Alternative species (click on the thumbnail to see the card)
Thorichthys helleri meeki
Origin: Thailand, Malaysia, Borneo, Sumatra, Java, Singapore, Cambodia
Adult females are rounder and less colorful than males.
Couple: 250 L / 55 imp gal / 66 US gal
Community: 600 L / 132 imp gal / 158 US gal
T°: 24 to 28°C or 75 to 82°F
pH: 7.2 to 8
Hardness: 10 to 25°dGH
12 to 15cm (4.7 to 6")
7 to 12 years
Middle and depth
How to feed the Firemouth cichlid?
It is an omnivorous fish that, in its natural environment, searches the substrate to feed on the invertebrates that live there. In captivity, feed it dry food and live or frozen prey: artemia, daphnia, mosquito larvae, pieces of mussels and finely ground shrimp (they love it!). Note that live prey stimulates the fish and makes them more active.
Complete with dry food rich in vegetables (spirulina for example), peas, spinach...
Be careful, never give them mud worms which can cause serious digestive problems!
What kind of behavior does the Firemouth cichlid have?
The Meeki's behaviour is rather lively but peaceful with other species of the same size. It picks up sand and spits it out, sometimes through the gills. This behaviour is in fact the means by which the Meeki seeks its food!
Shy with humans, don't make any sudden movements. Aquarium maintenance operations are an ordeal for him! He will hide until you are finished.
During the breeding season, the fish changes completely: it becomes very agitated, territorial and aggressive.
Who can live with the Firemouth cichlid?
The Thorichthys should be kept at least in pairs (a 250 litre / 55 Imp Gal / 66 US Gal aquarium will suffice for a single pair). However, maintenance in group (2 couples) is preferable because they are gregarious fish. For this, a large aquarium of at least 400 liters / 88 Imp Gal / 106 US Gal will be necessary as they become territorial during the spawning period. This volume will also allow the reception of the young because you will probably have reproductions. For maintenance with other Central American cichlids, start with a volume of at least 600 litres (132 imp gal / 158 US gal).
For other species, we recommend maintenance with other cichlids of the same size from the same geographical area such as Cryptoheros Nigrofasciatum, Cryptoheros Sajica, Nicaraguense, Nigro or Herotilapia Multipsinosa for example (non-exhaustive list). For an association with fish from other environments, you can consider maintenance with viviparas of the Poecillia family, such as the Platys or the Xyphos of beautiful size (avoid the guppy on the other hand which will end up in meal...) which will animate the upper part of your aquarium. Finally, plecos can also be associated with meeki.
How to breed the Firemouth cichlid?
Very easy. The pH must be slightly acidic (7.5) and the temperature at 26°C (79°F). Spring seems to be the right time for Meeki reproduction.
The egg laying is laid on a flat stone, a large leaf, a root... The brood can consist of 100 to 500 eggs. Incubation takes 2 to 3 days. Free swimming takes place 7 days later. After hatching, the fry are transferred by their parents to a hole dug in the sand. The eggs and then the young fry are under the care of their parents for about 1 month. The fry spread their operculum to appear larger in front of their opponent. However, this technique is not very effective against fearless cichlids that will still eat the young. If this is the case in your population, remove the fry to raise them in a separate aquarium.
Sometimes inexperienced young parents will eat their first clutch.
Food for the fry: micro worms, pickled eels, artemia nauplias. They may eat their parents' mucus if there is no food.
Which aquarium for the Firemouth cichlid?
It is essential that the soil is composed of sand or mud. Spread dried leaves and round pebbles for more naturalness. The rest of the décor will be mainly rocks, roots and dense vegetation consisting of robust plants and surface plants (Meeki generally does not touch plants). Like many fish digging in the sand, it is likely to modify the decor to its liking! Moreover, pay attention to the stability of your rocks: put them down before putting the sand down. This way, they won't be able to fall if the fish digs nearby.
This fish is not particularly sensitive to water parameters, like many Central American species. However, it will have to remain within the generally accepted averages for its biotope type. Note that farmed fish have long been acclimatised to a neutral pH, a hardness of 8 to 15°dGh and a temperature close to 26°C (79°F).
Given their size, these fish are major polluters. Install effective external filtration and make regular water changes to ensure good water quality.
Good To know
Good To know
Find all additional information!
Ideal for discovering Central American cichlid species without investing in large aquariums.
For the maintenance of wild specimens (much more beautiful by the way!), ask your dealer about the maintenance conditions as they may differ from this sheet. Moreover, they are quite difficult to acclimatize.
An eye-spot appears when the Meeki deploys its red throat to impress its opponent. It then seems to have 4 eyes!
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