Strawberry Peacock Cichlid Comprehensive Guide: Size, Care, Tank Mates, and Lifespan

Author: Hasty Fish

Strawberry Peacock Cichlid

Welcome to the enthralling realm of Strawberry Peacock Cichlids, one of the aquatic world’s most visually stunning inhabitants. Known for their vibrant, ruby-like hues and lively behavior, these freshwater fish are a favorite among both novice and seasoned aquarists.

As a variant of the African Cichlid, their compelling behavior and dynamic interactions provide a captivating underwater show in your own home.

Being a responsible owner, especially in the case of keeping an exotic species like Strawberry Peacock Cichlids, entails more than just appreciating their beauty. It’s about understanding their needs, providing the right environment, and nurturing their health to ensure they thrive.

This guide will furnish you with in-depth knowledge about their specialized care requirements, suitable tank mates, and lifespan, equipping you with the tools to create a thriving ecosystem for these aquatic gems.

By understanding these facets, you will unlock the joy of keeping Strawberry Peacock Cichlids, watching them flourish in their mini aquatic kingdom.

Strawberry Peacock Cichlid Stats
Lifespan6 to 8 years
TemperamentSemi Aggressive
SizeUp to 6 inches
Minimum Tank Size55 gallons
Ease of CareEasy
Water Temperature74°F to 82°F (23-28°C)
Water Hardness4-6 dGH

Strawberry Peacock Cichlid Species Summary

Encompassing the entire spectrum of the Aulonocara genus, these aquatic inhabitants stand out as some of the most serene and amiable varieties of cichlids you could wish for in your aquarium.

These freshwater denizens, endearingly known as ‘peacocks,’ display a breathtaking fusion of vibrant colors and tranquility.

Strawberry Peacock Cichlids trace their roots back to the eastern regions of Africa, with the vast waters of Lake Malawi serving as their original habitat. This aquatic haven, pulsating with a diverse array of flora and fauna, creates a cozy, temperate sanctuary for these peacock cichlids.

The Strawberry peacock cichlids exhibit a unique preference for residing in the deeper segments of Lake Malawi. These areas, where the temperature of the water remains comfortably warm, serve as an ideal retreat for the cichlids.

This species is also renowned for its diligence and grace. Leading a dynamic lifestyle, it displays adroit swimming capabilities near the lake bottom. Their daily routine is characterized by a continuous search for sustenance in the sandy strata under the water. With relentless vigilance, they scan their surroundings for any potential food sources.


Striding through the journey of life, a Strawberry peacock cichlid truly flourishes when surrounded by a well-managed habitat.

Usually, a committed and conscientious caretaker is rewarded with their aquatic companion’s longevity, which spans an average of six to eight years.

However, it’s critical to understand that this lifespan largely hinges on two key factors – maintaining a well-rounded diet for your Strawberry peacock cichlid and strictly adhering to the advised water quality parameters in your tank.

Appearance, Colors, & Markings

Strawberry Peacock Cichlid Colors

Pride of the cichlid family, the Strawberry Peacock Cichlids stand out with their lively coloration. Their dazzling spectacle of colors certifies their position among the most dynamically colored freshwater species suitable for home aquariums.

The sight of a Strawberry Peacock Cichlid is indeed an aquatic spectacle to cherish. These fish bear a radiant ensemble of bright pink hues, while some even exhibit distinctive specks dotting their fins.

The ‘True Strawberries,’ known for their rarity, are a sought-after variety, making them all the more desirable among aquarists.

Average Size of Strawberry Peacock Cichlids: How Big Do They Get?

Given their spectacular looks, it’s only natural to be curious about how large these magnificent creatures can become.

On average, a male Strawberry peacock cichlid grows to an impressive length of around 6 inches. In contrast, the growth of female Strawberry peacock cichlids generally tops out at a somewhat smaller size, typically around 4 inches.

Strawberry Peacock Cichlids Care

Renowned for their comparatively calm demeanor and minimal care needs, Strawberry Peacock Cichlids are a delight to care for. They make an excellent choice for both newbies and seasoned aquarists, lending a vibrant touch to any aquarium.

Despite their easy-care reputation, it’s essential to note that Strawberry Peacock Cichlids demonstrate a high level of sensitivity to environmental alterations. Consequently, getting to grips with their optimal care requirements is critical to provide a consistent and ideal habitat for these bright swimmers.

1. Optimum Tank Size

Determining the perfect tank size for housing Strawberry Peacock Cichlids is a critical element of your aquarist journey.

Ideally, a 55-gallon tank serves as ample space for these vibrant fish. This large environment complements their nature as skilled swimmers and active hunters, mimicking their natural home, the expansive Lake Malawi.

A bigger tank comes with the added advantage of offering enough space for creating multiple caves. Such formations are essential in curbing territorial aggression among the cichlids, providing individual hideaways that mimic the rock-filled recesses of their natural habitats.

In situations where you intend to nurture a substantial community of Strawberry Peacock Cichlids, you’d need to consider an aquarium capable of accommodating at least 100 gallons of water. This increased capacity further helps in alleviating territorial squabbles among your fish, ensuring a more peaceful cohabitation.

2. Ideal Water Parameters

Water quality is a key determinant of health and well-being for Strawberry Peacock Cichlids. Their native home, Lake Malawi, boasts consistent water conditions throughout the year, encompassing aspects such as temperature, pH levels, and water hardness.

In a captive setting, replicating these parameters as accurately as possible is pivotal to mirror the conditions of Lake Malawi, which is notably warmer compared to other cichlid habitats.

To keep your Strawberry Peacock Cichlids thriving, here’s a concise guide to their recommended water conditions:

  • Water temperature: 74°F to 82°F
  • Water hardness: 4 to 6 dH
  • pH levels: 7.5 to 8.5

Again, for Strawberry peacock cichlids, maintaining water clarity is crucial. Being native to the crystal-clear waters of Lake Malawi, any compromise in their tank’s water quality could negatively impact their health.

Given the importance of consistent water parameters for the care of Strawberry Peacock Cichlids, investing in a reliable water test kit is highly recommended. This will allow you to get the most accurate readings, a key factor in providing optimal care for your colorful Strawberry Peacock Cichlids.

3. Designing the Perfect Strawberry Peacock Cichlid Tank

Strawberry Peacock Cichlid Tank Setup

Creating a Strawberry Peacock Cichlid-friendly aquarium requires a keen eye for detail. As these vibrant fish are known to search for sustenance near the bottom of their native waters, the substrate you select for your tank plays a critical role.

Avoid gravel as a substrate since it poses a potential risk to the delicate gills of the fish. Instead, opt for a soft, sandy substrate. Not only does this choice replicate their natural habitat, but it also safeguards your Strawberry Peacock Cichlids from injuries, thereby ensuring their long-term well-being.

Even though Strawberry Peacock Cichlids aren’t notably aggressive, they, like all creatures, do appreciate having personal space from time to time.

Including an abundance of rocks and driftwood in your tank could prove beneficial. These elements serve as ideal hiding spots, providing your fish with a retreat when they seek some solitude.

If you’re keen on introducing a hint of green to your aquarium, plants can serve as excellent decorative elements.

However, you’ll want to choose sturdy species like Anacharis, Java Fern, and Hornwort. These selections can withstand the digging behavior that Strawberry Peacock Cichlids are known for, which often disturbs the plant life in their surroundings.

The good news is, Strawberry Peacock Cichlids aren’t generally plant-eaters. Hence, you need not worry about them ravaging your carefully selected plants. Their interest is more in exploring than consuming the plants.

4. Common Diseases

Gaining knowledge of these potential ailments is a crucial component of Strawberry Peacock Cichlids’ care, facilitating prompt intervention and recovery.

  • Malawi Bloat: A Deadly Condition in Peacock Cichlids

    One of the severe conditions that Peacock Cichlids can fall prey to is Malawi Bloat. This ailment bears a resemblance to dropsy and originates from the excessive ingestion of meaty foods. Symptoms of Malawi Bloat comprise a lack of appetite, difficulty breathing, abdominal distension, pale-colored feces, and a tendency to remain at the tank bottom.

    Malawi Bloat is a serious condition. If left unchecked, it can wreak havoc on the liver, kidney, and swim bladder, potentially leading to death within a span of one to three days.

    Combatting Malawi Bloat entails changing 25% of the tank water every two days until your fish shows signs of recovery. If symptoms persist beyond a week, seek professional consultation for additional treatment.
  • Swim Bladder Disease: The Consequence of an Unbalanced Diet

    Another issue related to dietary habits is swim bladder disease. It is triggered by gas in the intestine or parasites infecting the swim bladder, causing the afflicted fish to float on top of the tank.

    Preventing swim bladder disease involves ensuring a balanced diet. Avoid overfeeding protein or dried food and include more fiber, ideally in the form of vegetables.

    Remember, irrespective of the cichlid species, overfeeding should be strictly avoided. Excessive food intake can lead to obesity, resulting in loss of their vibrant coloration and possibly premature death.
  • Fish Tuberculosis: A Highly Contagious Disease

    Fish tuberculosis is another serious disease to be mindful of. Being highly infectious, this disease can quickly decimate an entire tank population. Symptoms to watch out for include loss of appetite, frayed fins, a sunken abdomen, and white spots on the fish’s body.

    In case you suspect an infection, swiftly transfer the uninfected fish to a separate tank. Treat the affected tank with an antibiotic and thoroughly clean or dispose of the old tank to prevent future outbreaks.

Strawberry Peacock Cichlid Diet

Strawberry Peacock Cichlids, being omnivores, enjoy a diverse diet that involves a plunge to the depths of water bodies to dine on an array of invertebrates like insects, larvae, crustaceans, zooplankton, algae, and plant matter.

In a captive setting, crafting a balanced diet for Peacock Cichlids should revolve around high-quality cichlid pellets that sink to the tank’s bottom, catering to their natural foraging instincts. Additionally, cichlid-specific flakes and granules can complement their dietary regimen.

1. Enriching Your Cichlids’ Diet: Live Prey and Vegetable Supplements

In addition to the staple diet, consider providing these colorful swimmers with occasional treats, such as live insects that sink to the bottom of the tank. Suitable additions to their diet can include live or frozen brine shrimp and daphnia, often called water fleas.

However, it’s imperative to avoid feeding your Strawberry Peacock Cichlids with tubifex worms and mammalian meat, like beef hearts, as these can trigger Malawi Bloat, a potentially deadly condition.

Further, enhance their diet with vegetable supplements like blanched spinach, lettuce, peas, broccoli, and cucumbers, which provide essential nutrients and fiber.

2. Portion Control and Feeding Frequency: Keys to Healthy Cichlids

A critical aspect of feeding Strawberry Peacock Cichlids involves meal portions and frequency. To avoid overfeeding, which can lead to obesity and water quality issues, offer several small meals throughout the day. This practice not only wards off weight problems but also helps maintain stable water parameters.

Feeding your Strawberry peacocks in smaller, more frequent portions also ensures there aren’t large spikes of organic materials in the tank at any given time, promoting a balanced and healthy environment for your aquatic pets.

Behavior & Temperament

While African Cichlids are infamously known for their aggressive tendencies, Strawberry Peacock Cichlids are the more friendly members of the family. They exhibit a remarkably calmer demeanor compared to their notoriously belligerent relatives, such as Jack Dempsey Cichlid, Red Devil Cichlid, and Jaguar Guapote.

However, like humans, each fish carries its own distinctive personality and may show individual behavioral deviations.

Certain Strawberry Peacock Cichlids might display a higher level of aggression than others. A common trait among them is territoriality. As a conscientious aquarist, it’s crucial to observe and understand the temperament of each individual fish under your care.

Generally, however, Strawberry Peacock Cichlids aren’t a species that warrant excessive concern in terms of aggression.

Speaking of their activity levels, Strawberry Peacock Cichlids are energetic and spirited swimmers. In their natural setting, these fish dedicate a considerable amount of time near the water bed, burrowing through the sand in pursuit of potential prey. This behavior translates well into captivity, making them a truly fascinating species to observe and enjoy.

Strawberry Peacock Cichlid Tank Mates

Strawberry Peacock Cichlid Tank Mates

Choosing compatible tank mates for your Strawberry Peacock Cichlid isn’t just about ensuring peaceful coexistence. Given the unique water parameter requirements of Strawberry Peacock Cichlids, it’s vital that any potential tank mates can adapt to and thrive in similar water conditions.

One approach to ensure compatibility within your aquarium is to house your Strawberry Peacock Cichlid with other Strawberry peacock cichlids. However, maintaining an appropriate gender balance is crucial. Ideally, a ratio of four female Strawberry Peacocks to one male will contribute to a harmonious environment.

Otherwise, you can also consider housing them with other varieties of Peacocks, such as the Dragon Blood Peacock Cichlid, Blue Peacock Cichlid, Red Peacock Cichlid, and Butterfly Peacock Cichlid.

As male Strawberry Peacock Cichlids tend to be territorial, providing ample space and numerous caves for retreat is necessary. And if you plan on housing multiple Strawberry Peacock Cichlids, keeping only females is a good idea unless you have specific intentions for breeding.

Certainly, this doesn’t imply that Strawberry Peacock Cichlids cannot cohabit with other fish species. The key is to steer clear of fish with aggressive tendencies, such as certain species from Lake Malawi, like Mbuna, Labeotropheus, Petrotilapia, and Pseudotropheus.

Some excellent tank mates for Strawberry Peacock Cichlids that can add a bit of variety and interest to your tank include:

Breeding Strawberry Peacock Cichlid

Breeding Strawberry peacock cichlid is relatively easy. First, you need to ensure that the tank is set up with enough space to accommodate both the male and female cichlids.

It is also paramount to provide an environment that mirrors their natural habitat. This involves maintaining the right water parameters, including temperature, pH, and hardness. Adding flat rocks to the tank can also prove beneficial, as that will serve as a spawning site.

A useful tactic to promote breeding in Strawberry Peacocks is gradually raising the water temperature toward the higher end of their comfortable range. But proceed with caution, as, again, they are sensitive to sudden changes in their environment.

Ready to propagate their lineage, these males embrace a polygamous approach, wooing as many females as they can!

Given this predisposition, it’s vital to offer each male its own territory in the tank when breeding Strawberry Peacock Cichlids. Their mating ritual involves staking a claim to a territory, and insufficient space could result in territorial conflicts and confrontations.

So to avoid such potential disputes, limiting the breeding tank to a single male is best. This approach minimizes conflict and enhances the chances of a successful breeding session.

When romance is in the water, the male Strawberry peacock cichlid will start exhibiting mating behavior. They will dig a shallow pit in the substrate and display various moves, dancing in captivating ways to grab the female’s attention and court her.

After successfully luring a female Strawberry peacock cichlid, the male guides her to the nesting site prepared for the eggs. After laying her eggs, the male fertilizes them. As these cichlids are mouthbrooders, the female will gather the fertilized eggs into her mouth for incubation and protection, lasting up to approximately 28 days.

The female will release the fry at the end of this incubation period, and you can expect to witness the emergence of anywhere from 10 to 30 tiny fry navigating their new surroundings in the tank.

The fry can be fed with high-quality baby brine shrimp 3 to 4 times daily. Be sure not to overfeed them, and keeping a close eye on water quality and maintaining a stress-free environment is essential for their healthy growth and development.

Differences Between Male & Female Strawberry Peacock Cichlids

Generally, male Strawberry peacock cichlids flaunt a larger physique compared to their female counterparts. A full-grown male usually stretches to an average length of 6 inches, while females typically top off at around 4 inches.

The striking coloration of Strawberry peacock cichlids is one of their most talked-about features. Their scales burst with various shades that glisten and reflect the light in spectacular fashion.

It’s worth mentioning that the intensity of these colors varies between genders. While male Strawberry peacock cichlids parade bold and striking colors, females showcase a more subdued and understated color spectrum.

The variances between male and female Strawberry peacock cichlids also extend to the design of their fins.

Males typically possess elongated dorsal and anal fins, particularly in the middle and rear sections. Conversely, females sport shorter dorsal fins towards the tail, with their pelvic, anal, and dorsal fins appearing more rounded off in comparison.

A key distinction between male and female Strawberry peacock cichlids lies in the presence of egg spots on the males’ anal fins. These serve as a lure during mating rituals.

However, relying solely on these spots to determine sex isn’t always accurate, as some female specimens have been known to showcase these spots as well.

The most trustworthy method to identify the sex of your Strawberry peacock cichlid involves examining its vent. This opening, located on the underside of the fish just behind the anus, functions as an outlet for waste and serves as the passage for eggs and sperm during mating.

In male Strawberry peacock cichlids, you’ll find two openings of identical size – their reproductive organ and anus. Females, on the other hand, have two openings of different sizes – a larger “egg tube” and a smaller anus.

Wrapping Up

Being a successful Strawberry Peacock Cichlid keeper is about appreciating their beauty and understanding their needs. With the right environment, a balanced diet, compatible tank mates, and a commitment to their well-being, you can create a thriving underwater paradise for these aquatic gems.

Every moment spent nurturing your Strawberry Peacock Cichlids is rewarded with their radiant colors, lively behavior, and fascinating life processes. Embrace the adventure that comes with keeping these unique creatures, and you’ll unlock a world of joy and fulfillment in your own aquatic haven.

Frequently Asked Questions about Strawberry Peacock Cichlids

Q1. What type of diet do Strawberry Peacock Cichlids require?

Strawberry Peacock Cichlids are omnivorous and require a diverse diet. Their meals should include high-quality sinking cichlid pellets, cichlid-specific flakes, and granules. You can supplement their diet with live insects, brine shrimp, daphnia (water fleas), and vegetables like blanched spinach, lettuce, peas, broccoli, and cucumbers.

Q2. Are Strawberry Peacock Cichlids aggressive?

While African Cichlids are known for their aggressive behavior, Strawberry Peacock Cichlids tend to be less aggressive. However, like any species, individual temperaments can vary. These fish are territorial, especially the males, so providing sufficient space and hideouts in the tank is essential.

Q3. What are suitable tank mates for Strawberry Peacock Cichlids?

Choosing suitable tank mates for Strawberry Peacock Cichlids should consider behavioral compatibility and similar water condition requirements. Other peacock cichlid species make good companions. Non-aggressive species such as Botia Loaches, Giant Danios, Plecos, Rainbow Sharks, Red Tail Sharks, Red Eye Tetras, and Synodontis Catfish can also share a tank with Strawberry Peacock Cichlids.

Q4. How can I encourage breeding in Strawberry Peacock Cichlids?

To stimulate breeding, gradually increase the water temperature towards the higher end of their comfort range. The males will start displaying mating behaviors to attract the females.

Q5. How many times a day should I feed my Strawberry Peacock Cichlids?

To prevent overfeeding, it’s best to provide several small meals throughout the day. This approach helps maintain stable water parameters and wards off obesity. The number of times can vary depending on the size of the fish and its specific nutritional needs, but generally, two to three times a day is considered adequate.

Q6. Can I keep different gender ratios of Strawberry Peacock Cichlids in my tank?

Yes, you can, but it’s essential to maintain a balanced gender ratio for peace in the tank. A recommended ratio is four female Strawberry Peacocks to one male.