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Metriaclima estherae

Picture of Maylandia / Metriaclima estherae, male Picture of Maylandia / Metriaclima estherae, female
Photos © Sean Evans

Left: M. estherae, male , Right: M. estherae, female

Common name:Red zebra
Scientific name:Metriaclima estherae
Synonyms:Maylandia estherae, also previously known as Pseudotropheus estherae (old genus name).
Size:4-5" (10-12.5cm)
Origin:Lake Malawi, East Africa
Tank setup:A large tank (suggest 4ft/122cm plus) with many rock caves.
Compatibility:Combine with other mbuna species, a 'medium' aggression mbuna.
Temperature:23-28oC (73-82oF)
Water chemistry:Hard and alkaline: pH 7.6-8.6 ; GH 7 plus ; KH 10-12 ideally, but at least 5-6.
Feeding:An omnivore which normally feeds on aufwuchs and plankton. Include a vegetable component in the diet.
Sexing:Wild males are blue, while the female is normally orange (see photos). However, captive bred fish are now available where both sexes are an identical orange or blue colour (sometimes sold as "red/red" and "blue/blue" zebras). The males are then best distinguished by having larger and/or more numerous egg spots.
Breeding:Mouthbrooder, males will defend a spawning site around a cave.
Comments: The females of this species can be bright orange to a less intense yellow-orange colour. The females from around Minos Reef have the more intense colour. An orange blotch female also occurs. The males can be easily confused with the Cobalt Blue Zebra, M. callainos.

Due to a technicality with scientific naming conventions, there is still some debate as to whether Maylandia or Metriaclima is the valid name for this genus. Technically, the older name of Maylandia should become the accepted name, but some believe that omissions in the original description mean that the name is not valid, and Metriaclima is currently in more common usage.

See also the Malawi mbuna section for more detailed info on keeping and breeding the Malawi mbuna cichlids.


Malawi Cichlids Tanganyika Cichlids Dwarf Cichlids American Cichlids




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