Yellow Julie | Julidochromis ornatus

Cichlids / Africa / Lake Tanganyika / Yellow Julie

Profile: Golden Julie, Ornate Julie, Yellow Julie
Julidochromis ornatus Synonyms: None
Physical description: An elongated cichlid with three characteristic brown-black longitudinal lines. The uppermost runs through the base of the dorsal fin, while the lowest extends from the snout, through the lower part of the eye, and back to the base of the caudal fin. The body is whitish yellow to a deep gold color. The fins are yellow and the anal, caudal, and dorsal fins have a dark outer edge. The pelvic fin may a white marking on its end, and the caudal fin is fan-shaped.
Size/Length: To 3.2" (8 cm)
Similar species: Chalinochromis brichardi, this species resembles a young Melanochromis auratus.
Habitat: Eastern Africa; found at depths of 6-15 feet (1.8 to 4.6 meters) in rocky zones on the northwestern shore of Lake Tanganyika.
S: bottom, middle
Aquarium: 24" (60 cm) or 15 gallons (56 L). The tank should have a rocky set-up including caves and crevices. Use a fine gravel or preferably, a coral sand substrate. Cover the tank well, as frightened fish may be inclined to leap. A few hardy plants can be used. The rearrangement of the tank can lead to the break-up of pair bonds.
Water chemistry: pH 7.5-9.2 (8.2), 10-22 dH (14), 72-77°F (22-25°C)
Social behavior: A territorial fish that is intolerant of its own species. A male will defend a territory established around a set of stones and a cave. He will not allow other J. ornatus in, except in cases where a bond has formed, his mate. In conflicts, the weaker fish may be killed. Monogamous bonds are formed and the young are cared for in a nuclear family arrangement.
Suggested companions: Lake Tanganyika cichlids (including other Julidochromis, Neolamprologus, Cyprichromis), Synodontis, Aulonocara, Lamprichthys, Afromastacembelus
FOOD: Live; crustaceans, bloodworms, other insect larvae, aquatic insects, Tubifex; finely chopped meat; flakes; pellets; spinach.
Sexual differences: Males are smaller and more slender when mature.
Breeding techniques: To achieve success in spawning Julidochromis species, one must first obtain a compatible pair. For details please see the "Breeding of Cavity Brooders" in the introduction of Lake Tanganyika Cichlids. A small, 24" (60 cm) or 15 gallons (56 L) tank can be used. It should be arranged with caves and other rock structures. The water should be alkaline with a pH from 8.2-9.0, have a water hardness from 12-20 dH, and a temperature from 75-81°F (24-27°C). Keep a single pair in the breeding tank. The female deposits up to 100, although more often 10-40, eggs on the ceiling of a chosen cave. There the eggs are fertilized by the male. Often these proceedings can go unnoticed by the aquariast as they usually take place deep in the cave. The fry are very small, usually about 0.2" (0.5 cm) in length. They adhere to the ceiling or sides of the cave for 5-6 days. When the young are free-swimming they remain in the parent's territory under their indirect care. Start feeding with Artemia nauplii, Cyclops nauplii, and later with crushed dry foods. The pair will spawn continuously and receive aide in caring for the eggs from the offspring of prior spawnings.
Breeding potential: 5. Once a compatible pair is found, spawning becomes easy in their own separate tank. Over the course of a year, the pair may become very prolific with their continuous spawnings.
Remarks: J. ornatus, like other Julidochromis species, is sensitive to sudden changes in water conditions. Thus, small water changes made weekly are recommended.
Difficulty of care: 5. A sensitive fish, aggressive towards others of its own species. Live foods should be included in its diet.