Firemouth Cichlid: The Ultimate Care Guide

Firemouth Cichlid: The Ultimate Care Guide


For such small fish, the Firemouth Cichlid does live for quite a long while. We’re looking at 15 years in the aquarium if raised under the right conditions. The best way to ensure your fish live long and healthy lives is to give them the right environment. They are a freshwater fish that are used to more tropical temperatures.

Be careful to feed them what they are used to and not to overfeed. Adhering to the right water qualities and cleaning the tank regularly will also ensure your cichlids will live longer.


What do Firemouth Cichlids eat? Like many fish, the Firemouth Cichlid isn’t picky when it comes to food. This is a good thing because they will never go hungry, but it’s also a danger to them because they will eat anything you give them even if it’s not the best. Again, the best care you can give to your thorichthys meeki is to provide them with what they could get in the wild.

In their native environment, they can be seen feeding on smaller crustaceans, which is why brine shrimp is a good idea. It’s also why you shouldn’t consider snails and shrimps as Firemouth Cichlid tankmates. They like to dig and rearrange things, but sometimes they are looking for food. It’s not uncommon to see them gulping mouthfuls of substrate.

Don’t overfeed them. Try feeding smaller meals (about twice per day) and give them a varied diet to cover all bases of their dietary needs. You can feed them a mix of greens, live food, flakes and supplements.


The Firemouth Cichlid Thorichthys Meeki is part of the Cichlidae family.

Tank Conditions

Central America is where the Firemouth Cichlid is indigenous to. As you can imagine, you may be looking at warmer waters and weather compared to where you set up your aquarium. The water flow rate in these areas are slow but can get muddy. The Firemouth Cichlid often like to hide and dart around rocks and spend most of their time in midstream.

They are freshwater fish, but since they can be found in other areas of the world, they are able to withstand saline up to 10% with no trouble. The Cichlids need to have a good filtration system installed to keep their habitat clean. They can be quite sensitive to ammonia and nitrogen buildup in the water.

They like to dark around plants, driftwood and rocks, so having lots of that in your tank is ideal. Just be sure to prick pants that have strong roots since they like to move things around and dig things up. They are not too sensitive to sunlight so having moderate sun by placing the aquarium near a window is a good idea as well.


Now that you can a clearer picture of what their life is like in the wild, you can try to mimic that in your aquarium. You are looking at warmer temperatures between 75 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit (about 24-30 degrees Celsius), yes very warm waters.

Water Conditions

The pH levels should be between 6.5 to 8 and water hardness should be at 8-15 dGH. There should be some flow in the water but nothing too strong and sand substrate would be the best to imitate sandy shorelines.

Minimum Tank Size

The tank size they need isn’t too large, and most spaces can accommodate a 30-gallon tank. This size needs to be larger with the more fish you intend to keep. If you only have one, then a 15 gallon tank should be enough, but we recommend having two because they so very well in pairs (male and female) and you can even look into breeding in the aquarium.

Maintenance and Care

They are tough little creatures and as long as you abide by the tank conditions they tend to thrive in and feed them proper food, they should live long and healthy lives. Like a lot of other freshwater species, the Cichlids are susceptible to Ich, which means they grow fungal-like white spots on their bodies.

It can be tougher to find as they mostly grow on gills and fins because the Firemouth Cichlids can sometimes have spots on their fins due to natural coloration and their natural hue is a greyish-blue tone. But if your Cichlids do happen to catch this disease, it’s very easy to treat due to how common it is.

Always keep the tank clean and maintain water conditions with the right pH and dGH levels as well as the temperature. Before you introduce new substrates, make sure they are clean as well as new objects in the tank is what often causes illnesses in fish.

Suitable Tank Mates

What is most important to ensure a peaceful cohabitation is to get a tank that is large enough. A large enough tank will give them enough space to thrive, therefore reducing stress and the potential for diseases and more territorial attacks. Peaceful tetras and catfish are also good tank mates for your Thorichthys Meeki to have.


They are generally peaceful, which makes them easy to live with. Just remove the other fish when it’s spawning season as the Cichlids will do better in tank conditions they are used to during this crucial time. What fish can live with Firemouth Cichlids? Other Cichlids can do well with the Thorichthys Meeki and finding tank mates of a similar size is also important.


As we have mentioned the Firemouth Cichlids are what we humans strive to be in a relationship. They are monogamous and great to their fry. You could be able to purchase a bonded pair from the start and just take home two of the species. However, if you don’t, then you can purchase at least 6 (males and females) and have them pair off together naturally in the aquarium.

They do not need you to make too many adjustments for breeding to happen, but slightly raising the pH level to 7 would help. Just make sure all the other parameters are in place. Their eggs aren’t usually hidden away and are found on flat surfaces, which can include the aquarium glass.

Each laying will produce 100-500 eggs with the parents guarding the babies with their life. Breeding can occur several times a year, so it’s good to have an extra tank ready. The fry can eat anything small, but make sure you choose good food (microworms are a good choice).

They are free to swim on their own within a week but their parents will continue to care for them for a while after that. If you don’t intend to breed, you can keep one or two of the opposite sex but a male and female pair is best. Just be aware of how many fry you can end up with and make the proper arrangements for them.

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