Julidochromis marlieri for sale from the northwestern rocky shorelines of Tanganyika

Marlieri cichlidJulidochromis marlieri, often referred to as the Marlier's Julie or Checkered Julie, is a captivating species of cichlid native to Lake Tanganyika in East Africa. These small, elongated cichlids are renowned for their striking appearance and intriguing behavior, making them a favored choice among aquarists specializing in African cichlids.

Marlier's Julies are known for their intricate, checkered-like patterns on their bodies, which are often adorned with various shades of blue, black, and white. In addition to their visual appeal, these cichlids are admired for their interesting social dynamics within the aquarium.

Julidochromis marlieri is a relatively peaceful species compared to some other cichlids, making them suitable for community aquariums with other Tanganyikan cichlid species. They tend to form hierarchical structures within their groups, and their interactions can be quite fascinating to observe. To replicate their natural habitat, it's essential to provide plenty of hiding spots in the form of rocks, caves, or crevices in the aquarium.

When it comes to their care, Julidochromis marlieri thrives in slightly alkaline water conditions with a pH range of 7.5 to 9.0. They prefer water temperatures between 74-78°F (23-26°C). A well-balanced diet consisting of high-quality cichlid pellets, live or frozen foods, and occasional vegetable matter is essential to maintain their health and vibrant coloration.

Overall, Marlier's Julies offer aquarists an opportunity to appreciate the beauty and behavior of Lake Tanganyika's cichlid diversity in a manageable and captivating aquarium setting. Their distinctive appearance and relatively peaceful nature make them a valuable addition to the world of freshwater aquariums.

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Requirements for keeping Julidochromis marlieri

Common Name: Gombi Cichlid
Scientific Name: Julidochromis marlieri
Species: Freshwater fish
Origin: Lake Tanganyika in Africa
Size: Up to 3 inches (8 cm)
Care Level: Moderate to high
Temperament: Aggressive, territorial
Diet: Carnivore
Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Temperature: 76-82°F
pH Range: 7.8-9.0


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.

How is caring for Julidochromis marlieri fry?

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. Read more on Julidochromis marlieri Fry.

There are currently 6 formally described species in this genus:

Julidochromis dickfeldi
Julidochromis marksmithi
Julidochromis marlieri
Julidochromis ornatus
Julidochromis regani
Julidochromis transcriptus


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.