Thorichthys meeki male from laguna de las Ilusiones downtown Villahermosa, Tabasco, México. Photo by Juan Miguel Artigas Azas.
You see a tank 375 liters (100 gal) capacity, the dimensions you estimate are length 1.50 m (5'), depth and height 0.50 m (20"), what makes it to have a fairly large surface area, you thought that would probably like Thorichthys.
There is a layer of 2 cm (3/4) fine dark sand substrate and a lot of driftwood and ceramic pots for decoration/hiding, a 200 watt submersible heater is at one of the corners. There is an overflow at surface level that gets rid of excess water, that getting in from a plastic valve in the form of dripping. A dry/wet filter with mechanical filtration is found outside the tank.
After you check water you get a 26 Celsius reading, a pH of 7.6 and a GH of 10 German degrees, you think that the hardness reading wouldn't ready mind.
The tank in inhabit by six adult Thorichthys meeki (10 cm) and a pair of large Thorichthys helleri (12 cm), Juan Miguel tells you those are wild and were collected in the Illusions lagoon in the tabasco state in México, you appreciate the red on the flanks, no commonly seen in those specimens in shops. He also tells you the Thorichthys helleri were collected in Rio Pichucalco, Grijalva, right at the type locality.
You also see the tank is inhabit by several goodeids, you recognize as Goodea atripinnis that act like dither fish in the tank. Among the wood so also see several Peckoltia species, jumping from trunk to trunk.
But what calls your attention the most is the breeding activity taking place, all three pairs breeding at the same time. Juan Miguel tells you that Thorichthys meeki paired off after 8 months he brought them in, in that time about 4 centimeters long. They had no problem establishing a territory around a ceramic pot, he tells you that those that had the harder time were the less aggressive Thorichthys helleri, but finally succeed in establishing a territory. Eggs you are told were placed inside the flower pot, they are adhesive and stick to the Walls, they were fanned for two days by the parents and later, after hatching for five more days until they became free swimming wrigglers. You wonder how are they feed and Juan Miguel tells you he feeds artemia nauplii that feed with the help of a kitchen gasket. They do grow well this way.
Adults you are told were fed by Juan Miguel with a home mix he makes (actually his wife does), it is composed of raw shrimps, fish meat, oysters, eggs, lettuce, oatmeal, carrots and vitamin b2 from time to time, the mix is blended and later put in the freezer for later use. The fish would devour it greedily.
You leave fascinated by the beauty of the Thorichthys...