mmm, I have some mixed feelings about these fish. First of all, I love the photographs. Very nice, whole fish in focus, nicely uniform black background in some!
About my mixed feelings: the fish are certainly very colourfull and look healthy. Apart from that, I feel that they represent the first stages of "exhibition-domestication" of Aulonocara. With "exhibition-domestication" I mean the process of artificial selection that is driven by animal exhibitions. On an exhibition it does not pay off to show a wild-type animal, because individual variation between wild-type members of a species is naturally limited. You can show a very rare species, but as soon as more individuals of a species are shown, it is hard to stand out with an "average" individual. So, naturally, breeders start to select "outstanding individuals". Over generations, this inevitably alters the appearance of a species. We all know where it can go: just look at those strange goldfish mutations, at any dogshow, birdshow or whatever show of domestic animals. In some cases the resulting animals clearly suffer from their abnormal appearance (think about dogs with breathing problems, goldfish that can hardly swim) although an optimised husbandry partially compensates for this.
The question is if this is really what we want. My feeling is that it should not be. I believe that it is very important to set limits. I don't see any serious welfare or health problem in a "outstandingly shiny coloured fish", but I see a problem once the body shape is altered. Are these fish the first step towards "red-parrot-Aulonocara"? I certainly hope not. Here is a task for judges at exhibitions. These judges generally know the species very well. I think that they should not award any points to any fish (or other animal!) that has a body shape, or fin length, which is clearly different from the wild type of the species (or genus, in this case). Even colour variations should be rewarded only as long as they don't affect the welfare of the fish.
Back to these fish. I wonder about the following (I am not an expert on Aulonocara): they are probably a lot larger than a wild type ancestral fish. I would like to know if they are also more agressive and if a larger size means that it is more difficult to keep them with other fish (or if they require a much larger aquarium). Also, since they are obviously hybrids: are there any problems with fertility and with partner recognition? Is it more difficult to breed with such fish (which could give an indication of the abovementioned problems)?
As long as animal exhibitions exist and extra points are awarded to "outstanding animals", some parts of "exhibition-domestcation" are inevitable. I personally prefer wild-type animals (including fish), but realize that many of these are just as much selected under aquarium circumstances. They may appear more wild-type-like, but are they really? However, catching all our fish in the wild forever is also undesirable, because that would mean an unacceptable exploitation of many wild populations.
And please, please, lets also try to keep some pure species and don't mix them all with these exhibition-hybrids. Both the pure, wild-type species and these hybrids obviously have their fans and breeders. And although I prefer wild-type fish in my own aquariums, I can also admire the bright colours of these fish that makes them look like living works of art, which deserve to be photographed by someone who onderstands how to photograph a fish. Thanks for showing the pictures!