Flowerhorn cichlid (also Flower Horn) is unique fish mmh with a very interesting behavior, temper and completely unusual appearance. Those who decided to keep flowerhorn in a tank have never regretted it.
Common Name: Flowerhorn, Flower Horn, Flowerhorn cichlid
Tank size: 100 gallons (400L) and more
Temperature: 75–81 °F (24–27 °C)
Size : 30 cm (12 in)
Cichlid fishes as a rule aren’t very critical when choosing their couple match, therefore they can make couples not only with their kind, but also with completely different cichlid fish types.
Such a peculiarity gave breeders a possibility to obtain a number of amazing hybrids with different kinds of fishes. Not all the hybrids are successful, some of them doesn’t have good coloring, some become sterile after such breeding. makemyhobby
But there are always some exceptions.
One of the famous and popular tank fishes – parrot cichlid, is exactly the result of artificial crossing. As well as a flowerhorn cichlid, it’s a son of genetics and Malaysian aquarists persistence.
It was Malaysia where thorough line breeding and different cichlid types breeding (which ones no one yet knows for sure) was performed to get a healthy and fruitful breed.
Flowerhorn cichlid fish is a hybrid, however it doesn’t tend to get sick, it’s good looking and fruitful.
Interesting peculiarity of the fish is that it changes its color during its life up to reproductive stage. So, if you are interested in buying a bright colored fish of certain color, you have to choose from mature fishes.
Otherwise, you’ll be surprised later and possibly in a bad way. From the other hand, if you buy flowerhorn cichlid juveniles you’ll see series of wonderful color changes and who knows, maybe you’ll have an awesome colored fish in the end.mmh
Flowerhorn care is very easy since the fish isn’t demanding and it’s an enduring one. Let’s mention that the fish grows up to be very large – about 30-40 cm and it requires a spacious tank, especially if the fish has some tank mates.
Flowerhorn likes digging tank bottom and eating the tank plants, so you aren’t likely to create some kind of nice aqua-scape with plants. Because of that and due to the fish size it’s recommended to put rocks, snags and other tank decorations directly on a tank bottom, not on a substrate.
Otherwise, fishes will move the decorations around the tank as they wish. It’s better to keep flowerhorn fish alone as a rare show fish. It is rather territory-dependent fish with aggressive temper and rather bad behaved as for its tank mates (except for big tanks of about 175 gallons capacity). In smaller tanks flowerhorn cichlid tankmates will get injured or they will be stressed all the time.
Flowerhorn max size may be up to 30 cm (12 in). There are some species of 40 cm body length. Flower fish growth rate is rather impressing, during their first year of life they grow up to 2 cm in a month.
Flowerhorn is a typical large American cichlid with big bulky body, fan-shaped unpaired fins and a bright colored hump on its forehead. It’s interesting that not only flowerhorn cichlid male has such a hump, but the female, too – but it’s rather small and unpronounced.
This is the only common thing they have.
Very seldom one can see two identical species of flowerhorn fish. Mainly all horn fish species even relatives from one breed vary greatly in coloring and body shape. During their life the coloring changes and it gets its full beauty when the fish becomes reproductive.
Attentive studies of lots of horn fish photos showed that morphologically “flowerhorns” can be divided into several groups, each of them will have its dominating features common with their parental type.
Therefore, it’s quite possible that the fish breeding process was performed simultaneously in several breeding lines.
The following typical fish types were created then: “Regular Fowerhorns”, “Pearl Scale Flowerhorns or “Zhen Zhu”, “Golden Flowerhorns”, “Flowerhorns That Fade, “Kamfa strains”. Besides, there’s fish classification (A, AA, B, BB, C), where the class depends on a shape and intensity of bands and spots on the fish body sides.
Flowerhorn cichlid lifespan is about 8-10 years.
Qualitative flowerhorn cichlid has to meet the standards of its body shape
— the fish body: has to be oval shaped, big and bulky with rounded abdomen. Some new morphs have more rounded shape.
— occipital hump: it should be big and symmetrical to the body proportions.
— black spots: it’s important for them to be thick and easily visualized since this is the main flowerhorn feature. Some new fish morphs don’t pay that much attention to it.
— coloring: the most common fishes flowerhorn are usually red. In ant case – any color should be bright and well defined.
— fins: fluke and other fins has to be as large as possible.
Difficulties in keeping
Flowerhorn care is rather easy since the fish adapts to water parameters well, which may be a problem for other fishes. Also the fish isn’t demanding as for feeding – it eats any protein containing feed: both artificial and live one.
It has to be mentioned that though makemyhooby.com the fish seems to be good for beginners, it’s not – for several good reasons.
Firstly, it’s a very large fish requiring a spacious tank.
Secondly, flowerhorn fish is very aggressive and territory-dependent, so it’s desirable to keep the fish alone in a tank – without any tank mates and even plants. Beginners can easily find smaller and more peaceful cichlid fish. Finally, flowerhorn is so aggressive, that it attacks and bites its owner’s hand while feeding or maintaining the tank.
However, if you are sure that this is the fish you want, no circumstances should stop you. Despite, all above mentioned obstacles this fish is okay for beginners, if they will study the fish and if they are ready to face some problems.
These tank fishes (at the condition that the fish is healthy) have perfect appetite. They eat both life and dry feed. The fish eagerly eats special dry feed for flowerhorns and common frozen prawns or mussels.
It will gladly feed on blood worm or fresh sprats (or other small fish), pieces of calamary or low fat fish (like goldfish). Also horn fish requires some plant additions to the diet or some feed based on spirulina.
When feeding these fishes in a community tank you’ll be surprised how fast they swim to the feeding hand. By the way, flowerhorns aren’t afraid of humans at all and they let us touch them.
But, do it carefully since they can bite. The fish is a glutton, so when it refuses to eat it may be a signal that the fish is ill. Anyway, an important thing is not to overfeed them.
If you (just like me) regularly feed your fish with artificial food, then the links below will be very helpful for you. I know what it’s like when you pet fish die because of low quality food or get ill due to infection ingress into the tank with live food. I’ve chosen the best food you can buy for this kind of fish – Hikari Cichlid Gold, API for large Cichlids, JumboKrill, Big Fella Stick.
Care and keeping in a tank
Just like all other large cichlids from South America, flowerhorn cichlid tank should be very spacious. If the fish is kept alone then minimal tank capacity should be 70 gallons, but the larger the better.
If a couple of fish is kept in a tank, its capacity should be 100-120 gallons, if flowerhorn tank mates are other cichlids – 175-200 gal capacity tank is required. The fish loves moderate flow and clean water, so a canister filter is necessary as well as weekly water renew and bottom siphonate (since flowerhorn makes a mess when eating).
As for the tank decorations, it’s difficult to create them – the fish likes digging and doesn’t like plants. There’s no pint in putting plants into the tank at all – they will be ruined.
Gravel should be used as a substrate and big rock and snags as covers, however the fish doesn’t like hiding and it’s rather active.
Make sure that rocks and other tank decorations, equipment are anchored well and they won’t fall, since flowerhorn is quite capable to turn them over.
The fish isn’t a good tank mate for any other fish, since it’s very large, aggressive and territory-dependent. It’s better to keep one fish alone or a fish couple, but in case if you still want to have flowerhorn tank mates – a tank should be very spacious. Even large fish such as angelfish are in danger.
Flowerhorn will even attack you and bite when maintaining the tank. To decrease its aggressiveness a spacious tank is required with lots of covers and large tank mates in it.
The following tank mates are good for horn fish: jaguar cichlid, tiger oscar, black pacu, leopard pleco, plecostomus. However, as a rule those who keep flowerhorn come to conclusion that this fish must live alone in a tank!
If you want to breed flowerhorns, remember that the fish aggressiveness spreads on its relatives. Carefully watch the fish couple so they won’t kill each other.
There’s no highly reliable way to see mmh between flowerhorn male and female yet. When reproductive fish species are ready to spawn a female has visible thick ovipositor and the male has papilla.