Tips for Breeding Julidochromis

Discussion about cichlids from Lake Tanganyika

Moderators: Troy, Thomas Andersen

Post Reply
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:13 pm

Tips for Breeding Julidochromis

Post by Didgeridoo » Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:01 pm

One of my favourite Tanganyikans, Julidochromis, namely J.regani and J.marlieri. They're attractively patterned and have very interesting breeding behaviour. But they can be ornery with each other and getting them to do the deed can be a challenge, especially with adult fish. I've been able to successfully spawn multiple pairs, namely J.marlieri and J.regani of different varieties using the methods below.

One major thing I've discovered in order for the pair to bond is they need targets. I've successfully been able to spawn adult fish by mixing them in with other cichlids like Neolamprologus brichardi. With Julidochromis they never really get along until they spawn. Once they've spawned and have fry, their bond is pretty strong. What I'll typically do is put a divider in the tank if they're adults and leave em divided for a couple weeks. Let them see each other but not able to beat one another. For the larger species (regani and marlieri) it's important for the male to be the smaller fish. When I remove the divider I'll rearrange the slate on the females' side. I also will add a few N.brichardi to the tank at the same time I remove the divider. The pair will both divert their attention at the N.brichardi and you'll notice them start to bond. The male will dance for the female and if all goes well, they should spawn within a week or two, if not sooner. This depends on how conditioned the female is.

I condition the intended fish with high quality flake like Xtreme, and supplement with live white worms. I've never had digestion issues feeding white worms. Just DO NOT feed bloodworms. My current pair was conditioned separately for 2 weeks. Julidochromis don't really show when they're gravid, meaning the female doesn't get fat or change colour. I feed twice a day but do not overfeed. While conditioning I also do 25% water changes every other day. This gets them in top condition.

Another tip is when you rearrange the slate caves on the females side, make sure they're tight caves and smooth out the sand so the pair has to dig and "make" their own caves. I've noticed the effectiveness of this with every pair I've spawned. I use flat slate pieces as opposed to clay flower pots. In the photos below you'll notice multiple cave sites. Within each cave site there are numerous areas that they would select to spawn. Julidochromis typically spawn upside-down and usually in a cave they dig out close to the sand.


Once the pair start hanging out together it's a waiting game. I literally did this method again today and boom, 4 hours later they're spawning as I type. It's important to closely monitor the pair. If you see the male in the upper corner of the tank, put the divider back in. But keep in mind, at first, it's tough love with Julidochromis. It's not uncommon to see them attacking one another or chasing each other. This is them testing one another. The female will be the dominant fish and you'll see the male eventually submit, folding his fins up and flicking around the female. My current pair, the male is half the size of the female. I've found that this works better than when the fish are of equal size.

This method has been proven several times now and honestly, just because it's worked for me, doesn't mean it'll work for you. But it's worth a shot. :wink:


Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2016 1:29 am

Re: Tips for Breeding Julidochromis

Post by Bigeggbrad » Fri Jun 03, 2016 1:40 am

Nice piece Didgeridoo. I can only assume you're from Australia as well.
I also noticed an increase in the pair bond after adding a Neolamprologus Brichardi to their tank. Breeding took place only days afterward.

Posts: 58
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2014 12:21 am
Location: Windsor, ON

Re: Tips for Breeding Julidochromis

Post by JHG » Fri Jun 10, 2016 11:17 pm

Very good article.

Posts: 1
Joined: Wed May 06, 2015 10:06 am

Re: Tips for Breeding Julidochromis

Post by ijeggert » Mon Sep 05, 2016 10:32 pm

I know late to the post, but speaking from experience and from what I've read in ad konings Tanganyika Cichlid book, is once they mate, do not re-arrange the tank. It causes them to think they have moved to another part of the "lake" and the male will defend the fry from the female to the point of killing her. I lost my mating pair to just this.

Post Reply

Return to “Lake Tanganyika Cichlids”