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Peacocks that colour up sooner than others


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I have re-commenced working in an LFS on a casual basis (2nd job). As I am the only cichlid person I have been given the green light to do some bomberrang editing. I am after the names of the smallest growing peacocks (Aulonocara). I have seen adults at 3 inches in the past at stores and private collections but I am a Tang man and am not familiar with the specific names. I need the names as it is hard to offload grey looking fish here on the Central Coast. I am looking to buy of the lists but am interested in hearing from any private guys looking to sell these types. Also any of the smaller mbuna. Needless to say I need no assistance with the Tangs but anyone with anything interesting contact me too.

Regards AndrewP


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Guest Gutty

I believe in general the stuartgranti/steveni types are smaller than the Jacobfriebergi types.

Can't name all the smaller ones straight off but in general

stuartgranti types

steveni types


hope that helps


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I need the names as it is hard to offload grey looking fish here on the Central Coast.

So are you saying that because they are small and coloured, you think they could be the smaller peacock species and will label and sell them as such?? sadsmiley02.gif

They could also be underfed, runts or colourfed blush.gif and to assume their species would be very remiss of you.

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If you cant offload grey/brown fish I suggest avoiding peacocks and haps as the females are all that colour, and in a shop tank, only a couple of more dominant males will show their colour, making it hard to offload all those grey/brown fish anyway.

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I agree with Anita. Almost all peacock species have an average adult size of 4-5" for females and up to 6" (and sometimes a bit over) for males. I have seen some massive A. stuartgranti males, slightly bigger than 6".

Sadly, many runts are for sale around the place because they are too crowded in their tanks, or underfed/undernourished. Unfortunately, many such fish never realise their full size because of the length of time they are kept in these conditions.

So to answer the question, the smaller peacocks are any species at all, except for A. rostratum, which grows to 8". But none should be expected to stay smaller than 6" or maybe a bit less.



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If im reading this correctly you are looking for a Aulonocara species that is small growing. This infers you want them to either colour up at a young age or you want to store them in less space.

More likely you are refering to the highly coloured small colour/hormone injected fish that colour up at around 2.5 to 3 inches.

In normal circumstances peacocks shouldnt colour up till they are nearly full adult size 4-5". There are those fish that are exceptions to the rule but in most cases it probably means smaller coloured peacocks as being stunted.

Im afraid that peacock babies should be grey and silver as this is thier natural colouring. To give customers any other reason to doubt the purity of stock is bad. Always research parentage and species before purchasing. Encourage good breeders to bring specific species to your store.

I have previously worked in a LFS for 6 years. Its much easier to sell them by having a display tank with full adult males and something like Ad konings lexicon somewhere close by to demonstrate colouring. A well informed customer is a happy customer. Plus in some cases it encourages sales of cichlid books aswell.

A customer is more likely to purchase something from you if you are confident in everything you sell and your expertise.

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Some of the smaller peacock species are:

Aulonocara Baenschi "Nkhomo Reef"


Aulonocara Chitande "Type North" or "Mozambique" (or any other variant of Chitande)

This does not mean they will colour up any faster than the larger species of peacocks though. I guess when selling peacocks there is always the negative of being stuck with a tank of brown/grey fish. These will be a combination of females and uncoloured males. In the case of females, try to sell the fish in pairs or even trios to get rid of females as quick as you can. If you find yourself with a tank full of females you could always sell them to breeders on the classifieds section of this site.

As for uncoloured males there are many things you can do to help them colour up. The speed a fish colours up is generally contingent on water quality, quality of food, its tank mates, and genetics.

- make sure you keep up with regular water changes so that the water conditions are good

- if you feed a variety of quality foods then the fish will colour up quicker. Also include in the diet foods with contain spirulina (enhances blue) and carotein (enhances red) and other natural colour enhancers.

- make sure the peacocks are in a tank of their own or with another peaceful hap species. If you keep the peacocks in the same tank as mbuna or other agressive haps they will most likely colour up much slower than if they had a tank to themselves.

- different bloodlines of fish have different genetic characteristics. If possible try to source a bloodline of an Aulonocara species that colours up at a smaller size - this shouldnt be too hard since most breeders consider this as a sign of a "top fish"

If you want to stock fish that sell quickly, look for species that look nice and are colourful when they are 2-3cm. Some examples are:

- Electric Yellows

- Pseudotropheus Saulosi

- Melanchromis Maingano

- Nimbochromis Venustus

- Electris Blues (generally colour up faster than peacocks)

- Melanchromis Auratus, etc

These fish look great when they are small and sell quickly to first time cichlid buyers. Just remember, every fish store stocks these african cichlids for the exact reason I stated above, so if you want to differentiate yourself a bit then it may be an idea to look into getting some rarer species that may not look that crash hot when they are small but look great when they are big.

One way to sell a tank of grey/brown fish is to stick a laminated picture of an adult fish that is coloured up on the tank - this way you can show customers what the fish will look like when they are coloured up.

Hope this helped.


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In normal circumstances peacocks shouldnt colour up till they are nearly full adult size 4-5".

i got my male ngara flaimtails at about 2" and he had only a few scales with the blue colouring. now a few weeks later at the same size his half coloured so i suspect in a few months he will be fully coloured.

IMO the more females they have to show off to the faster they colour.

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We currently have a peacock, cant remember the scientific name (its at work) but they were bought from pet industries, there nickname is the nashi peacock. One of the males, is about 2 inches and is starting to show colour on the head. This is the type of thing Im after, I dont expect that they will be adult colours but I guess I should have asked for peacocks that show some colour early compared to others. Here on the Coast its hard to sell plain grey fish. There are also a heap of hybrids, that why Im on here, to try and improve things.

We have the colony for sale as a group, not sold seperately, that way if someone wants the colourful one they can take the subdominant males and the females as well. This gives them a nice colony that they can breed and does not leave us with plain grey fish (females) that wont sell. win win.

I remember on a few occasions in the past seeing colonies of peacocks "not for sale" at Riverside. The males were about 3 inches and in a group with other males and females. They were coloured beautifully. These are what I was thinking about when writing the email.

Thanks for those other names. I will look at the list to see what corresponds, as I have concentrated on Tangs during the past 12 years and Im not up to date with all the malawi names other than the common stuff.

Regards AndrewP

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They could also be underfed, runts or colourfed  and to assume their species would be very remiss of you.

I dont for a second claim to know much about the different morphs of this fish, thats why I am on here. So that my ignorance may give way to knowledge.

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Andrew, at 2" most if not all peacocks (of good quality stock) should start to have some colour already. If you have a number of them in a tank, only the most dominant male will show the most colour and the rest of the males will either show a little bit of colour or signs of their 'male-ness'. That dominant male is usually what gets sold first and then in a week or so, the sub dominant male colours up.

I do agree that is is difficult to sell drabby grey cichlids to the uninitiated, a fully coloured male display tank of all the peacocks and haps you stock will do wonders to boost sales. Also, books with great pictures are a great help to selling young cichlids... At the end of the day, selling cichlids to the uninitiated hobbyist is always going to be a hard sell out of a shop anyway..

"Errr... can I have this nice yellow fish with the neon fish?" <-- DUH??? dry.gif


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nashi peacock

I think you are refering to the nyasse peacock or Aul. nyasse which has been used prolifically to discribe ANY peacock by the australian trade for years.

There is a Aul. nyasse discribed by Konings on many occasions with great conflicting photos and sci descriptions.

Its quite common for industry to call an unknown peacock a 'nyasse'.

I probably should have elborated more in my above post about colour. A male peacock should start to colour up around 2" (jaw,head,slight flank at certain angles) but not gain full colour until they reach 4"-5".

Be wary of peacocks that are fully coloured at 2" this probably means they have been horone induced to show colour or are colourfed with chemicals un-natural to thier environment. Hormones and chemicals can lead to shorter life spans/ infertility/organ failures in fish.

A good store would not accept peacocks with unknown species types or possible evidence of hormone/chemical alterations.


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The problem is that I have taken over from another guy. There was a heap of unknowns in the tank. I talked the boss into letting me cull a heap of drab unknown species, the selection had gone down hill.

I spruced it up this week with some Gold ocies, Lamp Calliurus, Orange leleupi, Gold sexfasciatus, and one very nice 3 inch T. irsacae ie Spotted Goby. Thankyou all for the info on the peacocks. I know all about how to keep them ie in a group of females and subdominant males, but as I have never had a huge intersest in them the names are one thing I have not learnt, and as you know this can be very dangerous when trying to prevent hybridising.

More culling and importing new fish by the sound of it.!!

Regards AndrewP

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