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Lake Malawi's Metriaclima zebra

Understanding the natural habitat and behaviors of Metriaclima zebra is important to providing it with the correct aquarium conditions.

By Mary Bailey |

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“Mbuna” is the local name for about a dozen genera of Malawi cichlids, including Pseudotropheus, Melanochromis, Metriaclima, Cynotilapia, Labeotropheus and Labidochromis. Metriaclima zebra is one of the most spectacularly colored and popular of the Lake Malawi mbuna. It was first exported from the lake in the late 1960s, and it quickly became established in the hobby.

Most are rock-dwellers that rarely stray far from this habitat, though a few have colonized more open terrain. Most feed on aufwuchs, the thick coating of algae that covers rocks; they also eat any aquatic invertebrates available, as well as zooplankton.

Want to read the full story? Pick up the December 2010 issue of Aquarium Fish International today.

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