Strawberry Peacock Cichlid: Species Profile & Care Guide

| Updated: May 24, 2023
Strawberry Peacock Cichlid home aquarium photo

Strawberry peacock cichlids are one of the world’s most beautiful and popular aquarium fish. They belong to the Aulonocara species, which are also known as peacock cichlids. These fish are native to Lake Malawi in Africa and live on the lake’s rocky bottom. They have bright pink colors and similar patterns to other peacock cichlids, such as the blue and red peacock cichlid.

Strawberry peacock cichlids are also called strawberry sunburst cichlids or pink peacock cichlids. Their scientific name is Aulonocara nyassae. They are not very common in the wild but are widely bred in captivity for the aquarium trade. They are a good choice for beginners and experts alike, as they are easy to care for and very peaceful.

This article will tell you everything you need to know about strawberry peacock cichlids, including their natural habitat, water conditions, tank size, diet, temperament, breeding, and more. We will also give you tips on preventing and treating common diseases affecting these fish. By the end of this article, you will be ready to add some strawberry peacocks to your fish tank and enjoy their beauty and personality.

Species Overview

Scientific Name
Aulonocara sp.
Common Names
Strawberry Peacock Cichlid, Strawberry Sunburst Cichlid, Pink Peacock Cichlid
Lake Malawi, Africa
Adult Size
Life Expectancy
6 – 8 Years
Semi-Aggressive (less than other cichlids)
Minimum Tank Size
50 Gallons
Captive Breedable

Natural Habitat

Strawberry peacock cichlids are endemic to Lake Malawi, one of Africa’s largest and deepest lakes. Lake Malawi is home to hundreds of different species of cichlids, many of which are unique to this lake. Strawberry peacocks live in the intermediate zone of the lake, where there are both rocks and sand. They feed on small crustaceans and insects that live in the sand substrate.

Strawberry peacocks are adapted to the warm water and hard water of Lake Malawi. The water temperature ranges from 24°C to 28°C (75°F to 82°F), and the water hardness ranges from 10°dH to 18°dH. The pH level is alkaline, between 7.8 and 8.6.

Tank Size

Strawberry peacock cichlids can grow up to 15 cm (6 inches) in length when they reach full size. They are not very active swimmers, but they still need enough space to move around comfortably and avoid stress. The minimum tank size for a single strawberry peacock is 75 liters (20 gallons), but we recommend a larger tank of at least 150 liters (40 gallons) if you want to keep more than one.

Strawberry peacocks can be kept in a community tank with other peaceful or semi-aggressive cichlids from Lake Malawi, such as yellow labs, acei cichlids, or mbuna cichlids. However, you should avoid keeping them with very aggressive cichlids, such as auratus cichlids or red zebra cichlids, as they may bully or harm your strawberry peacocks.

You should also avoid keeping them with smaller fish that may fit in their mouths, such as tetras or guppies, as they may eat them. You can keep them with compatible non-cichlid fish, such as catfish or loaches, but ensure they can tolerate the same water conditions as your strawberry peacocks.

Water Conditions

As we mentioned before, strawberry peacock cichlids prefer warm water and hard water that mimics their natural habitat in Lake Malawi. You should maintain the water temperature between 24°C and 28°C (75°F and 82°F), using a heater if necessary. You should also keep the water hardness between 10°dH and 18°dH, using crushed coral or limestone if necessary.

The pH level should be alkaline, between 7.8 and 8.6. You can use baking soda or buffer solutions to raise the pH if it is too low. You should avoid using chemicals or medications that may lower the pH or harm your fish.

You should also keep the water quality high by performing regular water changes of 25% to 50% every week or every two weeks. You should use a good filtration system that can handle the bioload of your fish and remove any waste or debris from the water. You should also regularly test the water parameters using a test kit or strips and ensure they are within the optimal range for your fish.


Strawberry peacock cichlids are omnivorous fish that eat both plant and animal matter in the wild. In captivity, they will accept a variety of foods, such as flakes, pellets, frozen foods, live foods, or dried foods. You should feed them high-quality cichlid food that contains enough protein and vitamins for their health and growth.

You should also supplement their diet with some fresh or frozen foods once or twice a week, such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, daphnia, krill, or mysis shrimp. These foods will provide them with extra nutrients and enhance their colors.

You should feed your strawberry peacocks once or twice a day and only give them as much food as they can eat in a few minutes. You should avoid overfeeding them or leaving uneaten food in the tank, as this can cause water pollution and health problems for your fish.


Strawberry peacock cichlids are generally peaceful and friendly fish that get along well with other similar-sized fish of their own kind or other species. They are not territorial or aggressive towards other fish unless they breed or defend their eggs.

However, like most cichlids, they have a strong personality and may show some dominance or aggression towards other males of their own species or other similar-looking fish. They may also chase or nip at other fish that enter their territory or compete with them for food.

To prevent any conflicts or stress among your fish, you should provide enough space and hiding places for each fish in your tank. You can use rocks, driftwood, plants, caves, or ornaments to create different zones and territories for your fish.

You should also keep your strawberry peacocks in a ratio of one male to three females if you want to breed them or reduce aggression among males. You should avoid keeping two males together unless you have a very large tank with plenty of space and cover for each male.


Strawberry peacock cichlids are easy to breed in captivity if you provide them with the right conditions and environment. They are mouthbrooders, which means that the female fish will carry the fertilized eggs in her mouth until they hatch.

To encourage breeding among your strawberry peacocks, you should raise the water temperature slightly to around 26°C (79°F) and feed them more frequently with high-quality foods and live foods. You should also provide them with some flat rocks or caves where they can spawn.

The male fish will display his colors and perform a courtship dance to attract a female fish. He will then lead her to his chosen spawning site and lay his sperm on it. The female fish will then lay her eggs on the same spot and pick them up with her mouth.

The male fish may try to mate with more than one female fish during the breeding season. The female fish will hold her eggs in her mouth for about three weeks until they hatch into fry. She will not eat anything during this time and may hide from other fish.

You can either leave the female fish in the main tank with her eggs or move her to a separate breeding tank where she can be more comfortable and safe from predators. If you leave her in the main tank, you should provide her with plenty of hiding places where she can rest without being disturbed by other fish.

Once the fry hatch from their eggs, they will still stay in their mother’s mouth for another week until they become free-swimming. The mother fish will then release them into the water and let them fend for themselves.

You can feed the fry with finely crushed flakes or baby brine shrimp until they grow big enough to eat regular foods. You should also perform frequent water changes to keep your fry clean and healthy.

Common Diseases

Strawberry peacock cichlids are hardy and resilient fish that can resist most common diseases if they are kept in good conditions and given proper care. However, they may still suffer from diseases that affect many freshwater fish if exposed to poor water quality, stress, or parasites.

Some of these diseases include:

  • Ich: This parasitic infection causes white spots on your fish’s body and fins.
  • Fin rot: This bacterial infection causes your fish’s fins to become ragged and decayed.
  • Malawi bloat: This digestive disorder causes your fish’s abdomen to swell up.
  • Swim bladder disease: This is a condition that affects your fish’s ability to swim normally.
  • Fungal infections: These are infections that cause cotton-like growths on your fish’s body or mouth.

To prevent these diseases from affecting your strawberry peacocks,

you should:

  • Keep your water parameters stable and within the optimal range for your fish.
  • Perform regular water changes and use a good filtration system to remove any waste or toxins from the water.
  • Quarantine any new fish before adding them to your main tank to avoid introducing any diseases or parasites.
  • Avoid overfeeding
  • Feed your fish a varied diet that meets their nutritional needs and prevents constipation or bloating.
  • Treat any signs of disease as soon as possible with the appropriate medication or remedy.


Strawberry peacock cichlids are stunning and charming fish that can brighten up any aquarium. They are easy to care for and breed and can live peacefully with other compatible fish. They have vibrant personalities to match their beautiful appearance that will captivate any fish lover.

If you want to keep strawberry peacocks in your tank, you should provide them with a spacious tank with warm, hard, and alkaline water. You should also feed them high-quality cichlid food supplemented with fresh or frozen foods. You should also give them enough hiding places and territories to reduce stress and aggression.

Following these simple tips ensures that your strawberry peacocks will thrive and flourish in your tank. You can enjoy watching them swim, interact, and display their colors for many years to come.

We hope you found this article helpful and informative. If you have any questions or comments about strawberry peacock cichlids, feel free to leave them below. We would love to hear from you.

Thank you for reading, and happy fishkeeping!🐟

More Freshwater Fish

If you’re interested in learning about similar freshwater fish, check out:


How much are strawberry peacock cichlids?

Strawberry peacock cichlids are not very expensive fish, and you can buy them for around $10 to $20 per fish, depending on their size and quality. However, the price may vary depending on the availability and demand of these fish in your area.

Are strawberry peacock cichlids rare?

Strawberry peacock cichlids are not very common in the wild and are only found in a few locations in Lake Malawi. However, they are widely bred in captivity for the aquarium trade, and you can easily find them in most pet stores or online shops that sell tropical fish.

Shane Elliot Author Image
Shane Elliot

Shane Elliot is a pet lover and a coral enthusiast. He has been keeping saltwater aquariums for over ten years and enjoys sharing his knowledge and expertise with other hobbyists. He writes about coral care, fish compatibility, aquarium equipment, and more. He also covers topics related to other animals, such as dogs, cats, horses, and reptiles. Shane works as a freelance writer and editor when his menagerie of pets allows it.

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