What is the best starter species of Aulonocara?
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.