The Convict Julie (Julidochromis regani) is a slender, torpedo shaped cichlid species that is endemic to Lake Tanganyika and found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Tanzania, and Zambia.
Similar to Marliers Julie (Julidochromis Marlieri), the Convict Julie (Julidochromis regani) is a “dwarf cichlid” that is easy to breed and care for as long as the water parameters of Lake Tanganyika are met.
The Convict Julie grows to just at 5 inches in length and has an elongated, pale white to golden yellow body with four lateral varying black striped patterns that are determined by which section of the lake the fish re collected from. The black lateral stripes run the length of body and are vertical on the dorsal fin. The outer edges of the caudal, dorsal and anal fins are white tinged with blue, and the pectoral fins are yellow.
Females are generally plumper than males but otherwise identical in color. Adult males can be identified by a small genital papilla.
In an aquarium environment, Convict Julies do best in a highly oxygenated tank of at least 20 gallon capacity, with a sand or fine grain gravel substrate decorated with plenty of rock piles arranged to form caves and caverns. Hardy plants can be added for aesthetics, but if you plan to house more than one Tanganyikan species of “rock dweller” in the tank, make sure to arrange the rocks into several distinct piles so the fish can stake out individual territories so as to minimize aggression.
Although more than one species of Julidochromis can be housed in the same tank, it is not recommended. Because Convict Julies hybridize easily with other Julidochromis, Chalinochromis, Lamprologini, and Telmatochromis; it’s better to keep them in a single species tank.
Convict Julies are easy to breed and make excellent parents. Although Julidochromis regani pairs are largely monogamous, females in the wild and in an aquarium environment often take on more than one mate.
Pairs can be easily identified by placing several juveniles into a tank and watching them bond and pair off as they grow. Like many Lake Tanganyikan cichlids, Julidochromis regani are aggressive, secretive, territorial substrate spawners that like to retreat into rock crevices and caves for safety and to breed. Unless you keep them in a huge tank, a breeding pair should be housed separately in a biotope setting. Both parents will aggressively guard their eggs and care for the fry and as the fry grow, the parents can often be seen leading their brood around the aquarium. The fry should be fed protein rich foods such as baby brine shrimp until they are able to eat omnivore flake foods and adult fare.
In their natural habitat, Julidochromis regani are omnivores that feed primarily on algae, crustaceans, insect larvae, and molluscs found in the aufwuchs. They are opportunistic feeders that will also eat sand particles with filementous and diatomaceous algae.
In an aquarium environment, Convict Julies do well on a diet of quality flake or pellet food, augmented with live, frozen, or freeze dried mosquito larvae, mysis shrimp, Daphnia, brine shrimp, and plankton.
The Convict Julie can be purchased online and from specialty tropical fish keeping shops. Because hybridization of this species is relatively common, be sure to purchase your fish from a reputable dealer, a member of a cichlid society, or from a reputable group.
Depending on size and variety, Julidochromis regani can be moderately expensive to very inexpensive. When available for purchase, juveniles are usually sold when they reach 1 1/2″ in length. Adults can be 3″ to 5″ in length.
Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons
Care Level: Moderately Difficult
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 77-79° F, KH 10-25, pH 7.5-9.5
Max. Size: 5.1″
Color Form: Black, White, Yellow, Blue
Compatibility: Other Lake Tanganyikan fish except other Julidochromis
Origin: Kipili, Lake Tanganyika, Africa
Lifespan: 5-8 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate to Experienced