Flowerhorn Cichlid is a must-have for fish keepers who love large and colorful fishes.
It has an exotic beauty presented by its noticeable hump, colorations, and patterns. In fact, its elegant appearance makes Flowerhorn cichlid stand out. Plus, they can grow quite large, making it harder to miss them.
Flowerhorns are one of the most sought-after cichlid varieties. That’s because of their ornate beauty and sturdiness. Few fish keepers regretted adding this fish to their collection. Besides being a large and bright fish, Flowerhorn cichlids are also interactive. They respond to humans, the ultimate “pet” fish if you are looking for one.
Flowerhorn Cichlid: Species Summary
- Origin: variable
- Common Names: Flowerhorn Cichlids, Flowerhorn, Louhan (in Asia)
- Temperament: Aggressive
- Care Level: Intermediate
- Diet: Omnivore
- Lifespan: up to 12 years
Flowerhorn cichlids are hybrid freshwater fish. They descended from the blood parrotfish, one of the first man-made hybrid fishes. It means that they exist in aquariums rather than the wild.
This fish variety came around Asia in the mid-1990s. They are popular around Malaysia, Thailand, and Taiwan. But the interest in Flowerhorn spread. It’s now in other parts of Asia, Central America, and Europe.
Since they are man-made, any Flowerhorn you find in the wild shouldn’t be there. It happens because of the unfortunate habit of letting new fishes into the wild. Many fishkeepers introduce these man-made varieties into the real world.
Without any natural habitat, they become invasive species when left in the wild. But Flowerhorns are less invasive than other species. It’s because most of them are infertile.
Appearance and Size
The hump or bump in their head is by far the most noteworthy feature of Flowerhorn cichlids. After all, it’s one of the reasons why it got its name. ‘Flower’ for their markings and ‘horn’ for their noticeable bump.
This bulged head, especially in males, makes it easy for anybody to spot a Flowerhorn. You can recognize it by their silhouette. They have eyes that seem planted. They give the impression that they are studying their surroundings. Another defining feature is their lumpy chin leading to their thin ventral fins. Male Flowerhorn cichlids also have prominent lips, making their face looks expressive.
The rest of its physical feature is pretty standard, but still has some unique qualities in the mix. Flowerhorns have a long, tall, thin, and symmetrical body shape. Its dorsal fins and anal fins match. Both have braid-like tips that start from around two-thirds of their body. These fins are rather long, dwarfing their caudal fin. Flowerhorns have elegant and often almost see-through pectoral fins.
Their peculiar shape plus the massive pattern selection give you an enormous variety. Their coloring ranges from fiery red to light purple and sometimes golden hues. Flowerhorn strains can be plain mono-colored or an exotic mix of colors.
Flowerhorn sizes will vary depending on the strain. There are short-bodied and long-bodied Flowerhorns. They can grow anywhere from 10 to 16 inches. Male Flowerhorns are often larger and heavier than females.
Types of Flowerhorn
Since the earliest variety of Flowerhorns, there are now hundreds of Flowerhorn strains. They are the product of breeding different Flowerhorn strains or other cichlids.
They are the same species and need similar care quality. But they differ on color patterns or morphs.
Here are some of the popular Flowerhorn strains.
This Flowerhorn cichlid strain is long-bodied. They can grow anywhere between 12 to 16 inches. But their most defining physical feature is the massive nuchal hump or “Kok.” King Kamfas have varied patterns. They can have deep red bodies with white and light blue patterns to yellow or white eyes.
They can also have “flowers” or a row of patterns, often black and running around their middle body. Some high-grade King Kanfas will also feature exotic flower patterns in their hump.
Titanium Flowerhorn, or Thai Silk, is famous for the metallic scales all over its body. The coloring ranges from metallic gold, white, or light blue. They have the same boxy body shape as Kamfa, but their eyes are usually red, yellow, or white.
Zhen Zhu Flowerhorns have a flower pattern or pearling covering most of its body. They may not be as popular as King Kamfas, but still as stunning with their round and redder eyes.
Their iridescent pearling patterns make them a good choice for breeders. This feature is perfect for creating higher-grade flowering Flowerhorn strains.
King Kong Parrot
King Kong Parrot or Red Ingot Flowerhorn is the earliest strain you can find. It still has a more dominant genetic influence on the blood parrot than the red Flowerhorn.
The name or label of the strain depends on the final body shape of the fish. King Kong Parrot cichlids have shorter bodies. They also have a solid red coloring and lack a noticeable hump. Meanwhile, if they come with more prominent humps, the fish will get the Flowerhorn label.
This Flowerhorn strain is what most call the ‘lucky’ fish. They are one of the few Luohan-bred Flowerhorns still around right now. Gold Monkey strains can vary in color but will mostly have a golden base.
Some Gold Monkey Flowerhorn cichlids will also have gold pearling in a red body or blue pearling in a gold body. They can feature black flower lines down the middle of their bodies. Gold Monkey cichlids also have the same red eyes as the Kamfa strain.
Gold Monkey strains are among the last Luohan Flowerhorns left in existence. They are scarce and one of the most expensive specialized strains you can buy today.
Flowerhorn cichlid has an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years. It’s quite a long time compared to other fish varieties, worth noting if you’re buying one.
But its lifespan will also depend on how well you take care of the fish. But that’s easy, even with the ‘intermediate’ care level. The key is to help manage the Flowerhorn’s potential aggression. If you provide quality care to a Flowerhorn, you’re going to have it for a while.
Flowerhorn Care Guide
There are hundreds of different Flowerhorns strains with diverse genetic backgrounds. But they are still the same species. This care guide is suitable for whatever Flowerhorn cichlid strain you plan to take care of or buy.
Although Flowerhorns often need an ‘intermediate’ level of care, they are easy to care for. Once they have a suitable tank and the water condition is stable, they are fine. Most of the difficulties when taking care of Flowerhorns are their temperament.
Minimum Tank Size: 70 gallons
A 70-gallon tank is suitable for housing one Flowerhorn cichlid. They are not your average-sized tank kind of fish. If you’re thinking of housing one male and a female in a tank, you’ll need to add another 70 gallons. The large tanks will keep the fish striving and happy.
Flowerhorn cichlids tend to roam the water, swimming in gentle but steady laps. They need large tanks with enough space for that as they seek comfort and enrichment. Any extra room that you can spare in the tank will keep your Flowerhorn happy.
It’s essential to maintaining the ideal water levels in Flowerhorn cichlid care.
Basic Water Parameters:
- Temperature: 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit
- pH Levels:0-8.0
- Alkalinity: 6-20 dGH
Flowerhorn cichlids are more sensitive than other fishes. Any measurable nitrite, nitrates, and ammonia can damage the fish. So, it’s ideal to do tank cycling and water testing beforehand.
But remember, stable water conditions are more critical than achieving ‘perfect’ water paraments.
Flowerhorn cichlids are also pretty messy fishes. They are large and messy eaters, so they produce a lot of waste. It’s essential to maintain regular water changes to keep the aquarium clean. It will also remove harmful substances that can make them sick.
Tank Setup and Habitat
Most Flowerhorn tanks are a little bare, and there’s a reason for that. Empty tanks help with the interaction with the fish. Without anything that takes their attention, they are more likely to respond to humans around them.
But that isn’t the only option when setting up a tank for Flowerhorns. The fish can also enjoy extra enrichment in their tanks. The thing is, they are pretty large fishes and would knock over and unroot plants.
Still, driftwood and bigger-sized rocks can help liven up their tank. But make sure that you level up the tank size to accommodate these decorations. Also, if you are adding substrate, ensure that there are no sharp or pointy rocks.
There’s one thing you should not forget in a Flowerhorn tank, a reliable filtration system. A canister filter with a moderate flow rate should be suitable.
There’s no reason to splurge on an extra light for your Flowerhorn tank. They are not fussy about that, and any standard aquarium light will do.
Flowerhorn Food and Diet
Flowerhorn cichlids are omnivores. They will be happy and healthy with a range of high-quality protein sources such as:
- Brine shrimp
Yet, these shouldn’t be all that’s in their diet. Flowerhorns will enjoy having balanced nutrition with other plant-based food.
Flowerhorn cichlids are not prone to sickness. They are pretty hardy than other species. But they aren’t immune to low-quality water conditions.
Some of the common diseases you’d want to look out for in a Flowerhorn include:
- Hole-in-the-head disease: It’s a gruesome illness that can occur due to poor water quality. Flowerhorns can also get this disease if there’s active carbon in the tank.
- Ich: It will manifest as white spots in their body, gills, and fins.
Best Flowerhorn Cichlid Tank Mates
Flowerhorn cichlids are aggressive species and will view their tanks as theirs. It’s hard to find roommates for them. If you want the easiest option, you can house them in breeding pairs.
Still, if you want to give them other buddies, species around the same size, which can hold their own, will do. Some options include:
- Big cichlids
- Silver Arowana
- Spotted Hoplo catfish
- Oscar fish
Flowerhorn cichlids are stunning species if you like colorful and exotic-looking pets. They have a signature feature that makes them extra-appealing. Flowerhorns are great for new and seasoned fishkeepers alike.
Their care isn’t complicated either. Once you have an understanding of their temperament and tank needs, taking care of Flowerhorns is a breeze.