Malawi Golden Cichlid (Melanochromis auratus)

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Malawi Golden Cichlid

Male Malawi Golden Cichlid

Melanochromis auratus

170 Litres (45 US G.)

7.6-10.2cm (3-4 ")




7.5 - 8.5

22 -26 °C (71.6-78.8°F)

15-20 °d

1:3 M:F

Pellet Foods
Flake Foods
Live Foods

5-8 years



Additional names

Auratus, Malawi Golden Cichlid, Golden Mbuna

Additional scientific names

Chromis aurata, Chromis auratus, Pseudotropheus auratus, Tilapia aurata


Endemic to Lake Malawi.


The male and female Auratus have completely different colouration. The female is slightly smaller and her body is a golden yellow with black/brown lateral stripes which are bordered in white. The fins are also yellow. The mature male's body is black/brown in colour with a yellow stripe running the length of the body. The top of his body is a mustard colour which is followed up through the dorsal fin.
It must be noted that this fish has the capability of changing sex, in an environment devoid of males, a female will switch sex. It's less common for males to switch to female.

Tank compatibility[edit]

An aggressive fish, keep this fish in an African Cichlid set up only. Recommend having 1 male to every 3 females.


Will take most foods including pellet, flake and live/frozen foods. The Auratus will also graze on algae and supplementing their diet with spirulina is beneficial.

Feeding regime[edit]

Feed once or twice a day.

Environment specifics[edit]

Prefers rockwork décor with hiding places. Does best in hard alkaline water. Good substrate choices could be Dolomite or crushed coral to aid in buffering the water.


An aggressive and territorial fish.


See sexing. The fish is fairly elongated with the anal and dorsal fins being fairly rounded, whereas the caudal fin is more triangular.


External links[edit]