Red Zebra Mbuna

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(7 Reviews)

Species group:

Other common names: Orange Zebra; Cherry Zebra

Scientific name: Metriaclima estherae

The basics:

The Red Zebra Mbuna is a beautiful Lake Malawi Cichlid. In the wild, males typically are a bright powder blue, while females are orange. However, captive bred fish are available in which males and females can be either orange or blue. This fish has the typical Mbuna shape of a stocky body. The other characteristic feature is of a short forehead and a mouth with fleshy lips. There are also distinct spots on the anal fin which vary in number depending on the gender of the fish.

4-5 inches

Like other African Cichlids, male Red Zebra Mbunas are territorial and aggressive. These fish should be kept with other mildly aggressive Mbuna cichlid species. The Red Zebra Mbuna are aggressive by nature. Males display aggressive tendencies towards each other largely due to territorial disputes. A single male can be kept with two or more females to prevent females from being harassed for breeding. In a community tank, Red Zebra Mbunas can be kept with other similar sized fish; smaller ones tend to be bullied.

These fish require a tank with a minimum capacity of 30 gallons. The base of the tank should be layered with a fine coral-like substrate in order to maintain alkaline conditions. Rocks and caves provide hiding places. A cover of floating plants will keep the lighting in the tank dim. Too many plants in the tank it will minimize the available swimming area. These fish can be found swimming at all levels in the tank.

76.00-84.00 °F


35.700-85.700 mg/L


great personality, lovely orange colour, entertaining, appetite, vibrant colored fish, lively cichlids


bloat, temperamental fish, territorial behaviour, moderately aggressive cichlids


rock ‘reef, odd numbers, careful pairing, standard cichlid pellet

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