By Shahu Sardar*
Today, we’ll be talking about one of the most popular aquarium fish all around the world – The Flowerhorn! It easily gets noticed due to its extravagant body shape, amazing colouration, and most importantly the iconic bulged head or the Horn/kok. And it’s obvious to fall in love with this amazing fish and have a desire to own one. So, I will be introducing you the complete species profile of the Flowerhorn in this article, which will definitely help you to get to know more about this fish.
Flowerhorns belong to the cichlid group and are pure man-made hybrids. They were first bred in Malaysia and Thailand and according to some sources, were obtained by cross breeding between Red devil, the Trimac cichlids, and the hybrid Parrots.
They first entered the market during the late 1990s and soon got popular due to their eye-catching body shape and the belief of monetary gains if kept at home. Soon hobbyists and even common people started having one and then they were exported to other countries as well. So, now they are quite easily available and one of the most liked aquarium fish among hobbyists.
- Care Level: Intermediate
- Size: 10–16 inches
- Temperament: Aggressive
- Diet: Omnivore
- Min. tank size: 75 gallons/ 285 litre
- Tank setup: Freshwater; Semi-planted; Bare-bottomed, or Fine sand
- Compatibility: Very limited. Should be kept alone.
- Life span: 8–12+ years
Flowerhorns grow big (10–16 in.) and thus, it is recommended to have a minimum 75-gallon glass tank to keep them happy. Go for a square tank or a tank that is taller.
Flowerhorns, like their ancestors, love to dig the substrate (like the cichlids) and uproot plants (like the blood parrots), and therefore decorating the tank becomes a little complicated. A bare-bottomed tank is the best; while if using substrate, use of soft fine sand is suggested. Plants will be uprooted and eaten up, so the tank should contain some fake plants and lots of big-sized stones or decorations and some driftwood too. Flowerhorns like low to moderate water flow and so canister filters can be used.
Water parameters need to be almost perfect so as to keep your Flowerhorn healthy. The recommended temperature is about 26–32 degrees celsius with a pH of 6.5–7. Keeping these parameters right and constant is important, so as to keep the Flowerhorn healthy.
Regular water changes every weekend will surely help to keep off the toxic substances. Also, make sure you get rid of any debris and uneaten food left in the tank.
Flowerhorns are good at adapting and getting good immunity against common diseases. Still, if you wish to raise a healthy and happy Flowerhorn, regular water changes, good water parameters, and optimum diet is the key! They are not so susceptible to common diseases like white spots or fin rot; still you will have to regularly check for any early signs of illness. Flowerhorns easily get physical damage. Being aggressive and territorial, they will often bump into the tank glass hard, fight with stones and driftwood, dig up gravel, and even jump out. These injuries can be avoided by making sure tank decorations are safe (that is without sharp edges), tank is not frequently disturbed, and there is a secure lid for the tank.
They may also get some infections, which can be cured if detected early and treated with the right chemicals/medicines.
Like cichlids, Flowerhorns too have a very limited compatibility. Flowerhorns are known for their highly aggressive and territorial behaviour with any living creature in their tank. This makes Flowerhorn the least compatible with any community tank.
Still, we have some choices like big-sized pleco, leopard pleco, and jaguar cichlids, which will do great in a Flowerhorn tank as they prefer being near the surface and have extremely docile behaviour. Also, Oscars and Low land cichlids may be a good choice but you can’t predict the exact outcome. Also more the fish, the bigger the tank you will need.
Luckily, these exotic species are not fussy eaters and will eat what they are given. But there’s a catch – you would like to feed them only high nutrition flowerhorn food, which provides enough nutrients that their body demands. And thus, buying good quality food is a must or else they may just become weak, the kok will reduce in size, and may even become easily susceptible to diseases.
Concluding – Should You Get a Flowerhorn Fish?
Now summing up, you could go through some of the aspects of keeping this magical cichlid. First of all, Flowerhorns are great fish and make the centerpiece of any space they are kept in and thus it’s a really good choice for a restaurant, reception, or even your living room. They are not so delicate and falling ill is rare. And even beginners who are ready to take the responsibility can go for owning their very own Flowerhorn.
But with that comes the need for a bigger budget amount for tank setup and getting a good quality Flowerhorn. Additional costs like flowerhorn food and medicines add up into it. You will need a bigger tank and will need to spend a considerable amount of time maintaining it. Still, it’s easy for someone who is really interested in owning a Flowerhorn and keeping this magnificent pet healthy and happy.
*Author is an Aquarium hobbyist and fishkeeping enthusiast from Pune. He has been in this hobby from the age of 10 and had really great time with fisheeping. He also runs his own fisheeping blog and aquarium service called the Aquanation, which provides free asistance to begginers in pursuing this hobby. He can be reached at 7774851593/ firstname.lastname@example.org.
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