Firemouth Cichlid (Thoricthys Meeki)
Blog post written by Andy | 02 February 2012 | Category: Tropical fish
Well it's that time again!
I hope everyone is enjoying the typical English weather we are having at the moment but what can you do?!
Continuing on our Cichlid road trip we are looking at Central America again and another firm favourite - Thoricthys Meeki or The Firemouth Cichlid.
The Firemouth Cichlid is a really popular fish for a number of reasons, it grows to a reasonable size, looks amazing when mature, is one of the easiest Cichlids to breed and can also be kept with other fish and on some occasions (although I wouldn't recommend it) in a community aquarium.
This Cichlid is native to Central America and occurs in slow moving rivers throughout the Yucatan Peninsular, Mexico then south through Belize and finally Guatemala. They occur in river systems with a pH range of between 6.5-8 and a temperature range of 23-30 Celsius (75-86 Fahrenheit).
They are pretty unattractive juveniles but when they begin to mature they transform into amazing looking fish. They develop a blue sheen to the top of the body with an amazingly vivid red throat spreading towards the back of the body with a main black spot in the centre. I'm really not doing this fish justice and if you have time you should look up some images of mature male fish to see how amazing they look.
The males which display the most colour grow to around 15cm (6 inches) with females staying slightly smaller. These aren't a small fish so require an aquarium as big as possible. I tend to recommend at least 3 foot (100 litres) but bigger is better. If you are planning to keep a pair, when the male becomes mature they often become aggressive towards other tank mates which can occasionally lead to fatalities of the weaker fish. They are egg layers and incredibly protective of their eggs which they lay on flat stones or submerged pieces of wood. The male will defend the eggs and territory vigorously whilst the females tend to be more involved in raising the fry.
These fish enjoy a varied diet with plenty of frozen food to keep them in top condition and keep the red colours intense.
They like a planted aquarium with caves and rocks or scattered pieces of bogwood which they will guard as their own and as with most Cichlids, good efficient filtration is essential as they can be a messy fish. The usual weekly water change applies to keep up with the waste products these big fish produce.
Some people have kept these in community aquariums but I would always recommend keeping these with similar sized or bigger fish because of their boisterous nature.
These fish are not a difficult fish to keep and are really amazing to watch as parents. Cichlids are one of the most paternal types of fish you can keep and are fascinating to watch. With their bright colours, reasonable size and ability to tolerate a wide range of water parameters, the Firemouth Cichlid is a great choice for someone looking at starting down the road of Cichlid keeping and I rate them really highly.
If you ever have any questions or opinions on any subjects I write about or about fish keeping in general then please feel free to email me or post a comment below!
See you soon in store!
Blog posts by category
Aquarium and pond equipment
Feeding your fish
General fishy ramblings
General hints and tips
In the shop