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I've been researching this all over the Internet for a few days and think I'm getting a handle on it, but looking for anyone who's kept xeno's to help clarify some things. I understand there are different types
as far as habitat with some preferring rocks, some sand, and some maybe even being intermediates schooling until it's time to spawn and then heading up to the rocks.. It's about as clear as mud to me
though which are which and what to expect from the different types in an aquarium.

What I think I've figured out so far:

Pairing bi-parental mouthbrooders, so start with 5-8 and let them pair off. More than one pair may or may not work out long term depending on tank size. (Same idea, strategy as Neolamps, julies)

X. sp. "Papilio sunflower"
X. flavipinnis (school over sand until seasonal spawn?)
X. spilopterus (school over sand until seasonal spawn?)

Non-pairing maternal mouthbrooders, so a small group with a few males and several females would be the way to go. (Same idea, strategy as cyps?)

X. ochrogenys
X. bathyphilus
X. ornatipinnis
X. sima
X. nigrolabiata "Red princess"

I know there are others, but these seem to be the most commonly available.

Some questions

--First of all , do I have the above list right?

--Seems the way to determine which are 'rock dwelling pairers' and which are 'schoolers' is the mouthbrooding? Maternal are more 'schoolers', while the Biparental are the rock dwellers?

--Do the 'schoolers' truly hang together in an aquarium or are they so busy breaking off to spawn that it's a very loose school. And do the females (schoolers) then break off to incubate the eggs or do they continue to hang with the group?

--I know that the X. ochrogenys form side-by-side spawning pits like E. melanogenys, so are the other xeno schoolers the same?

--Are there any that truly school at all or is it more of a colony behavior like tropheus?

--Also, regarding the 'schoolers', what are some good numbers to start with in a 6 footer if starting with juvies?

So, basically just looking for someone experienced with the schooling xeno's to first confirm the list and then let me know what the group dynamics for schoolers look like in an aquarium. (I know what to expect from pairing rock dwellers :) )

Thanks for taking the time.

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I currently have Xenotilapia tenuidentatus and X. bathyphilus. I have had X. ornatipinnis, X. ochrogenys and ectodus decampsi.

The X. ochrogenys, X. bathyphilus and X. ornatipinnis act very similar. The dominant male either rules the tank or defends and area.

The Xenotilapia tenuidentatus and ectodus decampsi stick the bottom half of the time and are swimming around the rest of the time.

All interesting fish.

My brother has X. flavipinnis and he says they are boring.


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They don't "school" per say. So, yes, kind of like tropheus. Xeno's will "school" a lot more when they are young fish in your aquarium.

X. flavipinnis
X. spilopterus

Both are sand dwellers.

Xeno's that stay by the rocks or spawn by rocks... are not like lamps :wink: You still see them out over the sand all the time. They just defend one area of rock instead of one area of sand. They feed from the sand, so most of their time is spent on the sand BY a rock in our aquarium.

X. sp. "Papilio sunflower"

Rock dwellers. They feed from the sediment on the rocks and are found in small groups. When I kept these they were always on the sand, even though I had plenty of rocks. The rocks I had in my tank were fairly new to the tank so they had nothing to feed on. They adjusted to where the food was

On a side note konings mentions the fact that depending on location some Xenotilapia that are typically found over sand bottoms are found on rocks in some locations.

So it all depends :) In the aquarium though... you will find them sifting sand 90% of the time.

There are "mud dwellers" as well.... but most people tend to lump them all togther. The reason... Konings states a couple times that some of these fish are found at 120+ feet. Since they are found so deep not too much is known about their behaviors or habitat.

Hope that helps.... I've kept a few of them and seen a lot of them at a good friends house. All very interesting.
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