Zebra Cichlid

The zebra cichlid or greenfin cichlid belongs to the cichlid family and comes from Central America. There it inhabits rivers, streams and small lakes with rocky underground. The animals grow up to 10 cm long in the aquarium. The life expectancy is 10 to 11 years.

What distinguishes zebra cichlids?

Zebra cichlids need stones, roots and caves where they can find shelter. Like all cichlids, they like to dig in the sand for food. If plants stand in their way, they tear them up.

During the mating and breeding season, the males are particularly aggressive. They vigorously guard and protect their territory. In same-sex groups, the animals are more peaceful and live more harmoniously together.

The appearance of zebrafish

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S. Olkowicz – User Hippocampus on pl.wikipedia, Archocentrus nigrofasciatus female, CC BY 2.5

The body shape of the animals is typically perch-shaped. The cichlid is rather inconspicuously colored. The sides of the body are grey, sometimes with a violet shimmer. The back is dark grey to bluish, the belly light grey. The dark horizontal stripes on the sides have given the fish its German name. There is a black spot on the upper gill cover and on the root of the tail. All fins are greenish with metallic shine, the fin edges of dorsal and anal fins are reddish.
There is also a white breeding form of the zebrafish.

Housing conditions

Zebra cichlids are easy to keep in an aquarium.

  • They can be kept in a swarm.
  • It is possible to socialize with other peaceful fish of approximately the same body size.
  • In the shoal, breeding pairs will come together on their own.
  • Each breeding pair needs its own territory.
  • If you do not want offspring, keep only same-sex animals.

Gender differences

Male zebra cichlids become slightly larger than the females. They have longer fins and get a distinct frontal hump when they are old.
Females are orange-coloured on the belly and the base of the dorsal fin.
This orange colour is also used by the females of the white breeding form.

Water values for zebra cichlids

The fish do not make any special demands on the water. They adapt to different conditions.

  • Temperature: 23 to 27 degrees
  • pH value: 7.0 to 8.0
  • Total hardness: 9 to 20° dGH
  • oxygen-rich water

Food and nutrition for zebrafish

Zebrafish eat just about anything. In their native country they live on worms, small crabs or fish, insect larvae and plants.
In the aquarium you feed:

  • Live food from shrimps and crabs or frozen food
  • special cichlid lining
  • Dried fodder
  • every now and then lettuce or cucumber
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The ideal aquarium for zebra cichlids

In any case, the aquarium should be 1 metre long and be able to hold at least 200 litres of water. If you want to keep a small swarm, you must adjust the tank size accordingly.

Cover the bottom with stones, clay tubes and roots where the animals find shelter. Zebra cichlids like to redecorate. Therefore, glue stone structures or caves together to prevent them from collapsing and no animal being harmed.

Make sure there are enough free sand areas. Cichlids love to dig. It is sufficient if the sand layer is 3 to 4 cm thick. Only robust sit-on plants, such as anubia or java fern, can be used as plants. Your cichlid aquarium is completed with a powerful mat filter.

Special features of zebra cichlids

The typical horizontal stripes disappear during the spawning season. The perch then shimmer metallic grey.

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