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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I have a 40 gallon tank.

I recently purchased a fish which was labeled simply as "African Cichlid". Pretty useless label but I liked the color and the fish looked healthy so I bought it anyway. It is currently the only inhabitant in the tank.

I am trying to figure out which species it is specifically, and what tank mates would be appropriate.

My best guess is that it is a Kenyi Cichlid, but I don't have any experience identifying Malawi cichlids so I would appreciate a confirmation of what species it is, and any suggestions for tankmates.

Pictures below:





 

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What are the dimensions of the tank? You would want to keep a fish like that in a 48" tank or longer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
From my measurements the dimensions are approximately 48.25" x 12.5" x 16.5"

If it is a Metriaclima estherae then I suppose I could go with one of the cookie cutter recommendations from here http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/cookie_cutter_40g.php

• Pseudotropheus socofoli - 5
• Metriaclima estherae - 5
• Ancistrus temminckii "Bristlenose Pleco" - 2

5 seems like a wierd number though, since most articles for Mbuna recommend 1 male per 2-3 females. It seems hard to reach a balance other than 1 male and 4 females.
 

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If you can find it, red zebra males can (always are, rarely? I'm not sure) be blue. So if you have a blue male and 4 red females then you could look into another species to maximize your color. What about saulosi? They do well in smaller tanks and the males are similar to demasoni and the females are bright lemon yellow.
 

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You can have blue x red (blue males and red females) or red x red (both males and females red (actually orange). I'm pretty sure in the wild blue x red is more common but in the hobby red x red are more common.
 

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I've never kept them before but I think that would be a cool dimorphic group to have. I had read they were blue I just didn't know how common it was, I have never seen one in person, but then again, the fish community here is poor.
 

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I do not necessarily think it's pure, but that is the best guess as to what it is.
 

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Looks about like every other red zebra i've seen at big name pet stores.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Any idea if it is male or female or is it too young to tell?

I want to only have 1 male and 2-4 females in the tank but the profile section of this species says males can be blue or orange, females are orange. How would I go about determining the sex when I purchase new fish?
 

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norcichlid said:
So most agree it is a Metriaclima estherae?
Yep it's a Met. Estherae but like other said, it might not be pure. The head looks too sloped for some reason. But, it's still a good looking fish and not every fish (even the same species) will always look exactly alike. Below is my 5.5 inch Red Zebra, you can see the difference in the head slope. either way, it's a good fish and it's YOUR fish so that's all that matters :thumb:
 

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I like the number of 5 for each species, 1m:4f. Especially with an aggressive mbuna like estherae, you don't want to skimp on the females.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Any advice on how to determine gender both for the one I already have and when I try to purchase more, so that I can end up with 1 male 4 female?
 

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With the shorter pelvic fins, rounded anal fin, the lack of egg spots, and the fact that orange females are more common than orange males, the best guess without venting it or having it spawn would, I think, be female.

There's no 100% guarantee without venting it.
 

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Rather than try to sex juveniles and buy correct ratios (doomed to at least partial failure) we buy extra juveniles and then sell extra males as they mature.

So I recently bought 8 unsexed juveniles. With a 50-50 chance they are female, I'm hoping for 4 females. And if the remaining 4 are male, I will keep one.
 
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