Rod Tropheus


     Genus Xenotilapia consists of a few species of sand cichlids, which  most often live in shallow zones.Genus Enatiopus was included in this genus with retroactive effect as this genus had been taken away from Xenotilapia on the basis of several anatomic signs a few years before.
     All the members of the genus are rather sensitive to standard quality of water. They sometimes seem to die without any particular cause, although the other  possible fish in aquarium can do well without any change of water in it. It is advisable to breed all species in  a long, well covered tank with fine sand on the bottom. Fish tend to ransack it trying to find some tiny invertebrates, which make majority of this species´food in the wild.


Xenotilapia ochrogenys „Ndole“


     Xenotilapia ochrogenys Ndole  grows up to 12 cm of length. Males belong to most beautiful members of the genus, being very colourful and having black spots on the sides of their bodies. As it has already been mentioned, they border their territory with little towers of sand  during spawn period. There  are usually about 30 offspring from a spawn.




Xenotilapia ochrogenys Mzuri






Xenotilapia papilio


     Xenotilapia papilio – This species also consists of several colour forms.

    A group of fish, most often called  Sunflower, has usually got a yellow head- or , at least,  a part of it. This yellow colour changes into light brown on the body. They have a significant pattern on the dorsal fin. It either looks like a peacock´s eye or is set into different patterns, which are significant, too.




Xenotilapia papilio Isanga




Xenotilapia papilio Tembwe



     One of the most beautiful members of the genus – Anyway, I dare to say from the whole lake, too – is X. papilio from Tembwe area. We cannot, unfortunately, expect this fish to be bred widely in the upcoming years, since X. papilio  Tembwe  belongs to the fish which are really difficult to breed. We have to consider transport shock they suffer, the fact they can get frightened easily,  the fact of inner species aggressiveness etc.

     When spawning, a male can push the rest of the group into a quarter of the tank´s space to have a quiet condition for the act. Nevertheless, a female very rarely manages to carry the larvae to the handover time of the lay because the aggressiveness of the male diminishes gradually after spawning and the couple joins the group. Belligerent behaviour does not help eggs to develop in the right way at all. A carrying female is either frustrated by consistent aggressiveness in the group or it causes fights by itself to secure a larger territory.

     I have made a certain success in breeding just couples. In such a case, parents are usually very timid and get frightened easily, which can sometimes lead to a stress ending in the destruction of a lay. I must say that there were problems even when I tried to put them together with some tolerant species. For example, I noticed fights between a  X. papilio  Tembwe  male defending his territory for the carrying female and P. nigripinnis  Blue Neon  male.


Xenotilapia papilio Tembwe  Xenotilapia papilio Tembwe  Xenotilapia papilio Tembwe   





Xenotilapia nigrolabiata Red Princess