The Blue Moorii Cyrtocara moorii (previously Haplochromis moorii) is an exotic cichlid that comes from Lake Malawi in Africa. It gets to be rather large, reaching almost 10 inches (25.4 cm) in length. Its overall coloring is a beautiful blue with various amounts of black markings depending upon where each individual comes from. The body is compact and elongated with a rather elongated snout, and with age it develops a large bump on its head. The gorgeous color and interesting shape make this a wonderful show specimen for a large cichlid aquarium.
Whether its a male or a female, this cichlid develops a pronounced hump on its head as it matures. Tthis cranial hump is situated at the front of its body and just above and behind its cute pointy snout. These distinctive features make it look much like a dolphin, though much smaller. It has become commonly known as the Blue Dolphin Cichlid, Malawi Blue Dolphin, Hump-head, Blue Lumphead, Hap moorii, and Humphead Mouthbrooder.
The common name Hump-head does create a bit of confusion. This is a name more frequently used when referring to the Frontosa Cichlid Cyphotilapia frontosa, which is from Lake Tanganyika. This fish also develops a most impressive hump. These two cichlids do resemble each other in both shape and size, but can be distinguished by the all blue coloration found only on the Blue Moorii. The Frontosa has six or seven broad black stripes on a white background with its blues primarily on the fins and sometimes on the snout.
This is a more peaceful cichlid overall, but males can be aggressive towards other males of their own kind. They are a polygamous species and it is best to keep one male with at least three females. They are territorial when spawning, but unlike other cichlids they don't maintain a territory outside of breeding. This gentle giant is durable enough to keep with the more mild tempered Malawi cichlids. In a cichlid community tank, Peacock cichlids of the Aulonancara genus and larger mild mannered haps make good tankmates. This fish can also be kept with the Frontosa as well as species of Synodontis catfish. Avoid smaller fish as they will be intimidated by its size. Also avoid the Mbuna species that are also from Lake Malaw because they are too territorial and scrappy.
The Blue Dolphin is moderately easy to care for as long as the tank is large enough, water is kept clean, and the aquascaping is correct. A large aquarium is needed for this fish, with a minimum size of 75 gallons and a length of 5 feet being suggested. Don't overstock the tank as this fish has a flighty nature and can injure itself if the environment it too crowded. It likes an aquarium with a sandy bottom, some rocks with caves for hiding places, and lots of open swimming space. Keep the decor along the back and sides of the tank to provide room for it to swim.