Black-Chinned Sparkling Cichlid (Xenotilapia melanogenys) CareSheet

photo Melandri, Giorgio This rare sand-sifting cichlid is one of the most beautiful and unusual fish in the hobby right now!

The Black-Chinned Sparkling Cichlid (Xenotilapia melanogenys) is a Tanganyikan species that lives in deeper water and grows to be bigger than most other cichlids found in the huge rift lake. It shoals in deeper water, but may go to shallower sandy regions to reproduce. This very uncommon species develops into one of the most attractive cichlids in the hobby.

In an aquarium with stacks of rocks that resemble caves, the Black-Chinned Sparkling Cichlid will flourish. This species requires a sand substrate since they will sift through it in search of food. Because it is a shy species, it is best maintained in groups. Individuals of this species, unlike many Tanganyikan cichlids, do not create separate territories per se, but there is a clear hierarchy within each group, necessitating the provision of shelter for subdominant fish (particularly males) to flee from alpha males. Any fish that is rowdy or aggressive should not be kept in the same tank.

The Black-Chinned Sparkling Cichlid should not be housed with dwarf shrimp or other tiny, sensitive invertebrates. Tanganyikan cichlids that are too big to be considered prey make ideal tankmates. If spawning is desired, other species should be kept to a minimum or avoided entirely unless the aquarium is large enough with enough of cover and decoration.

The uncomplicated Black-Chinned Sparkling Cichlid is easy to feed. Dry, frozen, and live meaty items of high quality will all be welcomed. This species should not be fed dry items entirely since quality and diversity are the keys to a diet that will guarantee that it maintains maximum health and color. Because this fish feeds mostly by sifting through the substrate, make sure you have a 1" sand bed.

Requirements for keeping Xenotilapia melanogenys

Temperature: 75° - 81° F
pH: 7.5 - 9.0
KH: 10 - 25 dKH
Minimum tank size: 40 gallons
Origin: Indigenous to Lake Tanganyika, Africa
Average adult size: 6.5"

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Tanganyikan Cichlid Breeding CAPTURED ON VIDEO