Malawi Peacocks and Haps
to buy Malawi Peacock
to buy Malawi
This page discusses some of the Peacocks
and Haps in our facility.
video shows a mature male Electric
Blue Hap. that's about 5" long and
in full color.
is a bright metallic blue male
Electric Blue Hap that's doing his
best to attract the attention of
a small gray Electric Blue female,
that already has a mouthful of eggs.
video shows a nice 6" long Freshwater
Blue Dolphin that's hovering near
a pile of rocks. The scientific
name of this fish is Cyrtocara moorii,
which is closely related to Haplochromis.
and Peacock Cichlids discussed on this page
are a large group of cichlid fish that live
in Lake Malawi in East Africa. Most of these
fish are silver or gray when small, and the
males become very brightly colored as they mature.
picture shows a mature male
Malawi Peacock, Aulonocara njassae,
about 5" long. When this picture
was taken in our facility, he had
just started showing his bright
About this Malawi Peacock.
In the 1970s we imported wild fish from Lake
Malawi in east Africa. A typical shipment had
about 750 fish, and almost all of the them were
It was a long trip from Lake Malawi to our facility,
and the fish needed to rest and eat and acclimate
in our aquariums, before we shipped them on to our customers.
shipment might have two or three fish that were
weak and needed extra time to rejuvenated, before
we shipped them on to one of our customers.
The male Malawi Peacock Cichlid shown in the
picture just above was an example of a fish that
was weak and needed special care.
I took him out of one of the boxes of a shipment
of fish from Lake Malawi. He
was very thin with almost no color, mostly gray
with just a hint of metallic blue, and he was
nipped on the ends of his fins.
We put him in his own 10-gallon aquarium, but
he wouldn't eat and just stayed behind a filter
and looked like he just wasn't going to recover.
After a few days he started to eat a little
bit of food, but he still looked weak. Then
little by little he gained strength.
I'd walk around the facility to feed the fish, and he'd be waiting at the top front of his aquarium to gobble up his meals. I'd often work until late at night, and just before I'd
leave to go home, I'd go have a look at him,
be there at the front of his aquarium
waiting for a snack.
He started to fill
out and gain some color, and maybe six months later
he was huge and had the best color that I've ever
seen in a large freshwater fish. I was learning
a little bit about how to photograph fish, and
he was my favorite subject. He'd see me and
brighten up and spread his fins and pose for
his picture. His pictures appeared in several
of our ads in TFH and FAMA magazines, and
his picture always brought the biggest response.
He was our star.
He lived with a
group of about 12 to 15 females and produced
thousands of fry that we raised up to about
2" and shipped all over the world. He lived
to a ripe old age. But I wouldn't have guessed
that he could have done so much, when I lifted him
out of the box of fish shipped to us from Lake
and thinking about this wonderful fish and many
other fish too, it seems to me that whenever
I gave any fish some extra tender care, it usually
grew and brighten and flourished.
I guess I'd generalize and say it's not so much
which fish you have, but what you do with the
fish you have.
A mature male Strawberry Peacock, whose ancestors, like all the Peacocks, lived in Lake Malawi in East Africa.
But they are not as aggressive as the Mbunas
that live on the rocks. Most of the Peacocks
and Haps live away from the rocks and the overly
aggressive Mbunas. So we recommend you not keep
them in the same aquarium with the Mbunas. Keep
Peacocks and Haps together in an aquarium of their own with
a few Synodontis catfish.
It is a common mistake to try to keep a small
group of just a few cichlids. The secret to
minimizing their aggressiveness is to keep a
group with at least 15. When these fish are
young and smaller than 2" long, a 30-gallon
aquarium is big enough to keep 15 of them.
The Appropriate Aquarium
when they've grown to be 4" long, they will
need at least a 60-gallon aquarium. You should
keep this in mind when deciding to get them.
Soon they will need a 60-gallon aquarium. We
recommend an aquarium with at least 75-gallons
of water. In a couple of years they'll be 6"
and need at least 90-gallons, and eventually even
a bigger aquarium. These are warm water fish,
so their aquarium should have the proper size
aquarium heater, and the water should be maintained
at 78 to 80-degrees F. Click
here for more about aquarium heaters.
Peacocks and Haps must not be kept in an aquarium
with a thick layer of gravel. It is very difficult
to keep these fish healthy in an aquarium with
an undergravel filter. It helps to regularly
clean the gravel with a gravel washer. It may
also help to have reverse flow power heads.
But by far the best answer is to have no gravel
or at most 1/4" of gravel. Click
here for more about aquarium gravel.
The best filters for most fish, including Peacocks
and Haps, are the Penguin and the Emperor. Both
of these filters are made by Marineland, and
each of these filters contains at least one
BIO-Wheel. A very good combination is
a 75-gallon aquarium with two Penguin or two
Emperor Filters. Click
here for more about aquarium filters.
for Peacocks and Haps should contain at least
60-gallons of water with two Penguin or Emperor
filters, and have the correct size aquarium
heater, and 1/4" or less of gravel.
watched this beautiful 5" Cyrtocara
moorii swimming among a pile of
rocks in a huge aquarium. I'd seen
many Blue Dolphins before, but I'd
never seen one with such bright
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What to Feed?
Peacocks and Haps are small, say less than 2.5
inches, feed them floating Tropical Fish food
that is sold in most stores that sell pet fish.
If you read the ingredients, you'll see this
food has a nice combination of plants and animal
foods such a shrimp meal, etc.
food until they're satisfied, but
be sure their is no uneaten food left in the
aquarium. After 10 minutes, remove any uneaten
food with a net.
When your fish grow larger, feed them floating
pellet food. Hikari make floating pellet food
for cichlids. These pellets are sold in most
stores that sell pet fish.
Do not feed Haps or Peacocks worms or prepared
beef heart. Click
here for more about feeding fish.
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here for an aquarium maintenance schedule
with the daily, weekly, and monthly tasks that
must be done to keep your aquarium clean and
to minimize the stress and disease in your aquarium.
fish are mouth brooders. The male establishes
a territory and chases the other males away.
Sometimes he'll dig a depression in the gravel.
His colors brighten to attract females who swim
into his territory. They court with him, and
sometimes spawn with him. The females then brood
the eggs in their mouths for about 21 days until
the eggs hatch. Click
here for more information about breeding
mouth brooding African Cichlids.
picture shows a male Malawi
and a female, who is barely visible
to the lower left. They were circling
each other and spawning at the time
this photograph was taken.
Link to another Website
hereto got to The
Cichlid Fishes of Lake Malawi, Africa. which is
large and wonderful website that
contains mostly information about Malawi Cichlids in the wild, that is,
in Lake Malawi!
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