🐠 Keeping Firemouth Fish – Tank, Food, Breeding & Care Tips

  • Scientific Name: Thorichthys meeki
  • Family: Cichlidae
  • Size: Males to 5 inches, females to 4
  • Temperature: 74 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Alkalinity: Neutral with moderate hardness
  • pH: 6.8 to 7.2
  • Origin: Mexico

The firemouth is one of those fish that does not look like much when small, but when they mature — and especially when they are in breeding colors — they are spectacular to behold. Mature fish, when sparring with each other or trying to scare away an opponent, distend their gill membranes and present a bright red mouth and underside. Thus their common name.


For a cichlid, the firemouth is pretty easy going. The fish can even have plants in the tank with it most of the time. While not exactly a community tank fish, the firemouth will get along well with others of their size such as larger mollies, swordtails, rainbows or gouramis. Even when spawning, this fish only protects its spawning territory, unlike most other cichlids, which will try to wipe out anything else in the tank with. Firemouths spawn in typical cichlid fashion, and usually are good parents.

Although not particular finicky about water conditions, this fish requires good water quality, so its tank should have a power filter and effective biological filtration. The firemouth will eat just about any of the standard aquarium fare, but prefers the meatier foods such as frozen bloodworm or pieces of fish or shrimp. Different species are now coming into the hobby, but they are all pretty much the same as the original meeki. All are interesting fish to add to your collection of larger species.

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