Aquarium fish: Melanochromis auratus (Melanochromis auratus)
Size: 11 cm
Water temperature: 24-28 ° C
Aquarium volume: 200 l
Melanochromis auratus (Melanochromis auratus ) – belongs to the group of the cichlids, an aquarium fish from the cichlid family.
Africa. Endemic species, inhabits only the coastal, rocky zones of Lake Malawi.
Characteristics and disposition
Reaches a length of 11 cm. Elongated, flattened body.
It looks a bit like a decorative cap. The sex of adult fish is easy to distinguish. The adult male turns black, the paired fins are brown-black and the caudal fin in the upper part is decorated with bright yellow spots. The females retain the typical coloration of young individuals – a yellow-golden body along which two brown and black stripes run. Males are slightly larger than females.
The fish are very territorial and aggressive towards their own and other similar-looking species. They are not recommended for beginner aquarists.
Nutrition and feeding
They accept all live, frozen and dry foods, but a significant proportion of them should be plant-based foods such as spirulina flakes and granules, chopped spinach, raw cucumber, etc. High-protein foods should be avoided. Feeding in smaller amounts more often is recommended.
It is best to keep one male with several females , in an aquarium at least 120 cm long, with a sandy substrate, a rock decoration with numerous hiding places. Planted plants can become their delicacy or they will be dug up. They require efficient filtration and well-oxygenated water. Although they live in fresh water in their natural environment, they also tolerate salinity up to 1.0002 SG (Specific Gravity). One of the most aggressive and territorial Malawi cichlids of the mbuna group .
In order to spread the aggression, some breeders recommend refilling the tank. Golden Mouths are particularly intolerant of each other, so it is worth providing them with the company of other species. Even in large tanks with a high probability the second male will be killed. Interestingly, also the females show a lot of aggression towards their competitors. They should not be kept together with peaceful species such as Alunocara, Copadichromis, Nyassachromis.
They can share the aquarium with other mbuna cichlids that are not similarly colored.
Healthy golden boutons do not require any encouragement for breeding. It is best to breed them in a harem consisting of one male and at least 3 females. A spacious, approx. 200-liter aquarium with lots of hiding places and nooks is recommended .
The optimal water parameters are pH 8.2 – 8.5, temperature 25-27 ° C. The male selects and prepares a spawning site and then goes to the female, showing its beautiful coloration and raised fins. He is also very aggressive and insistently pursues the female. Lured to a pre-selected place, the female lays eggs in the amount of 20 to 40 pieces, and then collects them in her mouth and collects the dandelion from the male. The female incubates the eggs in her mouth for several weeks (about 21 days at 27 ° C).
During this time, she does not eat and special care should be taken because the scared woman may abandon or eat eggs or larvae. For better results, some breeders during the second week artificially remove the fry from the female’s mouth and hide in a separate aquarium. The free-floating fry are large enough to take atremi larvae and powdered food right away. The female stays close to the young for the first week and, in case of danger, hides them in her mouth.