Julidochromis dickfeldi  brood care

Breeding pair of Julidochromis dickfeldi in a 20g long tank. Note the pair at the entrance to their breeding cave. Photo by the author.

Because I seem to have lots of success breeding Julidochromis dickfeldi, it should come as no surprise that I have a lot to write about them. In a previous post where I described some observations of the species, I indicated that the female was twice the size as the male. I should point out a couple of things about that statement. One, I have not removed any of  my adult pairs to vent them. Two, the species profile on the Cichlid Room Companion states that dickfeldi exhibit sexual dimorphism in size – the male being larger than the female.  Ad Konings’ dickfeldi description in Tanganyika Cichlids in Their Natural Habitat (4th Ed.) does little to shed light on the subject. However, he states that female J. marlieri and J. regani are almost always larger than males, and that female J. ornatus and J. transcriptus may be as well. I can’t say for certain which is typically larger, the male or the female. Nonetheless, males and females in a dickfeldi breeding pair are not the same size.

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A pugnacious little fish

Throughout my fish keeping journey over the past two decades, I have kept many species of cichlids. We know that every cichlid has its own personality. We also know that the size of the fish is not indicative of its aggression level (e.g., not all big fish are mean and not all little fish are friendly). In fact, some of the nastiest species I’ve kept are dwarf species. 

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Should you remove cichlid fry?

33g long aquarium containing Julidochromis dickfeldi and ‘Lamprologus’ ocellatus. Photo by the author.
 
Yes and no. Answers to that question depend on several factors. However, for one example of why you should not allow a breeding pair of cichlids to have multiple broods in the same tank, look no further than Julidochromis dickfeldi. Many species of cichlids can get along just fine with multiple generations of their own offspring, especially shell dwelling species. However, some adult cichlid pairs consider an older brood a threat to the newest brood and will treat the older brood(s) accordingly.

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Observations on Julidochromis dickfeldi

Julidochromis dickfeldi pair outside breeding cave. Photo by author.

Julidochromis dickfeldi is not only one of the smaller Julie species, but I find it also one of the easiest to keep and breed. A beautiful little lamprologine, dickfeldis are reasonably mild mannered but are very protective of offspring, even when juvenile offspring are 1/2″. A pair doesn’t need a large tank to spawan by any means. I’ve bred them in a 20g long and in a 33g long. I’m sure they would spawn in a 10g as well. 

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Friggin’ fry on the move!

33g long tank containing Julidochromis dickfeldi and ‘Lamprologus’ occelatus. Photo by the author.

In my last post, I talked about the J. dickfeldi fry that I accidentally vacuumed up during a water change. It didn’t register with me at the time, but one of the dickfeldi pair seemed to be spending an inordinate amount of time toward the center and even right end of the tank. I couldn’t understand that because the rocks are on the left end of the tank (see photo above). So it seemed natural that is where the fry should be. 

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Friggin’ fry!

Julidochromis dickfeldi fry. Photo by the author.

I’m posting this one about fry because there are a couple of interesting observations from my 33g long. This is the tank that has (or had) three Julidochromis dickfeldi and five ‘Lamprologus’ ocellatus. I lost a couple of occies from what I think was aggression – one male and one female. I now have two males and a female. The deceased female was a bit of a runt, and I had been concerned about her for a while. Out of the original five, she was by far the smallest. She just never grew much. She got ostracized, and I think one of the paired dickfeldi got her. 

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Spawning cichlid behavior excitement

Adult male Julidochromis dickfeldi guarding fry. Photo by author.

One of the absolute greatest joys of cichlid keeping is witnessing spawning behavior. Because I have new fish from an order I placed several months ago, I have been anxiously awaiting some pairings and subsequent spawning. All the fish I received were older juveniles or sub-adults, so I knew that pairing up would begin in a few months. You can read about the new fish in this post from back in May

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