What Are Good Tankmates For a Red Zebra Cichlid?

Red Zebra Cichlids are beautiful with a good orange color and have a good attitude. They originated from Lake Malawi in East Africa. They are calm, and you can pick them up with your hand if you are courageous enough.

They are among the most famous aquarium fish, which is something unknown by most fish breeders. Many pet dealers primarily sell the Red Zebra even though there are more than two thousand other species.

When fed with enough clean water and food, they breed quite well and multiply very fast and live better with other Mbuna species. They are fun to stay watching but also aggressive. The Zebra Cichlid can grow to almost 5″ in an aquarium, and their lifespan is about 5 to 10 years if properly treated. 

Following are the essential breeding tips as you look into breeding Red Zebra Cichlid for them to survive and live long. :

Best Tank For Red Zebra Cichlids

The tank size should be big enough as they breed and grow fast and hence need their own space to avoid being aggressive to other tank mates as they can quickly kill them. The tank size should range from 50 gallons and above as they grow bigger. 

The tank should have caves and rocks in large quantity since this Mbuna fish likes dwelling in a natural environment with rocky caves.

Live plants like java fern and moss are some of the best plants to help improve the quality of water and the environment, and they’re also attractive.

Read  Why Are Goldfish So Hard To Keep Alive? Here Is What Experts Say

Fine pebbles and many hiding corners around the tank will help this Mbuna fish from Africa be more playful and hide. 

Suitable filters and a heater are necessary for the tank to control the water temperature, 76 to 84 degrees. They prefer slightly alkaline water instead of acidic water used mainly by American Cichlids. 

Enough food and clean water must promote their breeding, health, growth, and multiplication. Ensure that water is changed weekly and always keep the aquarium clean and beautiful.

The Cichlids primarily feed on the herbivorous diet, but they are omnivores. Foods like plant matter, frozen food, and dry foods are highly recommended for this Cichlid. Another delicacy they like feeding on is algae and earthworms, which is relatively healthy for them. 

Top 5 Tankmates For Red Zebra Cichlid

While choosing to breed Red Zebra, it is advisable not to keep them solitary. Some of the best tank mates are non-competitive ones to have the best results. These are like Cuckoo fish, Catfish, Freshwater angelfish, among others. 

It is advisable to keep a breeding pair or more to give them room to thrive. For instance, two males and six females can thrive well to avoid fights and deaths. It’s highly recommended that all tank mates for Zebra Cichlid to be other breeds from Lake Malawi for the best results. 

To avoid inbreeding, never share a tank with a related species. It is also wise to keep Lake Malawi Cichlids in separate tanks from Cichlids from Lake Tanganyika to thrive very well. 

The only Red Zebra breed that you can breed alone is Oscar. We will look at the best tank mates for a Red Zebra Cichlid as below, which you need to be very selective and careful while choosing.

Read  At What Stage Do You Put Baby Mollies Back In The Tank?

Blue Dolphin Cichlid 

It’s a popular Cichlid and does well in the large aquarium and can share a tank with Zebra Cichlid. It has beautiful shades of blue and will also depend on the aquarium lighting.

These Blue Dolphins bring a pretty cool contrast. 

Clown Loaches 

They can breed well with Red Zebra as they are not very aggressive hence making a perfect tank mate. It’s black and tan and has barbels protruding from the mouth. They like hiding most of the time and can play well with the Red Zebra.

You only need to ensure that the tank is well equipped with caves and rocks for their hiding places. They never resort to fighting while keeping their territories safe. 

They feed on the bottom feeds, hence spending most of their time looking for bloodworms, pellets, flakes, shrimps, and others. 


They are bottom feeders hence keeping your tank clean consistently. They feed on earthworms and algae. All you need is to keep changing your water, and your tank will be clean all the time.

Since most of the time Plecos are at the bottom, your Red Zebra can swim freely without any interference with the other tank makes. They are easy to care of and can grow up to 7 inches in size. 

Red Tail Shark 

They are pretty adorable, beautiful, and gentle. These fish share a similar temperament to African Cichlid with its moderate aggressiveness.

They set up their territory in the tank so that other tank mates will not disturb them.

Red Tail Shark fish enjoy ample space, rocks, and the vegetation in the tank. The maximum size of this fish is 4 inches. 

Read  Can A Betta Fish Live For 4 Days Without Food? (What To Know)

African Red-Eyed Tetra 

This fish lives well with African Red Zebra. It can grow quite large, up to 4 inches, and therefore needs ample space for thriving well with the other Cichlids. They are not picky on food and feeds well on flakes, algae, and frozen food. 

Other good tank mates for Red Zebra include Rainbowfish, Synodontis Catfish, Flying Fox Fish, Siamese Algae Eater, and many more. 

Ensure that you avoid tank mates that are less aggressive, small, and docile fish as they can hardly survive in the same aquarium with African Cichlids. These are like Glassfish, Discus, Corydoras, Guppy Fish, and Angelfish. 

In conclusion, once your Red Zebrafish are well settled in the tank and have chosen the best coping tank mates, you should look forward to enjoying their growth and beauty onwards.

Always ensure a healthy diet is provided in plenty, and clean water is a must to avoid challenges like bloating and malnutrition for your Mbuna fish. It is recommended that you add a supplemental diet most sold by aquarium fish dealers.

It is advisable to have a vibrant aquarium with bright colors and add other African Cichlids. This addition will help a lot, and you will not regret the results. The rocks and caves placed in the aquarium help the fish hide if other fish become aggressive.

The African Cichlids are very active and like swimming a lot and can do it the whole day.