Home > Firemouth Cichlids | Everything you ever wanted to know about the Firemouth cichlid
Firemouth Cichlids | Everything you ever wanted to know about the Firemouth cichlid
A Brief Look at Firemouth Cichlids
Firemouth cichlids are among the most beautiful tropical fish one can have in a home aquarium. Native to the rivers of Central America and parts of Mexico, Firemouth cichlids are a good choice for a beginner as, in spite of their attractiveness, they are fairly common and not terribly expensive.
Plenty Of Room Needed - The Firemouth cichlid will grow to a length of around 6 inches, a nice size for a tropical fish aquarium. One can be tempted to purchase several when they are quite young, and much smaller, but this is a rather territorial fish, and a large tank, more than 10 gallons, and probably 20 gallons, will be needed to house 2 of them, and an even larger tank if more are planned. Firemouth cichlids can become very territorial when grown and will fight another fish, often to the death, if living quarters are too small. They also can become very aggressive towards other fish species when breeding. Suitable tank mates include a number of the larger tetras. Any time different species of fish are placed in the same tank, it's always good to keep an eye out for signs of aggression, even if the different types of fish are supposed to be compatible. If the wrong fish are in a tank with the Firemouth cichlid, it can clean out the tank, including larger fish than itself, in a matter of a few minutes.
If you have several other fish in the same tank, it's a good idea to introduce the Firemouth cichlid to the community when it is still quite small, so it will grow up used to having the other fish in the neighborhood, and less likely to have them for lunch. The cichlids are quite hardy and should do well in an environment that is suitable for most other types of tropical fish. A Firemouth cichlid can live up to 8 years, if given good care.
Angelfish As Companions - Firemouth cichlids get their name from the fiery red color of their gills, which they display when threatened. The body of the fish is not red, but rather is grey with black markings, still an extremely attractive fish. Firemouth cichlids and Angelfish can be kept in the same tank, but only if the tank is large enough. They are generally not too aggressive towards one another, but if a tank is too small, both species can become territorial, and somewhat aggressive, especially at mealtime if they see the owner approaching the tank. It can also help to have some places to hide or retreat if one is planning on having more than a single cichlid, or a Firemouth cichlid and an angelfish. Having a place to get away from it all often dampens the territorial tendencies of these species.
Before You Buy - The greatest challenge to keeping Firemouth cichlids lies in setting up their tank and habitat in the first place, and it is strongly recommended that one purchase or borrow a book, dealing not only with tropical fish, but including care of cichlids, before actually purchasing the fish. Once the requirements for maintaining a healthy tank are understood, as well as the feeding habits of the inhabitants, one can sit back and enjoy the sheer beauty and elegance these creatures have to offer.
There are literally thousands of species of cichlids in the world. They are found in Central America, South America, and Africa. The species vary in size from less than an inch to nearly 6 feet in length. Firemouth cichlids are a nice in-between size, one of the less aggressive of the species, the African species being far more aggressive, and among the most beautiful of the species.