Cyrtocara Moorii

Scientific NameCyrtocara Moorii
Common Name(s)Blue Dolplin | Malawi Dolphin | Malawi Humphead
Geographical OriginAll around Lake Malawi. Usually seen in shallow waters
HabitatWherever sandy areas are present
DietCarnivore | Invertebrates that hide in the sand and have been stirred up
by the Taeniolethrinops genus.
Aquarium TemperamentPeaceful can be kept with other Haplochromis or even Mbunas
Gender DifferencesMonomorphic | Males and Females will have the same blue coloring
Males can be distinguished from females by the larger “hump” on
the forehead.
BreedingMaternal Mouthbrooder
Maximum Size~ 8 inches | 20 cm
pH7.8 – 8.6
Water HardnessHard
Temperature 78 – 82°F | 25 – 27°C
Recommended Aquarium~ 75 Gallons | 300 Liters
Aquarium Notes These are non-territorial fish, meaning you can keep them with a lot of
other fish species including Mbunas.
The females can be kept in the aquarium after the pair spawns.
Peacefull species that thrive in larger groups; I would recommend 7-10
individuals in a 100+ Gallons aquarium.
  • Cyrtocara Moorii is one of my favorite species due to its gentle nature and extraordinary attitude when in a group family.
  • They will often swim by their peers as a whole group.
  • Male dominance is asserted quite fast, I have never seen fights longer than 1 day after the fights are over tranquility will settle in the aquarium and dominance will not go challenged.
  • In the wild, they are attracted to stirred-up material and usually follow a large sand-sifting species like Taeniolethrinops preaorbitalis, eating all the food (invertebrates) that gets revealed.
  • I had the pleasure of keeping them with Fossochromis Rostratus species and it was a pleasure to watch them “discover food”.
  • I would usually get frozen food and plant it in the gravel; this way the fish had to “hunt/scavage” for their meal. It was wonderful when they uncovered the food and started to get all round up about it.
  • The best kind of aquarium watching is the one that is the closest to natural behavior.
  • I warmly recommend this species to any Malawi enthusiast as a easy fish to grow and breed.

Special thanks go towards people that provided pictures and videos to make this article possible: AD Konings with his relentless research on African Cichlids. is forever grateful.
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