Blue Dolphin Cichlid – Species Profile & Facts

In this article, you will get to know everything about the blue dolphin cichlid (Cyrtocara moorii). The Blue Dolphin Cichlid is an exotic cichlid originating from Africa from Lake Malawi.

It gets to be very large, reaching lengths of almost 10 inches (25.4 cm). Its overall coloring is a beautiful blue, with different amounts of black markings.

Its natural habitat, requirements for fish tank, what water condition they can live in, hot-cold or normal, all about its food.

What type of food diet and feeding these fish need? Like humans, fish also need some mates to have in their aquarium. This article will give you all the information about the blue dolphin cichlid.

When we keep any type of pet, we also focus on its breeding. Similarly, this article will tell you whether you can breed this fish, and what are the conditions and what precautionary measures you have to take.

Every information related to the blue dolphin Cichlid is given in this article. So, let’s get started!

Blue Dolphin Cichlid Natural Habitat

Malawi Lakes are the home of Blue Dolphin Cichlids, and you’re likely to find them in these lakes today still, as there are no huge natural threats for this fish, which has allowed them to spread and breed better.

For the most part, these fish like to swim around the edge of the lake where there is a sandy type of substrate. They don’t go too deep; most likely, you’ll find them at about a few feet’s depth.

They’ve only been popular for home aquarium trade in the second half of the 20th century and still are today.

The fish requires solid filtration systems and satisfactory water treatment.

As for the saltiness, you’ll find that these fish have adapted to more brackish waters over the years, so they do have some resistance for salt. Some salt in their water is fine, although they do prefer freshwater.

One thing that’s unique about these fish is that poor water quality can hurt their eyes, so you’ll need to keep a good maintenance of the water. As they are slightly more vulnerable, it’s better to own this fish if you do have some prior experience with other fish of this type.

The tank guardian would require a good-sized aquarium, and the aquarist would be required to constantly cycle the water.

If this fish lives in the right conditions, it is a peaceful type of fish. However, you need to make sure you give it enough space or else it will struggle in your tank.

Blue Dolphin Cichlid Tank Requirements

All Malawi Cichlids will break down beneath bad water conditions, and destitute water quality will demolish the eyes of this species. Do water changes of 10% to 20% a week depending on bio stack and every so often vacuum the substrate.

These fish prefer a lot of open space with plenty of hiding spots in between. So, you will need a good combination of open swimming spaces and rock caves which can be used by the fish to hide and spawn.

Make sure you also provide some scenery to your tank, such as coral sand and small rocks.

The tank size should be at least 75 gallons in volume and at least 5 feet in length, to keep the blue dolphin cichlid in captivity. It requires very strong filtration systems with proper water flow.

Cichlids ought to be dodged with planted tanks as they are ardent diggers and will continually reshape the rock in your aquarium.

They may moreover eat and deroot the plants. But usually, no huge issue as the plants don’t appreciate the high pH and in their common environment, it is void of most plant life.

Blue Dolphin Cichlid Water condition

Due to a distinctive sort of water, they are as a rule incapable to be put with another community angle unless they share the same water parameters. For Cichlids, the optimum aquarium temperature is around 72 °F – 82 °F (22 °C – 28 °C).

Higher temperatures will require less stocking of aquariums. Keep your pH between approximately 7.8 and 8.5. This can be accomplished through the utilization of white limestone rocks or pulverized coral substrate.

Relative water hardness ought to be 10-15dH. This will duplicate difficult limestone conditions comparative to Malawi Lake in Africa.

Make weekly water changes, which is the best for these fish as they can produce a lot of waste. Make changes of 10-15%.

Here are the conditions:

  • Ph needs to be between 7-8.8
  • Water Hardness should be between 10 and 18 DH.
  • Water Temperature ought to be between 72- and 82-degrees Fahrenheit.

Give new, streaming water with a bounty of oxygen and free-swimming space. Since their capacity to develop reasonably huge the Blue Dolphin Cichlid ought to be given with a least of 125 gallons for 3 females and 1 male.

On the off chance that the objective is to breed this cichlid species be beyond any doubt to perform visit halfway water changes to allure them to duplicate.

Blue Dolphin Cichlid Diet and Feeding

Naturally, these fish are omnivores, but they do prefer a slightly more meat-based diet. They like to eat flakes, but they will also prefer frozen foods as well as live foods from time to time.

Also consider feeding them vegetables every now and then, such as small pieces of zucchini or lettuce.

As they are known as carnivore fish, it’s best to feed them spineless creatures and they are especially keen on hunting down smaller fish species.

A diet that’s full of protein is the best way to ensure the fish grow fast and they reach their full potential.

Consider adding foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, and prawns. You’ll be able to accustom them to an assortment of diets, including live and solidified foods.

If you decide to feed them live foods, then you need to proceed with care. Some sellers don’t vet their food and they can be full of harmful bacteria, which can potentially hurt your fish. Make sure to also add enough vitamin supplements to their diet.

As for the timing of the feeding, I recommend that you feed them several times a day – 2 to 5 times per day instead of once per day. Go for smaller meals which boosts their digestive system.

Blue Dolphin Cichlid Tank Mates

Blue dolphins are a quiet breed of cichlid but there are some limitations for keeping them in a community tank.

The biggest is that they can get aggressive when they are breeding, and they will actively attack other fish if they come close to their spawn. Again, a large tank can provide a solution for this.

The mbuna species ought to be particularly dodged as a tank mate. These two fish have a long and checkered history and you can expect these fish to constantly fight if they are kept in the same tank.

They can be aggressive at times, especially when breeding. But the best way to keep these fish in a community tank is with other cichlids. Several other tank enthusiasts will confirm that these fish will do well with frontosa fish, as well as other Malawi cichlids.

Don’t put this species besides a smaller fish species, as they might attempt to chase them down, given their ruthless instincts towards smaller breeds.

Blue Dolphin Cichlid Breeding

Males show brighter coloration during mating periods. Blue dolphins will reach sexual maturity at about 3 years of age and will start breeding on a regular basis after they reach this age.

You can expect the female fish to produce up to 50 eggs at once. These will be strewn across the tank, and most likely, on the flat surfaces of the tank and rocks.

They usually intercourse when there are no other fish around, but if the tank is big and provides plenty of places to hide, they would be able to do this in a community tank.

The female cichlid will normally have these eggs with them for three weeks. The female might drop her eggs if she’s moved during this time, so it’s better not to do so.

Younger females will normally produce much less fry than the older fish. Smaller fry and young fish should be fed smaller pieces of brine shrimp.


If you’re looking for a beautiful fish to decorate your home and make a nice appearance in your office, then you should consider this fish.

You’ll need to make an effort to keep these fish, but they are not that demanding, too.

Blue Moorii, also known as Blue Dolphin Cichlid or Malawi Blue Dolphin, is readily available and priced at a moderate price.

They can be found online and are usually available in fish stores, though if you’re willing to wait for them when they’re out of season, they may be specially ordered.

avatar Noah
I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets. read more...

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