Comprehensive Guide to Caring for Julidochromis marlieri Fry: From Birth to Adulthood

Marlieri cichlidJulidochromis marlieri is a remarkable African cichlid species that holds a special place in the aquarist community. This endemic species hails exclusively from the northwestern shores of Lake Tanganyika, where it demonstrates a particular affinity for rocky shorelines and deeper waters. Within the aquarium hobby, it has earned several monikers, including Marlier's Julie, Spotted Julie, and Chequered Julie, owing to its distinctive appearance.

In terms of size, Julidochromis marlieri typically reaches a total length of approximately 5.9 inches, with an intriguing twist-adult females tend to be larger than their male counterparts, a characteristic unique to this species. Interestingly, the specific epithet, "marlieri," pays tribute to the renowned Belgian zoologist Georges Marlier, who played a pivotal role in collecting and studying this intriguing cichlid species.

Breeding Tank Setup

A 20-30 gallon aquarium with fine gravel substrate and abundant rockwork for shelter should be established as a dedicated breeding tank. Include mature sponge filters appropriate for fry and plenty of hiding spots.

Water Parameters

Maintain water conditions that match the species' natural habitat. Aim for a pH around 8.0-8.5, hardness 10-15 dGH, and temperature 78-82°F. Perform frequent small water changes of 10-15%.

Fry Feeding

Feed newly hatched brine shrimp nauplii 4-6 times daily to promote fast growth. As the fry mature over 6-8 weeks, gradually introduce finely crushed flakes and pellets.

Growth Rate

Growth is rapid initially, with fry reaching 1 inch in the first month. By 8 weeks, they will achieve juvenile coloration and reach 1.5-2 inches.

Parental Care

Remove aggression males once fry are free-swimming. Close monitoring and optimal rearing conditions are key to raising fry.

With close attention to their special needs, J. marlieri fry can grow into healthy, beautiful adults. Proper tank setup, water parameters, nutrition and care are essential.

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What is Julidochromis marlieri?

Julidochromis marlieri, also known as the Gombi cichlid, is a small freshwater species endemic to Lake Tanganyika in Africa. It is prized for its unique patterning and neon blue-striped fins. Males exhibit a beautiful reddish-orange face mask.

What is the habitat of J. marlieri?

In the wild, Julidochromis marlieri inhabits rocky shorelines and beds of shells in Lake Tanganyika. They dwell in caves and crevices, only venturing into open waters to feed.

What is their diet and feeding behavior?

Julidochromis marlieri are carnivores that feed on small worms, shrimp, insect larvae and zooplankton. They pick food from rock surfaces but rarely venture far into the water column. Offer a variety of meaty foods.

What size tank do they need?

Julidochromis marlieri are best kept in a species only tank of at least 30 gallons. Provide plenty of rocky caves and crevices for shelter. Recreate their natural water parameters.

Are they good for community aquariums?

No, J. marlieri are too aggressive and territorial for community tanks. They should be kept singly or in pairs unless breeding. Even then they require a species tank.

How large do Gombi cichlids grow?

In aquariums, Julidochromis marlieri typically reaches about 3 inches (8 cm) in length when fully grown and provided with proper care. Males tend to be slightly larger than females.


Bigirimana, C. (2006). "Julidochromis marlieri". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2006: e.T60546A12378338. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2006.RLTS.T60546A12378338.en.

Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2013). "Julidochromis marlieri" in FishBase. February 2013 version.

Scharpf, Christopher & Lazara, Kenneth J. (25 September 2018). "Order CICHLIFORMES: Family CICHLIDAE: Subfamily PSEUDOCRENILABRINAE (p-y)". The ETYFish Project Fish Name Etymology Database. Christopher Scharpf and Kenneth J. Lazara. Retrieved 28 January 2019.