Native to Lake Malawi in East Africa, the zebra parrot cichlid is a color morph of the pearlscale cichlid selectively bred to showcase striking black and white horizontal stripes. A relatively peaceful species, they add plenty of visual drama without the aggression issues of some African cichlids.
Introducing the Dazzling Zebra Parrot Cichlid
- Origin: Endemic to Lake Malawi in Africa. Selectively bred color variant of the pearlscale cichlid.
- Size: Up to 6 inches (15 cm)
- Lifespan: 10-12 years with proper care.
- Temperament: Mildly aggressive, best in species tanks or with other African cichlids. Very active, love to dig.
- Appearance: Dramatic horizontal black and white stripes over entire turquoise-blue body. Elongate dorsal fins.
- Variations: Cobalt zebra, ruby red zebra, gold zebra and more selectively bred color morphs.
- Price Range: $8 to $25 per fish.
Habitat & Tank Requirements
- Natural Habitat: Lake Malawi in Africa – tropical, hard water lake.
- Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallon
- Water Parameters: 74-82°F (23-28°C); pH 7.8-8.6; 10-15 KH
- Tank Setup: Rocky structures and ample open swimming space. Sand or crushed coral substrate for digging.
- Diet: Omnivorous; NLS pellets, flakes with occasional treats of live, freeze-dried or frozen meaty foods.
- Feeding Habits: Moderate eaters that should be fed twice daily. Active diggers in substrate seeking food.
- Omega One Cichlid Pellets
- Hikari Cichlid Gold Pellets
- Live or frozen brine shrimp
- Freeze dried krill
- Spirulina flakes
- Reproduction: Substrate spawners exhibiting bi-parental care. Sexually dimorphic.
- Breeding Requirements: Flat rocks or overturned pots for spawning site. Holding female separates after spawn.
- Spawning Process: Males entice females to lay ~60 eggs on prepared spawning site, then fertilized. Parents guard eggs until wrigglers hatch and become free swimming in about 3 weeks. Fry can be fed infusoria or powdered flakes. Parents may eat fry.
Common Health Issues
Prone to bloat and Malawi Bloat due to poor water conditions. Aggression during breeding times. Use quarantine for new specimens.
Preventative Measures: Maintain pristine water quality and bloat-preventing food variety. Have backup tanks for holding pregnant/bullying fish.
- Compatibility: Best with African Malawi cichlids of similar temperament. Avoid extremely aggressive species like Auratus cichlid.
- Special Care: High pH hard water mandatory. Not suitable for peaceful community tanks. Demanding but quite hardy when set up properly.
- Legal Restrictions: None
- Yellow lab cichlid
- Rusty cichlid
- Blue dolphin cichlid
- Bristlenose pleco
- Synodontis catfish
- Mbuna cichlids
- Other zebra cichlid species
Males are larger, longer-finned and more brightly colored. Females develop purple bellies when gravid/carrying eggs. Males may develop egg-spots on anal fins.
How many species of Zebra parrot cichlid?
While technically color variations of the same pearlscale cichlid species, there are over a dozen types of selectively bred zebra parrot cichlids trades, with new color morphs still emerging.
How to feed Zebra parrot cichlid to make their color brighter?
Feed a diverse, vegetable-rich diet with occasional meaty foods. Include reputable color-enhancing pellets and supplements like spirulina. Maintain excellent water quality.
How Big do Zebra parrot cichlid Grow?
Zebra parrot cichlids grow to around 6 inches (15 cm) in home aquariums. Selective breeding and excellent keeping can produce jumbo specimens up to 8 inches long.
How fast do Zebra parrot cichlid grow?
Juveniles tend to grow rather quickly, nearing adult size within 12 months. Their growth rate continues at a slower pace after maturity is reached. Proper tank conditions and diet dramatically impact overall growth speed.
How long do Zebra parrot cichlid live?
With excellent care including robust water changes, filtration, feeding routine and more, zebra parrot cichlids can reach lifespans of 10-12 years or more.
How to take care of Zebra parrot cichlid?
vZebra parrots require large, overfiltered tanks with rocky décor and suitable African cichlid tank mates. Perform very frequent water testing and high-quality food provision for best health.
Which food products are the best for Zebra parrot cichlid?
Hikari, Omega One and New Life Spectrum all produce high-grade cichlid food pellets and flakes perfect for zebra parrots and other Malawi cichlids. Aim for high-nutrition, veggie-based foods.
Is it good to keep Zebra parrot cichlid as Pets?
Yes, their coloration and active behaviors make zebra parrot cichlids wonderful freshwater pets for intermediate to advanced aquarists provided with adequately large, specialized setups. More demanding but rewarding display fish.
Why did my Zebra parrot cichlid die?
Inadequate water conditions, malnutrition, aggression from other tankmates, improper acclimation procedures, or underlying health issues could have caused premature death. Perform autopsy if possible.
Are Zebra parrot cichlid aggressive?
Zebra parrots show mild aggression toward one another, especially males disputing territory and females guarding fry. Manageable with loads of territories and hiding spots. Much less aggressive than other African cichlids.
Do Zebra parrot cichlid kill other fish?
Direct killing of tankmates is not typical but possible if severely stressed or overcrowded. Nipping, chasing and bullying is more likely – have backup tanks available for harassed fish.
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