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Thorichthys ellioti

Thorichthys ellioti

 Another central American cichlid, belonging to the widely kept Thorichthys genus, Thoricthys ellioti is a relatively small cichlid attaining a maximum size of 15 cm. In nature it is found in calm waters and small streams – thus too strong a current is not recommended. The term “relatively small” means that a pair can be successfully kept in an 120 cm aquarium – something not common for central American cichlids which attain large sizes and need big (or even huge) tanks for proper housing. Therefore, for the hobbyist who wishes to keep central American cichlids but lacks the space or money to get a large tank, the Thorichthys genus is perhaps the only option and while T.meeki will most probably be his first selection, T. ellioti is a very good option. It should be noted that this species since its aggression is lower than the (better known) Thorichthys meeki (Firemouth cichlid). Even when spawning, the defended territory is not very large (usually about 30 cm) which makes them amongst the most suitable cichlids for those owning small tanks. As all the Thorichthys species it is mainly a cave spawner something that needs to be taken into account by hobbyists wishing to breed this species. This doesn’t mean that you have to construct a cave (they are not very demanding on this issue) but a flatstone surrounded by bigger rocks to give the impression of a “protected” spot is a must. If successful, the hobbyist will be faced with 100 to 500 eggs and – if they all hatch – will have to reduce the number of fry to an acceptable level. Extensive breeding of most species have resulted in specimens with reduced colors and it was only after the introduction of great numbers of wild caught species that this is not the case anymore. Although they will display (usually by extending their gills – something they spend most of their day on) they will usually not harm small intruders. Perhaps the most important thing is that you can keep more than one Thorichthys species in the same tank particularly if they do not look very similar. Although red mosquito larvae are their natural food, you should be very careful (and possibly avoid it altogether) because many times the larvae is collected from heavily polluted water while at the same time this genus seems particularly vulnerable to poisoning. Alternative foods are krill, mysis and brine shrimp. The aquarium should be decorated in the classic “new world cichlid” manner which includes sand as a bottom, rocks and bogwood.

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