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Pseudotropheus estherae
Red Zebra Cichlid

 Age of Aquariums > Freshwater Fish > Red Zebra Cichlid - Pseudotropheus estherae

Photos & Comments

redzebra1.jpg (18kb)
Photo Credit: Alexandra Ellwood

I really like the fish with this name. However, mine is a completely different colour - the male is a glorious powder blue and the females are orange with the odd black blotch. He's feisty but not in a hyperdominant way ,i.e., keeps to himself but won't back down if attacked. Not too hard on the females but should only be kept with other mbuna. Eats anything, especially chopped peas which I feed a lot to mbuna.

Contributed by Matthew Simmons

I noticed somebody posting that he couldn’t tell male from female with this species. With several Zebras it is generally more difficult to differentiate sexes as both sport numerous bright egg spots. With Esthrae sexing should not be a big problem so long as the specimens have not been products of 'so-so' or totally spontaneous breeding programs. The wild caught form of P. estherae has a powder blue male and a bright orange female (not a subtle ‘shine’ but both are darkly covered by respective color). Unfortunately it is an early imported species and has been bred, bred-again, and over bred. The 'cheap version' of the Esthrae can be sexed by colour intensity. The male should be light orange to white while the female should be dark (yes the male will be lighter, this is only because he has lost his blue). A few years ago some wild caught specimens came in, they where quickly snatched up and bred. Since then it has been possible to purchase F1, F2 and even further generations that showed the blue males and orange females ('F' numbers refer to generations since wild caught - F0 is the original wild caught breeder and F1 are its offspring and so on). They make awesome additions to any community tank as you can keep a male and female that will both provide contrasting and intense colouration; unlike other species where the male will shine while the female will simply take up space without adding colour.

Contributed by Ben Hilleli

I read the earlier post concerning feeding. I have had tremendous luck with spirulina with P.D.P. (Pre-Digested Plankton). Feeding them anything else runs the risk of Malawian Bloat. (They have loooong digestive tracts) I feed Brine shrimp only every two weeks or so. Maximize these fish and feed them according to the habitat prescribed.

Contributed by Steve

The Dallas World Aquarium lost a huge tank of African Cichlids (specifically Lake Malawi Cichlids) to a really silly mistake - they gave them waaaay too much protein in the form of bloodworms and brine shrimp etc. That's *all* they fed them. They suffered as another user on this page described, and then almost all of them died. Most Malawi species are not primarilly carnivorous but rather herbivorous. They like the occassional (i.e. once a week) treat of bloodworms or brine shrimp, but usually should have a plant-based diet. My Red Zebras (4 regular, 2 albinos) live in a 230 liter malawi tank with a half dozen other species, and they are by far the most active reproducers. I'm on my third batch of fry now. Funny thing, those mouth-brooders, the way the mother carries them in her swollen jaw for weeks on end. I catch the mother about a week before she spits and I put her in a 40 liter tank that has a little bit of micro sword growing here and there, a bit of fluffy algae growing in a few spots, also inhabited by 3 plecos, which I never have to feed. That tank is almost completely self-sustaining when the babies aren't in there. I just take out 5-10 liters and top it back off periodically. As far as feeding your cichlids HOT DOGS by all means don't do that! I've read articles by researches and scientists in the field that fish cannot process the fat from land animals for whatever reason and it is really bad for them long-term. Even if you have "all-beef" dogs, it's still gotta have a lot of fat in them. Just like you shouldn't feed them beef hearts, no hot dogs (i.e. waste-meat!). My fish eat better than I do!

Contributed by Dante

Zebras can be an aggresive fish at times and my group of zebras will often pick on the weaker fish in the tank. My smallest female was killed this way and they began harrasing my medium sized convict (quite a bit bigger than them) when he was being attacked by the larger convict. My zebras are very interesting as they make caves and try to attract females by "shimmering" and showing off their colours, I often see the males jaw wrestle even with the females, available in a large variety of colours.

Contributed by (no name given)

Males of this species can be two colors, either the traditional orange coloration or the less seen blue color morph.

Contributed by Richard Zalerpa

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