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The Dickfeld’s Julie Julidochromis dickfeldi is the most recently discovered of the three dwarf Julies, described by Staeck in 1975. This dwarf Julie only grows to a length of 4 1/3 inches (11 cm). However it is not quite the smallest, its relative the Masked Julie Julidochromis transcriptus is the dwarf cichlid with that distinction at about 3 inches (7.62 cm) in length. The Golden Julie Julidochromis ornatus is also smaller, reaching just over 3 inches (8 cm), and has the distinction of being the first of the Julies to be bred in captivity. Like these others, the small size of this cichlid does make it easy to house in tight quarters and a 20 gallon tank is perfect for keeping a pair.
This dwarf Julie was first introduced in America in 1974 under the enticing designation of “Blue Julie”. It differs in its coloring from the other Julies with a body that can be silver, light brownish gold, or have a blue sheen. Thus Brown Julie is another common name for it as well. The markings on its head are another distinction. The three dark horizontal stripes on each side extend onto to the head with the lowest one literally wrapping completely around its face. Besides differing in color, its body shape is also a bit different. It has a larger dorsal fin towards the front end and a more pointed snout. These fish are also commonly named for color or locality such as Julidochromis dickfeldi “Ndole”, Julidochromis dickfeldi “Moliro”, Julidochromis dickfeldi “Midnight”, Julidochromis dickfeldi “Midnight Blue”, and Julidochromis dickfeldi “White top”, to name a few.
They are moderate to easy to care for as long as small weekly water changes are done to keep the water at optimal levels. With their small size and hardy nature, they make a great fish for the beginning cichlid keeper. Provide them with a sandy or fine gravel substrate along with lots of rock formations. It is somewhat shy. It will stay in the rocks more towards the back of the aquarium, darting out to retrieve food. 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.
In a community cichlid tank the Dickfeld’s Julie can be kept singly or in pairs, but will not tolerate other Julies. They can be kept with other Tanganyika cichlids that are similar size. They will a define a territory by selecting a crack or rock fissure as its center, and then will stay very close to the rock structures of their defined territory. This fish will breed in captivity, and it is important to keep the different strains separate to help prevent hybrids.
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Video of Dickfeld’s Julie Cichlid (Julidochromis dickfeldi)
Infographic of Dickfeld’s Julie Cichlid (Julidochromis dickfeldi)
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