Aquarium fish: Cyrtocara (Cyrtocara moorii)
Size: 25 cm
Origin: Africa
Water temperature: 25-29 ° C
Aquarium volume: 280 l

Cyrtocara (Cyrtocara moorii ) – a large aquarium fish from the cichlid family, resembling a dolphin. The only representative of the genus Cyrtocara .


Africa. The species is endemic only in Lake Malawi. Seen at depths from 3 to 15 m, in areas with a sandy bottom.

Characteristics and disposition

Males are approx. 25 cm long, females slightly less than 20 cm. High body, laterally flattened, stocky build. Blue coloration with numerous dark spots and / or stripes. The pattern may vary depending on the place of occurrence.

Adult individuals of both sexes show a fatty hump on the forehead. For this reason, they are commonly called Dolphins or Dolphins from Malawi. Gender is hard to tell . Males tend to be larger, have a greater fat hump and are more brightly colored, but this is not always the case. Despite their size , they are considered to be mild , but it should be remembered that, like other cichlids, they are territorial during the period of reproduction.

Males can be aggressive towards each other. It is recommended to keep one male with 3 or more females. It lives in good conditions for about 10 years.

Nutrition and feeding

A predator by nature, therefore, the basis of the diet should be live and frozen foods supplemented with dry and plant-based foods. He eats bloodworm, artemia, chopped earthworm and shrimps.

It is best to feed 2-5 times a day in small portions.


They require a reservoir of at least 150 cm long, with a sandy base and decorations of roots or stones with many hiding places. They must have plenty of space left for swimming along the aquarium. They like to dig the ground, so the stones should lie on the bottom, not on the sand. Only hardy plants that grow attached to the decoration should be selected from the plants.

Sensitive to contamination. In poor conditions, they often develop eye diseases. They require efficient filtration, heavy water movement and weekly water changes (10-20%). The optimal water parameters for this species are around pH 8, dGH 10 – 18 and temperature between 25 and 28 ° C. They can also tolerate a slight salinity of less than 1,0002 g / cm3.

Despite their mild nature, they are not recommended for social aquariums. Any smaller fish will be treated as food. In larger spaces, they can be combined with, for example, the mouthpiece , Fossorochromis rostratus or other large and quiet species of Lake Malawi.


A polygamous genre. Reproduction difficult.

A breeding aquarium should have min. 150 cm and be decorated as indicated above, with the addition of a few large flat stones where spawning occurs frequently. The optimal water parameters are 8.0-8.5 pH and 26-28 ° C temperature. Due to the difficulty in distinguishing between the sexes, it is a good idea to start with a group of 8-10 young fish. Males reach sexual maturity at the age of 16 months, females around 2 years of age.

The male ready for spawning chooses a spawning site, it can be a flat rock or a previously dug pit in the ground. Then, with his behavior and intense coloration, he encourages the female to mate. The attracted female lays eggs in a row for the male to fertilize and collects them in her mouth. The female incubates 20-90 eggs in her mouth for about 3 weeks. This is easy to see.

During this period, she does not eat, her lips are distended and her colors darken. If we want to raise the fry, we must separate them from the rest of the inhabitants. You should be careful and wait as long as possible, because when stressed, she often spits out the litter. After leaving the mother’s mouth, the fry are large enough to immediately eat brine shrimp larvae or crushed flake food. The mother can stay with the offspring and take care of them for the first few weeks, and hide them in the mouth at night or in case of danger.


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