Firemouth Lost color and is very shy please help

CarterHeath

Hello everyone! I have a Firemouth cichlid who is around 3 inches and I have had him for 6 months. He is currently in a 55 gallon along with a blood parrot and 8 paleatus corydoras. (He used to be in this same tank with just the blood parrot and my turtle which is now in a new tank). Ever since I moved my turtle to a different tank and moved rooms my firemouth has lost almost all his color and I rarely see any red on his belly anymore. Also note that I have a black background and light sand I also keep my lights around a medium setting. There is no aggression in the tank whatsoever (other than the occasional flaring of his gills at the blood parrot). Also since I have moved rooms and am not in the room with his tank as much anymore he is extremely shy and will only come out when I am almost completely still. He also hasn’t been eating very much either I have tried omega one cichlid pellets, Xtreme cichlid pellets, hikari vibes bites, hikari gold pellets, fluval bug bites flakes, omega kne frozen cichlid cube, omega kne carnivore cube, blood worms, brine shrimp, and repashy gel food. So any tips to get his color back and also to lower his shyness.

Forgot to add that I try to go into his room as much as possible and have my dad walk in there as much as he can while I’m at school to try to get them used to people again.


Also the second picture is him 4 months ago and the first is today
You must be registered to see images
You must be registered to see images
 

TClare

Well, that is a huge change and I am sure it’s not caused by the colour of the sand. Very light sand can wash colours out a bit but not that much! I have had a cichlid become shy, scared and not eating much after I caught the fry in his tank, but he did not lose colour like that. Can you clarify a bit more, did this change happen immediately after removing the turtle, or after adding the Corydoras? Was he not shy before all the changes? What about the water parameters, have you tested them recently? And are you quite sure the parrot has not started to be aggressive to him? A bit more information might help to understand what is going on.
 

CarterHeath

Sorry for the confusion. It happened within about a week after removing the turtle I had actually just recently added the corys around 3 weeks ago. He was not very shy before removing the turtle either. I tested the water yesterday and here are the parameters, 0ppm nitrate,0ppm nitrite, 0ppm ammonia, 7.6 ph. I am also very sure that the parrot has not been aggressive because every time I’m in there the parrot and firemouth swim together and never show aggresion the only one who ever does is the firemouth. He won’t actually nip though, he just flares a bit.
Thanks
 

A201

Firemouths actually do better in groups. Adding two or three more Firemouths might produce a very quick positive response.
Dimming the lights down to a blue hue might also help the situation.
 

TClare

I wondered about adding more firemouths too, but then I was a bit concerned in case there is any illness involved…
 

A201

Like many varieties of Cichlids, Firemouths can change color depending on mood.
If the water parameters are fine & the FM continues to eat, then I'd say go for more FM's. If he is on a hunger strike, probably sick.
 

TClare

The OP says he hasn’t been eating much and they have tried all sorts of food including bloodworms and brine shrimps, that is what concerned me a bit.
 

CarterHeath

He will eat the bloodworms and brine just not very many. Also don’t you think adding another firemouth or two would be overstocking?
I also think another reason for him not coming out for food is because I’m in there I guess I could put a spare camera in there in leave then watch and see if he eats once I leaves?
Also if the new firemouth was the opposite sex don’t u think there would be too much aggression if they breed?
And on top of that there is no sign of illness other than lost color but nothing visual.
 

StanV

Hello everyone! I have a Firemouth cichlid who is around 3 inches and I have had him for 6 months. He is currently in a 55 gallon along with a blood parrot and 8 paleatus corydoras. (He used to be in this same tank with just the blood parrot and my turtle which is now in a new tank). Ever since I moved my turtle to a different tank and moved rooms my firemouth has lost almost all his color and I rarely see any red on his belly anymore. Also note that I have a black background and light sand I also keep my lights around a medium setting. There is no aggression in the tank whatsoever (other than the occasional flaring of his gills at the blood parrot). Also since I have moved rooms and am not in the room with his tank as much anymore he is extremely shy and will only come out when I am almost completely still. He also hasn’t been eating very much either I have tried omega one cichlid pellets, Xtreme cichlid pellets, hikari vibes bites, hikari gold pellets, fluval bug bites flakes, omega kne frozen cichlid cube, omega kne carnivore cube, blood worms, brine shrimp, and repashy gel food. So any tips to get his color back and also to lower his shyness.

Forgot to add that I try to go into his room as much as possible and have my dad walk in there as much as he can while I’m at school to try to get them used to people again.


Also the second picture is him 4 months ago and the first is today
You must be registered to see images
You must be registered to see images
I know this isn’t help but I just wanted to say that’s a beautiful Firemouth, I have one myself that’s like 4-5 inches in my 125 US gallon with JD and 20 African peacocks. But mine has a light orange belly and currently looking for another one but with a red belly like yours but all my LFS carry orange :(
 

A201

Regarding Firemouth aggression, their bark is worse than their bite.
Mostly just flaring.
IMO, A 55 gal. is plenty big enough for a few Firemouths, the Corydoras & solo Blood Parrot.
 

CarterHeath

Like how many firemouths? An extra 2? So in all 3 FM 1 BP and & corys?
8 corys
 

A201

Adding two or three new juvenile Firemouths shouldn't overstock your tank, providing there is adequate filtration & a weekly 35% -
50% water change is performed.
I have 75 fish, which include big varieties of Barbs, Tetras & Loaches in my 120 gal. The tank is clean & the fish remain colorful & healthy.
My fish community is many times more densely populated than yours & things are just fine.
 

StanV

Adding two or three new juvenile Firemouths shouldn't overstock your tank, providing there is adequate filtration & a weekly 35% -
50% water change is performed.
I have 75 fish, which include big varieties of Barbs, Tetras & Loaches in my 120 gal. The tank is clean & the fish remain colorful & healthy.
My fish community is many times more densely populated than yours & things are just fine.
Dang, and I thought 25 was too much for a 125 gal… got any pictures ? ;)
 

TClare

I agree there is room for two or three more firemouths and it should definitely help, provided that the original one is not sick.
 

StanV

I agree there is room for two or three more firemouths and it should definitely help, provided that the original one is not sick.
Hmm, thing is, if he’s sick the new ones would take advantage to bully him. I’d figure that not all would need another of the same species since like I said I have 1 with 20 African peacocks and he seems to be doing just fine
 

A201

Here's a pic of the 120 g.
 

TClare

Hmm, thing is, if he’s sick the new ones would take advantage to bully him. I’d figure that not all would need another of the same species since like I said I have 1 with 20 African peacocks and he seems to be doing just fine
If he is sick my main concern would be passing whatever on to the new ones. But if it is just a feeling of insecurity that is causing the problem I doubt if new ones would bully him since he is the prior resident in the tank, he would be more likely to color up and flare at them.
 

CarterHeath

I do not believe he is sick because he acts good just shy and in top of that none of the others are sick. But do you think that I should remove the corys to add the Firemouths I have a 100 with my turtle and she won’t eat them as long as they are big enough
100 gallon I meant
 

A201

Here's a pic of a faded out, Firemouth I once kept. He would routinely change his coloration depending on mood. He lived a healthy long life.
 

CarterHeath

My dad did say when he comes to the room that he had a darker grey and more red so maybe it is depending on time of day too
also to add for filtration I have a pen plaxx cascade 300 and a medium sized sponge filter with a 40 gallon air pump on it. (This is my 55 gal with the firemouth in it for clarification NOT 100 gallon)
Ask don’t you think that the three firemouths would tear up my plants I have valisneria, some crypts, and some guppy grass, along with a Java fern attached to some driftwood
I will not be able to reply for another her 6 hours because I am at school
 

StanV

My dad did say when he comes to the room that he had a darker grey and more red so maybe it is depending on time of day too
also to add for filtration I have a pen plaxx cascade 300 and a medium sized sponge filter with a 40 gallon air pump on it. (This is my 55 gal with the firemouth in it for clarification NOT 100 gallon)
Ask don’t you think that the three firemouths would tear up my plants I have valisneria, some crypts, and some guppy grass, along with a Java fern attached to some driftwood
I will not be able to reply for another her 6 hours because I am at school
He’s probably just trying to get used to the change, fish don’t like drastic changes, they’re very dramatic, maybe scared he’s going to get moved out as well so He needs confidence
 

CarterHeath

I forgot to add I moved my turtle out like 4 months ago so it happened a long enough time ago for home to be good now.
 

Fish99

I forgot to add I moved my turtle out like 4 months ago so it happened a long enough time ago for home to be good now.
I know you said the water test good but is it cloudy at all? I would change a healthy amount just because, see if it makes a difference. It could have bacteria in the water column that won't show on any test you know? If it helps the little guy great, but of course it will come back if that's it. :(
How about aeration? Plenty of bubbles?
 

CarterHeath

As said before I have a sponge filter so no problem at all with oxygen. Also my water is not cloudy and I will be doing a water change tomorrow. (As I do every Saturday) also since he been like this a while I personally do not think it will help too much but I will see tomorrow. Also I might add 2 more firemouths but if I do so, how long do you think I should wait before I do to reduce stress because I did add the corys 3 weeks ago. Also I think that when the corys get maximum size I will move them so there is less waste and a little less stocked. Also because then there will be no worries on the FMs bullying them.
Another thing is that would it be possible for the FMs to gang up on the blood parrot
If they would then what would I do
 

TClare

As said before I have a sponge filter so no problem at all with oxygen. Also my water is not cloudy and I will be doing a water change tomorrow. (As I do every Saturday) also since he been like this a while I personally do not think it will help too much but I will see tomorrow. Also I might add 2 more firemouths but if I do so, how long do you think I should wait before I do to reduce stress because I did add the corys 3 weeks ago. Also I think that when the corys get maximum size I will move them so there is less waste and a little less stocked. Also because then there will be no worries on the FMs bullying them.
Another thing is that would it be possible for the FMs to gang up on the blood parrot
If they would then what would I do
If they did could the parrot go in the 100 gallon?
 

CarterHeath

He could but I personally don’t want to do that because it’s a tub so you can really see him. Although since the BP has been in the 55 and claimed his territory and he will be the biggest it may not be an issue. But if it were to get that bad I would move him . Also would the new firemouths be able to live in the 55 their whole lives or have to upgrade when they get bigger?
And should I wait to add them or add them whenever?
If they did could the parrot go in the 100 gallon?
He could but I personally don’t want to do that because it’s a tub so you can really see him. Although since the BP has been in the 55 and claimed his territory and he will be the biggest it may not be an issue. But if it were to get that bad I would move him . Also would the new firemouths be able to live in the 55 their whole lives or have to upgrade when they get bigger?
And should I wait to add them or add them whenever?
But I was also thinking that adding more could also not be a good idea since blood parrots can’t really defend themselves if they are getting bullied. I do have an egg crate divider for a temporary fix.
 

GlennO

If you're reluctant to add more firemouths you could try adding some mid water schooling fish. Often that helps to make shy cichlids feel more secure.
 

CarterHeath

Yeah I think I’d rather more FMs because I added corys for dither type fish and it hasn’t worked well. I’m just not sure when I should as the FMs, if I should wait or not. What your opinion? The reason I’m asking is because I added the corys about a months ago and I don’t know if it would stress them out to add more fish.
 

GlennO

Firemouths are unlikely to take any notice of corys. They generally only interact with other cichlids unless they are breeding. I think you're good to add a couple of juvenile FM's.
 

CarterHeath

Ok my question is like does it matter if I were to do it tomorrow or next week Because there has been a couple recent changes so I don’t want more stress on my current FM
Not saying I actually would tomorrow but hypothetically speaking
 

GlennO

Ok my question is like does it matter if I were to do it tomorrow or next week Because there has been a couple recent changes so I don’t want more stress on my current FM
Not saying I actually would tomorrow but hypothetically speaking
Don't think it matters. Get a couple that are slightly smaller than him. Guaranteed to bring him out of his shell.
 

CarterHeath

Alright thanks for the help I will plan for two
Also forgot to ask if you think they will be fine with the plants I have which are jungle val some crypts and Java fern
 

TClare

Alright thanks for the help I will plan for two
Also forgot to ask if you think they will be fine with the plants I have which are jungle val some crypts and Java fern
I think they should be fine, unless they start breeding in which case they might dig some of them up. I wouldn’t worry too much about that for now.
 

CarterHeath

Ok thank you for your help. But one last question. Will they be able to live in the 55 their entire life or need an upgrade eventually? Sorry I’m asking so many questions
 

StanV

Ok thank you for your help. But one last question. Will they be able to live in the 55 their entire life or need an upgrade eventually? Sorry I’m asking so many questions
Def upgrade, for a 55 you could keep 2 Fire mouths. A breeding pair, maybe males, but territory would be often fought for
 

CarterHeath

I was looking at a few other forums and they say 4 FMs are fine in a 55 I’ll have 1BP and 3 FMs blood parrots do get a bit bigger but according to the other sources it should be fine.
 

StanV

I was looking at a few other forums and they say 4 FMs are fine in a 55 I’ll have 1BP and 3 FMs blood parrots do get a bit bigger but according to the other sources it should be fine.
You could pull that off, depending on aggressive they come out to be
 

CarterHeath

Although if things get too crowded I could always move one of the FMs to the 100 gal depending on the male to female ratio I could have two males and move a female to the other tank or male female move the extra off and so on. But while they are small it should be ok right? From my experience FMs are quite slow growers
 

StanV

Although if things get too crowded I could always move one of the FMs to the 100 gal depending on the male to female ratio I could have two males and move a female to the other tank or male female move the extra off and so on. But while they are small it should be ok right? From my experience FMs are quite slow growers
Oh of course, it’s when they mature that when they get more I guess aggressive although they’re not really that aggressive. They’re usually more all bark but no bite, especially as juveniles
 

CarterHeath

Yeah that’s what I’ve seen
 

Leeman75

I think you're going to be fine with 3 FM, the BP, and Cories in the 55...at least if my experience shows it.

I have 2 FMs (1 fully grown, 1 halfway there), 2 full-size Eliectric Blue Acaras, and 5 Rainbow Cichlids in my 55. Oh, and I also have 5 Cories. The biggest FM will sometimes get a little rowdy with the 2 EBAs and the smaller FM, but as stated before, it's just flaring and just a bark, no bite. 90% of the time, everyone is just fine.
 

TClare

Although if things get too crowded I could always move one of the FMs to the 100 gal depending on the male to female ratio I could have two males and move a female to the other tank or male female move the extra off and so on. But while they are small it should be ok right? From my experience FMs are quite slow growers
It should be fine, especially as you have a backup in case it is needed later on. It may not be.
 

CarterHeath

Thank you for your help
 

CarterHeath

Just wanted to say he ate a decent amount today!
 

CarterHeath

Do you think if I turn my light to a blue setting it will darken his color
 

Similar Aquarium Threads

Replies
15
Views
122
CarterHeath
Replies
3
Views
716
Cichlidenthusest
Replies
2
Views
520
CaptainAquatics
Replies
3
Views
2K
tyguy7760
Replies
10
Views
2K
jwhorner6

Random Great Thread!

New Cichlid Threads

Top Bottom