Tag Archives: Firemouth Cichlids

Pics and a video of my aquariums

26 Aug

Let’s start with this 30 gallon tank filled with very active fish. Zebra Danios, Odessa Barbs, Tiger Barbs, an Opaline Gourami, Harlequin Rasboras and 3 Kuhli Loaches hiding under the rocks.

Here’s a little 10-gallon tank with young Red Swordtails and a Betta. Since I took this picture I have added 3 Marigold Variatus Platies and some more plants.

Here’s another 10-gallon tank with Silver Mollies and Endler’s Livebearers. Lots of baby fish are starting to show up.

I moved my 3 Pictus catfish into this 29-gallon tank with 3 green Swordtails and my Firemouth Cichlids. In real life this tank looks very nice and I get to see the Pictus Cats a lot more than I did in their previous tank.

When I found the 6-inch Bullhead in the turtle pond I had intended to release him in a nearby creek but instead I put him in the tank with the “bad boys”, the African Cichlid and big Red-tail Shark. The Bullhead just goes about his business, big mouth gulping and gaping as he cruises along. The Cichlid and Shark ignore him. Now the Bullhead has found a place to sleep during the day and I don’t expect to see him too often. This tank is crowded with rocks, wood, and plants (Java Moss).

The Bullhead is in here but he’s hiding.


Here’s the 55-gallon community tank with mostly large Tetras, Angelfish, and Corydoras.

DISASTER!! (Zebra Danios, Firemouths and the Turtle Pond)

19 May

I had a tankful of baby Zebras Danios.

I had a tankful of baby Firemouth Cichlids.

I had a turtle pond with bright green water.


In previous posts I mentioned how useful green water can be for raising baby fish. It’s full of algae and micro-organisms that baby fish, especially egg-layers, can eat. I have great success putting baby fish directly into a little outdoor pond and letting Mother Nature raise them.
It’s been too cold to put my baby fish into the little 30-gallon pond, and besides, there were hundreds of toad tadpoles in there, so when the baby fish became free-swimming I began to bring in pond water and add it to their aquariums.

Here is the critical moment. One day I saw a sick Rosy Red Minnow (in the turtle pond, where I get the green water). The minnow was having difficulty and appeared to be dying. Not an unusual sight in a pond inhabited by fish-eating turtles,but my turtles don’t hunt them too aggressively.  I believed there were about 40 minnows living in the pond.
Days later, I saw ANOTHER sick minnow, so I grabbed a net and captured a few of the others. They all looked TERRIBLE. Ragged fins, cloudy eyes. Diseased. Fin Rot. High bacterial levels in the water. Polluted, basically.
Meanwhile, the baby fishes were all dying quickly and I knew that I had been pouring in this toxic water. I decided NOT to treat the baby fish, I didn’t think they could take any medication. I did some 50% water changes but they were almost all dead at that point.
I still had to deal with the pond. 600 gallons of toxic green water. And why was it so? I believe it was the bird droppings. Our neighborhood didn’t have many birds but as the trees have grown larger and people, like me, feed the birds, there are more birds around the pond than in years past. In particular, there are a lot of Sparrows, Grackles, and Mourning Doves. I never worried about it, I thought they were enjoying the little stream.

Every blog needs a picture of bird droppings.

The pond needed to be drained, the filter cleaned, and something done about the pollution. Either keep out the birds, or improve filtration, or both.
As I drained the pond I wondered how many minnows were still alive, and what about my 29-cent Goldfish that was about 8 inches long? Poor thing.
To my shock, no minnows were still alive, NONE, but the Goldfish was.

The Goldfish went into a 10-gallon tank. Too small, but clean.

The turtles got their shells scrubbed.

I hated to drain the whole thing but the water was well-used on my lawn and trees. The cost to fill my pond, 600 gallons of water, is TWO dollars and 20 cents. That includes the “sewer fee” that is mandatory, even though it didn’t go to the sewer.

One of my sons was very helpful that day. It’s a big job to clean a pond, plus scrub turtle shells.
My dog enjoyed the view.

Almost full.

I got some plastic mesh that is used for covering fruit trees. I threw it over the filter, stream and rocks, in hopes of discouraging the birds. I also have two bird baths in the yard that I hope will keep them happy.

Plastic mesh over the stream area.

I couldn’t put the mesh completely down to ground level. If the turtles were to walk into it they would get tangled, maybe injured, and if they dragged themselves into the water they might even drown, so I was cautious how I placed the netting.
Within half-an-hour I saw several birds darting UNDER the net to get a drink. Nooooo! Are you kidding me! They have no fear!
It has been a few days now, the pond looks wonderful, there are FEWER birds, maybe they decided it wasn’t worth the hassle. I still intend to improve the filtration and also investigate bird repellants. Not chemicals, but like a scarecrow. A plastic Owl or Snake. I don’t know if that will help. Maybe a REAL snake! That will fix them.

Just think, over 100 fish are dead. Nothing expensive, but it still bugs me. It was very disheartening, and that wasn’t all the bad news of the past week or two. I don’t want to tell you ALL the bad things that have happened. I’ll write a more cheerful post soon and THEN get back to the depressing stuff.

Updates on Zebra Danios, Firemouth Cichlids and Turtle eggs.

30 Apr

It’s been chilly around here but it finally warmed up late this afternoon.

The turtles are out basking:

See how green the water is? I can’t see the goldfish or Rosy Red Minnows. I know one reason why the pond is so green:

Those white globs near the water aren’t turtle eggs. They are globs of poo from a bird known as a Grackle. The Grackles are big , black, glossy beautiful birds but when they breed they keep their nest clean by picking up poo and carrying it to a body of water and dropping it in. The pond is getting over-fertilized. Our birdbath also gets very messy with Grackle poo.

But let me tell you about the 5 turtle eggs! I uncovered them for the first time since I put them in my little almost-homemade incubator. The first egg I uncovered was shriveled, and nearly bent in half. I thought , Oh No what have I done! Too dry? But no, it’s mildly damp and warm in there. The other four eggs are looking full and healthy. It’s possible we will have baby turtles within a month!

This is the egg that is not developing.

I think there's a baby turtle in this one.

I finally saw the baby Firemouth Cichlids tonight but could not get a photo. The babies are being herded on the bottom of the tank behind the rock in this picture. I wonder how many there are. It looks like 30 or 40 , maybe 50. I suppose I need to remove them as soon as they become unmanageable to the parents.

The baby Zebra Danios became “free-swimming” today. That means instead of being little tiny slivers that hug the glass, they are actually out swimming around looking for food. It’s impossible to see much in this video but I think there are approximately 50 babies.

Firemouth Cichlid update

25 Apr

The Firemouth eggs are all gone from the piece of wood where they were laid. I see no sign of babies except by watching the adult behavior. The female is now guarding a rock cave. She goes in and hovers, waving her body, clearly aerating her little ones. At least that is my opinion, I can’t see any more than that.

I have been leaving a dim light on near this tank through the night and will continue to do so. I also feed the other fish in the tank frequently and AWAY from the Firemouths. The Firemouths swim right over and eat quickly, then head back to work.

The Firemouth Cichlid eggs-periment

22 Apr

I had always perceived Firemouth Cichlids as being quite aggressive fish, only suitable for a tank containing other aggressive fish like Convict Cichlids and Jack Dempseys.

Various internet sites suggest that they can be in a community tank of peaceful fish like Swordtails and the larger Tetras.

Every time I passed a tankful of Firemouths I would look at them  longingly. I like them. I like their colors, I like their shape. At our local fishshop I asked one of the owners, “Are the Firemouths very aggressive? I have been reading that they are not too bad.”  She literally snapped at me, “See their name..CICHLIDS…aggressive!” Or something like that. Of course, she would sell me all the Angelfish (a Cichlid) I would want.

So I bought my Firemouths somewhere else, four of them. Only an inch long, I put them in a 29 gallon tank with a bunch of Green Swordtails that I raised. They get along great with the Swordtails but they beat the heck out of each other, and I have had to move the losers around a bit to let them recover.

I haven’t written a post about them before mainly because I never got a satisfactory photo of one of mine. But now, I have to post this. The largest and strongest two Firemouths have grown to over 3 inches long, and they have been just terrible to the other two Firemouths. They are still good tankmates to the Platies and Swordtails.

Here is why they are so territorial right now. EGGS! Laid on a piece of wood right in the middle of the tank. What am I going to do with these? Honestly, I don’t have a clue right now. I’ll leave a dim light on in the fish room so they can guard the eggs at night.