Blue Orchid – Kandee Peacock Cichlid


Behold the captivating beauty of the Aulonocara Kandeense, or Kandee Peacock, a Blue Orchid Peacock Cichlid from Lake Malawi’s Kande Island, flaunting a spectacular blend of blues and a sun-kissed yellow fin.

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( 1.25" )

Stage 0 - No Color Yet

32 in stock

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Stage 0 - No Color Yet
Juvenile 1.25"
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The Discovery and Splendor of Aulonocara Kandeense (Blue Orchid Peacock Cichlid)

Unveiling the Blue Orchid

The Aulonocara Kandeense, or Blue Orchid Peacock Cichlid, is not just another beautiful face in the underwater world of Lake Malawi. Discovered off the shores of Kande Island, this fish immediately captured the hearts of aquarists and scientists alike. Its discovery by Patrick Tawil and Robert Allgayer in 1988 marked a significant addition to the known diversity of the Aulonocara genus. The specific epithet ‘kandeense’ pays homage to its place of origin, reflecting the unique environmental blueprint that shaped its evolution.

A Name Etched in History

The naming of Aulonocara Kandeense carries a story within itself, ‘kandeense’ meaning “from/belonging to Kande,” a direct nod to the picturesque Kande Island. This region’s seclusion and pristine conditions have allowed the Blue Orchid to flourish, exhibiting vibrant colors that rival the beauty of its floral namesake. The common name “Candy Peacock,” a playful pun on “eye candy,” references both its alluring appearance and its locale—a true gem among the peacock cichlids.

Taxonomic Journey

The Aulonocara Kandeense has undergone a fascinating taxonomic journey since its initial classification. Initially dubbed Aulonocara maylandi kandeensis, it was later given its own standalone status within the Aulonocara genus by Ad Konings in 1989. This shift underscores the unique traits and independent lineage of the Kandeense variant.

Understanding Aulonocara: A Genus of Vibrant Cichlids

The Aulonocara genus, to which the Blue Orchid belongs, is composed of a group of cichlids colloquially known as peacock cichlids. These fish are revered for their incredible array of colors and peaceful demeanor. Native to the unique ecosystem of Lake Malawi, the Aulonocara species play a pivotal role in the aquatic tapestry of the region, displaying a variety of behaviors and interactions that are a marvel to observe.

In The Wild: Behavior and Regional Significance of the Blue Orchid

A Glimpse of Kande Island

Kande Island, the birthplace of the Aulonocara Kandeense, is a haven for a multitude of cichlid species. The Blue Orchid is an intermediate biotope species, typically found foraging over sand close to rocks, where the males also establish their territories. The island’s geography provides a sheltered environment for these cichlids, with breeding males often occupying a depth of around 8 meters.

Co-Inhabitants of Kande Island

The Blue Orchid shares its native waters with several other species, contributing to the rich biodiversity of Kande Island. Some notable co-inhabitants include:

  • Aulonocara stuartgranti
  • Buccochromis lepturus
  • Copadichromis borleyi
  • Lethrinops albus
  • Metriaclima zebra
  • Pseudotropheus livingstonii

Each species brings its own unique behaviors and interactions to the underwater landscape, making Kande Island a microcosm of Lake Malawi’s broader ecological dynamics.

Captivity Care: Breeding, Diet, and Aquaristics of Aulonocara Kandeense

Aulonocara in the Aquarium

In the aquarium, Aulonocara Kandeense requires conditions that mimic the natural waters of Lake Malawi. Maintaining a pH level between 7.0 and 8.5 and temperature ranges from 23 to 28°C is essential for their well-being. A sandy substrate with ample rock formations allows the Blue Orchid to exhibit natural behaviors and provides the necessary structure for territory establishment.

Breeding Behaviors

The breeding behavior of Aulonocara Kandeense follows the fascinating patterns seen in the wild. Males show off their brightest colors to attract females and guard their selected spawning sites within the rocky caves diligently.

Feeding the Blue Orchid

In terms of diet, the Blue Orchid Peacock Cichlid feeds on small insect larvae and crustaceans in the wild, sifting through the sand to “listen” for prey movements. In captivity, their diet can be replicated with high-quality cichlid pellets, supplemented with live or frozen foods like brine shrimp or daphnia to encourage natural foraging behaviors.

The Aulonocara Kandeense (Blue Orchid Peacock Cichlid) is a testament to the wonders of aquatic life in Lake Malawi. From its discovery to its presence in home aquariums, the Blue Orchid continues to be a source of fascination and joy for enthusiasts around the world.

General Information & Care

Additional Information & Care

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