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OB Peacocks
by Brett Harrington (Fogelhund)

OB Peacocks are a man made cross bred species, not a naturally occurring fish at all. The name "OB" is used to describe the varying black "blotches" that occur in many cichlid species. The originally discovered "OB"'s were "orange blotched", orange as you would expect, but the name has stuck and is used to describe all "blotched" fish, including those that are more pink/white, than orange. You will see quite a variety of colours on these fish, including varying degrees of blues, reds and yellows, as well as the pinkish/white background, and the dark blotches.

The exact lineage of OB Peacocks is unknown, but a number of fish have been hypothesized to be used in these breedings. It seems likely that a species of Aulonocara was used and possibly a Haplochromine from Lake Malawi such as Scienochromis fryeri. To obtain the "blotched" genetics, another group of fish would have been utilized, as the OB trait does not occur naturally in Lake Malawi Aulonocara or the Lake Malawi Haplochromis group. Many people have hypothesized that it could be an OB mbuna from Lake Malawi, and that certainly is possible, but so is one of the Lake Victorian basin Haplochromines such as Paralabidochromis chromogynos. It should be noted that while some fish sources call this fish Aulonocara OB, it is most certainly not an Aulonocara, and should be called OB Peacock, given its hybrid origins.

Given that this species has been derived from a number of hybrids, it is no surprise that we see a great deal of variability in behaviour. We have seen some specimens who are quite aggressive, and on average they are best be kept in tanks with more aggressive fish, such as mbuna, or larger more aggressive Haplochromines. Many people keep them in all male Peacock tanks and quite often they do well there. It should be expected that they will be near the top of the dominance pyramid, if not at the top.

If you plan on breeding these fish, at least three females are recommended for each male. They are maternal mouthbreeders, meaning the female holds the eggs in her mouth until the babies are developed enough to swim on their own. (Typically about 21-23 days, though they can hold the babies for another few weeks after this point)

It is best to keep this fish in at least a four foot long aquarium, of 55 gallons or more. Temperatures maintained should be 76F-80F and with a pH of 7.0 or higher. Water stability is important in keeping most cichlids, so good filtration, and regular water changes are key to maintaining the health of your fish . OB Peacocks should be fed high quality pellets or flake food, typically used for African cichlids. While "treats" are not necessary, mysis shrimp would be a good frozen food, while moderate amounts of brine shrimp are ok too. As always, avoid mammalian animal products like beef heart and liver.

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