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Scientific Name: Melanochromis auratus
Origin: Lake Malawi, Africa
- Care Level: Moderate
- Temperament: Aggressive
- Lifespan: 5 years
- Water Conditions: 73.0 to 79.0° F, pH 7.7-8.6
- Maximum Size: 4.3"
- Diet: Omnivore
- Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons
Auratus cichlids are a dimorphic species. The females (and juveniles) are yellow bodied with black and white striping, while the male is the opposite--black with white and yellow stripes. Sometimes, if they are kept in an entirely female group, the dominant female may even change to a male coloration without changing sex.
They should be housed in a tank with plenty of hiding places and ample swimming space. Males are not suitable to be housed with more peaceful tank mates unless they are too large for this cichlid to harass, as they are an incredibly aggressive and territorial Mbuna species. Females, however, are much more moderately tempered and can be housed together and with other cichlids, or in a group with one male.
They are an omnivore and will readily eat a wide variety of live, frozen, pellet and flake foods.