I have a red zebra in a 100 liter tank with 3 other compatible species and a pleco. When I first introduced him to the tank, he went after the other fish but he has since calmed down. I agree with other owners in that he is an aggressor, but he has personality and does not injure any of my other fish, just chases them occassionally. About a month ago, I tried getting a crayfish as a scavenger for the tank, considering how high-pH catfish are hard to come by, all the Syno-cats I have seen are all too big, and because my pleco's sucker mouth is not accustomed to picking through the substrate. The crayfish and my red zebra checked each other out and often swam facing each other as if to incite a fight. Luckily, their conflicts were not serious and my crayfish got to its first molting with me.
About 2 years ago, I started with a pair of red zebras, and very quickly did I learn it was a male and a female. Immediately, the female had a mouthful of babies! I put her in a separate tank so that I could study her...27 babies! She carried them in her mouth for about 1-2 weeks. Shortly after, I returned the female to my large tank of different cichlids, and within a few weeks she had another mouthful! I have learned the females are all orange, most easily seen on the dots on their tails. The males have very light blue dots on theirs tails and in their fins. My second group of babies have grown up together with their mother, and now 2 months later, one of the females "is expecting"!
For all the red zebra fans, about determining their sex. In the wild, the males are always blue, the females are orange or so-called red. In captivity, some wild males go from blue to red. I don't have a clue why this is so, possibly to conceal their genders for safety reasons. Visual identity is not 100%, but the more brilliant egg spots on males seems to be a good indicator. But again, females can have egg spots too. Best bet is to obtain a good group of them, and you will almost certainly have both sexes.
Regarding scavenger fish for a Zebra cichlid tank, I have had great luck with Skunk Botias. The cichlids will occasionally chase them and vice-versa! It has been 6 years now and the botias are still fine, while several other cichlids have been lost to fighting.
The Red Zebra is a nice fish to add to your collection of African Cichlids. I have a breeding pair in a 200 L tank with crushed coral and lava rocks. Also in my tank are 3 other large blue Zebras, 2 Auratus, a bunch of Tanganyikan Shell Dwellers, 8 electric Yellows (2 breeding pairs) and last but not least a pleco. Right now my female Red Zebra is in my 40 L holding tank because she had eggs in her mouth. Whenever she gets eggs, I separate her so the babies can survive. Other than all that it's a nice fish.
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