Like their land dwelling counterpart, Red Peacock Cichlids are brilliant and beautiful. Also like the bird, it is the mature male that displays this beauty, while the females and young males remain plain. They are as mild as they are attractive and very easy to breed, making the Red Peacock Cichlid a very popular choice for pets.
The biology of the Red Peacock Cichlid gives them the ability to sense prey without seeing it. This is important since it hunts in the dark, relying only on its senses for food. As the fish senses food it will bite into the sand and then filter the sand out of its mouth while retaining the microbes for sustenance. It really is a rather remarkable design and is intriguing to witness.
Unfortunately, most Red Peacock Cichlid owners will not have the opportunity to witness their hunting as they do not hunt this way in most aquariums. The reason is that they are given their food a set times during the day and it is much easier to just eat the food your given as opposed to hunting for it when you are hungry. Occasionally, it may go sand diving for wayward food particles, but that will be rarity if you are feeding regularly. These cichlids are not particularly choosy about their food and can be sustained on a diet of mostly flakes and pellets, though it is a good idea to occasionally offer fresh foods as well.
You can encourage the Red Peacock cichlid to breed and spawn in your aquarium, but must provide plenty of rocks in its environment to help it feel safe. You may also use clay pots, but be sure to provide ample hiding spaces. To encourage spawning to the highest degree you will want to replicate the Red Peacock cichlids nature environment as closely as possible in your aquarium. They do not eat plants, but may uproot them, so be sure to secure any tank vegetation.
In closing, I am going to share my number one tip for raising happy Red Peacock cichlids: replicate their natural environment. In fact, this tip will work for any fish you place in your aquarium. If you can reproduce their natural habitat in your aquarium including decorations, water chemistry and food, then you will have some very happy fish on your hands. It can be tricky to get this right, but as long as you do your research and mimic the natural conditions as best you can you will be alright.