Care Level: Moderate
Live Plant Safe: No
General Description: The Hap Blue Dolphin Cichlid is endemic throughout Lake Malawi in shallow waters of both rocky and soft substrates, but exact population numbers are unknown because it doesn’t seem to be encountered frequently. This fish is often referred to as a ‘Hap’ because it is within the tribe of African cichlids known as Haplochromines. Both sexes of Hap blue dolphin look similar, with an overall vibrant blue body and as they mature, both sexes develop the characteristic nuchal hump on their forehead. On average, male Hap blue dolphins will grow larger than females [10″]. A gentle giant among the Malawi cichlids, Hap blue dolphins will do best when kept with several individuals of their own kind and with not overly boisterous tank mates. This species is also known to be quite flighty, so aquarium decor should be selected carefully as to avoid accidential injury.
Diet Requirements: Hap blue dolphins, in nature, are micropredators. A diet made up of various high quality proteins are ideal such as frozen brine shrimp, bloodworms, and chopped prawns. Earthworms are a favorite treat. Hap blue dolphins will accept large sinking pellet foods and flake foods, but these should not make up a large portion of the diet. Variety is the spice of life in order to maintain color, immune function and longevity of your fish.
Care Requirements: An established minimum 75 gallon aquarium is ideal for a group of small Hap blue dolphin. Biweekly water changes are encouraged to keep water parameters up to standard (Nitrates < 30 ppm). The aquarium should be aquascaped sparingly with no jagged items that a Hap blue dolphin could injury themselves on. A sandy or fine substrate is preferred and the aquarium needs to be well oxygenated. African cichlid specific substrates, or even marine Aragonite substrate, are great choices because they will buffer the pH and alkalinity to levels characteristic of Lake Malawi. Hap blue dolphins should be kept with more docile Malawian and Tanganyikan fish of a more “community” type set-up. Recommended water conditions, 74-80° F, KH 10-25, pH 7.5-8.5.
Purchase Size: Medium: 2” to 2-1/2”; Large: 2-3/4” to 4”
Note: Your item may not look identical to the image provided due to variation within species. Purchase sizes are approximate.