Regardless, the species is still very much sensitive to sudden change in water quality. Normally, in between water changes, try not to alter the hardness level and pH too drastically or they will show signs and effect of lethargy and losing their appetite. A good general guide is to control the water hardness at about 8 to 10 dGH while the alkaline level should be around 7.2 to 8.0 unit. For better understanding on the hardness requirement, refer to the water hardness table which will indicate on the level that you are having. Your pet will produce a lot of waste if you constantly feed them and accumulation of these materials will also alter the pH. I would suggest getting a good aquarium filtration system in place and constantly monitor and do water changes periodically.
There are different types of peacock cichlids being sold in the market although most of these that you will find are generally hybrids produced by cross-breeding. Nowadays it is very rare to find pure bred peacocks that still maintain the original strain and natural lines similar to those that your could still find in their wild habitat. Few of the most common types that you will normally come across are sunshine peacock cichlid, the sunburst variant and also the blue (electric blue) peacocks. Comparing among all of them, the most popular is usually the sunshine type because being the prettier ones with having vivid and striking colors; they usually attract the most attention of the aquarium hobbyist.
Studying the peacock’s normal behavior is very interesting and is an important step towards your decision to establish a single species community tank. Males can sometimes show aggression towards each other especially when the males outnumber the females and there exist a competition to find their partners during mating season. There are times that even with different gender of the fish in existence living in the same aquarium, one of them is bound to exert its dominance towards the other fish and thus getting at least 100-gallon aquarium to house 3 – 4 of these fish should be the minimum requirement. Normally the most sensible thing is to have a male together with the presence of two females in its company.
Identifying whether your peacock fish is a male or female should be rather straightforward as only the males have bright and attractive coloration. If your intention is to set up an aquarium with only the males present and you do want a dull looking fish, then the appropriate thing to do is to buy them in a group when all of them are young. Establish a tank with lots of live plants in it, complete with rocks, caves and driftwood if possible and the bottom layer should be filled with fine sands. There are even attempts to mix the peacock cichlids with mbuna in the same aquarium and the results somehow varies with some reporting that theirs are fine while others are less fortunate and ended up different species fighting each other.
These days the aquaculture industry is booming especially in Asia with demands for different types of cichlids commanding a very good price for a fine specimen. The peacocks fish definitely fit into this criteria as it serves not only just a hobby but also for those with interest to take it further and venture into this field.