Name:    Metriaclima estherae

Synonym:    Pseudotropheus estherae,  Maylandia estherae

Common name:   Red Zebra

Location:    Near Minos Reef in Lake Malawi

Adult size:    5 1/2 inches (14 cm)

Diet:    Omnivore

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Personal notes:  Another of my mbuna from Lake Malawi (with Minos Reef being the most common location referenced) with the common name "red zebra".  As you can see not all of the "zebra-types" have stripes.   In the wild most of the males are blue but the red/orange males have been bred almost exclusively in the USA aquarium trade.  This cichlid is no longer in the Pseudotropheus genus but it seems that initially no one could decide for sure if the new genus name should be Metriaclima or Maylandia.  It seems to me that the Metriaclima name will win out since more and more species are being moved into this genus recently.

In June 2008 purchased a trio of F1 (first generation from wild caught) Metriaclima estherae.  So for the first time I have the "blue" males.

It seems that many hobbyests believe that they have the very rare blue Metriaclima estherae males when in fact they actually have Metriaclima callainos (blue cobalt zebra).  The blue Metriaclima estherae is more of a dull gray-blue, generally has multiple egg spots, and has a bit of orange at the rear tip of its dorsal fins.  The very common M. callainos is a much more brilliant (and attractive) blue with few (if any) egg spots and none of the orange edging.

Above and below are the F1 female estherae.  Note that these females have 5 to 9 egg spots.

The blue isn't really all that blue.  It is more of a dull blue-gray.  I'm not real sure why people have so much trouble distinguishing between the Metriaclima callainos (blue cobalt zebra) and the blue male Metriaclima estherae.

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see also:

Malawi Dream

The Tropical Tank

Malawi Cichlids.com