freshwater community4


Blue Dolphin Cichlid

blue dolphin cichlid

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Scientific Name:   Cyrtocara moorii      
Min. Tank Size:   75 gallons      
Personality:   Peaceful      
Temperature:   77-82°F      
pH:   7.5-8.5/5-20°dGH      
Size:   8"      
Diet:   Carnivore      
Breeding:   Egglayer      


Should not be combined with Mbuna Cichlids or very small species; best kept in shoals containing 3 or 4 females for every male.

Blue Dolphin Cichlid

Also called the Malawi Blue Dolphin or simply the Moorii, the Blue Dolphin Cichlid is endemic to Lake Malawi. These fish are widely distributed throughout the lake but are typically found in shallow waters where the substrate is sandy. Blue Dolphin Cichlids range in color from silvery blue to turquoise and are easily identified by the large hump on their foreheads. This hump has earned this species the additional nickname Humphead Cichlid. Blue Dolphin Cichlids are the sole species in the genus Cyrtocara and they are one of the larger species of Cichlid found in Lake Malawi.

Tank Set-up

Blue Dolphin Cichlids are fairly peaceful and thus should not be kept with Mbuna Cichlids or other aggressive species. Because of their large size, however, neither should this species be kept with significantly smaller fishes. The ideal tank for this species will provide plenty of open swimming space and will be sparsely decorated with rockwork around the edges of the tank. Sand is the preferred substrate for these fish and they may spend a great deal of time filtering the sand with their mouths looking for food.


In the wild, Blue Dolphin Cichlids are micro-predators, feeding on detritus, crustaceans and other small invertebrates. Offer these fish a variety of small live and frozen foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms and prawns. These fish may also accept dried foods but this type of food should only be used to supplement a staple diet of fresh foods.


Breeding Blue Dolphin Cichlids is somewhat difficult because they are not easy to sex and because they require a fairly large breeding tank. For the best results, purchase a group of juveniles and allow them to pair off naturally. The breeding tank should be kept at a pH between 8.0 and 8.5 and at a temperature between 77 and 81 degrees Fahrenheit. These Cichlids are maternal mouthbrooders so once the eggs have been deposited and fertilized, the female will take them into her mouth and brood them for about three weeks. The average brood size of this species is 20 to 90 eggs and the female will brood them for about 3 weeks until the fry become free swimming.

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