Metriaclima or Maylandia Cichlid

Metriaclima or Maylandia Cichlids are a type of Mbuna cichlids. Metriaclima cichlids are native to Lake Malawi in Africa. Characterized by its zebra stripes, Metriaclima cichlids are popular freshwater aquarium fish. They come in many colors- cobalt blue, reds and grey. They are rock dwellers and can be found in the wild swimming around rocks and caves rather than in the open water. Maylandia cichlids are mouthbrooders and can be bred at home under the right water conditions. Below you will find more information on Metriaclima cichlids and on how to care for your Metriaclima cichlid.

Note: Don’t get confused with the names Metriaclima and Maylandia. Both Maylandia and Metriaclima are used interchangeably because scientists disagree on the name.

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How Big are Maylandia Cichlids?

Maylandia cichlids are medium sized cichlids and can grow to 4-6 inches in length.

Are Metriaclima Cichlids Schooling Fish?

No, Metriaclima cichlids are not schooling fish. They do usually swim in groups so you should always have at least 8 Metriaclima cichlids in a tank. Having a big group of Metriaclima cichlids in your tank will also help manage aggressive cichlids because they will have a harder time picking on one if there are a lot of cichlids in the tank.

Are Metriaclima Cichlids Aggressive?

Metriaclima cichlids are aggressive and territorial. It’s not the top choice African cichlid for a beginners tank.

What Water Parameters are Ideal for Metriaclima Cichlids?

Metriaclima cichlids will thrive in hard water tank that is set at 78-82 F at a PH level of 7.8 to 8.6.

How Many Metriaclima Cichlids Can You Fit in a 75 Gallon Tank?

You can fit 19 Metriaclima cichlids in a 75 gallon tank. Use the Mbuna Tank Calculator below to compute how many mbuna cichlids can fit in your tank.

Aquarium Set Up for Metriaclima Cichlids

The Metriaclima Cichlids are rock dwellers. In its natural habitat at Lake Malawi, Metriaclima Cichlids are often seen swimming around the rocks and caves. In order to make your Metriaclima Cichlids feel at home, you need to recreate the rocky environment of Lake Malawi in your fish tank. Set up the aquarium with plenty of rocks and caves for hiding with a sandy bottom.You can buy caves and rocks from amazon or go out and find some in your backyard. Be careful, don’t stack rocks precariously, they can fall on your cichlids!

Infographic on Metriaclima Cichlid

Below you will find an infographic on Metriaclima cichlids.

Metriaclima Cichlid facts infograph

Types of Metriaclima Cichlids

There are over around 30 species of Metriaclima cichlids. Below are the more popular metriaclima cichlids.

Cobalt Blue Zebra (Metriaclima callainos or Maylandia callainos)cobalt zebra metriaclima callainos
Red Zebra (Maylandia estherae or Metriaclima esterae)red zebra cichlid
Kenyi Mbuna Cichlid or William’s Mbuna (Maylandia lombardoi or Metriaclima lobardoi)kenyi cichlid
Ice Blue Zebra Mbuna Cichlid (Maylandia greshakei or Metriaclima greshakei)mbuna african cichlid

How to Decrease Metriaclima Cichlids Aggressive Behavior?

Metriaclima Cichlids are naturally territorial and aggressive. There are ways to decrease aggressive behavior amongst Metriaclima Cichlids. One way to decrease aggression is to have a big group of Metriaclima Cichlids in the tank. You need a minimum of 8 Metriaclima Cichlids per tank, this will diffuse the aggressiveness towards one particular cichlid because there are many cichlids in the tank. Another way to decrease Metriaclima Cichlids aggressive behavior towards each other is to have a bigger fish tank. At a minimum you need a 60 gallon tank but if you can fit a 100 or 150 gallon tank, you are better off and will likely decrease aggressiveness because they have space to stake out their territory. You can also try to decrease Metriaclima Cichlids aggressive behavior by adding more aquarium rocks and decor, this will create more hiding places, restrict line of sight and diffuse aggressiveness towards each other.

What to Feed Metriaclima Cichlids

The Metriaclima Cichlids are primarily herbivores. In the wild, they feed on aufwuchs. Aufwuchs are algae that grows on rocks. Feed yourr Metriaclima Cichlids vegetarian pellets

How to Breed Metriaclima Cichlids

Metriaclima Cichlids are mouth brooders. Start off with a harem of cichlids, have 1 male and 3 females.

Breeding starts with the male Metriaclima cichlid chasing after the female, doing his mating dance to get her to start spawning. When the female Metriaclima cichlid is ready, she will lay her eggs. He will then fertilize the eggs and then she will pick up the eggs and keep them in her mouth.

The eggs will stay in her mouth and hatch in 10-14 days. The female Metriaclima cichlid will continue keeping the fry in her mouth for another one or two weeks. Even after releasing the cichlid fry, if there is danger or at night, the mother Metriaclima cichlid may bring back her babies into her mouth for safety.

During the time when her babies are in her mouth, the mother Metriaclima cichlid will not be eating so she will become weak. 

It’s best to separate the mother and baby away from the other adult Metriaclima cichlid. If you keep the mother cichlid with the other adult cichlids, you risk the babies getting eaten. I’d do the separating after the eggs are fertilized by removing the male cichlid and not removing the mother Metriaclima. It’s too stressful for the mother to be moved to a new tank, you risk her spitting out the babies.

Mouth brooding Metriaclima Cichlids is fun and rewarding. They can easily be bred at home with ideal water conditions and aquarium set up.

Below is an infograph showing how Metriaclima cichlids breed.

mbuna cichlid breeding

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