Tag Archive | "Firemouth Cichlid (Thorichthys meeki)"

Firemouth Cichlid (Thorichthys meeki)

Firemouth Cichlid (Thorichthys meeki)

The Firemouth Cichlid (Thorichthys meeki) is found in the shallow, slower moving (and often turbid) rivers of the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico, south through Belize and into northern Guatemala.

Firemouth Cichlid (Thorichthys meeki)

Firemouth Cichlid (Thorichthys meeki)

The Firemouth Cichlid’s body color is a pearlescent turquoise blue, with red edged scales.

The “throat” and breast areas are colored a brick to fire engine red, and beginning just behind the eye, there is a series of mainly vertical black marks that run down the length of the body and end at the base of the caudal fin.

The fins have turquoise spots and the dorsal fin is edged in blue with red outside.   The pelvic and anal fins are edged in black on the outside and a tinge of blue edging inside.

Males are larger and easily distinguished by their sharply pointed dorsal and anal fins and their brighter coloration around the throat area, especially during spawning.   Females have noticeably blunt genital papilla, and are less colorful.

Firemouth Cichlids are a widely distributed, semi aggressive species that have even been found in underground cave systems. They are suitable for community aquariums when kept with other like sized species but are territorial and aggressive towards their own species during spawning.

Male Firemouth Cichlids are noted for flaring their gills when threatened to expose their bright fiery red/orange throats on the underside of their jaw; hence their common name. During mating the displays are used to ward off rival males.

Firemouth Cichlids do best in a densely planted tank of least a 30 gallons, with a fine sand bottom for burrowing, some driftwood roots and rocks for hiding among, and plenty of swimming space.    They prefer clean, slightly acidic water and can tolerate a temperature range of 75-85 degrees F. Because of their penchant for burrowing, hardy potted plants like Sagittaria or Amazon Swords should be used to protect the roots and minimize uprooting.

Firemouth Cichlids are monogamous egg layers. They form pairs, make a nuclear family, are excellent parents, and are easy to spawn. They lay their eggs on flat rocks, a clean piece of slate, submerged bogwood, or even leaves. After cleaning off a suitable spawning area, the female will deposit anywhere from 100 to 500 eggs.

The male defends the territory and when the eggs hatch, both the male and female raise the fry.    The fry are protected in pits that are fanned out in the sandy bottom of the tank by the parents, and are moved several times during rearing.    The fry can be fed newly hatched brine shrimp or finely crushed flake food.   Firemouth Cichlid parents often raise several broods in a year. It is normally not necessary to remove the parents when raising the young.

Firemouth Cichlids are easy to feed.   They are omnivorous and have the ability to protrude their jaws and will eagerly eat fresh, frozen, or freeze dried bloodworms, tubifex, Cichlid pellets, as well as flake foods.   They are opportunistic feeders and will devour smaller fish when they can.

Firemouth Cichlids are usually readily available in tropical fish keeping shops at a purchase size of 1-1/2″ to 2″ in length.

Firemouth Cichlid (Thorichthys meeki)

Firemouth Cichlid (Thorichthys meeki)








Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Semi Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Very Hardy
Water Conditions: 70-75° F, KH 4-10, pH 6.0-7.5
Max. Size: 6”
Color Form: Blue, Red
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Community tank with like sized species
Origin: Central America
Family: Cichlidae
Lifespan: 6-10 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

Posted in Central American Cichlids, Cichlids, Featured Articles, Freshwater FishComments (0)

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