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Aquarium fish dolphin

maintenance, care, compatibility

One of the most common aquarium fish, a representative of the cichlid family – the blue dolphin (Cyrtocara moorii) – has become popular with aquarists due to its unique appearance and quite livable character. Like most cichlids, the aquarium dolphin comes from the African Malawi waters.

This representative of the Tsikhlovykh was described for the first time in 1902, and it became widespread in Europe only in 1968. A little later, a handsome blue man appeared in Soviet household waters.

Why this fish got its name, how to properly maintain a Malawian pet and provide him competent care, we learn further.

As noted above, the blue dolphin hails from hot Africa, more precisely from Lake Malawi, where it reaches a size of 20-25 cm.

In the domestic water body, the parameters of the fish largely depend on the size of the tank, varying within 8-20 cm.

This cichlid dolphin is called due to its external similarity with a marine mammal.

At the beginning of life, the pet does not particularly resemble a dolphin, but with age, Cyrtocara moorii on the forehead of a rather large head forms a kind of fat cushion that makes the fish look like a famous sea animal. Big eyes under a convex forehead are mobile, large lips protrude.

In general, the aquarium dolphin is a very attractive fish externally: on the gray-blue with a silver tint body of young individuals on the sides are transverse stripes and two spots of dark shade.

The adult fish becomes light blue, but the spots sometimes remain. During mating games, the dominant male group in a state of intense excitement becomes saturated with a dark blue hue.

In addition, during this period, the male’s forehead becomes yellow, and several transverse bands appear on the body.

Behavior and compatibility with its other inhabitants

The blue dolphin is a beautiful aquarium from the cichle family, common in Africa. The dolphin was first discovered in the lakes of Malawi and Malombe, and introduced to Europe in 1968. The dolphin blue is the most popular type of all freshwater Malawian cichlids due to its amazing color and ease of breeding.

This fish can also be found under the name “zirtokara muri” or “haplochromis muri”.

Blue dolphins are quite peaceful creatures, prefer to keep a bunch of 3-4 fish. For the optimal number of them in the aquarium, a combination of one male and at least three females will do.

The maintenance of dolphins in an aquarium does not represent special efforts, especially for experienced aquarists, in the presence of a capacity of 200 liters and a beginner can handle it.

The fishes are territorial and like a large open space for swimming, they keep on all layers of water. The main aquarium water parameters: temperature 24-26 ° C, acidity 7-9, hardness 10-17 °. Mandatory filtering, intensive aeration, the replacement of a third of water weekly.

Lighting can be bright.

The soil is desirable sandy or small pebbles, plants need hard-leaved with a strong root system or in pots. Such aquarium plants are well suited: valisneria, cryptocoryne, anubias.

Ferns can be strengthened on the stones, and the leaves of the limnofila will serve as additional feeding for the fish.

Numerous shelters are needed for fish in the form of grottoes, snags, caves, crevices. To recreate the most similar habitat, you can arrange an aquarium with rocky terrain and buildings of stones laid on each other.

Blue dolphins feed on any kind of high-quality live food. It is best suited to feed with a high content of protein: earthworms, live or thawed shrimp, pieces of beef heart or liver, bloodworms, core.

From plant foods suitable dandelion, spinach, lettuce and nettle.

The cichlid blue dolphin is by nature calm and peaceful, even shy. The best option will be its content in the species aquarium, where the dolphin will fully manifest its special habits and will feel free.

In the general aquarium, successful compatibility will be with non-aggressive representatives of cichlids, like aulonocara or other Malawian fishes, and in color it contrasts beautifully with the yellow labidochromis.

Of the other species, dolphins have good compatibility with barbs, catfish, and labyrinths.

Blue dolphin is not distinguished by aggressiveness and fastidiousness, so it is easy to keep it Other fish will keep him company, if properly examine their compatibility and behavior in the same cattery.

Blue cichlids will not pester other inhabitants of the aquarium, but may be afraid of excessive attention to themselves. It is required to keep a small pack: there are two females for one male, or three females for two males – so they will not be confused and will feel confident.

Compatibility is possible with other Malawian mbun fish or with African catfish, however it is better to settle them in a separate tank.

They swim in the middle and lower water; an aquarium of at least 200 liters is recommended with an abundance of large decor. For a beginner aquarist, these fish will become a real find – they are easy to care for and pleasant to watch.

They love a huge space where you can both swim and hide. Aquatic plants must be either stile-leaved or planted in pots. As the soil, you can use sand or small pebbles, they love to dig in the soil.

The best parameters of water: temperature 24-28 degrees, pH 7.2-8.7 pH, hardness – 5-10 dGH. Aeration and filtration are necessary.

Every week it is recommended to update 30-40% of water.

In the wild, they feed on crustacean benthos – the blue dolphin is an excellent hunter. In captivity they eat live, frozen, vegetable and even artificial food. The diet also includes proteins – Artemia, tubule.

Fish meat and mammals should be given with caution, or deleted, because blue dolphins are sensitive to such food and can become ill.

Look at the mating dance of Cyrtocara moorii.

This cichlid, unlike its relatives, is a polygamous fish. There are several females per male, if there are more than one male in a flock, territorial disputes arise with an unfavorable outcome. At an early age, the sex of dolphins is almost impossible to determine, for this it is recommended to purchase 5-10 fry at once, and to observe their maturation.

Reaching the length of 13-15 cm, the fish can be divided.

During the spawning period, males become violent and aggressive, and females – fearful. From a strong fright, the female can swallow her brood.

The best conditions for keeping and breeding are calm and constant conditions of water.

In order for the spawning to take place, it is not necessary to transfer the fish to a separate spawning farm if they live independently – the aquarium is also suitable for breeding. In the nursery there should be a large smooth stone, where caviar will be deposited.

Sometimes the male digs a pit, which is also suitable for spawning.

After fertilization, females bear 20-90 eggs in the mouth, about 2-3 weeks. During incubation, the female does not eat, because of which it is very depleted and weakened.

Some aquarists contain caviar in a separate container with clean water, strong current and low light. When the fry appear, they can swim in the mouth to the mother, protecting themselves from danger. The initial food for the fry is naupilii, artemia and small cyclops.

Blue dolphin offspring grows slowly.

Blue fish dolphins aquarium: with whom they get along and how to care

Beautiful aquarium fish blue dolphins belong to the cichl family. This is one of the most common aquarium fish, deserved popularity due to the unusual appearance and appeasable character. The homeland of animals is hot Africa, where they can be found in the lakes of Malawi.

The blue dolphin arrived in Europe in 1968, and a little later mastered the Soviet (then) aquariums.

The blue dolphin (photo below) is distinguished by its peaceful disposition and prefers a schooling existence. A male and three females will be quite enough for home keeping.

Aquarium must choose a roomy. Ideally, at least 200 liters.

Then the pets feel great and delight the look with their appearance.

These aquarium fish prefer open spaces because they swim in all water layers. Comfortable stay dolphin in the aquarium will provide the following options:

  • water temperature – + 24 … + 26 ° C;
  • acidity – 7-9;
  • stiffness – 10-17.

Fish also need filtration and aeration of water. Another prerequisite – the weekly replacement of the third part of the liquid.

The aquarium should be brightly lit.

These inhabitants of aquariums are distinguished by their peaceful and even nature-shy nature. The fish is completely non-conflicting, but still the best conditions for keeping are the specific aquarium.

Only in this case, she can feel free, showing all the features of behavior.

If this is not possible, then non-aggressive fish from the family of cichlids, such as aulonocara, should become neighbors. In general, any Malawian fish will do.

Particularly interesting is the blue dolphin with yellow labidochromis. Among other species you can choose barbs, labyrinth fish and catfish.

When selecting neighbors it is worth remembering that the fish can mate with livingstone haplochromis, as well as leopard representatives of this species. The color of the offspring in this case is gray-brown with characteristic blue stripes.

Cichlids dolphin blue-description content spawning feeding video.

Blue dolphin – one of the most beautiful cichlids living in African lake Malawi. This cool, big-eyed and big-lipped brightly colored fish cannot be confused with any other.

The lake is sandy, so the aquarium should be decorated in a rocky-sandy style.
Contain Dolphins in groups where the number of females is higher than males. Males are very territorial, they easily fight each other.

In general, these cichlids are peaceful, get along well with other non-aggressive Malawians.
For a pair of Dolphins need a spacious aquarium with a capacity of at least 100 liters, a group of fish – more than 200.

It is better if the aquarium is extended in length (and it is not less than a meter). Put a thick layer of sand on the bottom.

In nature, these fish feed on small crustaceans, which they seek out in sandy soil. In aquarium conditions, they are happy to eat ice cream and live moths, dry balanced feed, boiled shrimp, squid (naturally chopped).
The optimum water temperature for zirtocar content is 25-27 ℃, hardness 8-12 °, pH 7.5-8.5. Mandatory filtering, aeration and weekly water change per quarter volume.
In aquariums of large volumes, Dolphins can reach their maximum sizes, namely males – 20 cm, females a little less – about 17-18 cm. The main difference between males and females in adulthood is the presence of fatty growth on the head.

At a young age, it is almost impossible to distinguish a male from a female, so it is often necessary to acquire them at random.
Juvenile Dolphins are painted in silver-blue color, on the sides there are dark transverse stripes. In the center of the body and at the base of the tail are large dark spots.

In adult fish, the color is velvety blue, including all fins.
At 9–10 months of age, puberty occurs in the cirtocar, after which the fish are able to produce offspring. During the spawning period, the fatty growth on the head of the Dolphin becomes yellowish.

Breed these cichlids can up to 8 years.
When maintained in favorable conditions, Blue Dolphins live for up to 15 years.


Scientific name: Cirtokar Muri (Latin Cyrtocara moorii).

Popular names: Tsikhlida Blue Dolphin (Blue Dolphin Cichlid), Tsikhlida Humpback Forehead (Hump Head Cichlid), etc.

Care requirements: taking care of fish is easy, because they can adapt to water parameters.

The size: up to 20cm.

  • DH level: 10-18
  • PH level: 7.2-8.8
  • t0: 24-260C (75-790F)

Lifespan: 7-10 years.

Habitat: Africa. Blue Dolphins cichlids live in Lake Malawi at a depth of 3 to 15 meters above the sandy bottom.

Behavior: this is one of the peace-loving cichlids, but still it is better not to keep them in the general aquarium. Blue Dolphins feel fine with similar sized fish. In large aquariums, they can live with other cichlids from Lake Malawi, but it is better to avoid mbuna (mbuna very restless and aggressive).

They can be kept with Voile Synodontis and African catfish. Blue Dolphins may fight or chase smaller fish, and during spawning they will become aggressive.



Blue dolphin is the most common type of Malawian cyclide. Interestingly, this type of fish, as well as the majority of African cyclides, are optional hermaphrodites, that is, with the creation of certain conditions, they can change their gender.

European aquarists got acquainted with blue dolphins relatively recently – in 1968. The presented fish visually resembles a dolphin mammal, that’s why it is called so. The body of the representatives of this species is somewhat elongated and compacted.

The head is large, the lips are thick, the eyes are large and mobile. Anal and dorsal fins in dolphins are long, but the ventral and pectoral fins, on the contrary, are short.

Males of the blue dolphin have a huge fatty growth on their foreheads. Fish habitat is the sandy shoal of Lake Malawi in Africa.

In nature, there are specimens of fish up to 25 cm, in the aquarium the size of a blue dolphin does not exceed 8-20 cm. Blue dolphins are long-lived, they can live in captivity up to 15 years.

The color of young fish is slightly different from adults. Juveniles have a gray-blue color.

There are dark transverse stripes on the sides of the body, and huge dark spots are localized in the center, which disappear with time. Color adult dolphins – velvety blue. In the dominant males during the spawning period, the forehead becomes yellow, and the color becomes dark blue.

On the sides appear dark blue transverse stripes.

For the maintenance of blue dolphins requires a huge aquarium with a volume of at least 200 liters and a water temperature of 24-28 degrees. Water change and filtration is a must.

In such conditions, the fish will feel comfortable. It is worth noting that only in huge aquariums it can grow up to 20 centimeters. There should be a lot of swimming places, but do not forget about the construction of shelters (grottoes, caves, stones, snags).

The aquarium dolphin keeps mainly in the middle and lower layers of water. Aquarists recommend keeping a blue dolphin in a species aquarium, as this fish is quite shy.

The aquarium dolphin is a peace-loving fish, although there are cases when males sometimes argue for leadership.

Hello, dear lovers of aquarium fish! Dolphins – mysterious mammals living in the seas and oceans.

They surf the water and communicate with each other using ultrasound. And if I say that the Dolphin is a fish and it feels good in aquariums? Do not believe?

Very vain. Get comfortable – now I’ll tell you about a unique fish that has a striking resemblance to the smartest mammals dolphins.

The name of this fish is Dolphin Blue; it belongs to the diverse family Cichlidae, which implies the relative ease of keeping this species in the home. In nature, it inhabits sandbanks of Malavia in Africa.

This species is considered the most popular Malawian cichlid. Males on the forehead have a fatty growth that makes fish look like mammals, and thick lips resemble the mouth of a dolphin.

Aquarium fish Dolphin will be a wonderful decoration of the aquarium. The dolphin is moderately territorial, not aggressive and is considered a shy fish, for the comfortable maintenance of which shelters are required. During the entire period of fish growth, there are very interesting changes associated with its color.

This species is best suited for beginners “fish scientists.”

Recommended aquarium from 200 -250 liters, with sandy soil and ample space for swimming.

Let us turn to the behavior and specific features.

Dolphins should be kept in groups – several females per male – in order to avoid conflicts; if there are more than two females, then the second male can be “hooked up”. One female should be free, as cichlid usually form pairs.

In nature, the Dolphin reaches the size of 25 centimeters; in an aquarium, fish sizes are much smaller. The aquarium dolphin is popular among fish lovers not only because of its appearance – it is interesting for its “mating” behavior. The female lays several eggs, then swims up to the male’s anal fin, fertilization takes place.

Female reproduction usually does not exceed 90 eggs, and after fertilization, the female bears eggs in the mouth for 3 weeks. During the “pregnancy” females do not eat and are very depleted.

Some aquarists produce artificial incubation of eggs. To do this, they put the female Dolphin in a separate tank, free the female from the eggs, then put it back into the aquarium.

The incubator creates a water channel and optimal conditions, as in the parents’ aquarium.

Fry grow very long, and at an early age they use their mother’s mouth as a shelter if they are in danger.

Breeders traditionally consider tsikhlazami the most peaceful and quiet cichlids. And in fact – this sedentary fish, “goof off,” is not so often capable of aggressive actions.

Therefore, groups of these aquarium fish have become one of the most popular. In aquariums of different types you can meet these amazing creatures, whose skin is so skillfully painted by nature in bright colors.

Today it was the turn to talk about dolphins Cichlasmo – beautiful and unusual fish from the family of angelfish, which have similarities with these animals.

Aquarium fish Cichlid cichlids love to live in spacious high aquariums. It is also necessary that the aquas were decently lit (about 50 lm / l).

The fishes themselves have chosen the lower and middle layers of akvas in aquariums – there they find a pleasant territory, dig shelters on it and jealously guard against strangers. However, if another fish swims in their place, these peaceful pets become terrible fighters – only shreds fly along the back streets!

In order for pets not to be aggressive and not to fight with other inhabitants of the aquarium, you must follow the rules for combining fish. In addition, since the fish are polygamous, there should be several (approximately 4) females per one male.

Tsikhlazoma in an aquarium loves to eat live food: Artemia crustaceans, moths. Blowing is not worth giving. More pets eat small fish meat, minced meat and even vegetable food.

If there is little green in the diet, then the fish can begin to nibble on aquarium plants.

These gorgeous and unusual fish are unpretentious in the care, relatively calm in behavior and very original in appearance. An aquarium with dolphins-cichlasomes will not go unnoticed!

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