Red Zebra (mbuna)
|Red Zebra Cichlid|
|An eight months old Male Red Zebra Cichlid of 3+ inches|
The Red Zebra, or Esther Grant's Zebra, (Maylandia estherae or Metriaclima estherae) is a Pseudotrophine cichlid. It is a rock dwelling fish, or mbuna, from Lake Malawi. This fish, like most cichlids from Lake Malawi, is a mouthbrooder—females hold their fertilized eggs, then fry, in their mouth until they are released after about 21 days.
The genus name for this fish was once Pseudotropheus but that name is now restricted to different fish. The current genus name is currently disputed, with some most authorities using Maylandia and others using Metriaclima.
Females can grow up to 10 cm (4 in) while males will grow up to 12.7 cm (5 in).
Despite their "red zebra" name, these fish are most commonly solid orange, but they are sexually dimorphic, the males sometimes having reddish stripes.
The males are territorial, and subordinate males will be picked on by the dominant or alpha male. Like the other cichlids of this genus, they are best kept in tanks harems with one male to many females. Like any cichlid you must put many other mbuna cichlids preferably 15. You should get 75-100 gallon tanks. They prefer a rocky terrain providing numerous hiding places, where weaker fish can find necessary shelter. They also arrange pebbles more often than other aquarium fish which should be smooth to avoid injury to their mouths, in an effort to build a “dwelling”. Their predominate food source is algae though those in aquaria will take typical cichlid foods and some vegetable greens as a treat. Do not feed them live foods or they will bloat which may prove fatal (do not feed high protein foods as they grow very fast anyway). pH 7.5-8.5, hard 150–200 mg/l, temp. 72-79 F (22-26 C).
- Kasembe, J. 2006. Maylandia estherae. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 24 April 2013.
- Smith, M. (2000). Lake Malawi Cichlids. Barron's Educational Series. p. 41. ISBN 0-7641-1525-1.
- Smith, P. "Evolution of Lake Malawi Cichlid Fishes". p. 40. Retrieved 2009-02-20.
- Harrington, B. "Metriaclima estherae". Retrieved 2009-02-20.