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A Cichlids Article on: Peacock Cichlid
There are at least 10 different species of peacock cichlids that are available in a variety of colors and combinations of colors. The most common colors are red, orange, blue, black, white, gray, and yellow. They have long bodies that are decorated with vertical strips and have faces and cheeks that are a different color that their body.
Peacock cichlids only reach around 4 to 6 inches at maturity and can thrive in an aquarium that is 50 gallons in size. However, this will depend on how many peacocks you have and how many other fish are going to be living in the tank as well.
The ideal tank setup is one that includes lots of rocks and caves at the sides and back of the aquarium. They need pH levels of between 7.5 and 9.0, a substrate of coral sand will help to keep the alkaline in the water elevated. Moreover, the water temperature should range from 75 to 80 degrees.
Being omnivorous, peacock cichlids will thrive on a variety of foods. Cichlid pellets and flakes are excellent choices, but there should be some live and frozen foods to provide protein. Brine shrimp, bloodworms, snails, Tubifex, and mosquito larvae can be fed at least a couple of times each week.
When young sexing is difficult, as they mature, the male will display brighter colors and at sexual maturity, he will have egg spots on his anal fins. The females are usually silvery or a brownish gray and their colors are not near as vibrant as the male.
Peacock cichlids are ovophile mouth brooders; this simply means that the entire process, fertilization, incubation and the hatching of the eggs all occurs in the female's mouth. The male will choose a location in the substrate and dig a pit; the female will come behind him and lay the eggs inside the pit.
After all of the eggs have been deposited into the pit, she will scoop them all up into her mouth. The female is tricked by the egg spots on the male's anal fin; she thinks they are eggs that she did not pick up. As she follows behind him picking at the egg spots it triggers the release of sperm and fertilizes the eggs in her mouth.
The female peacock cichlid has a pouch in her throat that incubates around 50 eggs for three weeks. She will become very weak during this time, as she will not eat anything. In addition, if possible, it is best to separate her into another tank. Once hatched, the young fry will remain close to their mother's mouth for a while so they can retreat at any sign of danger.
When newly hatched, the fry will feed off the yolk sacs. But, once the female releases them from her mouth, they will need to be fed. They can be given newly hatched brine shrimp, or a real fine flake food. A good quality flake food can be crushed really fine to provide food for the fry.
If you are going to separate the female, the tank should be prepared within at least two weeks after breeding. And, she should be removed within around four days after the fry has hatched. If she is left in the tank too long, she may eat the babies. Before placing her back into the original aquarium, make sure that she is well fed. If the breeding process starts all over, the female can literally starve to death.
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