Flowerhorn cichlids are ornamental aquarium fish noted for their vivid colors and the distinctively shaped heads for which they are named.
The Flower horn (or Ha Luo Han is called in Southeast Asian countries) is a cichlid obtained through hybridization with other cichlids.
The selection of this species originated in Malaysia over the years, varieties have been obtained that some consider as “false flower horns”;
There are varieties such as Red Texas, Parrot, Rainbow King, and varieties considered original such as Golden Monkey, Golden Apple, Tan King, to name a few. Over the years, the selections of new hybridizations brought new species, obtained not only in Southeast Asia but also in the USA. These fish are in great demand and expensive. “Protuberance” on the forehead or Kok, similar to a bump, is formally termed a nuchal hump.
By 1994, red devil cichlids (typically Amphilophus labiatus) and trimac cichlids (Amphilophus trimaculatus) had been imported from Central America to Malaysia, and the hybrid blood parrot cichlid had been imported from Taiwan to Malaysia. These fish were then bred together, marking the birth of the flowerhorn.
Like blood parrot cichlids, they are man-made hybrids in the wild only because of their release. Flowerhorns first emerged for sale on the aquarium market in Malaysia in the late 1990s and soon became popular in many countries in Asia. First developed in Malaysia, Thailand, and Taiwan, they became very popular with Asian fish hobbyists. Hobbyists also keep them in the US, India, and Europe. Numerous cast-off flowerhorns have been released to the wild, especially in Singapore and Malaysia, where they have become invasive pest animals. Their importation is banned in Australia.
Common Names: Flowerhorn cichlids
Care Level: Intermediate
Adult Size: 35 cm (14 in)
Lifespan: expect 10 to 12 years
Tank Size: 50-70 gallon
Water Parameters: the pH of 7.5-8.0
Water Hardness: 10 – 15°H
Temperature: Between 78-86 °F or 26-30 °C
Feeding: Omnivore, eats most foods
Compatibility: moderately aggressive
Tank: Mid- and Bottom Level
The Flowerhorn has an oval-shaped body with a prominent nuchal projection on the head as its most distinguishing feature. It’s a big cichlid and can readily grow to a length of 30 to 40 cm. On the front of their bodies, colors can range from green to blue, pink, and red. The dorsal and anal fins are especially long and pointed, whereas the caudal fin is rounded. They have a life expectancy of between 8 and 10 years with proper care.
Flowerhorn in Aquarium
The flowerhorn tank shouldn’t be very small. It should still be around 200-300 liters, furnished to allow free swimming space, with little furniture and no plants.
The flower horn is a very disease-resistant fish with a long life expectancy.
The ideal values to keep it in the aquarium are a pH 7.5 – 8.0 and a temperature that fluctuates between 26 and 29 ° C.
Flowerhorn is a carnivorous nature fish, and a big appetite. They can safely eat all kinds of frozen, live, and industrial foods. You can give them special pellets for cichlids, krill, and bloodworms. Remember to feed it several times a day, even three doses of a fair amount. The Flower horn is a fish species that grows quite decisively, especially if fed with high-quality and appropriately balanced feeds. So often tend to offer these fish feeds equally to those used for discus or other cichlids.
Distinguish between male and female flowerhorns
There are several ways by which breeders distinguish between male and female flowerhorns. Generally, the males are larger than the females, but there are some exceptions. Males have the Kok, or the nuchal hump, on their foreheads. Males also usually have brighter and more vivid colors. The females have black dots on their dorsal fins for most breeds, whereas males usually have longer anal and dorsal fins. Females tend to have an orange belly, especially when ready to breed. The mouth of the male is thicker and more pronounced than the female. One sure way to determine the sex of flowerhorn is that grown females will lay eggs every month even without the male.
Reproduction of the Flowerhorn
Unlike most hybrids, the Flowerhorn is a fertile fish, but it is not easy due to its highly aggressive character. First, provide the female with plenty of places to hide so that the male cannot see her at all times. The latter will attack her when she becomes aggressive. If she becomes overly aggressive, you can insert a divider inside the tank to leave the female quiet and see how the situation evolves.
Once you have established whether they can be together or separated (in the latter case, it is better not to attempt reproduction), you need to stimulate them as you would any other cichlid. The water should be around 28 degrees and have a pH of around 7. They will need to be fed several times a day with more frequent water changes.
If reproduction is successful, the male can also decide if the fry is his own and will attack the female to drive her away. If this happens, you will need to remove it promptly. The fry is large and easy to care for. They can be fed brine shrimp nauplii, and after two weeks of birth, they can already be fed with pellets.