The Auratus Cichlid Resource

Auratus Cichlid

Auratus Cichlid“Auratus Cichlid” is the common name for the Labidochromis Caeruleus species.

Adult size: 3-4 inches
Minimum tank size: 50 gallon
pH: 7.7-8.6
Temperature: 73-82°F (23-28°C)
Decor: Rocks, Driftwood, and Plants
Substrate: Sand
Lighting: 8-10 hrs/day
Diet: Herbivore

How To Keep Them
How To Breed Them
Other Information


How to Keep Auratus Cichlids


If you adopt Auratus Cichlids from a contaminated source, your aquarium may become infected. As a result, you need to ensure you only adopt ones that are kept in a healthy environment.

They can be adopted from:

Before adopting them, understand:

  • Auratus Cichlids have an average life expectancy of 4-6 years.
  • Auratus Cichlids may be identified under the common names of: Golden Mbuna, Golden cichlid, Malawi Golden Cichlid, and Golden Pseudotropheus

Tank Requirements

• Tank Size & Population Density

If your Auratus Cichlids are in an aquarium that is overstocked, they will become stressed – weakening their immune systems – causing them to be more prone to diseases, and they won’t grow to their appropriate size. As a result, you need to follow the rule of one inch of fish per gallon of water, but keep in mind:

  • Auratus Cichlids must be kept in at least a 50 gallon aquarium.
  • Auratus Cichlids eventually grow to be 3-4 inches long.

How do I setup a fish tank? (Opens new tab)
How do I determine the size of my aquarium? (Opens new tab)

• Canopy & Lighting

The canopy of your aquarium ensures:

  • Your fish don’t jump out of your aquarium.
  • No contaminates enter your aquarium.

As a result, equip your aquarium with a canopy that completely covers it.

As far as lighting goes, if you want your Auratus Cichlids to be most comfortable, the amount of light they get needs to mimic the amount of sunlight they receive in their natural habitat. The amount of time you should leave their aquarium’s lights on to achieve this varies. If it’s in a room that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight, you should turn their lights on during sunlight hours. However, if it’s is in a well-lit room, then 2-3 hours per day is all that is necessary.

Decor & Substrate

When keeping Auratus Cichlids, they will thrive if you decorate their aquarium with decor and substrate that mimics their natural habitat.

The natural decor for them consists mainly of rocks, so you should add plenty of them to their aquarium. In addition, you can also add decorative pieces such as driftwood and plants. When arranging these things though, you need to ensure you:

  • Place the decor so that it creates plenty of caves and hiding places.
  • Place the decor in a fashion that allows you to see them – don’t create a barrier for them to hide behind.

The natural substrate for them is sand so, you should fill their aquarium with it. With that being said though, gravel is still a suitable option for them. In either case, you need to ensure you:

  • Clean their substrate beforehand. Otherwise, the residue that is on it will make their aquarium cloudy.
  • Fill their aquarium with at least 2 inches of substrate.

Water Parameters

If the water in your Auratus Cichlids’ aquarium doesn’t reflect that of their natural habitat, they can become stressed – weakening their immune systems – causing them to be more prone to diseases. As a result, you need to ensure their aquarium has a pH level of 7.7-8.6 and a temperature of 73-82°F (23-28°C).

• pH
pH can be measured by using a Freshwater Master Test Kit. If you measure your water’s pH level and it needs to be altered: remove your fish, adjust the pH, then acclimate your fish back into your aquarium – since they are sensitive to drastic changes of pH.

• Temperature
To measure your aquarium’s water temperature, equip your aquarium with an aquarium thermometer.

Ammonia, Nitrites, & Nitrates

The subject of Ammonia, Nitrites, and Nitrates tends to be very dry. In its simplest form, they are all a byproduct of fish waste (fish poop & uneaten food) and are toxic to Auratus Cichlids. As a result, you need to ensure their aquarium has:

  • An Ammonia concentration of 0-0.2 mg/L.
  • A Nitrite concentration of 0-0.2 mg/L.
  • A Nitrate concentration of 0-20 mg/L.

If you need to test these concentrations, use a Freshwater Master Test Kit.

If you need to reduce these concentrations, ensure proper:


Auratus Cichlids are omnivores, but they are tend to be very herbivorous in nature, so their diet regimen should consist of plenty of vegetables and a small amount of protein

They should be fed twice per day – for a total of 14 feedings per week. For a majority of the feedings, they should be fed a staple food consisting of either flakes or pellets. For the other feedings, they should be fed special foods.

During each feeding, they should be fed as much food as they can eat in 2 minutes. The exact foods they should be fed varies, depending on their size:

Of course, this is just our feeding method. You are more than welcome to design your own diet regimen for your Auratus Cichlids. In either case though, ensure you:

Health Issues

Auratus Cichlids are most-commonly affected by Ich or Malawi Bloat.

Tank Mates

Auratus Cichlids can be kept solo or with other fish. If they are kept with other Auratus Cichlids, it’s best to have a ratio of 1 male to at least 2 females. Maintaining this ratio will help minimize the male’s aggression towards the females.

Auratus cichlids are quite aggressive, so, they should only be kept with other aggressive fish. When choosing tank mates for Auratus Cichlids, always ensure the species you keep with them with are compatible. To determine if they are, use this Compatibility Chart.


How to Breed Auratus Cichlids

Reproduction Process

The reproduction process of Auratus Cichlids begins after 6 months of life. First, the male digs a pit in the sand or claims ownership over a flat surface. After this is done, the male moves his fins in a seductive manner to attract a potential mate. As a female approaches, he’ll continue the dance. Then, if the female is interested, she’ll shimmy her body too.

After their dance is done, the female will lay a batch of 10-30 eggs in the pit of sand or flat surface that the male has provided while immediately picking them up in her mouth afterwards. Just as she does this, the male will flair his anal fin’s egg spot. In doing so, the female mistakenly believes she missed some eggs so she grabs the male’s anal fin with her mouth. When this happens, she stimulates the male to release a cloud of sperm into her mouth which officially fertilizes the eggs.

The fertilized eggs will stay in the female’s mouth for about three weeks – or until the fry are free-swimming. During this time, it’s not common for the female to eat anything as she does not want to swallow any of her eggs/fry.

After the three weeks are over, the fry are released from the mother’s mouth and are ready to compete on their own. The only time the mother will ever take all the fry back into her mouth after this point is if there is danger near.

Our Recommended Breeding Technique

Required Aquariums:

  • 75 gallon (breeder)
  • 10 gallon (grow-out)


  • Keep 1 male and 6-8 females in a 75 gallon aquarium and provide them with an appropriate aquarium setting. Make sure the aquarium has plenty of flat rocks, this will make it easier for them to breed.
  • After the reproduction process occurs, wait 3 days to ensure the eggs are fertilized. Then, transfer the female to a Breeding Net that is inside the aquarium. However, if you have a female who is a poor holder, strip her of her eggs 3-5 days after she begins holding them in her mouth. Then, place the eggs in an Egg Tumbler inside a 10 gallon aquarium.
  • Once the female has spit out the fry, transfer the fry to a 10 gallon aquarium. The growout aquarium should not have any decorations or substrate, this makes it easier for the baby fry to eat. It should also have a sponge filter so they don’t get sucked up.
  • Let the female recover in the Breeding Net for 7-10 days. Then, transfer the female from the Breeding Net to the aquarium to start the process over again.
  • In the early stages, it is best to feed the fry New Life Spectrum Small Fry Starter.


Other Information About Auratus Cichlids


Auratus Cichlids are an mbuna cichlid. They have been a part of the aquarium hobby for quite some time. They’re natural habitat consists of the rocky shores of Lake Malawi, Africa.  They can be seen in groups of 8-10, where the dominant male will take on the black male coloration. As for the subdominant males and females, they will all take on the female gold with black stripes coloration.

Conservation Status

The Conservation Status of Auratus Cichlids was most recently published in 2006 as Least Concern, according to the IUCN.

Taxonomic Status

The Taxonomic Status of Auratus Cichlids was most recently published in 1897 by George Albert Boulenger as the following:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Cichlidae
Genus: Melanochromis
Species: M. Auratus


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