Breeding Julidochromis

Julidochromis breedingIt had been months since I purchased my Julidochromis Regani from a local aquarium club. I raised them in a community setting with lots of shelter and only small Tanganyikan Cichlids. This was the kipili variety (as featured on the home page) and was very beautiful. I had originally purchased a group of 6 and I ended up with 2 pairs. The pairs lived in opposite sides of a giant slate-like rock structure that I built in my 90 gallon. They zipped in and out of crevices and were very vibrant against the dark rock. Having the adults in the aquarium was an awesome experience, but it was nothing compared to seeing them spawn and raise their fry.

Julidochromis mate for life. It is best to purchase a group of adolescent fish and let them grow up in the same tank and pair off. Each pair will require their own territory that they will not allow other Julidochromis near. In a 90 gallon you may be able to have 2-3 pair of a larger species, or 3-4 pair of a smaller species, as long as you have a large amount of cover. To prevent casualties, you will likely have to remove some of the original group of fish as they mature.

Julidochromis spawn like other cave dwelling cichlids. The male will shake or dance to display his readiness to spawn. The male and female will dance around each other flashing their best colors. The female will then lay eggs on the side or roof of the cave they have selected. You can use terracotta spawning caves, but I was able to make caves out of flat rock.

After a few weeks you may start to see very small fry around the mouth of the cave. The adults will guard the fry and keep them in the cave until they are about 1/4 of an inch in length. Julidochromis are caring parents and will not leave the cave as long as they have fry. The fry will normally stay in or around the cave for 4-5 weeks. As they grow, they will start to venture out more and more until they eventually leave the cave and start a life of their own. The new young Julies will need to be removed from the aquarium before they mature and start pairing off. They will fight with existing pairs and will likely eventually be killed by the more mature adults.

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