Origin:Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, especially in the peninsula Yucatan, in the vicinity of Merida and Progresso.
Etymology: Meeki= Named after Meek.
Synonyms:Thorichthys helleri meeki, Cichlasoma meeki
First European import: Germany, 1937, by H. Röse.
Care:A large tank with hardy plants, since the fish dig a lot, and spit out sand and mud over the plants. A large filter is recommended. Stones should be placed on the tank bottom if they are used. The fish require large amounts of swimming space and a temperature of around 22-23 degrees. Watervalues ideally slightly acidic and medium hard water(8-10dGH), although the fish do well in almost every community tank. The fish are very peacefull and will not disturb other tankinhabitants, unless they start to breed, in which case it's better to separate the couple from the tank.
Temperature: 20-24 degrees.
Feeding:Omnivorous; all food is taken.
Size: up to 15cm
Breeding: Tank similar to the tank described in the care section. Raise the temperature to 26 degrees will often induce spawning, although wild caught fish may only spawn in December-April.. The male will start to dig hole(s) in the sand in the open swimming area between stones, which are also thoroughly cleaned. On one of the stones the female will deposit between 100 and 500 eggs(Depending on the size of the female and the time between spawns), and immediately fertilized by the male.As soon as the fry hatch(No info in over 20 books on how long this takes, nor how long they take to go to the free swimming stage), they are deposited in the holes dug by the male. Fry will eat artemia nauplii immediately after they reach the free swimming phase. If the parents are fed well, they will make sure the fry receive enough food, by chewing it into small pieces and spitting it out in between the fry. Parent will care for the fry at least for two weeks.
Sexual dimorphism: Females less colored, and less pointy anal and dorsal fins.
Prices: Netherlands: 3€.
Additional: Baensch and Riehl report that occasional specimens are really aggressiv and carnivorous. In other species this increased aggresiion occurs sometimes when the fish get older, which may also be the case in T. meeki.
If a pair is formed, it will stay a pair for many years.
Picture references: All pictures E. Naus
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