Aurora Cichlid Care: Complete Guide for Beginners

The Aurora Cichlid is a beautiful, active, and intelligent fish species, perfect for hobbyists with experience in managing moderately aggressive fish. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to provide the best care for your new Aurora Cichlid.

aurora cichlid maylandia aurora

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Aurora Cichlid Species Profile and Identification

The Aurora Cichlid (Maylandia aurora), earlier also known as the Pseudotropheus aurora, is a stunning African freshwater fish originally from Lake Malawi. These fish are amazingly beautiful and have an interesting personality, making them a popular choice among aquarium hobbyists.

To identify Aurora Cichlids, observe their striking appearance: a vibrant blue and green body alongside stunning yellow fins. Adult males develop a rich metallic blue color with bright yellow or orange edges on their pelvic and anal fins, while females are generally more muted in color.

Some quick facts about Aurora Cichlids:

  • Scientific Name: Maylandia aurora
  • Family: Cichlidae
  • Tank size requirement: Minimum of 55 gallons
  • Temperament: Semi-aggressive
  • Lifespan: 8 to 10 years
  • Size: 4 to 5 inches

Aurora Cichlids are part of the mbuna group, which means “rockfish” in Bantu, as they thrive in rocky environments and tend to stay near the bottom of the tank.

They are also known to be territorial and may display aggressive behaviors towards other fish, especially when breeding. This makes it crucial to provide sufficient hiding places and an appropriate tank setup for these species.

Aurora Cichlid Supplies

Before you start with your Aurora Cichlid care journey, it’s essential to gather all necessary supplies to keep them healthy and thriving. As a beginner, you may feel overwhelmed with the variety of products available in the market, but worry not; we’re here to help you navigate through it.

Here’s a list of the indispensable items you’ll need to set up and maintain a perfect environment for your new finned friends:

  • Tank: Choose an aquarium that can hold at least 40-50 gallons of water, as Aurora Cichlids require plenty of swimming space. Remember, more significant is always better in this case.
  • Filter: Opt for a high-quality, external canister filter that can handle the tank capacity and ensure efficient water filtration.
  • Heater: A 200-watt submersible heater with a thermostat will maintain a stable water temperature, which is essential for your Aurora Cichlid’s well-being.
  • Lighting: An LED light system will bring out your fish’s vibrant colors and replicates their natural habitat. Plus, it consumes less energy.
  • Substrate: Natural, sand-based substrate resembling their natural habitat is best for Aurora Cichlids. Avoid sharp-edged gravel, which can damage their delicate sensory organs.
  • Decor: Add rocks and hiding spots, like caves, to replicate their natural surroundings and provide shelter for these territorial fish.
  • Water testing kit: Regular water testing is a must to maintain ideal water parameters for your Aurora Cichlids. Invest in a comprehensive kit that measures pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels.
  • Aquarium net: A gentle aquarium net is useful for moving fish when performing water changes.

With these supplies in hand, you’ll be more than ready to create an idyllic environment for your Aurora Cichlids. Don’t forget that investing in high-quality equipment will pay off in the long run, ensuring the success of your new aquatic adventure. So, get ready and set up that tank!

Aurora Cichlid Tank Setup

To begin with, choose a suitable tank size for your Aurora Cichlid. A minimum of 30 gallons is recommended for one pair, but larger tanks (50-75 gallons) can accommodate multiple fish and give them enough space to thrive.

The next step is arranging the proper decor in the tank:

  • Use a sandy substrate, as it mimics their natural environment and assists in the fish’s overall well-being.
  • Add plenty of rocks and caves for hiding and breeding areas. Hiding spots are essential, as Aurora Cichlids are territorial and need designated space.
  • Consider incorporating live plants, though they are not necessary. Some types of plants, such as java fern or Anubias, can tolerate the typical water conditions for these fish.

Proper tank filtration is essential for keeping the water clean and safe. A good quality external canister filter or hang-on-back filter can effectively handle the waste produced by Aurora Cichlids.

Lastly, maintain consistent water temperatures between 75-80°F and provide adequate lighting. A standard aquarium heater and LED aquarium lights should suffice for creating a comfortable environment for your fish.

Feature Details
Tank size 30+ gallons
Substrate Sandy
Decor Rocks, caves, live plants
Filtration External canister/HOB
Temperature 75-80°F
Lighting Standard LED lighting

By following these guidelines, your Aurora Cichlid tank will be a comfortable and safe environment for your fish to thrive in.

Aurora Cichlid Water Requirements

Aurora Cichlids have specific water requirements because they originate from Lake Malawi in Africa. By meeting the appropriate water conditions, you will ensure that your fish thrive and stay healthy.

Water Parameters

  • Temperature: Maintain a stable water temperature between 75-80°F (24-27°C).
  • pH Level: Aim for a pH level of 7.5-9.0 to mimic their natural environment.
  • Hardness: Keep the water hardness between 7-12 dKH (degrees of carbonate hardness).

To maintain these water parameters, invest in a reliable heater, thermometer, and water testing kit. Regular testing of your water is crucial since sudden changes in temperature, pH, and hardness can stress and harm your fish.

Water Quality

  • Filtration: Install an efficient filter to remove debris, toxins, and promote beneficial bacteria growth. Opt for a filter suitable for a medium-large sized tank that can handle a robust flow.
  • Water changes: Perform partial water changes of around 20-30% every two weeks. This helps prevent a build-up of harmful waste and ensures optimal water conditions.
  • Water treatments: Use water treatments like Seachem Malawi/Victoria Buffer or Seachem Cichlid Lake Salt to maintain stable water parameters. You should also consider using a dechlorinator to neutralize harmful chemicals in the tap water.
Water Parameter Ideal Value
Temperature 75-80°F (24-27°C)
pH Level 7.5-9.0
Hardness 7-12 dKH
Water Change 20-30% every two weeks

Following these detailed water requirements will increase your success as an Aurora Cichlid hobbyist. Always be on top of the water parameters to ensure a healthy environment for your cichlids.

Aurora Cichlid Diet and Feeding

Aurora Cichlids, like most cichlids, are omnivorous in nature, which means they can thrive on a diet that consists of both plant-based and animal-derived food items. In order to keep these vibrant fish healthy, you should follow a balanced and varied diet that mirrors conditions in their natural habitat.

Some good food options for Aurora Cichlids include:

  • High-quality flakes or pellets, which should form the basis of their diet
  • Frozen or live food like brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms for additional protein
  • Blanched vegetables such as spinach, peas, zucchini, and lettuce for essential vitamins and minerals

It’s crucial to provide a balanced diet that’s appropriate for the size of your fish. Adults should be fed more pellets, while juveniles need a higher proportion of protein-rich food items for proper growth.

As a general rule of thumb, feed your Aurora Cichlids two to three times daily, offering them enough food to consume within 2-3 minutes during each meal. However, be cautious not to overfeed them as it may lead to health problems. Here’s a simple feeding schedule you can follow:

Age Frequency Type of Food
Juvenile 3 times a day High in protein
Adult 2 times a day Balanced diet

Proper feeding techniques play a crucial role in maintaining the well-being of your fish. Monitoring your cichlid’s eating habits allows you to notice any changes that may be indicative of potential health issues.

Providing a well-rounded diet to your Aurora Cichlids is essential for their overall health and vibrancy. By offering them a balance of both plant-based and animal-derived food items, you’ll ensure they get the necessary nutrients to thrive within your aquarium.

Aurora Cichlid Care Schedule

A consistent care schedule is crucial for the well-being of your Aurora Cichlid. By following a regular routine, you’ll ensure this magnificent fish remains healthy and vibrant. Here’s an ideal care schedule you can follow:

Daily tasks:

  • Check water temperature and quality: Aim for a steady temperature of 76-82°F (24-28°C), while ensuring the pH stays within 7.6-8.6.
  • Feeding: Feed your Aurora Cichlid multiple small meals rather than one large meal. This helps manage waste and reduces the risk of overfeeding.
  • Monitor fish behavior: Observe your fish, ensuring they demonstrate normal and healthy behavior.

Weekly tasks:

  • Water changes and tank maintenance: Execute 10-15% water changes weekly to maintain cleanliness and prevent the build-up of harmful substances.
  • Clean tank accessories, ornaments, and decorations: Keep the tank environment tidy by cleaning all items every week.

Monthly tasks:

  • Replace filter media: Follow manufacturer guidelines for filter maintenance to ensure the tank’s filtration system remains in optimal condition.
  • Test water parameters: House your Aurora Cichlid in the best possible conditions by conducting regular water tests using a reliable test kit.

Occasional tasks:

  • Monitor growth and health: Keep a close eye on your fish’s growth and overall health, reacting to any potential issues as necessary.
  • Introduce new tank mates: If you’re looking to add new fish to the tank, ensure gradual and safe introductions to avoid unnecessary stress on your Aurora Cichlid.

By sticking to this care schedule, you should be well-prepared to give your Aurora Cichlid the happy and healthy life it deserves. Remember, a regular routine not only benefits your fish but also makes aquarium maintenance more manageable for you.

Aurora Cichlid Health Problems

Aurora Cichlids, like all fish, can suffer from various health problems. However, if you provide them with proper care and a suitable environment, you can minimize the risk of illness. Some common health issues you may encounter include:

  • Ich (White Spot Disease): This is a common parasitic infection seen in aquarium fish. Ich appears as tiny white spots on the fish’s body, gills, and fins. To treat Ich, gradually increase the water temperature to 86°F for 3-5 days and add a reliable medication like Malachite Green or Formalin.
  • Fin Rot: Caused by poor water conditions or bacterial infections, fin rot is a condition where the fins start to deteriorate and may display a white, frayed appearance. To prevent fin rot, maintain good water quality and treat with a broad-spectrum antibiotic if needed.
  • Bloat: Bloat is a dangerous condition that can affect any cichlid, including the Aurora Cichlid. It is often a result of overfeeding, improper diet, or ingestion of air. Symptoms include a swollen abdomen and difficulty swimming. To treat bloat, firstly, stop feeding for at least three days. Then, gradually reintroduce a nutritious diet, and consider using an anti-parasitic medication if necessary.
  • Skin Infections: Fish can develop different skin infections if the water quality is poor or when they undergo stress. Look out for ulcers, red patches, or fungal growth on the fish’s body. To treat skin infections, improve water quality and use appropriate medications as per the infection type.

Regular monitoring and maintaining a healthy environment are key factors in preventing these health problems. Performing regular water changes, feeding a balanced diet, and keeping an eye on tank conditions will go a long way in ensuring your Aurora Cichlids remain happy and healthy.

Aurora Cichlid Tank Mates

Choosing the right tank mates for your Aurora Cichlid is important to ensure a peaceful and healthy environment. Keep in mind that Aurora Cichlids can be territorial and may do best when housed with other tank mates of similar size and temperament.

Ideal Tank Mates for Aurora Cichlids:

  • Other African Cichlids: Labidochromis caeruleusPseudotropheus demasoni, and Cynotilapia afra are some species that can coexist better with Aurora Cichlids.
  • Catfish: Certain catfish species such as Synodontis can be a good match due to their hardy nature and compatibility with African Cichlids.
  • Plecos: Species like Bushy Nose Pleco often do well in an African Cichlid tank due to their heavy armor and ability to survive in the same water parameters.

Avoid adding smaller, peaceful fish like tetras or livebearers, as the aggressive nature of Aurora Cichlids may lead to them attacking these vulnerable tank mates. Stick with hardy, fast-swimming and territorial fish in the aquarium to minimize conflict.

In a sufficiently large and well-decorated tank, you can create hiding spots and establish territories, preventing stress and aggression among your fish. Regularly monitor their behavior, and be prepared to make adjustments if aggression becomes a problem.

Here’s how you can pick tank mates depending on aquarium size:

Aquarium Size Number of Tank Mates
40-55 gallons 10-12 compatible fish
55-75 gallons 12-15 compatible fish
75+ gallons 15+ compatible fish

Keep in mind that these numbers are rough estimates. Adjust accordingly to the size of your aquarium and the stocking density you feel comfortable with.

Selecting the appropriate tank mates for your Aurora Cichlid is essential for a thriving aquarium. Stick with other compatible African Cichlids, certain catfish, and plecos, and provide a spacious and well-structured aquarium to minimize potential problems.

Aurora Cichlid Breeding

Breeding Aurora Cichlids can be an exciting and rewarding experience for beginners. So, it’s important to create a suitable breeding environment in order to facilitate a successful spawning experience.

For starters, maintain a balanced male-to-female ratio in the tank. A recommendation is one male to three or four females. This helps prevent stress and aggression during the mating process.

When it’s time for breeding, raise the water temperature to around 79-80°F (26-27°C). This signals the spawning process to begin. In addition, ensure the water quality is pristine by testing and changing it regularly.

Aurora Cichlids are substrate spawners that lay their eggs on flat surfaces like rocks. So, make sure to include flat rocks or smooth surfaces at the bottom of the tank for this purpose. These surfaces can be placed at the center of the tank or in a secluded area where the fish feel comfortable.

During the spawning process, the male will perform a mating dance to entice the female. Once they select a suitable surface, the female will lay her eggs on the rocks, and the male will fertilize them.

Here’s a brief overview of the Aurora Cichlid breeding process:

  • Male-to-female ratio: 1:3 or 1:4
  • Preferred water temperature: 79-80°F (26-27°C)
  • Spawning type: Substrate spawner
  • Breeding Environments: Flat rocks or surfaces

Finally, once the eggs are fertilized, the female Aurora Cichlid will assume the responsibility of protecting and caring for them. She will guard the breeding site and even mouthbrood her eggs, ensuring their survival. After about 21 days, the eggs will hatch into fry, and the female cichlid will continue to provide care as they grow.


The Aurora Cichlid is a rewarding and fascinating fish for those who invest their time in proper care and maintenance. With this comprehensive beginner’s guide, you’ll be well on your way to establishing a thriving environment for your new aquatic pets.

We hope you found this guide helpful and informative, and we’d love to hear about your experiences with Aurora Cichlids in the comments below!

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