Freshwater Dolphin Fish is a fish for experts only! The freshwater dolphin is related to the popular elephant-nosed mormyrids but lacks the prominent proboscis of their relatives.
Facts About Dolphin
It is fairly obvious why the common name was given to these fish, but it is also applied to 3 other species of mormyrids that are nearly indistinguishable from each other. The ones marked as “baby whales” in fish shops are from a different genus and are generally smaller.
Like the elephant nose fishes, the freshwater dolphin hunts by electricity. This is not enough to shock a person or either other fish. It is only used like radar and to sense the electrical fields of other living things.
What dolphin can do and how people use it?
These fish are considered to be quite playful and curious. They will interact well with their aquarist, often swimming into your open hand if you put it into the water. They are also relatively intelligent and need “toys” to play with to keep themselves from becoming bored.
Moss balls work fine for this but some fish keepers but plastic bath toys into their tank for stimulation. Even though they get along quite well with their owner, they do not get along well with others of their own kind in the aquarium even though they are found in large shoals in nature.
The reason is that the electrical fields they generate get disrupted by other mormyrids and other electrical fish in general like knife fish. This causes confusion and aggression.
In general, they don’t care to be kept with other species of fish but it seems dolphins demonstrate individual personalities and some tolerate peaceful tankmates.
As a scaleless fish, they are prone to getting ill if their skin is damaged, water quality falls, or if tankmates are introduced without a quarantine period. If they do become sick, do not use copper based medicines. Those will kill most scaleless fish. Also, do not use plant fertilizers in the tank that contain iron. The tank size should be about 130 gallons/ 500 liters.
Dolphin fish Quick Stats:
- Origin: Nile River, northern Africa, and Lake Victoria
- Size: usually 30cm/ 10 in, but may grow larger.
- Temperature: 25-30°C/ 77-81°F
They love worms, live or frozen. Bloodworms, blackworms, aquatic insect larva, and earthworms are all accepted. Make sure the earthworms are not too big because their mouths are very small. A well-fed dolphin fish often makes a game out of eating, hunting the food several times even after finding it.
They need low light and soft water. They like hiding spots so thickets of plants are appreciated. Avoid using logs or stones that may have sharp edges. Provide them with a good amount of oxygen, especially if you are keeping them at the warmer end of their temperature range.
Impossible in captivity. The way their electricity works in the confines of an aquarium, it prevents them from recognizing potential mates.
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