Scientific Name: Pseudothropheus estherae
Male and female Red Zebra Cichlids show distinct sexual dimorphism. Although most wild-type males are powder blue in color, many captive-bred males are pastel orange. Females are bright orange, regardless of whether they have been captive-bred or wild-caught. By the time they are adults, Red Zebra Cichlids reach lengths between three and five inches (seven to 12 centimeters).
Water temperatures for Red Zebra Cichlids should remain around 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius) with a degree of hardness of about 22. The pH value should be about 8.1. Plenty of hiding places should be allowed; rock, driftwood, and live plants that your Cichlids cannot destroy, like Java Moss or Java Fern, may be good choices. Red Zebra Cichlids can sometimes be kept successfully with fish of similar size and temperament that are not African Cichlids; however, because of their sometimes highly aggressive nature and the optimum pH and salinity levels for African Cichlids, it is recommended that they only be kept in African Cichlid communities. Red Zebra Cichlids are primarily herbivorous and excessive protein in the diet is detrimental to these fish. Chopped zucchini, spinach, and peas should be offered and are particularly important to help your Cichlids maintain proper growth and color. Herbivore flakes and tablets are also available to supplement the diet. Vegetable matter should be the mainstay of the Red Zebra Cichlid's diet. Most will do well when fed once a week on protein sources such as glass worms, brine shrimp, live crickets, mealworms, frozen beef heart, daphnia, and plankton. Some people also offer live or frozen bloodworms, however, many people maintain that bloodworms can cause intestinal blockages in Cichlids and do not include these in their fish's diets.
Male Red Zebra Cichlids are usually identified by the presence of egg spots on their anal fins. The fish form pairs and mate monogamously, males attracting females by showing off their colors. Normally, healthy Red Zebra Cichlids can be bred fairly easily in captivity, so long as they are allowed plenty of space. Mouthbrooders, Red Zebra Cichlids should be well fed before they must undergo the incubation process. Normally, females holding eggs are transferred to a well-grown spawning tank and removed after they have released their eggs. The Red Zebra Cichlid fry are usually offered algal growths inside the spawning tank, on which they can feed.
Fresh water fish - usually swims at the lower and middle levels of its enclosure
The beautiful Red Zebra Cichlid can make enclosures beautiful and bright, particularly when kept in male-female pairs. The contrast in the colorations of the sexes can be quite pleasing for many freshwater aquarists.
The Red Zebra Cichlid usually swims at the lower and middle levels of its enclosure. It is territorial, but is fairly peaceful, particularly when compared to other Cichlids. Other, similarly sized fish with similar temperaments can make good choices for Red Zebra Cichlid companions. However, some people have reported that their Red Zebra Cichlids are indeed fairly aggressive. Temperament seems to depend largely on the individual fish.
Red Zebra Cichlids are native to Africa's Lake Malawi. They have become popular in captivity, although their coloration has been modified. Now, orange colorations have appeared in males in addition to the wild-type blue coloration.