freshwater community4


Firemouth Cichlid

firemouth cichlid

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Scientific Name:   Thorichthys meeki      
Min. Tank Size:   50 gallons      
Personality:   Mildly aggressive      
Temperature:   75-82°F      
pH:   7.5-8.5/5-25°dGH      
Size:   6"      
Diet:   Omnivore      
Breeding:   Egglayer      


Can be kept in a large community tank as long as tankmates are peaceful and of similar size. If a community setup is chosen, ample room must be provided for all. May become aggressive and territorial during breeding periods.

Firemouth Cichlid

Firemouth Cichlids are a species of Central American Cichlid native to Mexico, Guatemala and Panama, though they are most heavily concentrated in the Yucatan Peninsula. This species was once classified as Cichlasoma meeki then as Archocentrus meeki but it now belongs to the genus Thorichthys. These fish were named for the vibrant red/orange coloration on the jaw of most specimens. Firemouth Cichlids are typically gray or blue-gray in coloration and the red/orange color often extends from the jaw along the underside of the fish. Males of the species are capable of flaring their gills, exposing their red throats to intimidate other males.

Tank Set-up

Firemouth Cichlids are best kept in planted tanks that provide plenty of cover in the form of rocks and driftwood branches. Large clay pipes or clay pots can also be used to provide cover and hiding places. These fish prefer large tanks with a great deal of open swimming space. Though they are typically peaceful, Firemouth Cichlids may become territorial and aggressive during breeding periods. Because they are hardy and adaptable, Firemouth Cichlids are a good choice for the beginning aquarist.


Firemouth Cichlids are omnivorous and likely to accept any food offered to them. To ensure proper nutrition, offer your fish a staple diet of high-quality Cichlid flakes or pellets supplemented with live and frozen foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, earthworms, etc. as well as fresh vegetables. Feed a regular varied diet for best health and coloration.


Breeding Firemouth Cichlids is not particularly difficult but it can be tricky to distinguish between the sexes. The best method may be to raise a group of juveniles together and wait for them to pair off naturally. Once you have established a breeding pair you can set up a breeding tank, decorating it with plenty of flat surfaces like rocks and pieces of driftwood for spawning sites. Once spawning has occurred, these fish will defend their territory and guard the nest until the fry hatch 2 to 3 days later. The average brood size for Firemouth Cichlids is between 100 and 500 eggs.

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