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What to feed a Red Zebra Cichlid?

4502 Views 9 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Charles2131
My sister-in-law brought me a surprise early Christmas present, a Red Zebra Cichlid I think? I have some questions...
First: What to feed it? I've tried both frozen and dried Brine Shrimp but he/she just doesn't even seem to notice it. I really don't want to go flake, I'm not a fan of flake foods but I will if I need to.
I didn't try Blood worms since someone mentioned not to feed them to Cichlids??
Second: What would be good tankmates to get? I've had Tetra tanks for years but this is my first Cichlid, I don't know a lot about these guys.

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First of all, it needs spirulina algae in its diet. This is available in flake or pellet. Second, if this is your first time with mbuna you really need to do research. They are notoriously aggressive so tankmates must be selected carefully, and you have to have the right male to female ratio. What size tank so you have?
First of all, it needs spirulina algae in its diet. This is available in flake or pellet. Second, if this is your first time with mbuna you really need to do research. They are notoriously aggressive so tankmates must be selected carefully, and you have to have the right male to female ratio. What size tank so you have?
I have her temporarily in a cycled 20 gallon until I finish getting the 55 set up. I had intended to set up an aggressive tank sometime next year after I had time to do the research. I'll not be adding any tankmates to the 20, I'm just getting ideas for the 55.
It was a complete surprise when my niece walked in the door with it. lol I love her though and I'm happy to get her. My SIL knows nothing about fish and didn't realize I couldn't just put it in my other tank.

The dried shrimp has spirulina in it but she won't eat it, doesn't even look at it. I'll pick up some pellets tomorrow. I was reading somewhere that you shouldn't feed them bloodworms. True? or should I try that?
Bloodworms are difficult for them to digest and can cause Malawi bloat if fed excessively. You can occasionally give them as treats, though. I feed mine the new life spectrum stuff and hbh super soft spirulina. The first day they were reluctant to try but now the l they go mad for the hbh stuff.
New life spectrum is like cichlid candy.

You will need to stock your 55g cichlid tank around this zebra, as they are one of the more aggressive types and prone to hyperdominance. More zebras, or equally large/aggro species will be necessary.
Well... she's settling in now and doing great. She started eating my plants before I got up today, total plant annihilation, and she is currently arranging things as she wants them. lol
She does not like any type of shrimp or bloodworms but so far she loves flakes, plants and she nibbled a piece of carrot that someone suggested she might like. I will also pick her up some New Life Spectrum, which my Pleco also loves.
Zebra Cichlids and other Mbuna's are gregarious with many members in each habitat. This is because they are primarily herbivores, so their food source is very abundant and easily supports many fish.
Most of their food supply is a dense felt-like mass of algae growing on the rocks that has bacteria, insects, and tiny crustaceans living within. Hobbyists refer to this type of algae as aufwuchs, a German word for salad and seafood. Some Mbuna diverge a bit and may also consume other aquatic vegetation, and will sometimes feed on small planktonic animals in the water current, primarily calanoid copepods.

Try to buy a "Herbivore Pellets". (Balanced nutrition for fish that feed on algae, phytoplankton or other plant matters. Best kind of sinking pellets! :)
I still don't have a lot of luck with feeding her. She will nibble a veggie and she eats the plants. I've tried Hikari Excel, HBH flakes, New Life Spectrum and Algae waffers but she just will not have any of it. The only thing I've found that she will actually eat is Tetra Color flakes. I'm still trying to get her off those but not much luck with it. I guess that's what the people that had her were feeding her. Suggestions?
My 37 babies, (red zebra cichlids) loved to eat "Spirulina Flakes".

Ingredients are dried spirulina algae, freeze dried plankton, freeze dried drill, dried kelp.

Any kind of my mbuna cichlids are fast eating. They just love it so much!!

Hopefully that will helps you! :)
  1. Feeding your Red Zebra Cichlid: Red Zebra Cichlids are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plant matter and small organisms. While brine shrimp is a common food choice, it's possible that your cichlid hasn't recognized it as food yet. If your cichlid isn't showing interest in frozen or dried brine shrimp, you can try other options. High-quality cichlid pellets are a staple food and provide balanced nutrition. You can also offer other frozen or live foods like daphnia, mysis shrimp, blackworms, or even blanched vegetables such as peas or spinach. Experiment with different foods to see what your cichlid prefers. Remember to remove any uneaten food to maintain water quality.
Regarding bloodworms, they can be fed to cichlids in moderation. While they are not a primary food source, occasional feeding of frozen or freeze-dried bloodworms can be a nice treat for your cichlid. Just ensure that you're offering a varied diet and not relying solely on bloodworms, as they lack complete nutrition.
  1. Tankmates for your Red Zebra Cichlid: When selecting tankmates for your Red Zebra Cichlid, it's important to consider their compatibility and behavior. Red Zebra Cichlids are known to be relatively aggressive, especially during breeding or territorial disputes. Therefore, it's best to avoid small or timid fish that may easily get stressed or harassed by the cichlid.
For suitable tankmates, consider other African cichlids from Lake Malawi since they share similar water requirements. Look for species that have a similar size and temperament. Examples include other Mbuna cichlids like Yellow Labs (Labidochromis caeruleus), Acei Cichlids (Pseudotropheus acei), or Rusty Cichlids (Iodotropheus sprengerae).
It's recommended to avoid mixing cichlid species from different regions or lakes to prevent hybridization and potential compatibility issues. Additionally, avoid pairing your Red Zebra Cichlid with species that have different dietary or habitat requirements, such as peaceful community fish or delicate species.
Providing ample hiding spaces and territories within your aquarium can help reduce aggression and create a more harmonious environment for your fish.
I hope this guidance helps you care for your Red Zebra Cichlid and choose suitable tankmates. If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask!
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