Red Zebra (mbuna)

Red Zebra (mbuna)
Red Zebra Cichlid
A Red Zebra in an aquarium
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Cichlidae
Subfamily: Pseudocrenilabrinae
Genus: Maylandia
Species: M. estherae
Binomial name
Maylandia estherae
(Konings, 1995)

Metriaclima estherae

Pseudotropheus estherae

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 authorities using Maylandia and others using Metriaclima.[1][2][3]

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.

Aquarium care

Male with egg spots

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. 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.

See also


  1. ^ Smith, M. (2000). Lake Malawi Cichlids. Barron's Educational Series. p. 41. ISBN 0764115251. 
  2. ^ Smith, P.. "Evolution of Lake Malawi Cichlid Fishes". p. 40. Retrieved 2009-02-20. 
  3. ^ Harrington, B.. "Metriaclima estherae". Retrieved 2009-02-20. 

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