When I first got around raising firemouth cichlids, I remember being so anxious about their apparent lack of growth. Oscars, convicts, and jack dempseys were growing prolifically. Still, my unassuming firemouths looked the same size all the time to me.
It took me a reasonable amount of time and patience to understand their growth phenomenon. But you don’t have to wait – in this blog, I will tell you all there’s to know about these beautiful cichlids.
How Fast Do Firemouth Cichlids Grow?
Firemouth cichlids are slow growers. They take at least around 4-5 years to reach their full-size potential. On average, they can grow around 2.5 inches in 6-7 months before plateauing at 5-6 inches.
When I skimmed through Google, I found some sites claiming that firemouths grow pretty fast. But according to my experience and knowledge, that’s the farthest from the truth. Instead, firemouths take their sweet time to achieve their full potential.
That being said, there’s no one specific growth rate etched in stone. It depends from fish to fish depending on its diet and exercise regime, environment, and genes.
Here, I have collected some anecdotes from hobbyists on forums regarding the growth rate of their firemouths.
One user reported that his male firemouth grew to 4 inches in 9 months. Another claimed his pair grew inches in just 4 weeks.
And lastly, one user commented that his largest firemouth took around 3 years to reach 4 and a half inches in length.
So as you can see, the growth rate really differs from fish to fish. Some grow fast and plateau fast. On the other hand, some grow slow but steady.
It’s also important to note that firemouths grow in spurts – not constantly like some bigger fishes do. So, as long as your fish is healthy and happy, do not worry.
How Big Do Firemouth Cichlids Get?
Male firemouth cichlids usually clock in at 6 inches, whereas females will grow to the length of 4-5 inches.
Some users on the internet have claimed that their firemouths grew up to 7 inches, but there are no pictures or any other evidence to prove that. Do you think we should give them the benefit of the doubt?
How Much Do Firemouth Cichlids Weigh?
A firemouth cichlid that’s around 6 inches long will weigh about 99 grams (0.22 lb). The females will weigh a tab bit lesser owing to their petite size.
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How To Grow Firemouth Cichlids Fast?
It’s neither wise nor possible to drastically manipulate a firemouth’s growth rate. But you can do a few things to encourage healthy and timely growth, like feeding the right diet, maintaining the right parameters, and creating a stress-free zone for the fish.
Now let’s have a brief look at the factors.
Ensure Optimum Water Parameters
Foul water parameters won’t just make your firemouths sick but also severely stunt their overall growth. So it’s super crucial to conduct frequent water changes. I make sure to change 50% of the water every week to eliminate the harmful toxins.
Fish also release hormones in the water, which in turn slows down their growth. Thus, you should never skip the water changes. This is also one of the reasons I like raising my juveniles separately.
Mature fish release more hormones in the water, which can severely impact your juveniles’ growth.
If you are on the lookout for a reliable testing kit, here’s one that we swear by – API Freshwater Master Kit.
|Right water temperature||75-86°F (24-30°C)|
|Water hardness||8-15 dGH|
Put Your Fish In A Big Tank
Placing firemouths in a bigger tank won’t automatically make them grow faster – but keeping them in a smaller tank will for sure stunt their growth. Small tanks may look easy to maintain, but there are so many downsides attached to them.
For starters, small tanks restrict movement and activity, which means your firemouth won’t get enough exercise. Second, small tanks are more temperamental and have heightened chances of causing nitrite poisoning.
And lastly, small tanks mean lesser space for all inhabitants – increasing stress and fights.
Feed The Right Diet
Diet is among the determining factors in regards to a firemouth’s growth rate. When fed the right kind of diet, your cichlid will grow at the best rate possible and develop the best colors.
A protein-rich diet is crucial as it helps cichlids grow. So first, make sure to zero in on one reliable brand of pellets or flakes for their staple diet. Next, you can fortify their nutrition needs with blanched veggies like carrots and broccoli and frozen treats like bloodworms and tubifex.
Here’s a recommendation for some delicious treats based on our cichlids’ preferences: Omega One Freeze Dried Bloodworms.
For the first couple of days, newborn cichlids will rely on the yolk sac for nutrition. After that, you can feed them pulverized adult food, daphnia, and baby brine shrimp.
Cichlids have a tendency to beg for some more food even when they’re full. So don’t get carried away and overfeed.
If you want to know in-depth and researched information on the best feeding practices for cichlids, don’t forget to head over here.
Create A Stress-Free Environment
Firemouth cichlids aren’t notorious for their aggression, but they do have a mean bone in their body. They especially become intolerant and hostile during the mating season. So, you must design a stress-free environment complete with lots of hideouts, plants, and friendly tankmates.
Some of our favorite tankmates for firemouths are rummy nose tetras, peacocks, clown plecos, kuhli catfish, and pictus catfish.
And like all cichlids, firemouths are susceptible to specific ailments like swim bladder disease, ich, head-in-the-hole disease, white spots, and tuberculosis. With the proper treatment, these complications won’t prove fatal but can stunt your pet’s growth.
So, prevention is always better than cure.
How Long Do Firemouth Cichlids Live?
Firemouth cichlids usually live for around 10 years with proper care. Part of the reason they grow slow is their long lifespan.
Some hobbyists have even successfully raised firemouths for 12-15 years.
What’s The Ideal Tank Size For Firemouth Cichlids?
The minimum recommended tank size for firemouth cichlids is 30 gallons. But the bigger, the better. If you can, opt for a bigger tank as these fish tend to get aggressive during the breeding season.
If you want to add multiple firemouths in the same tank, make sure to allocate extra 10 gallons each for every new addition.
Conclusion: How Fast Do Firemouth Cichlids Grow?
Didn’t read the whole article? Here’s a rundown of the important bits.
Firemouth cichlids are late bloomers. Don’t panic if the growth isn’t apparent. They love to take their sweet time. Firemouths take anywhere between 4-5 years to grow to their maximum size.
Generally speaking, they grow about 2.5 inches in 6-7 months.
Also, a male firemouth will usually grow up to 6 inches in length. On the other hand, females clock in at 4-5 inches.
You should at least get a 30-gallon tank for a pair of firemouths.
There’s not much you can do to steer nature’s course. Still, factors like diet, environment, and exercise play pivotal roles in determining the growth rate and maximum potential.
With firemouths, you just need to trust the process and have patience!
Happy Reading! 🙂