Ice Blue Cichlid (Metriaclima greshakei)

William’s Mbuna or Ice Blue cichlid or Metriaclima greshakei or Maylandia greshakei is an African cichlid that belongs in the Mbuna cichlid family. Ice Blue cichlids originated from Africa’s Lake Malawi. It is characterized by its beautiful blue coloring with zebra stripes. Similar to other Mbuna cichlids, Ice Blue cichlids are rock dwellers. They are fairly aggressive and territorial. Ice Blue cichlids are probably not the best for a beginners tank. Ice Blue cichlids are mouthbrooders and can be bred at home.

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How Big are Ice Blue Cichlids?

Ice Blue cichlids are medium sized cichlids and can grow to 5 inches in length or 13 cm. 

Are Ice Blue Cichlids Schooling Fish?

No, Ice Blue cichlids are not schooling fish. They do usually swim in groups so you should always have at least 8 Ice Blue cichlids in a tank. Having a big group of Ice Blue 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 Ice Blue Cichlids Aggressive?

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

What Water Parameters are Ideal for Ice Blue Cichlids?

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

Aquarium Set Up for Ice Blue Cichlid

Ice Blue Cichlids are rock dwellers, they prefer to swim and forage around rocks rather than swim in the open water. The ideal aquarium set up for your Ice Blue cichlids is to recreate the rocky environment that they are used to in Lake Malawi. Ice Blue cichlids are aggressive fish and will usually swim in groups (although not schooling fish). In order to recreate the Lake Malawi rocky environment, 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!

Minimum Tank Size for Ice Blue Cichlids (Metriaclima greshakei or Maylandia greshakei)

Ice Blue Cichlids are fairly big and can grow up to 6 inches long. You should house your Ice Blue cichlids in a big aquarium at a minimum 60 gallons, ideally 150 gallons.

How Many Ice Blue Cichlids (Metriaclima greshakei or Maylandia greshakei) in a 75 gallon tank?

You can have around 19 Ice Blue cichlids in a 75 gallon aquarium. Use our Mbuna cichlid tank calculator to calculate how many mbuna cichlids to house in your tank.

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How Often to Change the Water of Ice Blue Cichlid Aquarium?

Ice Blue cichlid aquarium water should be changed weekly. Change 25% of water weekly. It’s important to keep up with water changes to maintain good water quality.

What to Feed Ice Blue Cichlid (Metriaclima greshakei or Maylandia greshakei)

Ice Blue cichlids (Metriaclima greshakei or Maylandia greshakei) are herbivores. In the wild, they feed on aufwuchs. Aufwuchs are algae that grows on rocks. Feed your Ice Blue cichlids vegetarian pellets. Be careful, don’t overfeed your Ice Blue cichlids, they may develop digestive issues.

How to Breed Ice Blue Cichlids

Ice Blue Mbuna cichlids are mouth brooders. The eggs are laid in caves and then scooped up by the female. She then incubates and carries them for 25 to 35 days. Even when the fry are free swimming, if there is danger or at night, she will keep her babies in her mouth for safety.  Mouth brooding Ice Blue Mbuna cichlids can be bred at home with ideal water conditions and aquarium set up. 

Here is an inforgraph showing step by step the breeding process of Ice Blue Mbuna cichlids.

Are Maylandia Cichlids the Same as Metriaclima Cichlids?

Yes, both Maylandia Cichlids and Metriaclima cichlids are the same. Scientists disagree on the name that’s why Maylandia and Metriaclima are used interchangeably. Ice Blue cichlids can be called Metriaclima greshakei or Maylandia greshakei.

What are the Other Names of Ice Blue Cichlids ?

Ice Blue cichlids are also called William’s Mbuna, Ice blue zebra mbuna or ice blue zebra or pseudotropheus ice blue. Ice Blue cichlid scientific names are Maylandia greshakei or Metriaclima greshakei.

Infographic on Metriaclima Cichlid

Below you will find an infographic on Metriaclima cichlids.

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