Pseudotropheus zebra , Boulenger, 1899
Convict cichlid, convicts, Zebra Mbuna
Origin: Lake Malawi (Endemic). Here the fish occur at depths between 6 and 28 meters, in rocky areas.
Etymology: zebra, named after the skin pattern, which bears some resemblance to the Zebra.
Synonyms: Tilapia zebra
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) Order: Percoidae Family: Cichlidae (Cichlids), subfamily: Pseudocrenilabrinae
First European import: 1964?
Description: See picture, variable species.
Care: Best kept in a species tank, because the fish are aggressiv towards other convicts, but also to other species. They can be kept with other cichlids, or large robust fish. A pair or better a male and 2-3 females can be kept in an 80 cm tank, with lots of hideouts and holes, created with large stones. Some robust plants can be used, to mimic the natural environment the use of Vallisneria spiralis is recommended. Well filtered alkaline water is mandatory to keep the fish healthy.
Temperature: 22-28 °C
Feeding: Omnivorous, al food is accepted, plant matter is important! The fish also eat duckweed!
Size: Up to 12 cm.
pH: 8.0-8.5 dH: 9.0 - 19.0
Breeding: Mouthbreeder, easy. Up to 60 eggs are laid by the female, which will be collected by her. Fertilization occurs if the female tries to pick up the eggspots from the anal fin of the male. After the fry are released, she will take care of the fry for a week more, but then soon looses interest.
Sexual dimorphism: Males have more, and more distinct egg-spots on the anal fin.
Prices: Between 3-10€
Additional: Many undescribed species are and have been imported under the name Pseudotropheus zebra.
Picture references:Pictures by E. Naus
References:Baensch, H. A., Riehl, R.(1982): Aquarien Atlas I. Mergus Verlag, Melle, Germany.(click on the link to buy this book)
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