Blue Dolphin Cichlid (Cyrotocara moori): Ultimate Care Guide


The Blue Dolphin Cichlid, also known as Blue Moorii, is a rare cichlid species. Their scientific name, Cyrotocara moori, is in honor of the English cytologist and biologist, John Edmund Sharrock Moore.  They are a vibrant blue color with small black markings throughout the body, and their skin is made up of wet and slimy scales. It has a length body that can develop up to 10 inches (25 cm) in length and as they mature, they develop a hump on its head that looks like a pointy snout. They originate from the waters of Lake Malawi in Africa and are usually found in sandy coastal areas or rift lakes.

Blue Dolphin Cichlid Care

It’s important to have the correct water temperature and pH to create a viable habitat for the Blue Dolphin Cichlid. The ideal water temperature should be between 72- and 84-degrees Fahrenheit. The water pH level should be within the range of 7.0 and 8.8 as the Cichlid prefers water conditions that are alkaline. In order to improve the carbonate hardness of water, salt can be occasionally added as a stabilizing agent and can withstand saline of roughly 10%. It’s important to have regular filtration in their tank, as bad quality can spoil their eyes.

Size, Tank Size, and Tank Setup

The Blue Dolphin Cichlid is slow to grow but can grow anywhere from 20 to 25 inches. Males typically reach a height of 20cm while females reach a height of 16cm. As a result of their size, it’s important that the tank has the capacity for the Cichlid to live comfortably. The tank should be able a total of at least 200-250 liters. A length of 5 feet is recommended as well. The tank size can have an effect on how large or small the fish will grow. Males tend to grow a larger hump on their head than females, and in a smaller tank, these humps may not grow as adequately if the tank is too small. Lake Malawi is known for its low, sandy areas. Small shrubs, moss, and coarse gravel may be added to the tank; however, stones should be added to a minimum. If adding stones, make sure to place them out of the way so the Cichlid has enough room to swim. Large plants such as large seaweed and longleaf plants should not be included in the tank.

Blue Dolphin Cichlid (Cyrotocara moori)
Blue Dolphin Cichlid (Cyrotocara moori)

Blue Dolphin Cichlid Diet

Blue Dolphin Cichlids have a similar diet to planktonic eaters. They may eat synthetic, natural, live, and frozen plant-based foods; however, the meal should be high-protein. Examples include blood worms, shellfish, or worms. High-quality pellets can also be given to supplement their diet. It is recommended to give three to five small portions rather than one large meal in order to maintain their health.

Blue Dolphin Cichlid Lifespan and Breeding

The Blue Dolphin Cichlid can live up to 10 years. They are polygamous, forming a nest with one male and multiple females. For every one male, there should be 3-5 females as well. Cichlids are hard to breed, so it is best to start with 6-8 young fish that are brought up together. The male will begin being sexually active once its body size reaches three inches. Females will lay 20-50 eggs at a time typically on a flat surface, such as a rock, and wait for fertilization. Younger females will birth around 25 eggs while older females will birth around 80 eggs. Blue Dolphin Cichlids are a mouthbrooder fish so the female will pick the eggs up in her mouth and incubate them there for up to 3-4 weeks. They tend to be very protective of the eggs and may hold them in their mouth for a long period of time, especially at night or when they feel the fry is in danger. The female will then release the fry when she thinks it is safe to do so. It is best to put the female in her own separate tanks before she releases the fry. This ensures the fry is kept safe as the female will be too weak to fend off predators once she releases them. During the period when the eggs are in the female’s mouth, the female doesn’t consume any food during this time. As a result, some fish keeps may try to raise the eggs in an environment by releasing the eggs from the female’s mouth. The environment should have ample lighting and a channel for water, while the water in the tank should have the same specifications as the larger tanks. On the seventh day, the fry may begin to feed but will return to the female’s mouth at any sign of distress or at night. Brine shrimp eggs are a good introductory starter feed. It may be hard to tell male and female Cichlids apart when younger, but there are a few key characteristics that may help differentiate them. Male Cichlids’ forehead humps tend to be larger, and their color tends to be brighter.

Blue Dolphin Cichlid Tank Mates

Blue Dolphin Cichlids are known to be semi-aggressive and can become somewhat possessive if living in a confined tank with only a few areas to conceal itself. Females can become aggressive when they are breeding and spawning. Make sure to only keep the Blue Dolphin Cichlid with fish that are the same size or larger, as smaller fish will get preyed on. Examples of ideal tank mates include Clown Loaches, Piecos, Leopard Bush Fish, and Giant Danios. Small fishes such as Guppy fish, Angelfish, Discus, and Glassfish should not be kept together with the Blue Dolphin Cichlid.

Blue Dolphin Cichlid as a Pet

Blue Dolphin Cichlids can be a great addition to your aquarium and can be a good pet to have, as they are one of the more peaceful Cichlids. However, make sure to take proper care in order for them to thrive and live a long life. Maintaining lighting, temperature, and hardness of water will ensure they grow healthy.

Fish Laboratory

With decades of collective fishkeeping experience, we are happy to share the fish care tips that we've picked up along the way. Our goal at Fish Laboratory is to keep publishing accurate content to help fishkeepers keep their fish and aquarium healthy.

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