Purple Peacock Cichlid Care Guide And Species Profile

purple peacock cichlid

Last updated on August 17th, 2022 at 07:00 pm

Purple peacock cichlid is one of the most popular species in the hobby today. However, they’re also one of the most aggressive cichlids available, and their care requirements are more specific than many other cichlid species.

The Purple Peacock Cichlid is one such species that can be really interesting to keep as a pet, but requires special care and attention if you want it to thrive in your aquarium.

Since they are such a beautiful and unique species, they are one of the most popular choices among aquarists. They’re easy to take care of, as long as you keep their environment clean and stable and give them plenty of places to hide in your tank.

This article covers everything you need to know about caring for purple peacock cichlids in your aquarium, including feeding and diet, tank mates, and more. If you own purple peacock cichlids or want to start a tank with them, this article will answer all your questions!

What is a purple peacock cichlid?

The Purple Peacock cichlid (Aulonocara stuartgranti) is a species of haplochromine cichlid that is endemic to Lake Malawi and belongs to the Astatotilapia genus. It is also known as The Malawi Golden Peacock, Stuart Grant’s Golden Peacock, and/or The Tanzanian Peacock Haplochromis.

This fish comes from demersal waters with sandy substrates where it feeds on benthic invertebrates. They are protogynous hermaphrodites (females become males). Males grow faster than females due to differences in metabolism between the sexes at all developmental stages such as reproduction.

Origin and description

purple peacock cichlid

The Purple Peacock Cichlid is one of the several species of peacocks in Lake Malawi, and is endemic to it. Like all cichlids, they are part of a large family known as Labroidei that includes wrasses, parrotfish, and even some surfperch.

In their case, they belong to genus Aulonocara which is widely considered to be one of Africa’s most diverse fish families. There are dozens of species groups within Aulonocara, including familiar names like Penguin Cichlids (Mixed Hap and Striped Nkhomo), Lake Tanganyika Cichlids (Cynodon Bicirrhosus), Severum Cichlids (Heros Severum), and many more within them.

Species profile

purple peacock cichlid

The Purple Peacock Cichlid is a large cichlid that originates from Lake Malawi in Africa. It is identified by its brilliant purple-blue-violet color and its yellow-tipped tail, which both males and females possess. This species reaches between 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 cm) in length in adulthood and generally lives between 6 to 10 years.

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A naturally aggressive fish that requires well-kept conditions to thrive, purple peacocks are relatively easy to care for, provided their environmental needs are met. This is a detailed guide on how to take care of them so you can avoid common problems and create an environment perfect for your fish.

Habitat and distribution

Purple peacocks are naturally found in Lake Malawi and feed on live fish or insects. They are not aggressive towards other fish in your tank but will become aggressive towards their own kind as they grow older. The species is native to Lake Malawi and is one of a handful of cichlids that do well in freshwater aquariums.

Due to its natural habitat, it prefers a hard, alkaline environment with plenty of room to swim. They tend to be shy when young, which makes them harder to spot in an aquarium, making them best suited for larger tanks. However, they tend to congregate in groups around islands or rocks near the surface where they can jump out at passing prey from below.

Purple peacock cichlids size and weight

The Purple Peacock is a species of cichlid that reaches about 8 to 20cm in length. Males are larger than females. Because of their smaller size and non-aggressive temperament, you can easily keep multiple Purple Peacocks in one tank.

Purple peacock cichlids tank size

A small group can be kept in an aquarium as small as 20 gallons, while a pair will need at least 50 to breed. A larger tank of at least 75 gallons is required for a community of six or more, but 100 gallons would be ideal. This is especially true for males; females are generally docile and rarely cause problems in smaller tanks.

Tank set up

The natural habitat of cichlids tends to vary a bit, though most cichlids are found in African rivers. Set up your tank for a freshwater environment with lots of rocks and plants, but keep an open space in the middle. If you use rocks to create caves, you may want to make sure they aren’t going to fall over and crush your fish if they bump into them during playtime.

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To help maintain water quality and provide some minerals, feed your fish aquatic invertebrates like bloodworms, brine shrimp, or daphnia; these snacks will also provide some healthy fats that your pet can use as energy. Most cichlids tend to be very active swimmers who spend their time digging through substrates (the ground material at the bottom of the tank) or hunting prey that might swim by.

Purple peacock cichlids tank mates

Purple peacocks are a very aggressive cichlid species and need to be kept with fish that can stand up to their aggression. This makes them a poor choice for many community tanks as they do best when housed alone or in pairs. Some good tank mates for peacocks include convicts, angels, jaguars, firemouths, discus, and rainbowfish.

Purple peacock cichlids breeding

purple peacock cichlid

Purple Peacocks are some of the easiest fish to breed. They can be bred as pairs or groups. The male will build a large bubble nest in their territory and display his colorful fins during courtship. Males may also defend their territory from other males by showing off their fins and performing tail-wagging displays, which look like they are trying to break a branch off of something.

In reality, though, peacocks are just faking it because their species does not actually have spines on its back. The female chooses her mate based on color and will lay between 30 to 100 eggs (depending on species) onto whatever substrate is present. After fertilization, she guards them for about a week before she abandons them to hatch naturally.

The offspring will stay with their mother for about three weeks until they lose all of their yolk sacs; at that point, they must fend for themselves. Because she has already spawned once, however, she will stop eating while they are still small enough to live within her mouth cavity so that they can survive. After three weeks of care within their mother’s mouth, they should be fully formed enough to eat normally.

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Are they aggressive or peaceful?

Most cichlids are aggressive towards others of their own species and other fish that aren’t cichlids. They’re also territorial and don’t usually like being kept with a lot of fish, which makes it tricky to mix them into an aquarium community.

The purple peacock cichlids are some of the most peaceful in their family, but they still have their limits: If a fight for territory breaks out between peacocks, expect big-time destruction.

Purple peacock cichlid care

purple peacock cichlid

The purple peacock cichlid is an easy-to-care-for African cichlid that’s great for new hobbyists. With its stunning coloration and peaceful nature, it can make a nice addition to any aquarium community.

They should be kept in large aquariums with plenty of open swimming rooms and ample hiding places. Although they’re not aggressive toward many other fish, they will often chase them around if there are too many fish in too small of an aquarium. Plants also help maintain clean water as well as giving the fish a place to hide from larger species.

As for substrate, gravel works best, as long as you vacuum regularly to prevent clouds from developing on top due to decomposing food; sand isn’t recommended because digging causes problems with fluctuating water quality that regular vacuuming doesn’t address properly.

What they eat

In nature, purple peacock cichlids are omnivores. This means they eat both plants and animals. In captivity, feed your peacocks a pellet food with a high protein content to mimic their natural diet.

They will also readily accept frozen foods like bloodworms, brine shrimp, and Mysis shrimp, as well as live foods such as daphnia and brine shrimp nauplii, tubifex worms, beef heart, and so on.

Water parameters

The purple peacock cichlid (Aulonocara stuartgranti) likes water conditions that are typical for Lake Malawi, with a pH level of 8.0 to 8.4 and a temperature range of 22 to 28 degrees Celsius (72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit). A PH of up to 8.6 is acceptable but higher levels will harm your fish, especially if exposed to them for long periods of time without raising them up in terms of PH.

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Temperatures below 21 or above 28 degrees should be avoided at all costs since they can seriously harm your fish and may even kill it instantly. Most hobbyists who keep these animals usually aim for 25 to 26 degrees C, which may require additional heating equipment.

Always make sure you test your water before buying these fishes to avoid any unpleasant surprises when you get home!

Purple peacock cichlids lifespan

The purple peacock cichlid is an extremely long-lived fish. In captivity, it can live for 10 years or more!

Parasites and diseases

Purple peacocks are susceptible to a wide variety of diseases, including both bacterial and fungal infections such as ich and fin rot disease. They’re very sensitive to poor water quality, which leads to poor health and susceptibility to illness. Use a quarantine tank when introducing new fish, and be sure you have good filtration in your aquarium.


Some common predators are Brown Hap (Heros efasciatus), Sultan Snakehead (Channa micropeltes), Larger Spotfin Mojarra (Anodus orinocensis), and Major Mudminnow. The Purple Peacock is often mistaken for a Columbian Sharp-tail Cichlid which belongs to another genus entirely.

It should not be housed with other cichlids from different genus due to its similar nature of being highly territorial and a fin nipper.

Do they make good pets?

While peacocks are challenging to care for, they can make great pets. If you’re prepared to put in a lot of time and effort, you may be able to give them a good home. While there is no bad fish when it comes to keeping them as pets, there are some species that are better at adapting to new surroundings than others. The Purple Peacock is one of these varieties.