Looking for ideas to make my Firemouth more colourful. I have put in a darker substrate, I feed it all the colour enhancing cichlid foods and still it remains a plain silvery white. It is only 1 inch long at this stage and is very healthy and eats well.
Here's a pic
not sure how they work but i seen some special lights that claim to enhance color and some that promote growth of live plants
Lighting plays a big part as well. Look for around one to two watts per gallon of full spectrum lighting (bulbs).
Actinic bulbs ,or bulbs with much over 6000 Kelvin rating would possibly cause colors of fish to wash.
Bulbs with 6000 to 67000 K rating would also allow for possible plants such as Anubia's or Java Fern attached to rocks ,or wood to grow. Other plants would be difficult in cichlid tank unless potted.
Large driftwood branches also help fish feel more secure ,and when fish feel comfortable,,they display better colors.
When I bought the firemouth it had red (a firemouth) but lost it soon after. I originally had 2 white flouros, then changed to a blue and a white, then just the blue. I'm thinking next that I try a black background.
Fish will always try and blend with the substrate. Over light colored gravel,,the fishes colors will be much duller or Pale ,in an effort to blend in with their surroundings which in the wild,,makes it more difficult for predators to see them from above.
They also show less colors if larger more dominant fish are present in an effort to avoid attention from the larger more dominant fish in the tank.
Dark colored substrates will result in darker colors by the fish for same reason.
Is possible the substrate in the tank where fish were purchased from was dark?
Is also possible that the fish was among perhaps some females in the tank , and this too often leads to more vivid colors especially from the males as they display for the attention of females.
We often decorate tanks that are pleasing to us and this is important,but we must not lose sight of what the fishes natural enviornment would look like.
For reasons already noted, the fishes colors will be affected to some degree but bright lighting reflecting off pink,blue,or white substrates will result in less natural colors of fish.
You can try leaving the lights off for a couple of days and see if there is not a difference in the fishes colors
If so,,then you have your answer.
Cichlids I have kept from Discus to Jaguars, ALWAYS preferred dark brown /black substrates and dim lighting over bright lights and colored gravel ,but the fish and tank are yours.
There is more to this story, I actually had 2 Firemouths and both were of similar colour. Unfortunately 1 bullied the other to death. 2 days ago I bought a new Firemouth, slightly bigger than the bully. Upon putting the new Firemouth in the tank the bully proceeded to do what he does best. The new Firemouth after initially being intimidated gave back as good as he got and now they have an uneasy truce. Getting back to the topic the new Firemouth has so far maintained his colour.
Lighting adn decor is fine but its going to come down to good diet, clean water, and genetics. Feed your firemouth a good diet, give him good filteration and plenty of water changes and let him do the rest. As stated before he is still very small so I would give it a bit of time. For example on my CA tank I feed NLS, sprinula flakes and krill so the colors pop. In addition to that I have good quality fish from a breeder along with weekly 50% water changes. My lighting sucks but the fish look good.
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