Blue Dolphin Cichlid is a common name for this species that is known by either of two scientific names: Cyrtocara moorii and Haplochromis moorii. This fish earned its common name because it is blue and the shape of its head closely resembles the shape of a dolphin’s head. Other common names include Malawi Blue Dolphin, Dolphin Cichlid, Blue Moorii, and Hap Moorii. This relatively peaceful cichlid is gorgeous to look at due to its bright, shiny blue coloring.
The Blue Dolphin Cichlid has a nuchal hump protruding from its forehead and it has bulging lips that extend from its face like a bill. Both of these physical characteristics combined resemble a dolphin. The nuchal hump on its head starts to develop as the fish matures and gets progressively larger as time goes on. This hump develops in both male and female specimens. They are metallic-blue in color and may or may not have a scattering of black splotches all over their bodies. This eye-catching species can grow to be a maximum of 10 inches in length although females tend to be slightly smaller than males. This species has the potential to live for approximately 12 to 15 years. They are slow growing and take a long time to reach sexual maturity.
They can eat bloodworms, beef hearts, dried flakes and pellets. There is not much need for greens in their diet but they are likely to accept it as a dietary option if nothing else is available. Just know that a high protein diet is very necessary for their health and growth.
This species can be found in the shallow, sandy areas of Lake Malawi. They tend to stay away from the rocky cliffs of the lake where the mbuna cichlids dwell. If rocks and caves are incorporated into the aquarium décor, they should be kept to a minimum and set out of the way to provide this species with maximum swimming space. They are diggers that thrive where there is sand or fine gravel substrate.
C. moorii are very hardy fish that are not very particular about their water conditions. Being from Lake Malawi they are accustomed to hard water between 10 and 20 dGH with an alkalinity falling somewhere between 7.2 and 8.6. The temperature should be in the range of 74 to 81°F. Provide fresh, flowing water with plenty of oxygen and free swimming space. Because of their ability to grow fairly large the Blue Dolphin Cichlid should be provided with a minimum of 125 gallons for 3 females and 1 male. If the goal is to breed this cichlid species be sure to perform frequent partial water changes to entice them to reproduce.