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Melanochromis Auratus

Discussion in 'Cichlids - African' started by MEePStER, Apr 1, 2007.

  1. MEePStER

    MEePStER Member

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    Location:
    canada
    Name:
    Melanochromis Auratus

    Family:
    Cichlidae

    Requirements:
    A PH or 7.5 to 8.5 is needed, temperature 72-79F (22-26C), water hardness should be medium hard to hard, max size for these fish are 4 to 5 inches, minimum tank size 40 gallons due to males aggression.

    Distribution:
    Africa, The southwestern shore of lake Malawi

    General Body Form:
    The M. Auratus has a general elongated appearance. The profile of the dorsal area is more curved in than the belly area. The anal and dorsal fins end in a round shape. They do not reach the tail area. The caudal fin is somewhat triangular in shape with a concave end. Females are smaller than males.

    Coloration:
    The Auratus have two distinct coloration patterns differentiating the sexes. The females body is a golden yellow. She has a series of three Black to brown stripes running lengthwise down the body. These are fringed by White strips. The bands are separated with the Golden color of the body. The fins are also yellow in color. The upper part of the tail fin and the dorsal fin have black markings on them, with the tips being highlighted in Red. The male is completely different in color. His body is Black to brown in color. He has a Yellow stripe edged in white running the length of his body. The males fins are very dark Brown fringed in White. The top of his body is a mustard color which is followed up through the dorsal fin. The upper part of his tail fin has pale yellow spot. Looking at these fish you would not think that they are the same species. Another interesting aspect of the auratus is its ability to change sexes, in an environment devoid of males a female will switch sexes and become male. It has also been stated that the same is true of the males.

    Maintenance:
    Melanochromis auratus is an aggressive fish and intolerant of others in its territory. The set up should be a typical Lake Malawi biotope. Provide plenty of rockwork and caves with hard alkaline water with a pH of at least 7.5. The bottom substrate should be of a material that will aid in the pH buffering capabilities of the water. Good substrate choices could be crushed coral to aid in buffering the water. Tankmates should be from the same area and be able to fend off their attentions. Feeding is not difficult as they will accept all types of flake, frozen, or live. In their home territory they would graze of the algae covered rocks, so it is important to supplement with food containing spirulina and this should be given regularly.

    Biotope:
    The rubble and rocky area of lake Malawi.

    Breeding:
    Not really difficult, they are a typical African mouth-brooder incubating the eggs and protecting their fry in special sacs in the mouth. They are excellent and protective parents and have been known to raise young in crowded community set ups. During this brooding the female will not eat. The young fish will leave the mothers mouth after about twenty five days and be about 1/3 of an inch in length. They will accept all types of food and can grow quickly.

    MOD EDIT: M.Auratus is one of the most aggressive Mbuna species - In most cases they will dominate a tank even with other aggressive Mbuna species as tankmates. This should be taken into account when considering keeping this species.

    auratus_lg.jpg
    melanochromis auratus, mature male on top and female on the bottom

     
  2. Ace Of Spades

    Ace Of Spades Member

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    I dont know If im allowed to comment but heres my experience with this fish:

    Firstly I got three males as I thought they were Johanni, but after getting them I realised they were Auratus. Putting them in my tank, for the first week they were mainly shy, skittish and getting bullied by my AFRA. But when I moved the tank downstairs and changed the territorys arround a bit, this fishes agression levels went off the chart. One has one side of his tank as his whole territory, another the second half of the tank and the third is huddled next to the filter pump in fear of his life. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE AGRESSION OF THIS CICHLID as I did......IMO they should only be kept in species tank, they ruin mbuna tank imo...

    There is my 2 Cent :p

    Many Thanks
    Ace Of Spades
     
  3. Soaup

    Soaup Member

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    I agree completely. I have had sucess with them in species tanks, with a 1/2 m/f ratio. Otherwise i would not recomend these fish to anyone! I had a female for several years she was part of the first group of cichlids i bought way back in the day, and she ran my tank. Must have killed 20+ fish in her life as well. Beautiful fish! But dont be fooled.
     

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