Red Zebra Mbuna (Maylandia estherae)

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Red Zebra Mbuna

Metriaclima estherae-4960.jpg
Red Zebra Mbuna

Maylandia estherae

208 Litres (55 US G.)

7-8 cm (2.8-3.1")




7.5 - 8.0

22 -25 °C (71.6-77°F)

9-19 °d

1:1 M:F

Pellet Foods
Flake Foods
Other (See article)

5-8 years



Additional names

Red Zebra Mbuna, Ice Blue Zebra, Cherry Red Cichlid, Orange Blotch Cichlid

Additional scientific names

Metriaclima estherae, Pseudotropheus estherae


Dimorphic, Females are lighter colour of orange than males. Blue variants of the males are also present.


Maternal mouthbrooder. The female releases the eggs and also hurries to collect the eggs in her mouth, the male has eggs spots in its anal fin to confuse the female to thinking that they are also eggs and hoodwinks the female to collect the sperm in its mouth and fertilization happens in the mouth. Eggs hatch and the fry are reared in the mother's mouth.
Female holds for 21-28 days after which the fry are released.

Tank compatibility[edit]

These should be kept in a harem of 1 male to 3-4 females. Males will be territorial to one another, but arguments rarely involve any serious injuries. They should be considered mid-tempered compared to other Mbuna. Can be kept with other similar-tempered Mbuna, but avoid other similar-shaped "Zebra" species, such as Maylandia callainos or Labidochromis caeruleus, as they can hybridise which is undesirable.


Will graze on algae. Also can be noted as an Omnivore. Do not give too much protein as the Mbuna are mostly vegetarians and too much protein can cause Malawi Bloat or other problems.

Feeding regime[edit]

Feed like any other Mbuna. Most people find success in twice a day but only as much as they can eat in two minutes.

Environment specifics[edit]

These are rock dwelling fish and do best in any rocky habitat. The more caves or hiding places the better. Sand substrate is also preferred as they like to dig their homes out.


A mid-tempered territorial Mbuna Cichlid.


A relatively short bodied Mbuna Cichlid which can vary in colour morphs depending on their origin in Lake Malawi. While typically both males and females are orange-yellow in colour, a blue morph of the male is also found (typically those collected from the Minos Reef area of Lake Malawi). They are are a bright blue colour, with a hint of barring. There is also a third variant known as "Orange Blotched", these are rare in the wild but popular in the pet trade, they are mottled in colour and both male and females are found with this colour pattern.


External links[edit]