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Problems With Firemouth Cichlids

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Although the many types of aquarium fish undoubtedly all have their positive features, they also have important considerations, too. Firemouth cichlids (Thorichthys meeki) are no exception. These family Cichlidae creatures are definitely not free of potential problems, whether they relate to digging or aggression.

Firemouth Cichlid Information

Firemouth cichlids are visually conspicuous fish, with their striking crimson lower portions and mouths. Otherwise, they have pale gray bodies. Adult male firemouths usually are a little longer than females, getting to around 5 inches while females get to about 4 inches. The sturdy and robust fish come from the Americas, specifically nations such as Honduras, Mexico, Belize and Guatemala. They gravitate toward rivers, ponds, streams and lakes, particularly those that are calm and sluggish. They are omnivores, although in the wild they are especially fond of eating algae. They also regularly consume bugs, copepods and mollusks.

Fierce Behavior

Cichlids as a group are known for their tough and aggressive dispositions, and while firemouth cichlids are more harmonious than most, they too can be extremely truculent and territory-oriented, particularly during reproductive periods. Because of this, they can be highly problematic in aquariums that also are shared by other types of fish. It's crucial to be discerning in determining appropriate living arrangements for firemouth cichlids. Not only do they get defensive about breeding, they sometimes dine on tinier fish, too. In some cases, however, firemouth cichlids have success with serene fish that are around their same size -- think bigger gouramis and mollies.

Plant Removal Problem

Substrate is essential for firemouth cichlids, since they are enthusiastic about digging, notably during spawning. Sand usually works well for these purposes. Since they frequently pull out plants, it usually is a good idea to hold them down and keep them stable by surrounding them with sizable stones.

Easily Startled

It isn't difficult to startle firemouth cichlids, so it's helpful to abstain from moving abruptly or making sudden loud sounds in their presence. They generally possess anxious dispositions. In times of peril, firemouth cichlids frequently react by frenzied swimming, sometimes to the point of harming themselves. It isn't rare for firemouth cichlids to feign death, too.