height of 20 cm.
Water: pH: 7.5 to 8.5 Hardness: 10 to 15 ° dGH.
Temperature: 22 to 28 ° C, optimal 26 ° C.