Flowerhorn: All You Ever Need to Know

How well versed are you in Flowerhorn facts? These amazing fish have gained increasing popularity over the last two decades. They are interesting and, beautiful to look at. Flowerhorn fish are a source of pride for any aquarium enthusiast lucky enough to own one.

The Flowerhorn immediately captures the full attention of anyone who sees them. These fish are not only intriguing in looks and personality. The specific needs, wants, and general care of the breed are only a few of the Flowerhorn facts that are areas of interest.

There are so many interesting things to learn about Flowerhorn fish. Because they are a relatively new breed, there are new things to learn about them every day. They are the same as all other fish, yet delightfully different. There is so much about them that is completely unique and fascinating.

Where are Flowerhorn from?

The Flowerhorn fish come from Thailand, Malaysia, and Taiwan in the early 1990s.  They are part of a family of fish known as Cichlids. The first known Flowerhorn strains originated by breeding various varieties of Cichlids. Blood Parrot, Red Devil, and Tri Mac Cichlid lines were crossed to create the first Flowerhorn. Many other strains of Cichlids have contributed to the Flowerhorn breed. Hobbyists breed new strains of Flowerhorn with some regularity. Once there were fewer than four available varieties of Flowerhorn to choose from. Today there are more than a dozen strains.

Are Flowerhorn Natural?

Flowerhorn is a species themselves are not natural. They would not exist at all if someone hadn’t come up with the idea to breed the different species of Cichlids. There are some Flowerhorn in Malaysia, Taiwan, and other areas of the world in the wild. However, these Flowerhorn only exist outside a fish tank because they are cast off.  This means that they are products of a breeder that did not want them. Rather than disposing of the fish, they are released into the wild. In many of these areas, they are an invasive species and a pest. Flowerhorn can breed quickly and often. Because of this, they overrun the natural inhabitants in a water body.

Are Flowerhorn Freshwater or Saltwater Fish?

Flowerhorn are freshwater only fish. The Flowerhorn would not survive for long in a saltwater environment. There are extreme differences in the physiology of saltwater and freshwater fish.  In a nutshell, a saltwater fish would “drown” in a freshwater tank set up. A freshwater fish would “dehydrate” in a saltwater tank set up.  The Flowerhorn do have some very distant Cichlid cousins that can survive in both. So far, a strain of Flowerhorn has not been bred that can duplicate this ability.

Are Flowerhorn Tropical Fish?

Because of its origins, the Flowerhorn fish is a tropical or semi-tropical fish. Flowerhorn are part of the Cichlid family. Cichlids exist in the wild in Thailand, Madagascar, and parts of Africa. Cichlids are also found in India and in lesser numbers near more tropical parts of America. Their care is much like other tropical fish. The Flowerhorn does tend to be a bit more tolerant to hard water than the typical tropical fish does. This is because of the wide variety of genetics in the Flowerhorn.

Are Flowerhorn hard to Keep?

Flowerhorn are no harder to keep than any other fish. It is important that they have the proper tank size, as they tend to grow quite large.  Flowerhorn need weekly water changes. A good filtration system to keep their water in balance is also essential.  They prefer a tank with little to no substrate or decoration. Flowerhorn also need a consistent water temperature. The Flowerhorn also thrives on interaction with its owners.  This trait alone makes them a pleasure to care for, as people enjoy their personalities. Flowerhorn fish are sometimes called aquarium puppies because of their antics.

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Do Flowerhorn need a Large Tank?

Flowerhorn need a tank no smaller than the 100-gallon size. The reason for this is the size these fish can grow to.  Even the shorter bodied Flowerhorn will grow to a size of at least five inches. The Flowerhorn is a fish that needs to have a tank that gives it room to move. Another reason Flowerhorn need a larger tank is the amount of waste they produce. Flowerhorn fish have huge appetites. They need to be fed several small meals over the course of a day. All this eating has the potential for a lot of waste. A larger tank with a higher water volume is easier to keep clean with a Flowerhorn than a smaller one.

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Which Flowerhorn is Best?

Deciding which Flowerhorn is best depends on a lot. Does a new owner want brilliant color? How about a stunning Nuchal Hump? Aggressiveness? Docility? Each strain of Flowerhorn is a little different. All strains of Flowerhorn have very solid fan-bases. A strain of Flowerhorn prized for its size is either the Red Mommon or the Red Ingot. Hobbyists who want striking flower rows (the markings on a Flowerhorn) on their fish go for the King Kamfa. Thai Silk are striking fish who sport metallic colors in shades of blue, gold, and white. There are so many Flowerhorn strains, new hobbyists are sure to find exactly what they want.

Which Flowerhorn Color is Lucky?

All Flowerhorn fish are bringers of luck, fortune, health, and prosperity. They are the fish that provide the power of Feng Shui, especially when placed properly in the home. Out of all the strains and varieties of Flowerhorn, the luckiest color is the color red. Variations or combinations of red, including orange, are sought after also. It is not just the color that brings luck to the owners of the Flowerhorn. Many also believe the larger the hump, the greater the luck coming to whomever gives these fish a home.

Are Flowerhorn Hardy?

Flowerhorn fish are a breed of fish that can withstand less than perfect care for a small period. They are one of the hardier fish, but that does not mean they will hold up under substandard care for long periods. Lack of proper care for the breed will lead to many problems.  Signs that the Flowerhorn need attention include color fade, peeling, and lethargy.

How long do Flowerhorn Live?

The Flowerhorn are fish with long lives. How old a Flowerhorn lives to be will depend first on quality of care. The strain of Flowerhorn also plays a large part in longevity. Typically, the smaller or more short bodied Flowerhorns have a lifespan of two to six years. Examples of short bodied Flowerhorn are Thai Silk and Bonsai. The Bonsai is also thought of as a round body Flowerhorn. The larger bodied Flowerhorn have longer lifespans, sometimes as long as twelve years. These fish include most of the original strain of Flowerhorn. These include Golden Base, Kamfa, and Vieja strains. Unfortunately, over breeding and inbreeding has shortened the lifespan of these beautiful fish.

Are Flowerhorns Carnivorous?

Flowerhorns are a breed of fish that are mainly carnivores. While their primary food sources are protein based live food, they are not picky eaters. The Flowerhorn fish will accept blanched vegetables. Some Flowerhorn will also consume non fibrous fruits. A born meat eater, there are still restrictions on what kind of meat to feed a Flowerhorn. It will gain the greatest benefits given a diet of feeder fish, insects, shrimp, and worms. Feeding a Flowerhorn a diet rich in land-based mammals can cause digestive issues. While the occasional treat of beef, pork, lamb, or chicken is fine, it shouldn’t be a staple diet.

Are Flowerhorns Dangerous?

Flowerhorn fish are both territorial and aggressive. Thus, they are a dangerous fish. A Flowerhorn will stake out an area in a fish tank as its own and will not take kindly to trespassers. The Flowerhorn may decide to attack anything it considers a threat. These fish will do whatever is necessary to defend their territory. Flowerhorn may decide human hands or fingers warrant an attack. Thus, it is important to be aware of what might trigger your Flowerhorn. and avoid those situations. This will help create a harmonious relationship with your fish and avoiding problems.

Can Flowerhorn have Tank Mates?

Flowerhorn are better off in large tanks on their own. They are very aggressive fish, and there are few fish that will do well sharing tank space with a Flowerhorn. Some Flowerhorn may seem to tolerate other fish in their territory. During spawn, male and female Flowerhorn can stay together for short periods. However, it is usually only a matter of time before the Flowerhorn clash with any other tank mates. In a large enough tank, use clear perforated dividers. This will keep the Flowerhorn apart from other residents.

Do Flowerhorn Jump?

All fish jump for a variety of reasons, and the Flowerhorn is no exception. There are very good reasons for having a hood or top on your fish tank. Finding your stock on the floor is the best of these. Flowerhorn are very enthusiastic, energetic, and expressive fish. In a sudden flurry of movement, they will careen around their tanks to burn off some of that energy. Flowerhorn can get high enough out of water to knock themselves on tank hoods. They will also try to jump out of water if the promise of food is enticing enough, or to escape a tank that is too small.

Are Flowerhorn Smart?

Flowerhorn fish are one of the most intelligent species of fish known today. They will recognize the face of their owners. Flowerhorn will often show interest when that person interacts with them. They learn tricks as well, such as jumps and flips out of water, especially when the reward for such antics is food. Flowerhorn can learn to play with bobbing toys in their tanks. This can include “batting” the toys at their owners. There are even Flowerhorn that will relax and enjoy cartoons from the comfort of their tanks. Some Flowerhorn have also been taught to play a version of hide and seek with their owners. Flowerhorn enthusiasts state that these fish often behave like little aquatic puppies.

Do Flowerhorn Sleep?

Flowerhorn fish have a period of rest that is a version of sleep. This usually occurs when the lights in its tank dim or turned off. As when people sleep, this rest period serves to help the Flowerhorn recharge. Physical healing occurs now as well. Yet, Flowerhorn do not sleep as humans or other mammals do. A Flowerhorn that is “sleeping” will often slow its movements down. They will also tend to hover above the bottom of their tank, with the belly of the fish facing down. Flowerhorn, like many other fish, do not have eyelids, so they sleep with their eyes wide open. Flowerhorn also maintain a level of alertness even though in a resting phase. They are still very aware of what is happening around them. The brilliant color of the Flowerhorn tends to fade as they are sleeping.

Do Flowerhorn have Teeth?

Yes, Flowerhorn have teeth, and they are quite impressive. The Flowerhorn have two sets of teeth rather than one set. The first set of teeth are regular teeth. They are not even particularly noticeable in some strain of Flowerhorn. Size, length, and sharpness of these teeth can vary related to age, sex of the Flowerhorn, and its strain.  These first sets of teeth grab onto food and for protection or weapons for fighting other fish. As simple as these teeth might be, they are still capable of inflicting damage. The second set of teeth on the Flowerhorn are in the throat and are Pharyngeal teeth. These teeth are not meant for grasping prey or for protection as are the first sets of teeth. The Pharyngeal teeth are what the Flowerhorn uses to help grind up food. They also help move food along to the digestive tract.

Do Flowerhorn Bite?

Flowerhorn will bite, sometimes quite severely. Flowerhorn are an aggressive breed of fish. A Flowerhorn will attack anything that it sees as a threat to itself, its territory, or its fry. A human hand or fingers intruding into their territory can be a threat. This will warrant a nip or even a full-on assault. Flowerhorn will bite at something if it thinks it can eat it. The bite of a Flowerhorn can draw blood and cause a lot of pain. How severe this might be will depend on the level of aggression in your Flowerhorn. The severity of the bite will also depend on why the Flowerhorn decided to bite in the first place.

Do all Flowerhorn have a Hump?

The hump you see on Flowerhorn fish is a Nuchal Hump, or Kok. Regardless of the variety of Flowerhorn, only the males of the species grow this hump. Female Flowerhorn have only a pronounced forehead.  There are three different types of Nuchal Humps. The first type of Nuchal Hump is a hard hump. These humps are usually the smallest and are very firm. The second type of hump is a semi-hard hump, which is somewhat larger. The semi hard hump will yield when pressure is applied. The last type of hump is a soft, or water hump. These humps are the largest and are softer than the first two types of humps. Water humps are translucent and are easily damaged.

Do Flowerhorn Change Color?

Flowerhorn do not remain one color their entire lives. They will change from brilliant blues, reds, greens, and golds to pale or faded colors. Sometimes a Flowerhorn can change color entirely. Very young Flowerhorn often do not show any signs of what their final colors will be.   Many times, these color changes are completely natural and nothing to worry about. By the time the Flowerhorn reaches maturity, the color be a specific shade or combination of colors. Flowerhorn will also fade in color as they age. Occasionally, a drastic color change can signal a problem. It could be that something serious is going on with the Flowerhorn. Stress can cause a Flowerhorn to darken or turn black. Water parameters that are not well balanced can also cause issues.

Are Flowerhorn Live Bearers?

Flowerhorn fish are not live bearers. The Flowerhorn fish reproduces by egg laying. The female Flowerhorn may lay as many as 1000 eggs per month. The egg laying occurs even if there is no available male for fertilization. Actual fertilization takes three to four days. Both the male and the female Flowerhorn care for and guard the fertilized eggs. Flowerhorn fry will hatch from eggs in one to two weeks. Once the eggs have hatched, both parents will also watch over the fry. The fry may need to move to a separate tank for their own protection once they are free swimming.

Are Flowerhorn easy to Breed?

Flowerhorn fish are energetic breeders. Some male Flowerhorn are sterile, often a result of an overbred bloodline. There are male Flowerhorn who are fertile and have no problems breeding. Both male and female Flowerhorn alike are aggressive fish. Owners need to be observant of the behavior of both Flowerhorn during spawn. If male and female are fighting, there are options for using a partition between them. Perforated panels with a small space at the bottom are ideal. This will still allow for courtship and the fertilization of the eggs.

A lot of valuable information about the Flowerhorn has been discovered. Even so, there is still much to learn. Valuable tips and knowledge are passed between enthusiasts. With all the different strains since its discovery, new information is inevitable. The Flowerhorn is a breed with infinite possibilities. The only constant with these fish is the love of the breed from the people who own one.