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Xenotilapia sima



Xenotilapia sima, Big-Eyed Xenotilapia, is endemic to Lake Tanganyika, Africa. The fish can be found at depths of 2 to 15 m on sandy substrate, where they swim in large flocks. It is one of the easiest Xenotilapia species to keep. Aquarists with little experience keeping other cichlids of Lake Tanganyika, also no problem will be able to keep Xenotilapia sima.

Xenotilapia sima has an interesting body shape, but its coloration is unsightly. The body of the fish is silvery. The eyes are large. All fins are colorless, only males in the excitement they are darkened, and the dorsal fin appears yellowish dots. In addition, males are larger than females and have sharpened dorsal and anal fins. The size of males reaches 16 cm and females 10 cm.

Xenotilapia sima

Big-Eyed Xenotilapia peaceful but timid fish, which should be kept in a small group of 6-10 individuals. At 1 male should have 2-3 females. During the spawning period, males become territorial. Males are not aggressive towards mates, and they can contain other peace-loving cichlids.

To contain fish suitable aquarium of 200 liters (6-8 fish). It should be a lot of open space with sandy substrate, so that fish can exhibit their natural behavior. Xenotilapia sima constantly swarm in the soil sifting it through their gills, so use gravel as substrate can not, because it can get stuck in the throat or damage the gills. At the bottom you can place several large stones, which will serve as fish shelters.

Water parameters: temperature 23-27° C, hardness dH 8-25°, pH 8,0-9,5. Requires quality filtration, aeration and weekly replacement of 1/3 of the aquarium water with fresh.

Xenotilapia sima

The fish are omnivores. In nature, they feed on small invertebrates, which they find by sifting sand through their gills. In aquariums, they are fed live and frozen daphnia, artemia, chironomid. The food fish take only from the bottom. Feed fish need 1-2 times a day.

Reproduction

For breeding Xenotilapia sima it is best to buy a group of young fish and let them form pairs on their own. You can remove some of the males if they appear to be too many, because each of them requires an area with a diameter of at least 30 cm. There should be at least 2 females for each male. The water should have a temperature of 25-27° C and pH 8,0-8,5.

The male digs a hole in his territory about 5 cm deep and 15-20 cm in diameter, which will later be used as a spawning site. Then he attracts the female by swimming around the nest. Interested in courting the male, the female swims up to the spawning spot and lays eggs, allowing the male to fertilize it, before collecting all the eggs in his mouth. In total, the female hatches up to 100 eggs.

The female incubates the eggs in her mouth for about 3 weeks. During this time she should not be disturbed because she may spit out or swallow all the eggs if she is frightened.  The mouth of the female leaves the fully formed fry.

Xenotilapia sima

The fry are fed artemia at least 4 times a day.

The life span of Xenotilapia sima is about 5-8 years.

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