Blue Dolphin Cichlid, a semi-peaceful fish from Lake Malawi. A gentle giant ideal for the larger community of Malawi cichlids. Adult size 20 – 25cm, minimum tank size 500 litres
This species was formerly named Haplochromis moorii and is also known as Hump Head or Moori. It originates from Lake Malawi. The “dolphin” term in its name comes from the nuchal hump on its head, present on both males and females and it gets more prominent with age.
Peaceful and should not be kept with boisterous species such as mbuna but will intimidate small fish with its sheer size.
This is a shoaling species and should be maintained in a group. Try to buy 2 or 3 females per male if possible. Male fish become territorial when spawning.
This is a semi-aggressive predator that can become quite territorial if kept in a small tank with few hiding places. When sensing danger, the Blue Dolphin will bury itself in sand to avoid it, so it’s better to use sand as a substrate.
Provide a substrate of sand and plenty of open swimming space. Unless the tank is really huge it’s best to restrict any rock work to the walls and edges.
Being a shy and timid fish, hiding places must be provided. You can place rocks, wood, plants, or large decorations where they can hide and have some privacy. But don’t fill up the tank with plants or decorations, as they also need many open spaces for swimming as they can be quite flighty and may injure itself in a rock-filled setup
Lighting and water movement should be moderate.
Usually, this fish is best kept in a species-only tank with a single male together with three or more females. Though some aquarists manage to house them with other non-aggressive cichlids like Malawi Cichlids or cichlids from the Aulonancara genus, as well as Frontosa or Synodontis catfish.
Be careful during breeding periods though, as the Hump Heads may become very territorial and display aggressive behavior towards the other species.
Avoid putting this species together with smaller fish, as they regard the little ones as food and try to hunt them down, given their predatory instincts.
It’s a predator by nature, so the bulk of the diet should be composed of live and frozen foods. It relishes bloodworm, brine shrimp, chopped earthworms, prawns etc. Dried foods are also taken, but should not be fed exclusively.
It was once believed that warm-blooded animal meat would be good nourishment for these carnivores, but lately it has been discovered that fats and proteins contained in poultry, beef, etc. do more harm than good to their organs.
Like any other fish, the Hump Heads are susceptible to stress and disease, especially in poor quality water. Lack of proper filtration and sudden changes in temperature or water chemistry will all contribute to their stress level and thus weaken their immune system.
See Fish Disease Diagnosis and Treatment at Rebel Pets for help with diagnosing and treating diseases.
|Adult Size:||20 cm|
|Aquarist Experience Level:||Intermediate due to size|
|Minimum Tank Size:||500 litres|
|Temperament:||Peaceful with similar sized fish|
|Tank Level:||Mid dweller|
|Diet:||Omnivore, eats most foods|
|Lifespan:||7 – 10 Years|
|Temperature:||25 to 29°C|
|pH:||7.2 – 8.8|
|Hardness:||10 – 18 dGH|