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Aulonocara jacobfreibergi
by Marc Elieson

Aulonocara jacobfreibergi is appropriately nicknamed the "African Butterfly Peacock." There are several variants of this popular Aulonocara species in the hobby, including Eureka, Aulonocara jacobfreibergi ''Mamela'' maleMamela, Otter Point, Hongi Island, Cape Kaiser, Lemon Jake, and several others. These should NOT be housed together as they will readily cross-breed. Only one geographical race should be kept in the same aquarium.

Males of this spectacular species differ from most other Peacocks in their broad, iridescent white dorsal and caudal fin margins. Females, on the other hand, can easily be confused with other Aulonocara females, being grayish-brown in color with vertical banding on the body and having rounded anal and dorsal fins. A. jacobfreibergi is further distinguished from other Peacocks by its large size, attaining lengths of up to 8 or 9 inches, but often attains sexual maturity at half that size. Another distinguishing characteristic of the Butterfly Peacock is its moderate to deeply forked tail fin, which gives it the appearance of a swallow's tail.

Aulonocara jacobfreibergi ''Otter Point'' maleA. jacobfreibergi differs from other Aulonocara species in its temperment. Instead of being overtly peaceful, this fish tends toward being more belicose at times, fighting off any invaders in their territory. Furthermore, whereas most Peacocks hug the substrate of the open, sandy areas of the lake, A. jacobfreibergi is seldom observed by divers, unless they know right where to look. That's because this Cichlid spends most of its time living inside, or close to large dark caves.

Aulonocara are specialised zooplankton feeders, feeding on insect larvae and crustaceans in the wild. They therefore require a higher protein diet than you would ever dream of giving to Mbuna. I recommend feeding these fish the European Shrimp Mix, which is cheaper than commercially prepared fish foods and just as nutritious. This is great, as it furnishes them with the vitamins they need to keep their colors bright and vibrant. A. jacobfreibergi should be kept in tanks no smaller than 55 gallons, with 75 gallons and up being preferred.

 

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