The Blue Dolphin
By Alex (Devil)

Photo © AKWA Foto

Scientific name: Cyrtocara moorii

This species is found in all parts of Lake Malawi, it has always been a favourite with enthusiasts that keep Malawi cichlids. They are known for there peaceful behaviour, stunning blue colouring, and the hump on the males head adds to its appeal. They live in large sandy areas and are part of a small group of Haplochromis know as ‘blue imitators’ These fish are now becoming very rare and highly priced, but don’t let that stop you from getting one of these truly fantastic species.

Living Conditions:
pH: Above 8.
Water hardness: 10-18 dH..
Temperature: 25-27 Degrees celcius.
Water changes: 20% once a week.
Food: shrimps, mussels, flakes, and shrimp nauplii. It’s important to avoid bloodworms, and meat based food containing beef and heart, it can cause fatal intestinal disease.
Compatability: Put in with calm species. Avoid putting them with species that are too big or over-aggressive.
Life expectancy: Ten years +
Comments: One of the most popular fish in years.
Sexing: The male develops a hump on his head

Life in the aquarium: The aquarium must be spacious, at least 200 litres, and offer large sandy or gravel areas, you need many rocks and some plants (Plants such as Anubius and Java fern, they are tough and have a bad taste, so the fish don’t destroy them) These will make hiding places for the fish to feel safe, and fish to mark their own territory.

Breeding: The Blue dolphin is a mouth brooder, which means the female will keep her fry in her mouth. They need to be around 18 months old before they breed. The male will choose a flat rock or slate, the male will show off to the the female until he gets noticed, the female will deposit her eggs and the male will then fertilize the eggs. The female will scoop them up soon after into her mouth for 3-4 weeks, the male does not protect the female in any way, he has finished his job and won’t have anything to do with her. If you have a separate tank remove the female and put her in there, it will make it easier for her because she will not get harassed by the other fish, and also you can fatten her up easily after she has released the fry because no one is around to take the food, keep in mind she will be weak from not having food for so long, they usually take 3 and a half weeks to release fry if left un-disturbed, some can take much longer if they are in a main tank getting harassed. After she has recovered release her back into the main tank.

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