Blue dolphin cichlid Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: December 17, 2022

The blue dolphin cichlid is a beautiful and popular freshwater fish that’s perfect for beginner aquarists.

Despite their beginner-friendly reputation, they’re still a bit of a challenging fish to keep. They’re sensitive to water quality and need a lot of attention to detail when it comes to care.

But if you’re up for the challenge, blue dolphin cichlids can be a rewarding and fun addition to your aquarium.

In this guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about blue dolphin cichlid care. You’ll learn about their diet, tank mates, lifespan, and more!

Species overview

The blue dolphin cichlid (scientific name: Cichlasoma pallidum) is a species of freshwater fish that’s native to Mexico and Central America.

They’re most commonly found in rivers and streams in the wild, but can also be found in lakes and ponds.

Blue dolphin cichlids are a popular choice for aquariums because of their bright blue coloration. They’re also fairly easy to care for, which makes them a good choice for beginner fish keepers.

These fish are semi-aggressive and can be territorial, so it’s important to provide them with plenty of hiding places and to avoid keeping them with fish that are much smaller than them.


Blue dolphin cichlid

The blue dolphin cichlid is one of the most beautiful freshwater fish out there. As you can probably guess from their name, these fish are a bright blue color.

The blue coloration on these fish is pretty consistent all over their bodies. The only exception to this is their belly area which is a light silver.

The fins on the blue dolphin cichlid are also blue, but they’re a bit lighter than the rest of the fish. The dorsal and anal fins are both large and start about two-thirds of the way back on the fish’s body.

The caudal fin is tall and forked, and the pectoral fins are fairly large as well. These fish also have a adipose fin (a small fleshy fin) that’s located between their dorsal and caudal fin.

The face of the blue dolphin cichlid is pretty unique. They have large eyes that sit on the top of their head and a protruding lower jaw. This gives them a bit of an underbite.

They also have small barbels (taste buds) near their mouths that help them find food.


The average lifespan of a blue dolphin cichlid is around 10 years. However, there have been reports of these fish living up to 15 years in captivity.

As with any other animal, the lifespan of a blue dolphin cichlid can be impacted by a number of different factors. Things like water quality, diet, and stress can all play a role in how long they live.


The blue dolphin cichlid is a relatively large fish, reaching lengths of up to 18 inches. However, the average size is closer to 12 inches. Females are typically smaller than males.

You need to be aware of the size of this aquarium fish when planning their tank setup. Not only does this mean you’ll need more space for them, but it affects everything from feeding to tank mates.


Tank Size

The recommended tank size for blue dolphin cichlids is 125 gallons.

This is a fish that needs a lot of space to move and swim. They’re also very active jumpers so you’ll need to make sure your tank has a secure and tight-fitting lid.

Water Parameters

The blue dolphin cichlid is a freshwater fish that is native to the rift lakes of East Africa. In the wild, these cichlids inhabit waters with a neutral to slightly alkaline pH and a moderate hardness.

To replicate these conditions in your home aquarium, aim for a pH of 7.5 to 8.5 and a hardness of 10 to 20 dGH. The water temperature should be between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

As with all cichlids, the blue dolphin cichlid is territorial. In the wild, they establish their territories by digging pits in the sand. In your aquarium, provide them with a sandy substrate and plenty of hiding places.

  • Water Temperature: 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH Levels: 7.5-8.5
  • Water Hardness: 10-20 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 6-8 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

The Blue Dolphin cichlid is a beautiful fish that is native to South America. These fish are known for their bright blue coloration and their aggressive temperament.

When it comes to setting up the inside of their tank, you need to take care to provide them with plenty of hiding places. These fish like to have a lot of places to retreat to when they feel threatened.

We recommend using a lot of rocks and driftwood to create a labyrinth of hiding spots. You can even use PVC pipes if you want to get really creative.

The substrate you use is also important. These fish like to dig and sift through the sand, so you need to use something that won’t hurt them. We recommend a soft, sandy substrate for this species.

As for plants, you can use them if you want, but be prepared for them to be uprooted. These fish love to dig, and they’re not very gentle about it.

Common Diseases

The blue dolphin cichlid is a hardy fish that is relatively resistant to disease. However, they are still susceptible to the same illnesses and parasites as any other freshwater fish.

The most common disease that these fish experience is ich. Ich is a very common parasite that can become quite serious if it’s not dealt with. The most obvious sign of this disease is the series of white spots that will begin to cover the body of your fish.

There are plenty of other potential diseases that can affect this species as well, but they’re not as common.

Another thing to look out for is infection from cuts. The most common cause of this is keeping your blue dolphin cichlid in a tank with a rough substrate (or aggressive species that want to fight).

In general, the best way to prevent these fish from getting sick is to maintain the quality of the water in their tank. A tank with clean and stable water conditions always leads to healthier fish who are more resistant to disease.

Behavior & Temperament

The blue dolphin cichlid is a beautiful fish that is relatively peaceful, making it a great addition to many different types of aquariums. They are known to be friendly towards other fish and have even been known to form bonds with their tank mates.

While they are typically peaceful, blue dolphin cichlids can become aggressive if they feel threatened. If you have other fish in your tank, make sure to give them plenty of space and hiding places to avoid any conflict.

Blue dolphin cichlids are also known to be quite active, so make sure your tank is large enough to accommodate their swimming. They are known to jump out of the water, so it’s important to have a lid on your tank to avoid any accidents.

Tank Mates

The blue dolphin cichlid is a peaceful fish that can get along with most tank mates. These fish are social creatures that do best in groups.

Because they’re not aggressive, you have a lot of leeway when it comes to choosing blue dolphin cichlid tank mates.

In general, you want to avoid putting them with aggressive fish. This is because the blue dolphin cichlid is a timid fish that can get stressed easily.

Stress is a leading cause of disease in fish. It weakens their immune system and makes them more susceptible to infections.

Here are some compatible blue dolphin cichlid tank mates:


The first step in breeding blue dolphin cichlids is to identify a male and female. These fish have very distinctive colors. The males are blue, while the females are brown.

Once you have your pair, you’ll need to set up a breeding tank. It should be at least 50 gallons and have a sand bottom. Make sure to include plenty of hiding places and caves. These fish are very territorial, so you’ll need to give them plenty of space.

The next step is to slowly acclimate the fish to the new tank. Once they’re comfortable, you can begin the spawning process.

The female will lay her eggs in a cave or other hiding place. Once she’s done, the male will fertilize them. He will also guard the eggs until they hatch.

It takes about three days for the eggs to hatch. Once they do, you can remove the adults and begin feeding the fry. They will need to be fed baby brine shrimp or other small live foods.


The Blue Dolphin Cichlid is a beautiful fish that will add some color and life to your aquarium. They’re not the easiest fish to take care of, but with a little bit of knowledge and commitment, you can be successful.

Remember to do your research before you buy one of these fish, and be prepared to provide them with the proper environment and care.

If you’re looking for a fish that’s a little bit different and you’re willing to put in the work, the Blue Dolphin Cichlid might be the right choice for you!