Firemouth Cichlid Growth Rate, Care Tips, and More – Full Guide

Among numerous fish types that people love to bring home, firemouth cichlids are quite a crowd-favorite. The fish earns such a unique name thanks to its vibrant red-orange color near the jaw regions, which easily sets it apart from other fish and gives your tank a much more lively vibe!

Still, taking care of firemouth cichlids has proven to be an art that only those who research well can master. Our insightful article will gladly deliver all relevant facts regarding these creatures, including firemouth cichlid growth rate, maintenance tips, tank requirements, and more!

Curious about what we are going to reveal? Click here and keep scrolling for more. 

A Brief Overview: What Is A Firemouth Cichlid?

Firemouth Cichlid

Origin and Name

Firemouth cichlid (also known as the Thorichthys Meeki) has no longer been a stranger to fish-raising enthusiasts. 

As a fish type arriving from Central America, firemouths are often found within rivers running through Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. From here, their regular dwelling places among the wild might extend further, even reaching remote regions like Guatemala and Belize. 

Most people have an instant impression of Firemouths thanks to the unique and ear-catching name. What inspires such an interesting title in the first place? It’s none other than the red-orange coloration, whose vibrant colors can easily be observed in the fish’s jaw underside areas.

Noticeable Features

Fish mouths are quite famous for their outstanding territorial behaviors. Males often show dominance by puffing and flaring out the gills to expose the red, bright throat – an intimidating display to scare and chase rival males away, especially during mating seasons. 

You can find this fish in shallow, slow-moving, and warm waters. The water here often lacks visibility due to debris and sediment, but that doesn’t stop firemouths from finding and navigating their food. 

Why Is It So Common Among Fishkeepers?

One primary reason fishkeepers take an instant liking to cichlids is their convenience. Taking care of them is straightforward, with no need for large tanks or spaces. Not to mention, the aesthetic benefits they bring to your house are also off-the-roof!

What Is The Firemouth Cichlid Growth Rate?

Firemouth Cichlid swimming

It’s hard to calculate a specific number for firemouths since they have different development rates that might fluctuate due to numerous external factors.

Nevertheless, most experts concur that firemouths have a pretty sluggish development speed (only 2.5 inches within seven months, meaning it needs 14 months to reach the full 6-inch dimension).

A rough comparison below should give you an overview of how firemouths fare against other cichlid species:

Cichlid species Growth rate  Time to reach their full size Category
Oscar fish 1 inch/month 10 months Very fast
Blood parrot 0.5 inch/month 8 months Fast
Discus 4 inches/6 months 7-8 months Fast
Angelfish 6 inches/1 to 1.5 year Fast
Convict  4 inches/1 to 1.5 year Average
Green Terror 2-5 inches/6 months 10-14 months Average
Jack Dempsey 4 inches/3 months

Slowing down after that

1 year Slow
Texas 4 inches/3 months

Slowing down after that

1 year Slow
Firemouth 2.5 inches/7 months 14+ months Slow
Jaguar 1 inch/month

Slowing down after reaching 6 inches

1.5+ years Slow
Peacock 1-1.25 inches/6 months 2 years Slow

How to Speed Up Their Growth? Some Care Tips

How to Speed Up Firemouth Cichlid's Growth

Here are some simple but powerful tips you can take to make your firemouth grow faster than average: 

1. Offering Balanced Diets

There is nothing more crucial than food. As per studies by Florida Universities, firemouths below 7 weeks old can develop fast with 10-15% fat and about 40% protein. Once they grow into adults, their diet should contain 7-9% fat and 30-42% protein.

2. Avoiding Overfeeding

During early periods, firemouths need to be fed more often than over, so remember to give them food two times a day. But after they have fully grown up, reduce the feeding rate to only once per day, which keeps their body energy balanced and always at the peak. 

Your pet fish might try to beg you for some more food (though they have been full already); do not give in!

3. Ensure The Water Quality

Firemouths will thrive best when living in quality alkaline water of 8-9 pH level. (However, the recommended number for aquariums should be around 7.5 – since raising the water alkalinity too fast is not a good idea.)

If possible, we suggest you heat the tank to around 80 degrees F. Using carbonate buffers is also encouraged. 

4. Keep An Eye On The Fish’s Illness and Stress

A fish without sickness or stress will grow healthier and faster. Hence, never let the firemouths bully or fight each other. 

Adding rocks, algae (or other decorations) to help shield them against attackers is also a great move, which reduces unnecessary tension and fosters the fish’s seamless growth.

Regarding disorders or illnesses, ensure you keep a close eye on their color, temperament, diet, and behavior. Take the fish to professional services or clinics should any unusual signal show up!



1. What Is The Recommended Tank Size for FireMouths To Boost Their Growth?

The tank’s capacity should be at least 30 gallons. After all, these cichlids are by no means nano, meaning they need sufficient space to swim and hunt food. We also believe 30 gallons is a pretty affordable number – even if your residence is not so spacious. 

The size should increase accordingly for those wanting to have two or more firemouths in one tank. For every extra fish, add 5 to 10 more gallons.

2. What Are Suitable Tank Mates for My FireMouth Cichlid For Better Growth?

Consider these:

  • Other cichlids with similar sizes (ex: Peacock)
  • Platies
  • Swordtails
  • Rainbow fish
  • Kuhli loach
  • Cory catfish
  • Pictus catfish
  • Clown pleco
  • Bristlenose Pleco


Our article has revealed details about the firemouth cichlid growth rate and tips to help them develop faster. Other areas (tank sizes and suitable fish mates for these cichlids) are also covered!

Keep them all in mind to ensure the best results, and write to us should any trouble persist.