Auratus cichlid Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: November 4, 2022

The Auratus cichlid is a beautiful and popular freshwater fish that is perfect for beginners.

This species is very hardy and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions. They are also very peaceful, making them a great addition to any community tank.

Auratus cichlids are not picky eaters and will thrive on a variety of foods. They are also easy to breed, making them a great choice for anyone interested in breeding cichlids.

If you are looking for a beautiful and easy to care for freshwater fish, the Auratus cichlid is a great choice!

Species overview

Auratus cichlids (scientific name: Melanochromis auratus) are a species of fish that is native to Lake Malawi in Africa. They are found in a wide variety of habitats, but prefer areas with lots of rocks and caves.

These cichlids are known for being quite aggressive, and are not recommended for beginner aquarium hobbyists. They are also known to be very territorial, which can lead to problems with other fish in the tank.

Despite their aggressive nature, Auratus cichlids are very popular fish in the aquarium scene. This is likely due to their beautiful colors and interesting patterns.

If you’re considering adding an Auratus cichlid to your tank, be sure to do your research first. These fish can be a handful, but can be a great addition to a more experienced aquarium keeper’s tank.


Auratus cichlid

Auratus cichlids are one of the most popular cichlids out there and it’s easy to see why. These fish are absolutely gorgeous with their bright yellow and blue coloration.

The body of the fish is a deep blue color. This is broken up by vertical stripes that are a bright canary yellow. These yellow stripes start right behind the gill plate and go all the way back to the caudal peduncle.

The fins on this fish are also blue with yellow stripes. The dorsal fin is large and starts about two-thirds of the way back on the body. The anal fin is similar in size and shape. Both of these fins have long filaments at the end.

The caudal fin is forked and symmetrical. The pectoral fins are rather large and end in a point. The ventral fins are very small in comparison to the other fins.

The face of this fish is also very colorful. They have bright blue eyes with a yellow stripe that goes right through the pupil. The lips are also blue with yellow stripes.


The average lifespan of an Auratus cichlid is around 10 years. This is rather impressive and means that if you take good care of them, they’ll be around for quite a while!

Just like any fish, the lifespan of your Auratus cichlid can change significantly based on how they are treated. Things like poor water quality, stress from bad tank mates, or a suboptimal diet can drastically shorten their lifespan.


Auratus cichlids can reach up to 6 inches in length, but are typically around 4 inches. Females are typically smaller than males.


Tank Size

For a single Auratus cichlid, the recommended tank size is 50 gallons. If you want to keep more than one fish, you should add an additional 50 gallons for each fish.

These fish are known to be aggressive so it’s important to give them enough space to avoid aggression and stress.

Water Parameters

The auratus cichlid is a hardy fish that can withstand a wide range of water conditions.

That doesn’t mean you should neglect their needs. These fish are still tropical cichlids that prefer warm water and a slightly acidic to neutral pH.

The good news is that auratus cichlids are relatively adaptable. As long as the water conditions are stable and within the range below, they should do just fine.

  • Water Temperature: 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH Levels: 6.8 to 7.6
  • Water Hardness: 4 to 10 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 5-15 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

Auratus cichlids are one of those species that can really benefit from a more naturalistic setup.

That being said, you don’t need to go overboard with it.

A simple setup with some rocks, driftwood, and plants will usually do the trick.

The substrate you use is also important. Auratus cichlids love to dig, so you’ll want something that won’t hurt them if they go a little too wild. A soft, sandy substrate is usually the best bet.

As for plants, you have a few options. Auratus cichlids are known to nibble on vegetation, so you’ll want something that can bounce back (Hornwort, Water Wisteria, or Java Moss are all great choices).

You can also go with fake plants if you’d prefer. Just be sure to avoid anything with sharp edges that could hurt your fish.

Common Diseases

The Auratus cichlid is a hardy fish, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get sick. In fact, there are a few diseases that seem to target this species specifically.

The first is Auratus cichlid tuberculosis. This is a bacterial infection that can cause fish to waste away and eventually die.

The symptoms of this disease include weight loss, lethargy, and anorexia. If you notice any of these signs in your fish, it’s important to take them to the vet immediately.

The second disease that affects this species is hole-in-the-head disease. As the name implies, this disease causes pits and holes to form in the head of your fish.

This is caused by poor water quality and the presence of activated carbon in the tank. The best way to treat this disease is to improve the water quality and remove the activated carbon.

The third disease that affects Auratus cichlids is ich. This is a parasitic infection that causes white spots to form on the body, fins, and gills of your fish.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to take your fish to the vet immediately.

Behavior & Temperament

The Auratus cichlid is a beautiful, but shy fish. It’s not uncommon for them to spend most of their time hiding behind rocks or plants in their tank. When they do come out, they’re usually in search of food.

These fish are peaceful by nature, but they can be territorial when it comes to their hiding spots. If another fish gets too close, the Auratus cichlid may chase it away. They’re not aggressive, but they do like their privacy.

One thing to keep in mind is that Auratus cichlids are jumpers. They’re known for leaping out of aquariums, so it’s important to have a lid on their tank.

Tank Mates

The Auratus cichlid is a beautiful fish that does well in a community tank. They’re not overly aggressive and can get along with most fish species.

That said, there are a few things to consider when choosing tank mates for Auratus cichlids.

First, these fish come from Central America. As a result, they prefer warm water. That means you’ll need to find fish that can tolerate similar conditions.

Secondly, Auratus cichlids can be a bit nippy. They’re not known to be aggressive, but they may nip at the fins of other fish.

That’s why it’s best to choose tank mates that are fast and agile. They’ll be able to get away from an Auratus cichlid before they get nipped.

Some good choices for Auratus cichlid tank mates include:

  • Tetras
  • Danios
  • Rainbows
  • Gouramis
  • Plecos


The Auratus cichlid is a beautiful fish that’s relatively easy to breed in captivity. These fish are mouthbrooders, which means that the female will carry the eggs and fry in her mouth until they’re ready to be released.

To get started, you need to set up a breeding tank. It should hold at least 50 gallons of water. Then, add some plants and hiding places. These fish like to have a lot of places to hide, so go overboard with the decor.

Next, you need to adjust the water conditions. Aim for a pH of 7.5 and a water hardness of 10 to 15 dH. The water temperature should be between 78 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

When everything is set up, it’s time to add the fish. You’ll need one male for every two females. The males are larger and have brighter colors.

Once the fish are in the tank, they should start to pair off. If everything goes according to plan, the female will lay her eggs in a cave or hiding place. Then, the male will fertilize them.

After that, the female will pick up the eggs in her mouth and carry them around until they hatch. This process takes about three weeks.

Once the fry are released, they’ll be able to feed on the algae in the tank. You can supplement their diet with brine shrimp or other small foods.

As they grow, you can slowly transition them to larger foods. Once they’re big enough, you can move them to your main tank.


The Auratus cichlid is a beautiful fish that is native to Lake Malawi.

They are a peaceful fish that make a great addition to any community tank. They are easy to care for and are very hardy fish.

The Auratus cichlid is a great fish for beginner aquarists and experienced aquarists alike.