Sam Borstein's Cichlid Page

Metriaclima sp. "patricki"

Synonyms: Maylandia sp. "patricki", Pseudotropheus sp. "patricki"

Metriaclima sp. "patricki"
Above: A wild male Metriaclima sp. "patricki" "Jalo". Photo by Sam Borstein.


Genus- Metri= average (Latin), clima= slope (Latin).
Species- patricki= Named after Patrick Karonga, a fisherman who worked for Stuart Grant.


Metriaclima sp. "patricki" is a dwarf mbuna and a zebra type cichlid from Lake Malawi. This pretty mouthbrooder is currently an undescribed species and is interesting to scientists from a behavioral and taxonamical standpoint. Males are permanently territorial and burrow in the sand under rockworks to create tunnels to claim as their territories (Konings, 2007). Their territories are usually in the open sand habitat.

This pretty mbuna, which sports a purple to blue color and an orange back, comes in a few different color morphs, but the most popular in the hobby is by far the Jalo Reef form.


Metriaclima sp. "patricki" is found over open sand at Maleri, Nkhomo, Jalo, and Mbenji in Lake Malawi. As said above, males dig tunnels in the sand and hold permanent territories.

Size, Maturity, and Sexual Dimorphism:

Size: Males- 3 inches, Females- 2.5 inches
Maturity: 2 inches
Sexual Dimorphism: Males are larger than females and are colorful compared to the brown females.

female Metriaclima sp. "patricki"
Above: A wild female Metriaclima sp. "patricki" "Jalo". Photo by Sam Borstein.


Metriaclima sp. "patricki" is easy to care for. The fish is not very aggressive and will do fine in a community tank with Haps, peacocks, and other different colored mbuna.

The tank should be decorated with sand, caves, and other ornaments that can act as a make shift tunnel for males to feel comfortable in. Terra cotta ornaments work well. Sand is not needed, but the fish do like to dig and will dig a lot.


Feeding Metriaclima sp. "patricki" poses no issues. The fish do need some fiber in their diet, so the only thing to stress is feeding them is a high quality veggie flake.

In the wild this fish combs the sand searching for algae.


Metriaclima sp. "patricki" is a maternal mouthbrooder and is very easy to breed. This fish breeds in a typical Malawi Metriaclima fashion. Before spawning males color up intensely.

Male Metriaclima sp. "patricki"
Above: A displaying Metriaclima sp. "patricki" "Jalo". Notice the intense orange back. Photo by Sam Borstein.

Females are excellent holders and hold for about three weeks. The eggs are very small and so are the fry, wich number from 10-30 depending on the size and age of the female. Fry grow fast and by a month are usually 3/4 of an inch. They pose no serious issues when it comes to raising them.


Metriaclima sp. "patricki" is a fish I really like, but is not very popular in the hobby. I think it is a cool looking fish that is peaceful, small, and easy to keep. This fish is available from hobbyists but you will not find it in a pet shop. It is somewhat of a hobbyist fish. If you like mbuna I recommend you try this fish.