Julidochromis Marlieri (Marlier’s Julie)

julidochromis marlieri

Last updated on August 26th, 2022 at 02:24 am

Julidochromis marlieri, or Marlier’s Julie as it’s commonly known, is one of the more popular dwarf cichlids in the aquarium hobby. This beautiful fish hails from Lake Tanganyika in Africa and comes in a range of bright colors ranging from red to yellow and even blue and purple!

While they are relatively hardy and easy to keep, they do require some special care and attention, which we’ll cover in detail below.

Julidochromis marlieri is a beautiful African cichlid that can be very colorful in the right conditions and with proper care, it is a relatively small, peaceful fish that will make an excellent addition to the community tank.

Origin and description

julidochromis marlieri

Julidochromis marlieri is a species of cichlid endemic to Lake Tanganyika. Although it is not one of Lake Tanganyika’s most widely known fishes, it does have quite a devoted following among those who keep African cichlids, as it makes for an interesting alternative to such common fish as Julidochromis transcriptus or Pelvicachromis pulcher.

The average Julidochromis marlieri male reaches between four and five inches in length; while adult females can be twice that size! If kept in a large enough aquarium, adults will pair off and lay clutches of eggs that they will guard and tend to until they hatch—an impressive sight when you consider how small they are!

On top of being easy to breed, adults are also relatively hardy and peaceful towards each other making them perfect community fish when kept with less aggressive tank mates.

Species profile

julidochromis marlieri

Julidochromis marlieri is a beautiful species of African cichlid that has gained popularity in aquariums over recent years. It is also commonly known as marlier’s julie, after a famous German aquarist, Wolfgang Wolfy Marlier.

The fish is named after Marlier because he was one of the first to breed and sell these fish on a large scale. With proper care, they can be bred easily. They are similar to another mouthbrooding cichlid from Lake Tanganyika called Julidochromis transcriptus.

Both will grow to about 5 inches long and 3 inches wide when fully grown. Both have different color variations and patterns but their care is very similar to each other when juvenile stages are taken into account.

Parachromis managuensis (Jaguar Cichlid)

Common name

Their common names are Marlier’s Julie or Julidochromis Jouyi. However, they are most commonly known as just Julies cichlids in their native Africa. This name is especially appropriate because butterflyfish are colorful, mostly shallow water fishes that move along at a leisurely pace and can be as beautiful as any butterfly you might find fluttering about.

Habitat and distribution

This fish is endemic to Lake Tanganyika in Africa. It is one of a number of species that occur only in Lake Tanganyika, or are confined to its great depths. The relatively large, deep-water areas of Lake Tanganyika support fish and invertebrates adapted to low levels of oxygen. The lake also provides refuge for julidochromis marlieri from predation by cichlids and other Lake Tanganyikan fish which normally prey on open water fishes, such as julidochromis marlieri.

Other species found in these deepwater rocky habitats include other Julie/Kentropharynx spp., Synodontis, Tilapia, and Bathynotus frogs. Invertebrate diversity can be high because benthic substrates provide hiding places for small molluscs, crustaceans, and various aquatic insects, who form an important part of their diet during early life stages.

Julidochromis marlieri size and weight

The Marlier’s Julie can reach a maximum size of 6 inches in length and 1.5 ounces in weight. The males are typically smaller than females. While they should not be kept with larger fish, their small size makes them compatible with other small fish as long as there is sufficient space for each fish to have its own territory.

Julidochromis marlieri tank size

Julidochromis marlieri, also known as marlier’s julie is a beautiful fish that can be kept in freshwater tanks. While they have been recorded to grow u to 6 inches, they are happiest and most active in smaller tanks of 20 gallons or less. It is best to house them in groups of 3 or more.

Tank set up

Because they need plenty of space to thrive, give your Julidochromis marlieri an aquarium of at least 20 gallons. Provide plenty of shelters so they can seek them out if they’re feeling stressed or threatened. Your tank needs to have strong filtration, particularly biological filtration, and a tight-fitting lid to prevent escapees.

Gar Fish "Belone Belone" Care And Tips

They also prefer shallow water, so only put them in tanks with a maximum depth of 36 inches. For their home, you should use cichlid gravel or sand that’s clean but not too fine—you don’t want it ending up all over your floor! Plant foliage is another great addition to your tank; Julidochromis marlieri appreciates places where they can find shade when necessary.

For food, stick with pellets designed for African cichlids and feed your fish 2–3 times daily.

Julidochromis marlieri tank mates

Julidochromis marlieri should be kept with non-aggressive fish. They are somewhat slow-moving and might be picked on by faster or more aggressive fish. Good tank mates include larger, peaceful Mbuna and other Lake Malawi cichlids. Due to their territorial nature, they do best when kept in smaller groups of one male with several females. A 40-gallon aquarium is a good size for a pair or trio of Julies.


julidochromis marlieri

Breeding is relatively easy and eggs are quite hardy. For starters, it’s important to consider what kind of water your Julie will live in. Because they hail from Lake Tanganyika, it’s best to replicate their environment.

In other words, they should be kept in alkaline water with a pH around 8.0–8.3, and at a hardness level of 5–10 dH. However, if you don’t want to mess with trying to duplicate an African lake, you can keep them in basic freshwater instead. If you’re going for freshwater, just remember that you need a more acidic environment, with a pH somewhere between 6.5 and 7.2 and hardness of 2–6 dH.

Either way, the temperature is incredibly important as well. It needs to stay relatively warm—around 77 degrees Fahrenheit—at all times during the breeding season (usually March through June). At other times of the year, cooler temperatures are just fine; anywhere between 67 and 80 degrees is appropriate… Just make sure it doesn’t get too cold!

Labidochromis caeruleus (Yellow Lab Cichlid)

Provide a breeding tank that is at least 100 gallons with plenty of rocky caves and plants. Females will lay approximately 200 eggs, and they should be removed immediately after spawning to prevent predation by larger fish. After hatching, feed fry small live foods like microworms or brine shrimp. The fry becomes sexually mature in 18 months.

Are they aggressive or peaceful?

These fish are peaceful. They can be kept with other larger fish, including their own kind as well as some non-aggressive species of killifish and African cichlids like Pterophyllum scalare or Pelvicachromis pulcher. However, caution should be used when placing them in tanks with these types of cichlids as a possibility.

Julidochromis marlieri care

julidochromis marlieri

Julidochromis marlieri, more commonly known as Marlier’s Julie or Mbuna Julie, is a small fish that can grow to about 7 inches in length. With little to no aggression, active swimming and climbing skills, and bright colors, it’s no wonder why Julies are one of the most popular African cichlids. They can be maintained by both beginning hobbyists and experienced aquarists alike in almost any freshwater aquarium.

What they eat

Julidochromis marlieri are omnivores and primarily eat meaty foods. The focus of their diet should be meaty foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, Mysis shrimp, and krill. They will also supplement their diet with algae which they scrape off rocks, leaves, and other surfaces in their aquarium. Feed 2-3 times per day depending on your feeding schedule. If you’re feeding twice per day, it is best to feed early in the morning and evening.

Water parameters

In order to maintain a healthy colony of Julidochromis marlieri, it is important to understand that these fish originate from deep waters in Lake Tanganyika. Therefore, you must keep your tank water parameters close to a specific range.

Ideal conditions are pH of 7.8 to 8.2, and water temperature of 24-26°C (75-79°F). Feed a varied diet consisting of high-quality pellets and flakes, and occasionally live foods. A well-rounded diet will not only be nutritious but will also keep your fish healthy by ensuring that it is receiving all of its required nutrients and vitamins. Fish should be fed at least once a day in order to maintain optimum health and coloration.

Cutthroat Trout "Oncorhynchus Clarkii"


This cichlid can live to be 10 years old with proper care. It is a fairly large fish, growing up to 7 inches in length. The average lifespan of Julidochromis marlieri is 5 to 7 years with optimal care. Many factors determine if your julie lives longer or shorter than average including diet, temperature, and water quality.

Feeding them well and maintaining good water quality will help your Julie live a long healthy life for many years!

Parasites and diseases

As with most species of fish, there are also a number of parasites and diseases that affect them. These range from protozoan cysts such as hexamita, ichthyophthirius, costia, and trichodina to flukes like euhaplorchis californiensis.


When housing marlier’s julie with other species of fish, make sure to research their predators first. In general, cichlids and other carnivorous fish will eat marlier’s julie. In addition, anything too large for marlier’s julie to eat can also hurt them. That means avoiding housing them with similarly-sized or larger tank mates such as larger tetras, jack dempseys, discus, and many more.

Do they make good pets?

Yes, Julidochromis marlieri are relatively easy to care for in community tanks. They can live in a variety of water parameters, but like most cichlids, they prefer moderately hard and alkaline water. They also need high oxygen levels and tend to burrow if bottom feeders or plants aren’t present.