Aulonocara Ethelwynnae (Chitande Aulonocara)

Aulonocara ethelwynnae

Last updated on August 11th, 2022 at 03:48 am

Aulonocara Ethelwynnae is one of the most popular cichlids in the freshwater aquarium hobby today. Their stunning pattern, bold colors, and reputation as being beginner fish make them extremely desirable, with many aquarists wanting to keep them in their tank at some point in their hobby careers.

The Aulonocara Ethelwynnae (Aulonocara ethelwynnae) also known as the Ethelwynnae peacock cichlid, is a species of haplochromine cichlid endemic to Lake Malawi where it occurs in the southern part of the lake. Like others in its genus, this species has a peacock color pattern, with light blue and black vertical bars and orange blotches on its flanks.

The Aulonocara Ethelwynnae (Ethelwynnae peacock cichlid) is a member of the Cichlidae family and was first discovered in the Lake Malawi region of Africa in 2003.

But how exactly do you care for these fish? What requirements do they have? How can you keep your Ethelwynnae peacock cichlid happy and healthy?

Peacock Cichlids (Aulonocara Ethelwynnae) Description

Aulonocara ethelwynnae

Peacock Cichlids are a colorful and charismatic species of freshwater fish native to Lake Malawi in East Africa. While Cichlids are typically small, peacocks can grow up to eight inches long as adults. They’re very active swimmers, and they’re easily identified by their vibrant colors and large tail fins which they display when feeling threatened or excited.

Although relatively inexpensive, these fish may be difficult for hobbyists to care for since they require a fairly specific set of environmental conditions — they prefer acidic water with lots of hiding places and frequently feed on live food. Overfeeding is especially dangerous because it can lead to fin-rot and swim bladder problems that ultimately cause death.

For these reasons, inexperienced aquarists should carefully research how best to care for them before bringing one home. On that note, hobbyists who enjoy keeping angelfish report that Peacocks make fantastic companions due to their peaceful demeanor. As fry, they spend much of their time hanging out near plants; once they mature, however, they tend to explore more freely around an aquarium.

Origin and description

They originated from Lake Malawi, Africa. The Aulonocara ethelwynnae is known for its magnificent scales. Brightly colored in yellow and red-orange, these scales are what gives it its unique design and name. The scientific name comes from a mix of Greek words: aule, meaning tail, and noko, meaning cheek. This refers to how large and prominent their caudal fins are.

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The maximum length for a female is about 6 inches, while males are typically shorter. They can be kept in tanks no smaller than 30 gallons, as they require a lot of space. This species is considered one of the easiest and hardiest freshwater aquarium fish to keep alive. It does not require a lot of attention or maintenance and thrives in any community tank environment with regular feedings of live or frozen foods.

Species profile

Aulonocara ethelwynnae

Aulonocara ethelwynnae is a peaceful, unassuming aquarium fish that should not be overlooked by aquarium enthusiasts. Native to Lake Malawi, these colorful fish are highly sought after in aquaculture due to their ease of breeding and striking coloring.

However, wild-caught specimens are available at an increased cost and may potentially contain harmful parasites. Therefore, purchasing captive-bred Aulonocara ethelwynnae is a suitable alternative for some aquarists with limited resources or space.

The ethelwynnae species was named after British zoologist Ethelwynn Trewavas in honor of her work on African cichlids during her time as curator at London Zoo’s aquarium in 1930. It has been said that she cared deeply about animal welfare, particularly concerning captive animals kept for entertainment; Trewavas could sometimes even be found outside of her office caring for injured aquatic creatures herself.

Common name

Ethelwynnae Cichlid, Peacock Cichlid, Peacock Herring.

Family: Mbunas

Where do they live (Habitat)?

A native of Lake Malawi, which borders Tanzania and Mozambique, they live in rocky habitats. The Aulonocara ethelwynnae lives in clear water at depths between 16 to 32 feet deep. They are bottom dwellers that usually stay together in large schools numbering more than 50 fish in each school.

What size are they?

The size of an adult varies by gender. In most cases, males are larger than females, but not always. Both genders reach lengths up to 13 inches (33 cm), but males are typically more robust in body and can grow to be as long as 16 inches (41 cm). Females tend to stay smaller and retain a sleek appearance even when large.

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Tank size

The recommended minimum tank size is 180 liters [50 gallons] minimum, we recommend 300 liters [~79 gallons] for a pair or trio. This fish is slow-growing and can live up to 20 years in captivity, so give them as large a tank as you can.

Tank setup

Aulonocara ethelwynnae

The tank should be a minimum of 75 gallons but preferably 150 gallons or more. If a 150 gallon tank is not an option, at least use multiple tanks with Aulonocara Ethelwynnae (Ethelwynnae peacock cichlid). Each fish requires at least 30 gallons so you need to ensure that there are plenty of hiding places and deep areas in which these fish can swim.

It’s worth noting that these fishes are extremely social, so it is best to keep them in a community tank. The pH range for Aulonocara Ethelwynnae should be anywhere from 6.0 to 8.0. The temperature range should be 77 to 82 degrees. The tank should also be decorated with a variety of hiding places as well as open areas so that there is plenty of room for swimming.

It’s important to include plants in your aquarium because they will provide oxygen and other benefits. A few large rocks, driftwood pieces, and dense plantings are ideal for creating areas where Aulonocara Ethelwynnae can easily hide from predators or simply feel secure when resting.

Tank mates

Aulonocara Ethelwynnae makes an ideal addition to both large and small community aquariums. Keep them with other large and small peaceful fish. They may nip at very slow-moving fish that are short-lived or have weak immune systems like some of the Mbuna species from Lake Malawi.

They can be kept with a variety of other larger bottom-dwelling non-aggressive species such as Synodontis catfish, algae eaters, African Cichlids, and most killifish varieties.


The breeding of this fish is a  bit different from most other species of Cichlids in that they are not open-brooders. Aulonocara ethelwynnae are cave spawners, and their breeding caves must be drilled by hand. Breeding temperatures should be from around 26 to 28 degrees Celsius. These fish breed true in captivity, meaning one male can breed many females at once.

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They will spawn every two weeks if conditions are good, but it can take between 3 and 8 months for a pair to become pregnant! During pregnancy they will eat even more food than usual, so care must be taken to ensure that they get proper nutrition during brooding. The fry hatch after approximately 2 or 3 days.

The fries are then moved into another aquarium until they have grown big enough to fend for themselves, although they might not be removed entirely until after 1 year has passed. While still young, like all cichlids, juveniles do best when fed small meals several times per day rather than large amounts infrequently.

Are they aggressive or peaceful?

Aulonocara are considered to be peaceful, but they still have their territorial side. While they may not try to eat your other fish or small tankmates, you do want to avoid putting them in a mixed community tank. Additionally, Aulonocara are slow-moving fish that swim at an average speed of two miles per hour. If you’re looking for fast swimmers or lively shoaling fish, then these aren’t for you!

Aulonocara ethelwynnae care

Aulonocara ethelwynnae

What they eat

Aulonocara ethelwynnae enjoys Aufwuchs or benthic algae, Diatoms, Rotifers, and Copepods. They will also eat small snails, insect larvae, and fish fry. They prefer vegetarian foods. If you notice your Aulonocara getting aggressive towards their tank mates, make sure they are getting enough food by adding either more live plants in your tank or adding more food such as flake food.

Water condition

Aulonocara ethelwynnae water should be kept at a temperature between 74 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit, with a pH balance of 7.8 to 8.0. They grow to about 5 inches long and are easy to breed in home aquariums with live plants, leaf litter, and rocks or caves for them to hide in.

This fish species prefer subdued lighting and moderately acidic water that is kept around 75 degrees Fahrenheit. While they don’t require a lot of territories, Aulonocara are not shy about their space and will not appreciate being crowded into a small tank by other aggressive species.

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With proper care, Aulonocara Ethelwynnae can live as long as twenty years. They are non-territorial and should be kept in a tank of at least thirty gallons.

Parasites and diseases

External and internal parasite infestations are fairly common in Lake Malawi, including protozoan parasites like ich, trematodes, nematodes, and fungi. Some of these infestations can be treated by medication or dietary changes. In general, it is best to avoid getting fish with parasites in them as infections can spread quickly to a tank and may prove fatal for other inhabitants.


As with many large fish, piscivorous fish and birds are predators of Aulonocara ethelwynnae juveniles and adults alike. Frogs, snakes, and mammalian carnivores are also known to prey on these peacock cichlids. In some areas, they are hunted by humans as food or bait for larger fishing game such as tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus), Nile perch (Lates niloticus), mormyrids, and catfish

Do they make good pets?

Yes! The Aulonocara ethelwynnae is a fantastic fish for anyone looking to add a new member to their aquarium. They are easygoing and great at getting along with other tank mates of similar sizes. The Ethelwynne Peacock Cichlid should be kept in groups of three or more, but they can also get along in smaller groups if they have enough room. When placed together, they will often form a distinct dominance hierarchy that’s based on size and age.