Thorichthys meeki

 

Overview:

    The Firemouth is one of the oldest kept species. It’s beautiful colors and interesting behavior still keep it on the top of any Cichlid lovers list.

 

Quick stats:

Listed tank sizes are the minimum
Size: Up to 6.5 inches (17.0 cm)
Tank: 32 inches
Strata: Bottom, middle
PH: 6.5 to 8.5
Hardness: Soft to very hard
Temperature: 75°F to 82°F (26 to 30°C)

Classification:

Order: Perciformes
Suborder: Percoidei
Family: Cichlidae
Genera: Thorichthys

Common name:

    Firemouth

Distribution

    Guatemala and the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. It is also said to be found in underground waterways.

General Body Form:

    Tall with strong lateral compression. It has a large head and its’ forehead is slightly curved around the eyes. The dorsal fin starts at the gill covers. In older fish the tail (caudal) fin is bent slightly in and the outer rays can get very long. In the male the Dorsal and Anal fins are longer and more pointed.

 

 

Coloration:

    The most noticeable trait of the Firemouth is its throat and breast area, which ranges from bright fiery Red to Brick Red and is the reason for the common name. With a closer look you can see a wide range of colors in the fish. The basic background color is bluish Gray, with a slight purple sheen. The under area is Yellow Green to Orange. The sides have a series of faint dark bars. A Golden edged blackspot is right behind the eyes a similar one is found at the start of the tail fin. Other Black marks with Golden edges can be seen on the lower edge of the gill cover and at the start of the clear Pectoral fins. The Dorsal fin is edged in Red and the rays of the other fins are slightly Brown with the membranes speckled with Bright Blue – Green spots. All the scales seem to edged with Red. Females are not as colorful as the males. An all around beautiful fish!

Maintenance:

    Ideally the Firemouth tank should be at least a fifty-five gallon, with rocks, driftwood and many plants. Provide an open area for swimming and displaying. They are territorial but will rarely bother other fish unless they are in the spawning ritual. Their main way of defense is to inflate the throat area, which highlights and deepens the beautiful Red color. Feeding is no problem as they will accept flake, frozen and medium sized live food. Good filtration and water changes must be provided. They are peaceful for a Cichlid and should be kept with similar tankmates. In a large tank several pairs can be kept. In short they are a relatively peaceful and easily kept fish.

Biotope:

    Shallow shore areas of rivers with driftwood or rocks. The water can be clear murky or non moving.

 

 

Breeding:Open water breeders, the pair will clean a rock or similar object and the female will deposit up to 500 eggs. Both parents will tend the fry as they are moved from pit to pit in the aquarium. The female is more likely to tend the brood and the male defend the territory. The fry can be fed very fine flake food or newly hatched brine shrimp. Growth is fairly fast. A healthy pair can have up to five broods a year.

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