The zebra cichlids of Lake Malawi were among the first cichlids to come to us from this great lake in the 1960s. At that time they caused real enthusiasm storms. Aquarists had no idea of the enormous diversity of species and forms that exist there. So the zebras were simply called “Pseudotropheus zebra” after one of the few described species.
Today one knows it better and distinguishes with the zebra cichlids 32 different species, whereby there are also still undescribed ones and all form besides several distinguishable location variants. These zebra cichlids in the narrower sense were also separated from Pseudotropheus and transferred into their own genus, which is called Maylandia. A synonym to Maylandia is Metriaclima, so you can find all Maylandia species in the aquaristic literature also as Metriaclima.
Unfortunately, these species interbreed easily in the aquarium, so unintentional hybrids often occur. The beautiful blue Maylandia we received from Thailand under the name “M. estherae Blue” certainly do not belong to the species M. estherae, but are M. callainos with some M. zebra blood. For all hobbyists who just want to keep beautiful blue Malawi cichlids, Malawi cichlids from Far Eastern breeding are a good choice.
The zebra cichlids fro Lake Malawi are very popular aquarium fishes. Among them is Maylandia greshakei, which looks very special due to its bright orange dorsal fin. In the wild – the fish is endemic to Lake Malawi – it is restricted to only two comparatively small areas, eg Crocdile Rocks and Makokola Reef, both in the southern part of the lake. This makes the species vulnerable for uncontrolled human activites. So collecting the fish for ornamental purposes is usually not allowed. All M. greshakei in the trade are bred ones.
Maylandia greshakei is sometimes also called Metriaclima greshakei. In the aquarium, this fish can attain a maximum length of about 15 cm. Such giants are never found in the natural habitat. This has two reasons. First of all a wild fish does not live long enough to grow so big. And second the food the fish get in the wild is very nutrient poor compared with almost all types of typical fish food for ornamental fish. The correct feeding is the key for beautiful and healthy Maylandia, for fat animals become drab and sick. The balance between good and varied nutrients and fibres is crucial. Correctly fed bred fish are as beautiful as wild collected ones.
As in all cichlids from lake Malawi the pH should never drop below 8. In all other respects of water the fish are undemanding. A lot of waterchanges are recommended to keep the fish fit and healthy and the fsih will show a maximum of coloration if kept that way.
For our customers: the fish have code 550962 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer