Flowerhorn Fish – Care, Habitat And Details You Need

Flowerhorn fish is also known as flowerhorn cichlid and the fish is very unique in its appearance as well as in its behavior. This is the reason why people love keeping this beautiful fish in tanks at their homes and workplaces

Flowerhorn Fish is the type of fish that is not usually seen in the wild because it is artificially bred.

This is the reason it is possible to obtain several kinds of amazing hybrids with different kinds of fishes.

However, this does not mean that all the hybrids are successful, some become sterile whereas some don’t have good coloring after such breeding.

However, the others turn out to be quite interesting, such as one of the most famous tank fish, blood parrot cichlid is the result of such artificial crossing.

The first flowerhorn cichlid was bred in Malaysia. The breeders found the hump on the head of a flowerhorn fish quite fascinating and hence named the fish ‘Karoli’, the meaning of which is fighting the ship.

However, Till this day there is no answer to what kind of fishes were bred to get flowerhorn cichlid as this information is only known to the ones who bred it.

According to aquarists, flowerhorn cichlid comes from the breeding of red terror, cichlasomalabiatum, Cichlasomatrimaculatum, and Viejasynspila. To find out more interesting information regarding flowerhorn cichlids keep reading further.

Quick Stats

Common Name: Flowerhorn cichlid, Flowerhorn, Flower Horn.
Common name: None
Temperament: Territorial/aggressive
pH: 7.4–8.0
Diet: Omnivorous/Predatory
Size: 30 cm (12 inches)


The flowerhorn cichlid grows up to the size of approx. 30 cm or 12 inches. A few also grow up to 40 cm in length. Their growth rate is quite fast and hence rather impressive. They are capable of growing up to 2cm in a month during the first year of life.

One interesting thing about flowerhorn cichlids is that they are very lenient while choosing their couple match and hence they pair up with different cichlid fish types as well.

Flowerhorn cichlid is a large, basic American cichlid. It has a large bulky body, a vibrant colored hump on the forehead, and fan-shaped unpaired fins. Both the males and the female flowerhorn cichlids have a hump on their heads.

However, this is the only common trait between them. It’s not usual to see two similar flowerhorn fish. This is because each flowerhorn fish, even the ones that belong to the same breed differ from each other in terms of body shape and coloring.

The color of a flowerhorn cichlid ends to change during its life and it gets more beautiful when the fish becomes mature.

According to a study of the fish, the flowerhorns can be divided into different groups, each of which has its dominating features common with their parental type.

The most common color of a flowerhorn fish is red and almost all of them have black spots, regardless of their color. The lifespan of a flowerhorn cichlid is about eight to ten years. However, some can live even longer if their care is taken properly.

Difficulties in Keeping

Since the fish is capable of easily adapting to water parameters, taking care of flowerhorn cichlids is not a difficult task.

Also, you can easily manage its feed as well, since it consumes any kind of protein-containing feed, both live and artificial ones.

One important thing to know is that even though the fish might seem suitable for beginners, in reality, it is not.

This is because firstly it is a very large fish and needs a large spacious tank to survive. Secondly, this species of fish is very territory dependent and aggressive, hence it is recommended that the fish is kept alone in a tank, without any plants and tank mates.

It is easier to find more peaceful and smaller cichlids for beginners. Also, this cichlid is aggressive – flowerhorn cichlids can also attack and bite the hand of the owner while they are being fed.

Feeding a Flowerhorn Cichlid

Flowerhorn cichlids are known to have a good appetite as long as the health of the fish is fine. They consume both dry feed and live feed.

Flowerhorns are known to especially like common frozen prawns, mussels, and special dry feed for flowerhorns.

It can also be fed fresh sprats, blood worms, low-fat fish (like goldfish), and pieces of calamari. For a healthier diet, you can include some feed based on spirulina or plant additions.

You might find it surprising how fast the fish swims up to the feeding hand in a community tank.

Also, flowerhorns are not scared or shy of humans and can let you touch them as well when they are not aggressive.

However, proper care should be taken when you have your hand near them, as they can always bite. You mustn’t overfeed them as that can make the fish sick.

Aquarium Conditions

Just like every other large-sized cichlid from South America, this one too requires a tank that is large and very spacious.

If you keep the fish alone in a tank that then the minimum capacity of the tank should be 70 gallons, but its better if the tank is even larger than this.

If you keep a couple, then the minimum capacity of the tank should be around 100 to 120 gallons. If the tank maters of the flowerhorn are other cichlids, then a tank of capacity 175-200 gal might be needed.

To keep the fish healthy and happy, make sure the water in the tank is clean and has a moderate flow. You might need to clean the tank every week since flowerhorns tend to make a mess while eating.

As far as decorations in the tank are concerned, you should not bother with them since the cichlid is not fond of plants and likes digging. Avoid putting any plants in the tank since the fish will ruin them immediately.

For substrate, you can use gravel and for covers, big rock and snags can be used, however, the fish is very active and does not hide a lot.

Compatibility of Flowerhorn Fish

Since flowerhorn cichlids are very aggressive and are territory dependent, hence they do not become peaceful tank mates. It is recommended that you keep one fish alone or either keep them in a couple.

But if you still want your flowerhorn to have tank mates then the tank should be very large. Even big sized fish like angelfish are in danger.

To reduce the aggressiveness of flowerhorn fish, large-sized fish and a lot of covers are required in the tank.

The fish that have proven to be good tankmates for flowerhorns are Plecostomus, black pacu, jaguar cichlid, leopard pleco, and tiger Oscar fish.

When the fish is about to breed, keep in mind that the aggressiveness of the fish spreads hence take proper care of the couple, so they don’t kill one another.

Breeding of Flowerhorn Fish

If you want to get flowerhorn juveniles that have a similar color to their parents, you need to know the purity of their breeding line.

Otherwise, the young ones won’t be of the same color as their parents.

The breeding of flowerhorn fish is very much similar to every other South America cichlid breeding. The fish is likely to breed in the tank in which it lives.

However, one problem that might arise during breeding season is protecting the female from the male flowerhorn’s attack.

It often happens that the female fish is not ready for spawning, yet the male flowerhorn starts to hunt and attack the female.

To avoid this, make sure that the tank is spacious and there is space for the female fish to hide so the male won’t see her.

Alternately you can also divide the tank by using a net, to keep the female safe from the male fish until they are ready for spawning. However, you might be required to create the conditions to stimulate the fish for spawning.

The pH of the water should be neutral at 7.0 and the water temperature should be around 20° Cto stimulate flowerhorns for breeding. The water in the tank should be renewed with fresh water regularly as well.

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