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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking to start a 55gal tank set up around a school of xenotilapia. My preference would be ones that most actively sift sand as I find this amusing to watch and is the main reason I'm buying them. Do some do it more than others? I don't know.

I would also like some that show some color. In pics I see some that have a beautiful blue sheen to their fins or a yellow hue. Do some consistently show more color than others? Or is it just during mating? I read that for the most part they're just kinds silvery.

I think I've narrowed it down to Flavipinnis "Nyanza Lac" or or "Gombi" or Bathypilus "Blue Mtoto". But it's hard to find any info about how the behavior of these differ if at all.

I'm also open to suggestions about other sand sifters that would do well in a 55gal if someone thinks there is a better option.

Thank you very much for any help you could provide.
 

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Flavipinnis is a biparental mouth brooder. Which means you'll find them pairing off, defending a territory and possibly not allowing any others in a 55 any peace. Look for the maternal mouthbrooders like bathyphilus. I have x. sima ilangi (although I've read some things that what's being sold under this name is really x. boulengeri). There are maternal mouthbrooders, so will simply spawn randomly without pairs forming. My mouthbrooding females remain with the shoal. I have a dozen that move around the sand together sifting. Sounds like this is what you're going for. Here's a video from about a year ago. They've grown a lot since then, with males pushing 5". Not the color you're looking for, but very pretty fish. So, anyway, between you're two choices, I'd go with the bathyphilus.

Here's a video of a really pretty one, but they just seem to be hanging out in the water column. Sort of odd.

I can't find much on bathyphilus either. But, here's a thread you could check out. They suggest only keeping one male.
 

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I currently have a breeding group of 7 Xeno. Bathyphylus Neon Blue in a 55 gallons along with 5 Tanganicodus Irsacae. The fish are still coloring up but the males are always colorful as they continue to court the females. My xenos are contstantly sifting the sand and swimming back and forth.

Hope this helps.

Nick
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Great stuff guys! Thank you very much for your help. Looks like I will try to find some bathyphilus. I want a smaller species since it's only a 55g. Simas get a bit bigger. I know my local store has some xenos but I need to check which kind.

My next decision is what kind of sand to use. I would like to use a white sand that is very fine and easy for the xenos to sift through. I'm using a white sand I bought at home depot in my 75 (Play sand?) But it's got some bigger grains mixed in with the finer sand which I'm not too keen on for this tank. I also have estes reef sand in my shelldweller tank which I like. Very light sand that the dwellers love to dig in. I'm open to other options, though. There's a possibility I might put a live plant or two in this tank as well so I want to consider that in my sand choice. What would you guys suggest?

Thanks!
 
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