Albino Zebra Mbuna (Metriaclima zebra 'Albino')

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Albino Zebra Mbuna
Metriaclima zebra 'Albino'
Albino Zebra Mbuna (Metriaclima zebra 'Albino')
Name Albino Zebra Mbuna
Name Lat. Metriaclima zebra 'Albino'
Synonym Maylandia zebra 'Albino'
Family Cichlids
Family lat. Cichlidae
Order Cichlids
Order lat. Cichliformes
Origin Lake Malawi
Habitat Rocky habitat
Diet Planktivore, Aufwuchs
pH 7.5-8.8
Behavior Aggressive
Keeping Harem
Care Level Moderate
Reproduction Mouthbrooder
Breeding Simple
Life Span 5-8 years
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 10-12 cm
Temperature 24-28 °C
Hardness 10-25 °dH
Aquarium ~ 300 l
US Units
Size 4"-4.7"
Temperature 75-82 °F
Hardness 178-445 ppm
Aquarium ~ 80 gal

Distribution and habitat

The albino Malawi zebra cichlid is a color morph. The Malawi Zebra Cichlid's range is exclusively (endemically) Lake Malawi, where they are found seaward along almost all rocky shores and have produced numerous site variants. They belong to the group of Mbuna, which lives in the rocky shore zones


The aquarium setup should have rock structures reaching to the water surface, with many crevices, caves and shelters that serve as hiding places, as well as robust plants and some free sand areas. There should be no detectable ammonia, ammonium or nitrite, and the nitrate level should not exceed 100 mg/l. To ensure the water quality and oxygen content, a filter and heater adapted to the aquarium size is required, as well as lighting for the species-appropriate day-night rhythm of the animals.


They feed mainly on plankton as well as on the plant cover (growth) and the microorganisms contained therein. The food supply consists of live, frozen and dry food. For a balanced diet, feed once daily with a high quality dry food for Malawi cichlids (flakes, granules, pellets) as well as cyclops, daphnia, artemia and plankton (live or frozen). In addition, they also need plant food, such as algae leaves, scalded leafy and wild vegetables or high-quality dry food with plant components (kelp, spirulina)

Only feed as much as will be eaten within a few minutes. A regular and varied diet promotes health and increases resistance.

Behaviour and compatibility

They are temperamental and often aggressive within species. They are assertive towards other fish. Males occupy territories, which they defend vigorously against conspecifics. They should be kept in a harem, one male with several females. They can be socialized well with other cichlids from Lake Malawi, especially from the mbuna group. Basically, only compatible fish species with similar demands on water conditions and water temperature should be socialized.

Sex dimorphism

The male is strongly colored and has distinct yellow egg spots on the anal fin, which are weaker or absent in the female. The females are mostly pale blue or blue-gray.

Reproduction and breeding

They are maternal mouth brooders. The female usually spawns on a shallow rock or in a small burrow. After the male fertilizes the eggs, she immediately takes the female into her throat pouch for mouth brood care and keeps the fry in her throat pouch even after they hatch. After about 4 weeks, the fry are released and brood care ends. During the entire brood care, the female does not take any food.

Fry must be fed several times a day with special rearing food (Artemia nauplii). In community tanks breeding is hardly possible, because the fry is easy prey.


Different site varieties of Malawi zebra cichlids should not be kept together, as they may interbreed

The well-being of the fish should be monitored regularly. Temperature should be checked daily, pH, hardness and nitrate levels at least fortnightly. Regular partial water changes are recommended, even if the contaminant level has not yet reached the upper limit. Sudden changes in water quality should be avoided. Newly introduced fish must be accustomed slowly to the water in the aquarium.

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: petdata; Image: Franz Lowak

Source: BMELV (1998): Tierschutzgutachten - Haltung von Zierfischen (Süßwasser); RIEHL & BAENSCH (2006): Aquarien Atlas Bd. 1, Mergus Verlag; ENGELMANN (2005): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Fische, Verlag Harri Deutsch

  • Gemäß § 21 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF