The Marlier’s Julie or Checkered Julie Julidochromis marlieri is a smart looking cichlid found in the northern, southern and western regions of Lake Tangayika, Africa. It has a most interesting swimming style. Being somewhat shy it will stay in the rocks more towards the back of the aquarium, darting out to retrieve food. But it moves in a determined manner up, down, and around its habitat. It will turn sideways in between the rocks or even hang upside down under rocks.
This cichlid has a nice contrast of color. It has a checkered type pattern created by horizontal rows of white spots. It also has beautiful blue highlights encircling the body. There are several slightly different color pattern variations of the Marlier’s Julie, and all are very attractive. It is very similar in color patterning to its close relative the Masked Julie Julidochromis transcriptus. However the Masked Julie is smaller and its checkered patterning will have only two rows of white spots, while the Marlier’s Julie has three or more.
The patterns of this species do vary depending upon the location in Lake Tanganyika where each specimen is collected. On some varieties the the black and white is very uniform while on others there will be more black or more white. Some patterns are more like white spots on a black background, some have all white bellies, and some have irregular sized patches of white. Other common names include Spotted Julie, Plaid Julie, and Marlieri Cichlid. Varieties are also named according their geographic distribution such as Julidochromis marlieri “Gombe”, Julidochromis marlieri “Magara”, and Julidochromis marlieri “Mboko gold”, to name a few.
This is a slender, torpedo shaped cichlid. Those from the southern regions of the lake tend to be more elongated than those from the north. It is also one of the larger Julies. They can reach up to a length of almost 6 inches (15 cm) in the wild, but they are usually smaller in the aquarium. Males typically grow to about 4 3/4 inches (12 cm). The females are slightly larger, growing to just over 5 inches (13 cm), and they tend to have a more robust body.
They can easily be kept in a smaller tank of 20 gallons for a pair. They can also be kept in a larger aquarium with other Tanganyika cichlids of similar size. Provide them with a sandy or fine gravel substrate along with lots of rock formations. Plants can also be included as they will not bother them. This fish will breed in captivity, and the plants will provide cover for the newly hatch fry.
With their small size and hardy nature, they make a great fish for the beginning cichlid keeper. They are moderate to easy to care for. Provide weekly water changes to keep the water at optimal levels and they will stay healthy. They do well in a community cichlid tank and can be kept singly, in a pair, or in a group of several pairs. It is important to keep conspecific varieties and similar species separate to help prevent hybrid strains from entering the trade, thus losing the true color forms.
- Species – Julidochromis marlieri
- Common Name – Checkered Julie
- Origin – Lake Tanganyika in Africa
- Diet – Carnivore
- PH Range – 7.8 – 9
- Temperature – Tropical 26°c – 27°c
- Breed Type – Egg Layer
- Maximum Size – approximately 11cm
- Sex – Un-sexed