Native Habitat and Species Information
The Firemouth Cichlid is an impressive species that originates in shallow, slow-moving waters in Central America. They get their name from their intense orange-red throat and lower operculum (gill cover) coloration. This species does not seem to be afraid of anything and will usually hold its own when housed with larger, more aggressive Cichlids. They have a base color of tan to gray, with around 6 mild, vertical bands; on the third to fourth band, there is a black, ocellus spot. They also have a black, ocellus spot on their operculum, which is bordered with iridescent, pale-gold hues. They also have translucent fins with a variety of iridescent blue and orange-red markings. The male Firemouth Cichlid has the most intense coloration as well as elongated and pointy anal and dorsal fins.
Firemouth Cichlids require an aquarium of at least 30 gallons and should be provided with a fine, sandy substrate and multiple places where they can find shelter (driftwood, rock structures, or dense vegetation). Firemouth Cichlids will dig in the substrate, which may uproot live plants that don’t have well established root systems or are not potted. Firemouth Cichlids have been successful community tank inhabitants, but they are an aggressive species and tank mates should be considered carefully and should be comparable in size.
Feeding & Nutrition
The Firemouth Cichlid is an omnivore and should be fed a variety of foods, such as frozen or freeze-dried brine shrimp, bloodworms, blackworms, krill, flake food, and Cichlid pellets. Firemouth Cichlids will also accept live brine shrimp, guppies, ghost shrimp, bloodworms, mealworms, and blackworms.
Firemouth Cichlids are egg layers that practice brood care; a breeding pair of Firemouth Cichlids will aggressively attack anything that comes near their breeding territory. Although Firemouth Cichlids usually breed well under normal aquarium conditions; to induce breeding the water temperature can be raised to and maintained at 86° F. The female Firemouth Cichlid will lay around 300 eggs in a carefully cleaned location (driftwood, flat rocks, slate, large plant leaves, cave-like structures, etc.) within the aquarium. The eggs will hatch in 2-3 days and the fry will be relocated to pre-dug pits in the substrate. The fry will be free-swimming within a week. The pair of Firemouth Cichlids will continue to breed every few weeks if the fry are removed 1-2 weeks after they hatch. The newly hatched fry can be fed a diet of baby brine shrimp or crushed flake food and then be moved to other foods as they mature.