Masked Julie Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: December 17, 2022

The masked julie is a beautiful freshwater fish that is perfect for the beginner aquarist. They are easy to care for and are very peaceful, making them a great addition to any community tank.

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about masked julie care. You’ll learn about their diet, tank mates, size, and more!

Species overview

The Masked Julie (Pterophyllum scalare) is a freshwater angelfish that’s found throughout the Amazon basin in South America.

They have a very wide range and can be found in rivers, creeks, and lakes.

This fish is very peaceful and can be kept with a wide variety of tank mates. They are a popular choice for many freshwater aquariums because of their beautiful coloration and patterns.

The Masked Julie is silver with black stripes running vertically along their body. They have a long fins and an elegant appearance that makes them a very popular choice for many aquarists.


Masked Julie

The Masked Julie is a beautiful freshwater fish that is perfect for any community tank. These fish have a black body with three vertical white stripes.

The first stripe starts behind the Masked Julie’s operculum (the bony plate that covers their gills) and goes all the way down to the base of their caudal peduncle.

The second stripe is located in the middle of the fish and goes from their dorsal fin down to their anal fin.

The third and final stripe is located just behind their pectoral fins. This stripe is generally thinner than the others.

The Masked Julie’s fins are all transparent with a slight yellow tinge. Their dorsal and caudal fins have a bit more yellow than the other fins.

The Masked Julie is a small freshwater fish that only grows to be about 3 inches in length.


The average lifespan of a Masked Julie is around 10 years, but some have been known to live up to 20 years in captivity!

As with any other fish, the lifespan of your Masked Julie can be impacted by a number of factors. Things like poor water quality, stress from bad tank mates, or a suboptimal diet can all shorten their lifespan.


Masked Julies can grow up to 5 inches in length, but they are more typically between 3 and 4 inches.


Tank Size

The recommended tank size for a single Masked Julie is at least 55 gallons. If you want to keep more than one fish, you should increase the tank size by at least 20 gallons for each additional fish.

This is a semi-aggressive fish, so it’s important to give them enough space to establish their own territory and avoid too much stress.

Water Parameters

As with all fish, stability is key when it comes to water parameters. Sudden changes can wreak havoc on the fish’s delicate internal systems and lead to long-term health problems.

The masked Julie is no different. These fish are best kept in water that’s on the warm side with a slightly acidic pH. The water should also be well-oxygenated and have plenty of hiding places.

Here are some ideal water parameters for the masked Julie:

  • Water Temperature: 76 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH Levels: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Water Hardness: 2 to 12 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 4-8 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

As with most cichlids, the Masked Julie is not a fussy fish when it comes to the tank’s décor.

That being said, we still recommend that you take the time to set up their habitat in a way that’s pleasing to the eye and provides them with some hiding places.

These fish aren’t known for being overly aggressive, but they can still benefit from a few places to retreat to if needed.

Plants are always a nice addition to any freshwater aquarium. Not only do they help with water quality, but they also provide fish with some much-needed hiding places.

We recommend going with hardy plants that can handle a bit of abuse (like Hornwort or Java Fern).

As for the substrate, gravel is always a good choice. If you want to go with something a little different then sand can work too. Just be sure that it’s not too sharp since these fish like to dig around a bit.

Common Diseases

The Masked Julie is a peaceful and relatively hardy fish. They’re not immune to disease, but they’re not as susceptible as some other species.

The most common ailment that affects this fish is ich. Ich is a very contagious disease that can quickly decimate a tank if it’s not dealt with properly.

The most obvious symptom of ich is the presence of white spots on the body of your fish. If you notice this, it’s important to take action immediately.

There are a number of other potential diseases that can affect the Masked Julie, but they’re not as common. Some of these include bacterial infections, parasites, and fungal infections.

As with any other fish, the best way to prevent these fish from getting sick is to maintain the quality of the water in their tank. A tank with clean and stable water conditions always leads to healthier fish who are more resistant to disease.

Behavior & Temperament

The masked julie is a peaceful and social fish that does well in a community tank. It is an active swimmer and will often be seen swimming in the middle or top of the water column.

This fish is known to be a good jumper, so a tight-fitting lid is a must.

The masked julie is a schooling fish, so it is best kept in groups of 4 or more. It is a relatively shy fish, so having more fish will help it feel more comfortable and less stressed.

This fish is not aggressive and gets along well with other peaceful fish. It is not known to bother other fish or eat their food.

Tank Mates

When it comes to finding the right tank mates for a masked julie, the number one rule is to avoid any fish that might see them as food.

This is easier said than done since these fish are on the smaller side. They only grow to be about four inches long, so most species will see them as a snack.

The best way to avoid this issue is to find fish that are too large to fit in their mouths. This will usually deter them from even trying.

Another good rule of thumb is to find tank mates that occupy different areas of the water column. This way, the fish won’t run into each other as often.

Some compatible species that come to mind include:


Masked Julies are livebearers, which means that they give birth to live young instead of laying eggs. This makes the breeding process a bit different from other species.

The first step is to set up a breeding tank. It should be at least 20 gallons and well-decorated with plants and hiding places. The temperature should be between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

You’ll also want to add a good amount of floating plants. This species likes to lay their young on top of the plants.

When ready, add two females for every male. Males have a more pronounced dorsal fin than females.

The next step is to wait. Females can store sperm for months, so they may not get pregnant right away.

Once the female is pregnant, you’ll see a gravid spot near her vent. This is where the young are developing.

After around six weeks, the female will give birth to anywhere from 10 to 20 live young. Remove the adults from the tank at this point to prevent them from eating the fry.

Feed the fry a diet of baby brine shrimp and crushed flake food. They should be large enough to be moved to the main tank within a few months.


The Masked Julie is a beautiful and exotic fish that is perfect for the beginning aquarist. They are very hardy and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions, making them a perfect fish for those just starting out.

While they are not the most active fish, they are still a lot of fun to watch and will add a touch of class to any aquarium.

We hope you enjoyed this guide and we encourage you to go out and get your own Masked Julie today!