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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New to the hobby. I am creating a mixed African Cichlid Tank. Nobody seems to be able to explain to me with any certainty the difference between Haps and Peacocks. Are there any identifying traits that I can look for to make that determination?

Thanks
 

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For the most part (generally speaking) peacocks are gonna have the same size/shape and vary only on color and behavior. Anything that's labeled "Auloncara" is considered a peacock

Haps come in a variety of shapes/sizes/behaviors. Really, from my understanding anything not labeled mbuna or auloncara is considered a hap. Haps are the "rest" of lake malawi species and like I said have all kinds of different shapes/sizes/behaviors

Hope that helps
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks. I hope over time I will be able to determine if one is a hap or a peacock without being told what it is.
 

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From the Cichlid-forum Library:

The Peacocks of Lake Malawi consist only of those fishes from the genus Aulonocara. Members of this genus are characterized by a remarkably enlarged lateral line system. The lateral line, or lateralis, is a line of perforated scales along the flanks of a fish which lead to a pressure-sensitive nervous system. Specialized cells within the lateralis, called neuromasts, enable a fish to detect vibrations and electrical impulses in the surrounding water. The lateralis is thus essential in allowing a fish to detect potential predators as well as prey (Loiselle 1985). Peacocks are particularly pressure sensitive due to an enlargement of the facial pores and an extension of the lateral line onto the jaw. The squamation across the bones of the face is left nearly devoid of scales, making this extension and enlargement of the cephalic lateralis clearly visible as pits and grooves (Konings 2001). "These characteristic openings are easy to recognize if one observes Aulonocara spp. outside the water in slanted light." (Spreinat 1995). The pores on the suborbital bones of the head are so dramatically enlarged they resemble the holes of a flute. In fact, when Regan erected the genus Aulonocara in 1921, he chose this name based upon this fascinating and unique characteristic. Aulonocara is derived from the Greek aulos, which means "pipe" and kara, meaning "head" (Eccles 1989).
Living in deep and dark water, the Peacocks have developed and rely on their enhanced lateralis sense to hunt for food. Aulonocara are benthic insectivores and are therefore almost always found along the sandy bottom of the lake.
 

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forkman said:
New to the hobby....
...Are there any identifying traits that I can look for to make that determination?
I'm no authority on the subject, but in my opinion, you will want to educate yourself on the different types of species, then hone in on what you may or may not want based on your individual preferences. Doing this ensures you have a species(s) that you actually want, not something that someone else suggested was a good idea.

As to the topic question, it would be easier to spend a day or two reading about different haps and peacocks than to try to explain what those differences are. It's almost like the movie The Matrix, where some could see the agents in code and others could not. After a couple of days of some pretty basic research, you will be able to tell the difference between the two at first sight. :thumb:
 

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forkman said:
Thanks for nothing
Allow me to fix your post. :D

If you stuck a fork to my nose in a dark alley and forced me to tell you what I think the differences are, I would say that peacocks are generally shaped like large pumpkin seeds, while haps lack the the hump on top and curvature on the bottom. But that is not true in every instance so take it for what its worth; not much. I'm just grasping for straws here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So what I am hearing from most people lead me to believe that it might be difficult to walk up to a tank and say "that is a peacock" , or " that is a hap" at least for the novice like myself.
 

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For a novice maybe. There are experts in the hobby which can even tell the females of different species apart. Something that I am just not able to see.

All peacocks are in the genus Aulonocara. They have a similar body shape to some Haps. (But not all) They have a generally darker gray color (when not colored up males) than most Haps, (but not all). They have several (usually 6 or more) vertical dark gray bars which is different from many Haps (but not all).

Some are really easy to tell apart. Like any Peacock compared to a Livingstoni. Others are harder like S. fryeri which shares many Peacock characteristics but is a Hap. Spending some time looking through the gallery on this site will do more to help you identify what characteristics are more common to Peacocks than Haps than anyone can explain.

And don't forget that Haps is a big group and there are subgroups within that. Like the large predatory haps N. livingstoni, H. fuscotaeniatus, and N. venustus. compared to the smaller plankton feeding midwater Utakas like C. chrysonotus or C. stevensi. Some of these groups can look a lot like Peacocks and others are unmistakedly different.

Andy
 
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