Cobalt Blue Zebra
Quick Care Facts
• Care Level: Easy • Temperament: Aggressive • Maximum Size: 5"
• Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons • Water Conditions: 75-82° F, KH 10-15, pH 7.8-8.8
• Diet: Herbivore • Origin: Lake Malawi • Family: Cichlidae
• Species: African Cichlid • Aquarium Type: African Cichlid, Rift Lake
Cobalt Blue Zebra native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.
The Cobalt Blue Zebra (Maylandia callainos) is endemic to Lake Malawi, where it is most commonly found living in the north and north eastern areas of the lake. They are found living in rocky formations along the shoreline, where they live in and around rock caves and crevices. Cobalt Blue Zebra Cichlid are very territorial and once they have established themselves within a particular area they will defend their turf very aggressively.
Cobalt Blue Zebra Cichlid were formerly classified as Pseudotropheus callainos or Metriaclima callainos and is still often referenced by these names by many sources. The genus name Maylandia is now used to describe all former members of the (zebra) group of Pseudotropheus.
How to successfully keep Cobalt Blue Zebra in the home aquarium.
Hobbyists should either keep a small group of a single male specimen and 2 or 3 female Cobalt Blue Zebras together in an aquarium that is either large enough to provide adequate territory or overcrowded with enough African Cichlids so that no single specimen can establish its own territory. In either scenario, a 50 gallon or larger aquarium is recommended with a substrate of either sand or mixed sand and crushed coral. Plenty of rock formations, rock piles or rocky caves should be included with some vegetation consisting of fake plants or very hardy hard water plants.
Hobbyists can successful keep this species in small groups in smaller aquariums or mixed with large numbers of specimens in larger African Cichlid aquariums. When kept in larger community aquariums they must be provided adequate filtration, plenty of dissolved oxygen and have their territorial nature accommodated either by aquarium size and aquascaping or mitigated via over crowding.
In order to replicate the waters of their natural habitat, hobbyists will want to provide plenty of water surface agitation or wet/dry filtration to provide high levels of dissolved oxygen within the aquarium. The main tank filtration should consist of a canister filter or wet/dry filter with additional water movement via a powerhead being recommended.
The aquarium decor should provide plenty of rocky formations which provide caves and crevices for the fish to retreat to when it feels threatened, along with open sandy areas for swimming. Hardy plants that can tolerate the high pH of the African Rift Lake environment are also recommended for their looks and additional filtration properties.
Feeding & Nutrition
How to properly feed Cobalt Blue Zebra and provide a healthy diet.
Cobalt Blue Zebra Cichlid will accept most commercial fish foods designed for Cichlids; however, it is essential that they receive a large amount of vegetable matter in their diet. Being a herbivore, their diet should consist of mostly vegetable matter either via commercial herbivore flakes and pellets or through fresh blanched vegetables like spinach, greens or other similar foodstuffs.
How to successfully breed Cobalt Blue Zebra in the aquarium environment.
Hobbyists looking to breed Cobalt Blue Zebra will want to keep a single male specimen with three to four females in a 4o to 50 gallon aquarium setup specifically for breeding. The males are easily identified as they are far more brightly colored than females. A proper breeding aquarium setup will include a few flat stones and areas of open substrate that the fish can use as a spawning site.
The aquarium conditions should be maintained at a constant 8.2 to 8.4 pH and 78 to 80°F temperature. The fish should also be fed either live or high quality frozen foods to ensure that they have all the vitamins and minerals they need.
When the male is preparing to breed he will exhibit very intense coloration and will choose a spawning site that he will then attempt to attract one of the females to join him and mate. In addition to exhibiting brilliant coloration, the male will also aggressively court the females by pursuing them vigorously about the tank. Because of this aggressive courting behaviour it is important to have a group of females in the tank so that the males overtures are spread out amongst the group and do not overwhelm a single female.
Once a female has been successfully courted, she will lay her eggs in the nesting site that the male has prepared. The female will then scoop the eggs up into her mouth, during which the male which exhibits egg shapes spots on his tail fins will swim in front of the female and deposit his sperm while the female and the eggs are next to his tail fin.
The female will carry the eggs in her mouth for about 1 month before she release the free swimming fry. It is important that the female is not stressed during this time as she will not be feeding and will be somewhat weak from lack of food and carrying the fry in her mouth. If she is stressed she may spit out the brood prematurely or even eat the young fry.
It is for this reason that the other breeding fish should be removed from the aquarium so as not to cause undue stress to the brooding mother. However, once the female has released the fry from her mouth she should be returned to the main group of fish, so that she does not lose her place in the group hierarchy.
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