What is the best starter species of Au­lono­cara?

Practical Fishkeeping (UK) - - Step-by-step -

I’d like to set up a 400 l/88 gal aquar­ium with a view to keep­ing some Au­lono­cara. What would be the best species to start with and how many species would I be able to keep in a tank of this size? How many of each sex would I need?

Your ad­vice would be most wel­come as this is po­ten­tially an ex­pen­sive project that I want to get right from the out­set. GARETH BRADSHAW, EMAIL JEREMY SAYS: The best species to start with would be ei­ther Au­lono­cara ja­cobfriebergi, A. stu­art­granti, A. may­landi, A. baen­schi ‘Benga’ or A. kan­deen­sis. The ideal is one male to three or more fe­males, al­though there is a risk of hy­bridi­s­a­tion from mix­ing

any Au­lono­cara species, es­pe­cially be­tween the stu­art­granti and the baen­schi species, and also be­tween the may­landi and kan­deen­sis. For this rea­son I would ei­ther opt for just the baen­schi and may­landi, or even se­lect just one Au­lono­cara species, and then add other peace­ful ‘haps’, like Placidochromis elec­tra (again, one male and three fe­males,) or some Otophar­ynx litho­bates.

Sin­gle sex Au­lono­cara com­mu­ni­ties are pos­si­ble, stock­ing just with colour­ful adult males and crowd­ing them like you would with rock-dwelling mbuna. It would have plenty of colour, but would not suit the purist, and you would miss out on all that won­der­ful dis­play­ing and spawn­ing be­hav­iour.

Placidochromis elec­tra – a good fish to mix with Au­lono­cara spp.

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