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The Zebra Tilapia or Tilapia
are members of the family Cichlidae
more commonly referred to as cichlids. They inhabit the
rivers and streams of Liberia in West Africa.
have a pale
yellow or off white body with vertical
black striping from the region to their eyes to the base of their tale.
They are also referred to by the names of other striped animals such as
hornet or tiger tilapia. Their stripes will actually change shade
according to their mood. They will vary from very light to nearly
black. The vertical markings tend to fade as the fish grows older.
tilapia is a
larger species of cichlid. They commonly
grow up to 16 inches in length. A similarly sized aquarium will be
necessary if you intend to raise them. A 75 gallon tank is the minimum
recommendation. These fish are mid-level swimmers.
Zebras are one
of the most
vicious members of the cichlid family.
They are best suited for a mono-species tank. They are so territorial
that it is not recommended that you attempt to raise them in a group.
These fish should be kept as a single fish or a couple only. Despite
their innate aggressive behavior they are still reasonably popular with
aquarium owners. This is because they are very intelligent creatures.
acutely aware of
their surroundings. They react to
movement outside of their aquatic environment.
They often feel their
territory is being invaded by a person in the same room will attempt to
attack the intruder trough the glass. They are also known to wreak
havoc on aquarium substrate. These are substrate breeders and have a
tendency to dig up gravel even when they are not in the spawning cycle.
They will suck up a mouth full of gravel and spit it out somewhere else
creating little hills and valleys in the aquarium floor.
fish are also very long lived. They will live an average of 10 years
and have been known to live as long as 15.
Water temperature should be between 74-78 °F with a slightly
They are omnivores, so provide them with both meaty and plant-based
Young Tilapia can be fed tropical fish flakes, cichlid pellets,
frozen or freeze-dried foods. They will also brine shrimp, tubifex and
bloodworms. When they get bigger you can feed them small shrimp,
crickets and earthworms. Tilapias are not picky eaters. They will eat
their veggies. In fact they have an affinity for blanched vegetables
such as lettuce, zucchini and even broccoli. Just throw the veggie of
choice in a pot of boiling water for 15-20 seconds, remove the
vegetables and let cool. Don’t expect to keep live plants
talpiia. If they have a tasted for the plant they will eat it. If they
don’t they are apt to dig it up. Because of their size they
produce a lot of waste. Frequent water changes are needed in order to
keep them healthy.
females are virtually identical. So you may not be able to tell them
apart until they spawn.
mentioned earlier, zebras are substrate spawners. They tend to
mate in private so you will want to provide them with upturned plant
pots or some other form of artificial cave. A slight increase in water
temperature indicates spawning season and may induce them to spawn.
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They will usually dig a hole in the substrate to deposit their eggs
in. However they have been known to lay their eggs on the roof of the
mating chamber. Both parents generally care for the young. Though
spawning may trigger aggressiveness in the male. If this occurs remove
the male and allow the female to tend her eggs.
Fry typically hatch in 4-5 days and will become free swimming in
another 5 or 6. Fry can be fed newly hatched brine shrimp, liquid or
powdered fry food formulated for egg layers.
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