Origin of Flower horn fish
As Flowerhorn's ancestry originated from the Central and South American cichlids, it is essential to set up your tank to a closely simulated natural habitat for the fish, which at the same time, pleasing to the eye. The Flowerhorn fish is also known with the Chinese common name Hua Luo Han; this fish does not exist in nature but it is a hybrid result of various cross-breeding of South America cichlids, in fact it can be listed under the Cichlasoma genus, even if the starting breeders are unknown, the most of people think about Cichlasoma Trimaculatus, C. Festae, Red Parrot, Jingang and other fish.
My Flower horn
About Flower horn fish
Flowerhorn is a big fish with compact body, it can reach 30cm in length and sometimes can grow even bigger. Intensive breeding has created a very peculiar fish that is becoming really famous and relatively common in the last few years; moreover breeders keep on trying to improve the fish qualities focusing on bigger hump on the head, new and better colours, wider body and fins, more peculiar black marks on the body, without the employ of chemical and artificial factors. For the importance of appearance, a good Flowerhorn must follow a standard that defines various aspects of its body:
- General body: the fish body must be oval and thick, with full belly and stomach; some new variants have anyway a more rounded shape.
- Hump: the hump on the forehead should be big and well proportioned to the fish size.
- Black marks: it is important that the marks are thick and well defined, this is one of the principal characteristic of Flowerhorn, and anyway some new varieties do not give too much importance to them.
- Overall Colouration: the most common Flowerhorn have a predominant red colouration, anyway every colour should be bright and well defined.
- Scales: the entire body should be covered by light blue or green scales.
- Fins: both tails and fins should be widely spread the most of time.
Various sizes and designs of fish tanks are available at your local fish store. Choose one that will complement your house. Always assume that Flowerhorns will grow to be about 500 mm in length. Therefore, it is advisable to get at least a 3 feet tank to start comfortably. Acrylic aquariums are recommended as these tanks are leak proof, light weight and the wall materials provide exceptional clarity. Always have a tank top or tank cover to prevent your fish from jumping out. This is one common mistake of many hobbyists that lead to their fish "committing suicide".
Various attractive background designs for aquariums are available easily. Choose one that will fit the natural environment of the fish. Pebbles, stones and gravels is a must in your flower horn tank because it be used as substrate for biological filtration. The fish is also a naturally active "digger" and this creates an environment closer to its original habitat.
One advice is to prevent pebbles that have sharp edges. These types of pebbles usually inflict cuts on the mouth of your fishes and if not treated, it will be infected. Many flowerhorn fishes are prone to mouth infection because of minor cuts sustained when they constantly dig at the pebbles.
Other unnatural tank ornaments are discouraged as these do not serve any purpose at all in the tank. Furthermore, these objects may even be hazardous, which might cause accidental cuts and injuries on your Flowerhorns as these fish possess fierce territorial behaviors and is always actively swimming.
Flowerhorn like similar sized fish, astronotus ocellatus for example, need a live food integration to be healthy and in shape. Their diet can consist of live food, frozen food, and standard dry fish food. The live food should be of good dimension, or the fish could not notice it, earth worms and big meal worms or wax worm are accepted; moreover you can give small fish, poecilia reticulata could be a good choice since the high number of fry they spare monthly. Remember to feed every live food you choose, and in case of live fish be sure they are healthy.
Frozen food is another good solution, especially when you do not have the live one. Young Flowerhorn usually eat chironomus, brine shrimps and other frozen fish foods, while older ones could not notice them; at their place you can offer frozen fish for human use, you have a great choice, anyway if possible get freshwater fish and avoid the sea ones.
Both live and frozen food can pollute the water, so be sure that Flowerhorn eats all the given food in 5 minutes maximum, in case of rests remove them fast; for this reason it is better to have an aquarium set up that allow you to clean fast without needing to move objects.
Dry standard fish food is a good complementary option, especially if it is of good quality. You can find special food produced for cichlids that usually consist of big pellets that Flowerhornlike.
Flowerhorn should be fed two times a day, everyday, anyway be careful with the quantities and avoid to overfeed it, reducing the food amount specially if it is really rich of nutrients.
Sexing Flowerhorn is quite easy, especially when they have reached the length of 10 cm – 12 cm. The anal pore of the fish has a V shape in case of males and a U shape in case of females. Moreover females tend to have a smaller hump when adults.
Being cichlids their reproduction can be similar to the cichlasoma one. The female lays eggs on a flat surface, like a rock or the aquarium glass and take care of them, while the male keeps other fish away. After 3 or 4 days the fry hatch and parents take care of them moving in more secure hiding places. You can feed them with just hatched brine shrimps and other specific food for fry.
Breeding is not so easy because female can be easily stressed or worried and an end up eating her eggs, anyway if the environment is quiet and the parents are healthy reproduction is possible.