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July 31, 2015

Hello, readers; once again it’s Friday and I’m here to tell you about some fish.  I’m sure a lot of you are fans of Lake Malawi Cichlids, whether it is for their colors, personality, or something else that draws you to the fish.  For you, this week, we’re going to talk a bit about the Metriaclima genus.

Of course, calling it the Metriaclima genus is currently up for debate – these fish were originally included in Pseudotropheus and have since been moved to their own group.  There has been quite a bit of discussion over the past fifteen years as to whether the group should be properly called Metriaclima or Maylandia.  I’m not too clear on the debate itself as I’m no expert on scientific naming conventions, but those preferring Maylandia posit the age of the name – it was erected earlier than the other – while proponents of Metriaclima cite that Maylandia carries no description of its member species and therefore is an “empty name” and invalid.  Our company currently refers to the genus as Metriaclima, however, if a decision is eventually reached that formally renames the group Maylandia, you can be sure we will change our notation.

WS Metriaclima callainos Pearl Zebra

WS Metriaclima estherae Red OB Zebra

In general, Metriaclima are Mbuna – rock-dwelling denizens of Lake Malawi, claiming crevices and outcrops as their territories and feasting upon algae and mostly green matter.  Their home should be clean with a rock or sandy substrate and plenty of rock hardscaping providing caves, gaps and areas for each fish to feel comfortable.  The pH should be kept above 8 and temperature around 80°F. A mixture of community or cichlid flake with spirulina flake will keep them in good condition – avoid overly meaty or protein-rich foods as their specialized digestive tract cannot process much protein and it can lead rapidly to bloat and other health issues.  Good tankmates include other mbuna, Aulonocara hansbaenschi types, and Protomelas type haplochromines.  A selection of some of our Metriaclima species is included in the photographs on this newsletter, though we have quite a few more!

WS Metriaclima lombardoi Kenyi

WS Metriaclima sp. Zebra Albino

Thank you for reading and have a great weekend – we’ll be back in the office Monday to help you!

Jessica Supalla