Good day! The blue dolphin lives in the sandy shoals of African Lake Malawi. The fish got its name due to the special similarity of the shape of the head with the dolphin head.
This aquatic species has been known to aquarists from Europe since 1968. It so happened that the hero of today’s article has become the most popular and widespread representative of Malawian cichlids. Fish are caught in nature on an industrial scale, as its behavior is considered “easy”)
The blue dolphin has an elongated and tall body, slightly flattened at the sides. The head of a fish of solid size, eyes big and firm lips. An adult male has an impressive fatty growth.
The fins in the lower part of the body of the fish are short and thin, the dorsal and caudal are long. Juveniles are gray-blue, and scales have a silvery sheen.
On the sides of the body of the fish are dark stripes. On the tail fin and on the sides there are dark spots.
The color of an adult fish and young stock differs: in adult specimens, the body is velvety-blue. And when the dominant male is excited, his color becomes dark blue.
During spawning, the frontal growth of the males turns yellow, and dark blue stripes appear on the sides. Sex differences: adipose growth in males and larger sizes than in females.
In nature, blue dolphins grow up to 25 centimeters in length, but in aquarium conditions the size of the fish is much more modest. In an aquarium, a fish can live up to 15 years, but only under good conditions.
Like all Cichlians, the blue dolphin is a territorial hydrobiont, although its temper is not violent. At the same time, the fish are rather shy, therefore they are recommended to be kept in the species aquariums (for every male you need 2-3 females).
Dolphins mostly stay in the middle or lower layer of water. Although this is a representative of cichlids, it is easier to keep it simple, and quite often, this fish is recommended to beginner aquarists.
So that the fish are not crowded, it is advisable to get an aquarium of 200-300 liters, which must necessarily be decorated with grottoes, mounds of large stones, hard-leaved aquarium plants and powerful snags.
The soil in the aquarium with a dolphin, you can use either coarse sand or small pebbles. Do not forget to provide your pets with enough space for free movement around the aquarium. The water in the aquarium should be the following parameters:
- hardness: from 5 to 20 dH;
- active reaction environment: 7.2-8.5 pH;
- water temperature: 24-28 degrees Celsius.
- Filtering and aeration of aquarium water is welcome + weekly to replace up to 30-40% of water for fresh.
You can feed the fish both live and vegetable food. In principle, it is not picky in feeding, so it can also be supported by substitutes.
Under natural habitat, it feeds mainly on small crustaceans.
Mature blue dolphin becomes a year and a half with a body length of 13-15 centimeters. It is not difficult to breed fish, usually spawning is carried out using a pair of individuals.
It is not recommended to propagate fish in the general aquarium, it is better to take a separate tank. Water in spawning should have the following parameters:
- water hardness: 5-20 dH;
- active reaction environment: 7.5-9.0 pH;
- water temperature: 25-28 degrees.
During spawning, males become very aggressive and vigorously protect their territory from outsiders. Females become very fearful and there were cases when the female with a fright swallowed all her offspring.
So try to protect the fish from stress and external irritants. Caviar is deposited in a previously prepared indentation in the substrate or on a flat pebble, which the fish thoroughly cleans from fouling and growths.
Icrome passes in portions, and the female puts the eggs in her mouth and fertilizes with the help of a male.
During spawning, the female can sweep up to 90 eggs. The incubation process takes place in the mouth of the parents for about three weeks.
During the incubation period, the female weakens greatly, since she practically does not feed. To pity the female, aquarists usually incubate eggs in special tanks with clean aquarium water, poor lighting and a powerful current of water. Water taken from spawning.
One week after hatching, the fry begin to swim and eat on their own. In case of detection of danger, the trifle immediately hides in the mouth of a caring mother. From the start, the fry are fed with small cyclops.
Get ready for the young to grow very slowly.