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Aulonocara Stuartgranti "Cobue"

Scientific name: Aulonocara stuartgranti "Cobue"
Trade name: Aulonocara Cobue
Natural habitat: Sand environments near rocks
Food in the lake: Crustaceans and invertebrates that are localized in the sand with their special senses.
Food in the aquarium: I prefer to give my cichlids high quality dry food like pellets, flakes and granules sparingly. No mammal meat!
Behaviour in my aquarium: I have 5 wild Aulonocara Cobue in my 1500L tank. Despite the size of the tank they still want to impress each other. The dominant male chases the other 2 males around the tank, what usually ends with them get driven into a corner. They live together with 10 wild Lethrinops and 5 F1 Copadichromis jacksoni and this group is definitely the most peaceful bunch of Malawi cichlids that I ever had though! The Aulonocara Cobue swim around and "listen" to the bottom for food.
Tankmates: Every "peaceful" Malawi cichlid under a certain size (roughly 18 - 20cm) except Mbuna.
Maximal size: Can vary quite a bit depending on water quality and food amount. Grows to about 12 cm in captivity.
Aquarium: A tank of  >300L with a sufficient amount of rocks and caves is recommended. A sand bottom, pH between 7.5 - 8.5, temperature about 25°C

 
Aulonocara Cobue in my 1500L kitchen aquarium some days after their introduction.


Personal notes:

These beautiful wildcaught Aulonocara were bought as a company for the Copadichromis jacksoni and Lethrinops furcifer. As they're wildcaught fish they are much more sensitive to stress and diseases that most tank-bred species and contact with most tank-bred cichlids should be strictly avoided in order not to infect these precious wild fish. F1 cichlids from a trustable origin are not a problem when you take strict measures though. To avoid territorial stress all the cichlids we like to keep together in a tank should be added at the exact same moment. Additions afterwards are always a risk as the newcomers always need to establish their own territory what drives stress in the tank to a peak. I also treated all these fish with FMC and an antibiotic to be sure that most parasites were removed. This way of working gave me the fantastic result of losing not a single fish. In the meantime the 2 females have had 4 spawns in total of which 2 are still carried by the mother now (April 2005). The first batch went to my friend Staf who will raise them. The second batch I will keep for myself and these will be raised to increase the amount of Aulonocara cobue in the 1500L tank. 


Some brutal displaying: I removed the right part of the photo as the subdominant fish already suffered more than enough! Click on the image to see the high resolution picture.


The eggs visible in the mouth of the Aulonocara female.


A juvenile visible in the mouth of the female.


The cobue fry.


A close-up from the head of the dominant male. Even the 3008X2000 pixel original is tack sharp what reveals the true capabilities of the Nikon D70 we use! Click on the image to see the high resolution picture.

Text and Photos by Frank Panis /MCH

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