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Maximum size : 15 cm

Marliers Julie - Julidochromis marlieri : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The Marlieri Julie (Julidochromis marlieri) is an exquisite cichlid species that both beginners and seasoned aquarists can appreciate. They are relatively low-maintenance as long as they have adequate tank space and compatible tank mates. These peaceful fish are excellent additions to a community cichlid tank, as they can adapt to various water parameters, have a diverse diet, and breed easily. However, regular water changes are crucial to maintaining their health and happiness. Marlieri Cichlids can be kept singly, in pairs, or in groups of several pairs with other similarly sized cichlids. They are peaceful towards members of their own species, but they will not tolerate adult offspring. Swimming is a captivating sight with the Marlieri Cichlid. Though shy, they will hover near the back of the tank, darting out to grab food. They move persistently up, down, and around their habitat, turning sideways between rocks or even hanging upside down under rocks. The Marlieri Cichlid has a sleek, torpedo-shaped body with an extending dorsal fin and a fan-shaped caudal fin. Their slightly downward-pointing mouth is perfect for eating. These fish have a striking contrast of colours. They have a yellow or whitish background and exhibit a checkered pattern made up of three horizontal rows of white to golden spots. They also display stunning blue highlights surrounding the body. The Marlieri Cichlid is the only species with a stripe under the eye. The fins are almost always edged with a thin, light stripe and a thin black stripe outside. Various colour patterns and size variations of the Marlieri Cichlid exist depending on the region where they are found, but all are undeniably lovely.

Marliers Julie Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Sexing Marlieri Cichlids is quite simple, as there are apparent physical differences between males and females. Females have a more elongated and flattened genital papilla, which is usually larger in size. They also have a more robust body compared to males. On the other hand, males have a shorter and pointed genital papilla that is angled towards the back. They also possess a lump-like swelling on their neck and are usually smaller than females. By observing these physical characteristics, it is relatively easy to differentiate male from female Marlieri Cichlids.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameJulidochromis marlieri
Year Described1956
Other NamesChequered Julie, Marlieri Cichlid, Spotted Julie, Plaid Julie
OriginsTanzania Democratic Republic of the Congo Burundi Zambia
Max Size15 cm
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asPairs
Lifespan5 - 8 years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH7.5 - 8.5
72 - 80
22.2 - 26.7

Natural Habitat

Marlieri Cichlids are fascinating creatures that can be found in various areas of Lake Tanganyika in Africa. While the majority of these fish are found in the northern and southern parts of the lake, there is also a population located on the western shores. They prefer rocky shorelines and can be observed swimming near the water 's surface or in moderately deep waters, making for an exciting sight in the aquarium.
 Lake Tanganyika. - Burundi
Burundi Flag


The Marlieri Cichlid is an egg-laying species that form monogamous pairs. These cichlids are sheltered substrate spawners and show a preference for spawning in caves. While this fish has been bred successfully in captivity, it is crucial to note that young couples require practice to become successful parents, and it is not uncommon for them to eat their first few batches of eggs. To encourage successful breeding, it is advisable to provide the Marlieri Cichlid with caves made from rocks, clay, planting pots, or slate pieces, as they adhere their eggs to the cave 's roof. It is best to introduce six to ten juveniles and allow them to pair off. Once they have chosen, the male will begin marking off territories, and it is recommended that you remove the remaining individuals to prevent them from being chased off. To ensure that the pair remains stress-free, avoid moving any decorations around or rearranging rocks in the aquarium once they form territories. This is because part of their bond is connected to their territory, and any stress can break the bond between the male and female, eliminating one of the pair. It is best to provide a separate breeding tank with moderately alkaline, medium to hard water with a pH between 7.5 to 9.0 and a temperature between 75 - 78.8 degrees Fahrenheit. The males will lure the females into the cave, where they will spawn in secret, with the female laying up to 100 bluish-green coloured eggs on the wall or roof. Once spawning is complete, the female will tend to the eggs, and the male will guard the area around the cave. The Marlieri Cichlids will spawn every 5 to 7 weeks. When the eggs hatch, the parents are devoted to their young and will take turns guarding them while the other leaves to eat. The parents will allow their fry to stay in the area until they reach about 2.5 cm long, even when new batches are hatched, since they will help guard their siblings. However, while the parents are great at guarding their fry, only a small number of them will survive. Therefore, it is advisable to siphon out most of the fry for a higher yield when they are born and place them in a separate tank, leaving a few in the tank for the parents to look after. To start, the fry should be fed baby brine shrimp until they are old enough to accept other foods. It should be noted that Marlieri Cichlid fry are slow growers.

Diet & feeding

For optimal health and well-being, it is essential to maintain a well-balanced diet for Marlieri Cichlids in the aquarium. While high-quality dried food such as flakes or pellets can be given as the primary food source, it is essential to supplement it regularly with live and frozen fare such as daphnia, Cyclops, Mysis shrimp and brine shrimp. Adding some vegetable material, such as blanched spinach or spirulina, to their diet is also recommended. To maintain excellent water quality, it is advisable to feed these Cichlids with smaller portions of food, about 2 to 5 small pinches daily, instead of giving them a large portion once a day. This will ensure that they receive the appropriate amount of nutrients while keeping the water clean and healthy for them to thrive.

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