Aulonocara hueseri

Aulonocara hueseri can grow up to 14 centimetres long in the aquarium. They often dive with their heads into the sand in search of something to eat.

Aulonocara hueseri

Aulonocara hueseri is a cichlid species that is found in Lake Malawi in Africa. The species was first described by Meyer, Riehl & Zetzsche in 1987.

The species name hueseri is in honour of Mr Eberhard Hüser from Germany. A breeder of many Apistogramma varieties.


The Aulonocara are cichlids with a fairly high back, the side of which is moderately flattened. Special for the Aulonocara are clearly visible grooves in the head. Presumably, there are sensory organs that help the fish detect food. These grooves run up from the corner of the mouth to the top edge of the gill cover. The eyes of the Aulonocara are very large. Older male’s foreheads are sunken. The dorsal fin consists of 15 to 16 hard fin rays and 10 to 11 soft fin rays. The rear part of these fins is rounded and the caudal fin is slightly forked. The dominant male shows the most beautiful splendour and is bright blue with vertical stripes and a yellow belly. The females and less dominant males are less spectacular in color.

The females of this species grow to about 10 centimetres. The males grow considerably larger with a maximum of 14 centimetres. In the wild, the males also grow to only 10 centimetres, due to limited food availability.


Aulonocara hueseri is found in Lake Malawi, near Likoma, Domwe, Thumbi West, Monkey Bay and Nkhata Bay.


In the wild, the Aulonocara searches for food in the sandy soil. They hang very still above the sand, to “hear” whether there are any invertebrates in it. Then they take a large bite of sand, which they sift through their gills. The food then remains in their mouth.

In the aquarium, they are easy eaters, who usually eat everything they are offered. Examples are flakes, granules, brine shrimp, Mysis, shrimp mixes, etc.

The Aquarium

The fish can be kept together with the larger Utaka, but it is not recommended to put them with the busier Mbunas as that will wither the Aulonocara.

Provide enough hiding places in the form of rocks with holes in between. A sandy bottom is required because the Aulonocara is looking for food in the sand.

An ideal male to female ratio in the aquarium is one male per 2 or 3 females.


The mating behaviour of the Aulonocara is similar to that of the Pseudotropheus. After a temperamental courtship, the female deposits her eggs and takes them directly into the mouth. The eggs are fertilized in the female’s mouth. The number of eggs, as with most specialized mouthbrooders, usually does not exceed 35 and they hatch after about 3 weeks. During breeding the female does not eat. After releasing the fry, they have to take care of themselves. you can feed the fry crushed flakes and newly hatched brine shrimp.



Pascal Fernhout-Klomp

Jacob, U. (1981). Aulonocara. In G. Sterba, Encyclopedie van de aquaristiek en ichtyologie (p. 74). Amsterdam: H.J.W. Becht’s Uitgeversmaatschappij.

Copyright images

Pete Barnes
Aqua-Treff.deAqua-Treff Facebook

Additional information








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