Baby flowerhorn fish feeding

The Ultimate Care, Diet, & Breeding Guide

Flowerhorn fish are the ultimate “pet” fish due to their extremely interactive nature. They have been specifically bred to respond to the humans around them, and some will even lift their nuchal hump out of the water to be petted!

Flowerhorns are a hybrid fish that is based on one of the earliest man-made hybrid fish: the blood parrot. Since the first flowerhorns, often called luohans, flowerhorn cichlids have been hybridized with dozens of other cichlids. Their genetic history is unknown and varies greatly with each strain.

This complete guide will cover everything you need to know about keeping, caring for, and breeding Flowerhorn fish. You cannot complete your fish-keeping career without one of these inquisitive fish.

Lerdsuwa CC-BY-SA-3.0  via Wikimedia Commons

About Flowerhorn Cichlids

  • Scientific Name: Unknown- Hybrid
  • Temperament: Aggressive
  • Care Level: Intermediate
  • Origin: Variable
  • Common Names: Flower horn cichlid, Flowerhorn


Flowerhorns are extremely aggressive towards most tank mates, but some tankmates can coexist with flowerhorns. Flowerhorns tend to be aggressive towards anything entering their “territory” but still act like puppy dogs to their owners.

Invasive Species

Flowerhorns are not a naturally occurring species and have no natural habitat, but several have been released into the wild and are now classified as invasive species.

They can be found around most warm Eastern Asian areas but have a less destructive impact than most other invasive species since most Flowerhorns are infertile.

Flowerhorn Lifespan

Short-bodied flowerhorns often only live for 4-5 years, while longer-bodied ones live 8-12 years on average.

Recently, the expected lifespan has been lowered with the incoming generations, as the newcomers are more inbred than ever.

Do not despair! This only applies to a few strains in different areas of the world and is simply something to be aware of. Most strains are still strong and are not suffering from health concerns just yet.

Flowerhorn Size

The size of your flowerhorn will vary greatly depending on the strain. King Kamfas, for example, reach sizes around 12-16 inches, while Thai silk often stay around 8-12 inches. Short-bodied flowerhorns will be a few inches shorter than their long-bodied counterparts.

KoS [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Flowerhorn Fish Care

Even though different flowerhorns, even ones of the same strain, have diverse genetic backgrounds, this care guide can be applied to all of them.


Flowerhorns are considered an intermediate fish due to their aggressive nature, massive size, waste production, and diet requirements.

  • Tank Size: Flowerhorns should have a tank size of 125 gallons or 150-175 gallons if you plan on housing a male and female pair. It is popular to grow them out in smaller tanks and graduate them to larger ones as they grow, but unless you have plans for the smaller tanks, it could be considered a waste of money. Smaller tanks technically have enough gallons for them to swim around in and dilute their waste, but they are often not wide enough to allow a flowerhorn to turn around. Some of the smaller strains can be kept in a 75 or 90 gallon, but all fish appreciate more space.
  • Flow: Flowerhorns are strong fish and can tolerate moderate to high flow, but it is possible to have too much flow. If your flowerhorn is being blown all over the tank, the flow is too strong. Many flowerhorn keepers install additional powerheads along the bottom of the tank to push the waste towards the filter.
  • Substrate: Most large fish that are kept with a gravel substrate run the risk of swallowing it with their food. The gravel can then become impacted in the fish’s intestines, preventing it from passing any waste and creating a serious health risk. Large pieces of tile, bare bottom, or sand substrates are popular choices for Flowerhorn Cichlids.

Water Parameters

Flowerhorns come from a huge mix of cichlids, most with different water requirements, which is why the fish never bred in the wild. Flowerhorns prefer soft to moderately hard water, but stability is more important than “perfect” water parameters.

These are basic guidelines for Flowerhorn water parameters:

  • pH: 6.0-8.0
  • Temperature: 80-85°F
  • Alkalinity: 6°-20° dGH

Flowerhorns are sensitive to ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates, more so than other fish. Any measurable amount of ammonia or nitrite is actively causing damage to your fish, so cycling the tank beforehand is necessary.

Ammonia and nitrite only appear at the beginning of the cycle, while nitrates are at the end stage of the cycle.

Nitrates tend to sneak up on people, especially those who keep fish that produce a lot of waste, like flowerhorns. Water changes remove nitrates, so even if your water looks perfectly clean, don’t skip those bi-weekly water changes; you can’t see toxins like nitrates.

It is extremely important to test your water, and the API freshwater master test kit is the most accurate test kit on the market and the cheapest per test.

Flowerhorn Diet

Flowerhorns are far from picky when it comes to eating, but they require a protein-richs and strongly varied diet. Live foods are not necessary, as they will eat frozen and dried foods with no problems.

Flowerhorns need a staple pellet to provide micronutrients and vitamins as well as additions like sun-dried crickets, grasshoppers, mealworms, anchovies, and frozen shrimp.

Worms, such as white worms, blackworms, earthworms, and nightcrawlers can also be fed to Flowerhorns.

Since overfeeding can lead to excess ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, it is important to feed several smaller meals per day.

Flowerhorns are typically fed three times a day and the amount that needs to be fed varies on the type of food being fed and the Flowerhorn variety. Feeding what the fish can eat in 20-40 seconds is typically a good rule for Flowerhorns.

Inkpassion [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Types of Flowerhorns

All Flowerhorns require the same care and water parameters as listed above even though they are each made up of different percentages of cichlid species and different species altogether.

The types of flowerhorns are often considered morphs, or color patterns, rather than separate species. There are hundreds of different flowerhorn strains and grades, but we will cover the more popular ones here.

Kamfa Flowerhorn

These Flowerhorns are known for their massive nuchal humps, also called a kok, and their strikingly varied patterning. They typically have a deep red-based body with light blue to white patterning across their body and fins with white or yellow eyes.

They also have a row of patterning called “flowers”, which are black and run down their middle body. Higher-grade ones will also have flowers on their nuchal hump. These are some of the most widely available and sought-after Flowerhorns.

Zhen Zhu

The Zhen Zhu Flowerhorn is best known for its near-perfect “flowerline”, or line of flowering pattern along its body, also called pearling. These are not as popular as the classic Kamfa and tend to be rounder with red eyes and more yellow/tan in color.

Their great iridescent flowering pattern makes them useful to breeders, and they are often bred into other strains to produce higher quality flowering patterns in different Flowerhorn strains.

This is part of the reason that Flowerhorns have a muddled genetic history; not only are they bred to other cichlids, but also cross-bred among hundreds of flowerhorn varieties, making genetics impossible to track.

Thai Silk

Thai Silk Flowerhorns are also known as Titanium Flowerhorns due to their metallic scales covering their whole body. These are typically a light blue in color but can also appear in gold or white metallic morphs.

They have a longer, more square body shape like a Kamfa, but their eyes can be white, yellow, and red. This strain is speculated to have several Texas cichlids within it.

Golden Base Fader

These Flowerhorn are comparable to the marble-gene found in bettas, which is a gene that triggers random color changes throughout a betta’s body.

The Golden Bases are referred to as Faders because the juveniles start out with gold and red coloration, but as they mature, they turn black and finally back to a stronger gold and red coloration.

Higher grades are only achievable after they have faded and gained a greater coloration. Faders also support impressive nuchal humps and typically have red eyes, though other eye colors can appear.

These can lack the black line down the middle of the body and still be considered high grade.

Gold Monkey

These Flowerhorns are considered lucky and are one of the very few luohan-based Flowerhorns left in existence. They come in a large range of colors, most are similar to the Golden Based in colors, though they can have blue and gold pearling over a red or gold body.

These tend to have the black line of flowers down the middle of their bodies and commonly have red eyes that protrude more than those of the Kamfa.

Since they are one of the last luohan Flowerhorns, they are extremely rare and command one of the highest price tags of any specialized Flowerhorn strain.

Red Ingot Flowerhorn/ King Kong Parrot

Depending on the body shape of this fish, they are typically labeled as either Flowerhorns or specialized Blood Parrots.

Flowerhorns are based on the Blood Parrot fish, but after almost 30 years of blending the Flowerhorns with dozens of cichlid species, they are far from the beginning luohans.

These fish are considered one of the early stages of Flowerhorns when Blood Parrots and Red cichlids had a dominant genetic influence over the Flowerhorn.

If they are labeled as a King Kong Parrot cichlid, they tend to have shorter bodies and lack a kok, but still have strong red coloring and are considered “better” than the normal Blood Parrot.

The Flowerhorn version can have very large nuchal humps, like many modern-day Flowerhorns, but their body size and shape can vary greatly. They tend to have the same deep red coloring as their Blood Parrot counterparts.

Types of Nuchal Humps (Koks)

When referring to different types of nuchal humps, they are most commonly referred to as koks.

  • Water Kok: These nuchal humps are the largest out there and are a desired trait. They are composed of a gel-like substance under the skin and are soft and squishy to the touch. They are also transparent under LED lighting.
  • Hard Kok: These are mostly comprised of a dense layer of fat and tend to stay very small and are only slightly noticeable. These are hard to the touch and are not translucent in the slightest.
  • Medium Kok: These are often not referred to and do not have a specific name. This type of nuchal hump is a mix of the two previous nuchal humps. They are at first squishy to the touch, but after slight pressure is applied, one can tell that they are hard underneath. They are made of a dense layer of fat covered in fluids and gel-like substances. In addition, they tend to be more impressive than the Hard Kok, but much less impressive than the Water Kok.

Flowerhorn Tank Mates

Due to their aggressive nature and large size, it is recommended to house Flowerhorns alone. However, it is possible to house them with tank mates, but they must be closely watched for the first several weeks to ensure compatibility.

Suitable Tank Mates

  • Sailfin Pleco
  • Common Pleco
  • Tiger Oscar
  • Large Bichirs
  • Other large Cichlids
  • A flowerhorn of the opposite sex
  • Smaller Arowana species (e.g. Silver)

Tank Mates to Avoid

Here are a few species you should not keep with Flowerhorns:

  • Any fish smaller than 10”: Fish over this side with peaceful nature will not survive the aggressive nature of a flowerhorn. It is recommended to only keep them with other large cichlid species that will match their level of aggression.
  • Invertebrates: Flowerhorns will eat any shrimp, snail, or crayfish that is unfortunate enough to make it into their tank. This does mean that you can keep some marmorkrebs and breed them as feeders for your flowerhorns, but there are no good invertebrate tank mates for them.

Reasons to Avoid Tank Mates

Flowerhorns have been specifically bred for their coloration and interaction. Adding tank mates will greatly decrease the interaction between you and the flowerhorn, as will the addition of decorations and toys.

If the Flowerhorn is already spending energy playing with the other fish in the tank, it will not be nearly as interactive with you.

There is always a chance that your Flowerhorn will just be too aggressive to house with other fish. Keep in mind that if the Flowerhorn is constantly chasing off the other fish, the Flowerhorn will become stressed. It views them as intruders in its territory, and its inability to chase them away can stress the Flowerhorn.

lienyuan lee [CC BY 3.0]

Setting up a Flowerhorn Fish Tank

Thinking about keeping a Flowerhorn fish? Here are a few things that you will need to consider:


  • Tank: The tank should be 125-gallons if you wish to keep a single Flowerhorn cichlid or 150-gallons if you wish to keep other cichlids with your Flowerhorn fish. This gives them enough room to swim and turn and helps dilute the massive amount of waste they produce.
  • Filtration: Canister Filters are the best option for the large tanks that Flowerhorn fish command. They filter large tanks far more efficiently than smaller filters, such as Hang-on-Back (HOB) or sponge filters.
  • Lighting: Some owners pick specific LED lighting with adjustable colors in order to show the best colors for their fish. Flowerhorn fish are not demanding when it comes to lighting, and any aquarium light can be considered.
  • Heater: A heater is essential to keeping Flowerhorns fish. They need a temperature of at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which you need a heater for. We recommend the Cobalt Aquatics Neo-Therm – they are durable and very consistent.

Choosing Decorations

Most Flowerhorn fish are kept in bare tanks with no decorations for one reason: interaction. If they have other sources of entertainment, including tank mates, they will be less interactive with you.

If you are fine with a less interactive Flowerhorn, go wild with aquascaping.

Flowerhorn fish, like most cichlids, love to destroy plants. But it is possible to try hardier plants that can be super-glued to rocks around the tank. I recommend anubias species, java moss, and java ferns.

Large rocks and driftwood are common hardscapes found in Flowerhorn tanks. They provide some forms of hiding areas and playgrounds for the Flowerhorn. You also get to have some form of aquascaping control over the tank.


Flowerhorn fish are somewhat sensitive to ammonia and nitrite, so it is essential to completely cycle your aquarium before introducing any aquarium fish.

Even though you must wait to add your Flowerhorn fish, there is no need to wait to add plants or the hardscape. This is your time to set up the aquascape exactly to your liking before adding fish.

Plants also help absorb nitrogen compounds such as ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, which keep fish healthy. They also carry in small colonies of bacteria that convert these harmful compounds to less harmful ones.

This speeds up the cycling process since the bacterial colonies are already established. And the only thing left to do is to build up their numbers.

All this essential cycling time allows you to research everything you need to know about your planned pet. Also, you have time for other types of bacteria and biofilm to establish, resulting in an overall healthier tank.

For more information about cycling your aquarium, check out our complete, easy-to-understand fishless cycle guide.

lienyuan lee [CC BY 3.0]

Breeding Flowerhorn Fish

Many Flowerhorn owners want to try their hand at breeding this magnificent fish. This could either be due to the potential money made from selling high-quality Flowerhorns, simple curiosity about their genetic background, or they may simply want to fully experience Flowerhorns.


Since Flowerhorns are a hybrid fish, most of them are infertile. The males are far more likely to be infertile than the females but being able to breed a pair of Flowerhorns is going almost impossible.

A more popular option is to find a cichlid that is likely to be in your Flowerhorn’s genetic history and breeding your Flowerhorn to that cichlid. You can try and breed for specific patterns, or even attempt a new variety of Flowerhorn!

The Breeding Setup

Flowerhorn fish breeding should take place in a tank separate from your Flowerhorn’s main tank. Flowerhorns tend to be extremely aggressive during spawning, even towards their partner, and to any other potential tank mate.

Additionally, they must be removed from the tank after a few days and it is easier to remove them to their normal tank(s) than set up new homes for a flowerhorn or two.

The fry tank is often the same as the breeding tank and should be 55-gallons or larger. The size is necessary for the potential 500-2000 fry and to give enough room for the two fish you choose to breed. A larger tank is more likely to diffuse aggression, or at least give the smaller fish room to get away.

The tank should be bare bottom with minimal decoration or a sand bottom. If you pick the latter, the male should dig a hole in the substrate and move the fry there after they hatch. The tank should be heated between 82 and 85 degrees and several large sponge filters should be present.

Setting up a Fry Tank for Flowerhorn Cichlids

Since the breeding tank should also double as the fry rearing tank, more tanks will not have to be set up for around a month. This is because the fry should not be moved for the first 2-4 weeks. As they grow, they will need new set tanks to provide each one with enough room.

Each should be set up like the initial breeding tank; bare bottom, sponge filtered and heated. There should only be two differences in terms of setup and water quality between the adult and fry tanks.

The adult tank should be filtered with a canister filter while the fry tanks require sponge filters. Also, nitrates should be below 40ppm in the adult tank and below 10ppm in the baby Flowerhorn tank. Neither tank should have any trace amounts of ammonia or nitrite.

Determining Gender

Male flowerhorn cichlids tend to be more vibrant in color and have large nuchal humps, which most, but not all, females lack. They also have square-shaped breeding tubes that are flat at the end and a V-shaped vent.

Female flowerhorn cichlids often have a black stripe on their dorsal fin and will either have a very small nuchal hump or lack one altogether. They also have a triangular-shaped breeding tube and a U-shaped vent.

Conditioning Your Fish

Most flowerhorn cichlids are already fed a protein-rich diet. So if the male and female are already kept separately, it is possible to introduce them into the spawning tank without conditioning.

If they are housed together, they should be separated for 1-2 weeks and fed extra food for that time period. The temperature can also be raised by 1-3 degrees Fahrenheit if it does not exceed 85 degrees.

Spawning Flowerhorn Cichlids

Flowerhorn cichlids like to lay eggs on flat, rough surfaces, so flooring tile and terra cotta saucers are commonly used. Multiple options should be placed in the breeding tank, as Flowerhorns base their decision on both flow and surface. They will be seen cleaning the surface they wish to spawn on by pecking at it.

Some prefer to place a clear divider between the male and female in the breeding tank for several hours to several days. The divider should have water flow between them, as this will help hormones pass from one side to the other, which can induce spawning.

The Flowerhorns can also simply be added into the breeding tank and monitored for aggression and spawning. It is important to keep a close eye on them due to their aggressive nature and because of their intricate breeding rituals which are amazing to watch.

Flowerhorns perform dances for their mates and have detailed customs before spawning that seem to happen across several different types, despite the mixed genetics.

Caring for the Eggs

The Flowerhorns should care for the eggs and even move the young around from place to place. The females should be removed after spawning, but the male should be left in to care for the eggs.

After 3-5 days, the fry should be free swimming and the male should be removed. This can vary if you choose to breed a female Flowerhorn cichlid with another cichlid species, as the males have varying degrees of paternal care.

Fry Care

Once the fry reach the free-swimming stage, they no longer have their egg sacks to absorb nutrients from.

For the first month or so of their lives, they will be dependent on live food, so get ready beforehand, as the amount of cultures needed for 2000 fry is mind-boggling.

For the first one to two weeks, the Flowerhorn fry will be content with baby brine shrimp, but they must be fed 4-10 times daily. As you may imagine, this will quickly pollute the tank, so water changes are a must.

After the first few weeks, the Flowerhorns will have outgrown the brine shrimp and should graduate to large daphnia species, scuds, or small shrimp species.

At this point, the larger fry should be separated out into larger grow-out tanks. When raising so many fry, some will get more food than others and grow at a faster rate and there is nothing that can be done about this, meaning more tanks are necessary.

Between the ages of 2 and 3 months, pellet and flake food can be introduced, as well as worms, such as white worms and blackworms. Frozen foods, such as Mysis shrimp, and dried food like anchovies, crickets, and mealworms can also be introduced.

After around 3-4 months, most of the fry should be around 2-3” and are sellable. Unfortunately, due to Flowerhorn cichlids being a hybrid fish, most of the fry end up being culls.

What you do with the culls is up to you but raising lower grade fish and high-grade fish takes the same amount of energy and time. At the very least, culls should not be allowed to breed in order to further the strain.

In Conclusion

Flowerhorn fish look very impressive and can intimidate people who don’t know much about them. Surely such a big and beautiful ornamental fish must be very difficult to keep, one might think.

But truthfully, the Flowerhorn cichlid is not too difficult. So long as you can provide them with a large enough tank and good water quality, your Flowerhorn fish should live for many years, providing you with plenty of entertainment in the meantime.

More Frequently Asked Questions about Flowerhorn Fish

Have you made it all the way to the end of this care guide but still have a few more questions? Then take a moment to read up on our frequently asked questions about flowerhorn fish.

Is Flowerhorn Fish Friendly?

Flowerhorn cichlids are fairly aggressive aquarium fish. They have been hybridized with many of the meanest aquarium cichlids from Central America. They aren’t as aggressive as Red Terrors or Umbee Cichlids. But you certainly would not want to keep an adult male Flowerhorn cichlid with peaceful tank mates unless the aquarium is very large.

What is the Cost of Flowerhorn Fish?

Flowerhorn cichlids vary a lot when it comes to price. You can find young ones that are low quality “mutts” for as little as $10 in many pet stores. But many of the fancier varieties I listed earlier cost a lot more. Top quality Flowerhorn fish from premium bloodlines can cost thousands of dollars apiece. They may even have pedigrees and paperwork like a show quality dog or koi fish.

How Big Can a Flowerhorn Fish Get?

8 to 12 inches is normal for a Flowerhorn cichlid. But be prepared for them to get larger, depending on their sex and genetics. Some adult male Flowerhorn fish will reach up to 16 inches long and require an aquarium at least 125 gallons in size. Remember, even a small Flowerhorn cichlid is a very large fish.

Is Flowerhorn Fish Lucky?

Flowerhorn cichlid fish are prized for their beauty and are often believed to be signs of good fortune in East Asia, where they were first bred. Restaurants, banks, hotels, and other establishments often have an aquarium with one or more Flowerhorn fish as a sign of prosperity.

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About Jason Roberts

Jason is an aquarium fanatic that has been a fish hobbyist for almost three decades.

What To Feed Baby Flowerhorn? Let's Find Out!

Baby Flowerhorn or fryling are fragile and vulnerable. They need special care and attention in the initial days for long-term health. Nurturing your frylings at the beginning of their life includes their feeding too. Do you know what to feed your baby flowerhorn? 

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You have to feed different food to your baby flowerhorn, such as infusoria, brine shrimp, hard-boiled egg yolk, and crushed pellets. Then, slowly you step to feeding brine shrimp, frozen bloodworms, daphnia, mosquito larvae, etc. Finally, you can even feed powder food.

The information above might confuse you, and any queries related to food might arise. Thus, to get more information about feeding baby Flowerhorn, I suggest you go through this article to the end. I hope you find this article helpful.

Table of Contents

What To Feed Your Baby Flowerhorn?

Well, babies are always vulnerable, and you need to allocate more time to them than adult fish. You need to take precautions and feed them properly to avoid any epidemic or loss. 

You need to feed different food at different stages to ensure rapid growth, including the baby stage of flowerhorn. For this, I have differentiated food depending upon the ages of fryling or baby Flowerhorn.

After Hatching To 4-5 days

They still possess egg sacs until the fry reaches the free-swimming stage or four to five days. This egg sac provides nutrients to the newly hatched frying. Thus, you don’t have to feed anything extra till then. 

One To Two Weeks

Start feeding with infusoria, hard-boiled egg yolk, etc. You can eventually introduce baby brine shrimp. Likewise, you even can feed powdered or crushed fish pellets. You have to feed 4-10 times per day as the nutrient requirement of fryling is very high. 

Feeding this often might pollute water; thus, you need to change water frequently.

After First Few Weeks

The nutritional requirement of the fry will increase at this point in age; thus, you need to increase the quantity and quality of the meal. By saying this, I suggest you introduce a high protein diet like live daphnia, scuds, or small shrimp species. 

The growth rate of each fry is not the same. Thus, at this point, you need to separate bigger flowerhorn babies and smaller ones. 

Two To Three Months

Here, you can introduce flake food, worms like blackworms and white worms, and other meat products like crickets, mealworms, bloodworms, Mysis shrimp, etc.; these foods are available in live form and frozen and dried forms. 

What Are The Benefits Of Feeding Baby Flowerhorn?

Food is the energy source for all living creatures. Therefore, there are immense benefits to feeding your baby Flowerhorn. I have jotted down some of the benefits.

Energy And Bodybuilding

The food you feed to your fry will either provide energy or help in growth. Carbs, protein, and fat from different sources of food such as fruits, veggies, pellets, and meat: frozen, dried, or live, provide an adequate amount of energy and helps in the bodybuilding of Flowerhorn.

Growth And Development

Food is the most important for the growth and development of your Flowerhorn. You need to meet the nutritional requirements of your Flowerhorn for its rapid growth and sustained life. You may lose your fry when you don’t feed adequate food to your Fry.

Growth Of Hump

Hump slowly starts to grow in Flowerhorn fry. When your Flowerhorn reaches 1.5 inches, the hump starts to develop. You have to feed a proper meal to see the growth of hump in your Flowerhorn fry. 

Color Enhancement

Quality of diet and quantity of feed directly impacts the color of your Flowerhorn. As the fry grows, the color also enhances, but the color fades away without proper feed. As a result, the vibrant color will not appear in your Flowerhorn, certainly disappointing you. 

Control Aggressiveness

As Flowerhorn is naturally more aggressive than other fish breeds, delay of feed creates more aggressiveness in your Flowerhorn. They will show aggressiveness in other tank mates, normally another fryling in the tank. That might even lead to the death of some baby Flowerhorn.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Overfeeding Baby Flowerhorn?

Overfeeding is not good for your baby flowerhorn and the tank’s environment. Overfeeding causes many digestion problems and other ample disadvantages to your baby Flowerhorn. I have listed some of those negative effects below.

Digestion Problems

Overfeeding does hamper the digestive system of your baby Flowerhorn. Although your baby Flowerhorn’s nutritional requirement is more, overfeeding does no good to them. Indigestion problems, constipation, and bloating might result from overfeeding.

Contaminates Tank’s Environment

The leftover food from the baby Flowerhorn goes and settles down on the substrate, which results in polluting water. The contaminated water enhances infections among the fry, which is already fragile. 

You need to clean the tank often if you overfed fry. This creates an unnecessary workload for you and stresses out your fry too. 

Encounters Infection

Overfeeding might lower the immunity of your Flowerhorn; thus, they might encounter infections easily. Bad rearing practices and lack of sanitation too lead to infection. Moreover, the leftover food in the tank aids in incrementing ammonia, enhancing the foul smell. 

How Often Should You Feed Baby Flowerhorn?

Whether a baby human, animal, or fish, growth is rapid in the initial days after birth, to support this rapid growth, you need to provide sufficient food to your baby Flowerhorn.  

During the initial weeks after hatching, you have to feed around 4 times per day. As the nutritional requirement of the fry is high, you should give more time and care to the fry. 

As the fryling grows, you can eventually reduce the feed times to 3 times a day until it becomes an adult. It is so because your adult Flowerhorn needs a minimum gap of eight hours between meals to maintain a healthy digestive system. 

What Is The Best Food For Baby Flowerhorn?

Despite the variety of food, you can feed the fryling, there is some really good food for the baby Flowerhorn. This includes live foods. Although there are other good foods and you can feed those too, here I am only talking about the best. 

Live Food 

Live foods are the best source of proteins and essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals. You probably might know that live food is away from processing; they contain trace minerals. 

Moreover, Flowerhorn enjoys live food due to the activeness of food. Live food like brine shrimp, daphnia, super worms, mosquito larvae, bloodworms, earthworms, etc.

Live food has an extra advantage that does benefit your fry more than any other form of food due to its freshness and liveliness. 

Despite ample benefits, these live foods are capable of transmitting parasitic infection. Thus, you need to ensure that they are free from such infections and buy from an authentic food store. Here are some of my recommendations for live as well as freeze-dried flowerhorn food.

  •  Hikari Flowerhorn Fish Food
  • OKIKO flowerhorn Cichlid Fish
  • Fluval A6581 Bug Bites Cichlid Pellets
  • Amzey Dries Shrimp Fish Foods
  • Appetizing Shrimp Mealworms
  • Tetra Jumbokrill Jumbo Shrimp

What Are The Points To Consider While Feeding A Baby Flowerhorn?

There are great points that you should consider while feeding your baby Flowerhorn. Fryling is naturally vulnerable and is at risk. Due to this reason, fish keepers like you should provide a little more care to them and consider the following points while feeding frylings.

  • You need to consider the amount of feed as per the nutritional requirement of frylings.
  • A number of times, you should feed them. You can feed fries 2 or 3 times per day.
  • It would help if you kept in mind the types of food you need to avoid.
  • Need to know the categories of food that help in the smooth growth and development of your Flowerhorn.
  • It would help if you observed whether each fry is getting enough food or not.

How To Know You Are Overfeeding baby Flowerhorn?

Whenever you overfeed your baby Flowerhorn, they will show less interest in the food. They become less active than usual, lose aggressiveness and feel uncomfortable. 

The other way that you know you overfed your fryling is to see if any food particles are at the bottom of the tank or not. Food excess than requirement settles down on the substrate and contaminates the water. 

Mind extra particles in the tank; these particles release toxins by clogging the filter. Hence you should strictly avoid overfeeding your fryling. 


How To Make A Baby Flowerhorn Grow Faster?

Growth depends on diet, nutrition, and environmental factors like temperature, pressure, pH, etc. Even hygiene and sanitation of the tank, water quality, and filtration either directly or indirectly affect the growth of Flowerhorn. 

You have to introduce healthy, nutritionally rich food in the proper amount and time to make them grow faster. Likewise, you also have to change the water frequently, maintain incorrect pH and temperature and ensure sanitation of the tank for the faster growth of the baby Flowerhorn. 

How To Decrease The Death Of Baby Flowerhorn?

The death of a baby fish indicates so many things. First, it questions the nitrogen cycle, tank size, and tank mates with which you are keeping your fry.

Likewise, fish death even doubts water parameters like temperature and pH. Among these many factors, the disbalance of a single parameter might result in the death of the fryling.

In addition to this, the tank’s inadequate diet and filthy environment are the basic things that might also result in the death of baby Flowerhorn. 

Thus if you master these parameters and maintain a healthier tank environment, you can reduce the death of your fryling.

How To  Maintain A Favorable Environment For Baby Flowerhorn?

You need to ensure that your tank has good filtration. Also, make sure the water quality in the tank is good enough, along with the size of the tank. 

You have to observe whether the baby Flowerhorns are getting enough space in the tank for mobility. You can even maintain a favorable environment for baby Flowerhorn by changing the water regularly. 

All these reduce the chances of infection in the tank and maintain a healthy environment for baby Flowerhorn.  


As baby Flowerhorn is very fragile and needs special attention, you need to take care of their diet. You can feed them a highly nutritious, proteinous diet for proper and smooth growth and development. Live food like brine shrimp, daphnia, super worms, mosquito larvae, bloodworms, earthworms, etc., are the best source of protein. You can even feed fish pellets, powered frozen, sun-dried, and other commercialized fish food, ensuring your fryling meets its nutritional requirement.

I hope this article addresses all your queries about feeding Flowerhorn fry or baby. For more information on Flowerhorn and other fish breeds, you can visit our website, Fishkeeping guide. 

Happy Fishkeeping!

care, maintenance, reproduction, compatibility, food, photo-review

Inquisitive minds Asian breeders force them every year to create new and unusual aquarium fish. Attempts at interspecific crossing do not stop, but, unfortunately, in most cases, forms with a pale color are obtained, ugly body shape and, as a rule, barren. Flowerhorn - pleasant an exception to this rule, because as a result of hybridization, unusual and attractive fish that can easily breed in aquarium. In our article we will talk about how to properly contain this stunning giant. nine0003


General information

Flower horn, or Flower Horn - an interspecific hybrid of several South American cichlids, obtained breeders from Malaysia. The first crossbreeding attempts began in 1993. year, and five years later, the first flower horns were introduced to the world.

The species that gave rise to this hybrid is not known for certain and is classified as a trade secret. The most likely candidates are: three-spot cichlasoma (Cichlasoma trimaculatum), festa cichlazoma (Mesoheros festae), citron cichlazoma (Amphilophus citrinellus), labiatum (Amphilophus labiatus), rainbow cichlazoma (Vieja melanura). nine0003

Why is this fish interesting? The "calling card" of the horn flower is a highly developed growth on the head. It consists mainly of adipose tissue. The inhabitants of Asia are very fond of fish with "hats", because they are a symbol of the god of good luck and longevity. Flower horns, along with arowans, are the "favorites" of the followers of the Feng Shui teachings. An aquarium with these fish, in their opinion, will undoubtedly bring prosperity to its owner.

A fat cap and "hieroglyphs" on the body - a visiting card of flower horns

Another one a feature for which this fish is loved is dark spots on the body, which are very resemble hieroglyphs. Individuals with a "lucky" label can cost significant money, but always find their buyer.

Flowerhorn - real show fish. Individuals living in a large species aquarium are guaranteed grab the attention of those around you.

Oddly enough, flower horns are quite unpretentious in care, although beginners should keep these fish not recommended, it is better to start with other easy-to-keep cichlids. nine0003

Flower Horns – fish are not shy. When manipulating in the aquarium, they can attack and noticeably bite. But they get used to the owner quickly, allow themselves to be stroked and fed.

Flower horns are distinguished by a variety of colors

It is worth noting that that there are critics of artificially obtained fish, including flower horn. They consider it inhumane to breed individuals with different anatomical deviations, their maintenance and development in a number of generations. For example, "hat" sometimes increased with the help of chemical compounds. nine0003

Ecologists also sound the alarm. And this is due to the fact that in the process of selection, rejected individuals often go to natural reservoirs, where flower horns can become a serious threat to the local ichthyofauna. In some countries, for example Australia, the import of flower horns is prohibited.


Horn Flower – very large cichlids, which in suitable conditions can grow up to 30-40 see Body oval, very dense. On the head is a large fatty a bump that sometimes protrudes beyond the head. nine0003

On sale you can find flower horns of various colors: red, pink, gold, gray. On the general background of the body there are shiny spots of irregular shape. There are hardly two identical representatives of these cichlids in the world.

Flower horn. Appearance

At the flower horns there is an interesting feature: young individuals in the process of growth can change color. This means that a beautiful fry may not retain its juvenile color when will increase. To avoid such surprises, it is recommended to purchase already adult fish, the body color of which has already been fixed. But if you look from on the other hand, there is always a chance to get an individual from a fry with some rare color, so you can take a chance. nine0003

Often on the sides a dark band is observed, which can break up into separate spots. The anal and caudal fins are elongated and pointed. tail fin in depending on the breed, it can be round, trapezoidal or slightly forked. In some forms, it is poorly developed.

Large mouth with fleshy lips, always parted.

Life expectancy in an aquarium is about 8-10 years.


Flowerhorn is an artificial fish that does not occur in the wild (with the exception of individuals that were accidentally or specially released by the aquarists themselves). The progenitors of the hybrid are the famous cichlids of South America. nine0003

Currently time, a wide variety of forms have been obtained, which, depending on the series signs (cone size, color, etc.) are classified into several groups. The most popular of them are KamFa, Malau, Zhen Zhu and Thai Silk.

Care and content

Every lover the horn flowerer must understand that the fish, due to its size, needs a spacious aquarium. It is best if at least 150 liters per individual water. But a fish will truly reveal its beauty only in a huge species aquarium for 800-1000 liters. nine0003

Contain these cichlids are recommended in pairs, while it is imperative to monitor the behavior of the male. For various reasons, he can attack the female and inflict damage on her. If you have an aquarium of a suitable size and a desire to keep several pairs of flowers horns, then be sure to zone the territory and install a large number hiding places to minimize conflicts between fish.

Horn flower must be kept in large aquariums

Horn flower incompatible with living plants. Almost any green will be eaten or dug up. Therefore, it is desirable to select the soil larger, and make the layer larger, because flovers are very fond of digging at the bottom. For the same reason, any scenery must be firmly fastened and positioned so that, if they fall, they cannot damage the walls of the aquarium. The most commonly used compositions with stones and driftwood. nine0003

So big fish, like flower horns, place high demands on quality and purity water. An aquarium needs a powerful external filter and good aeration, as well as weekly water changes up to 20% of the volume with mandatory cleaning of the soil.

Optimal water parameters for maintenance: Т=26-30°С, pH=6.5-7.5, GH=9-20.


Flower Horns quite aggressive cichlids, zealously guarding their territory. Ideally, they must be kept in a species aquarium. However, having a large aquarium you can pick up fish neighbors. nine0003

Small fish species disappear immediately, because they will be quickly eaten by a voracious predator. Suitable cohabitants will be proportional cichlids: astronotus, Managuan cichlazoma, acara, black pacu, as well as large chain mail catfish - pterygoplichts, plecostomuses.

Flowerhorn in the company of other cichlids

Feeding the flowerer Horna

Flower Horna – snack lovers. They eat quite a lot and almost everything, even live and canned crickets. Some aquarists practice feeding flower horns with homemade feed based on minced meat of warm-blooded animals. To unfortunately, this method will be the most unsuccessful, because the fish do not absorb well such food that sooner or later will lead to problems with the gastrointestinal tract and may end the death of a pet. nine0003

Optimal option for feeding the flower horn - high-quality dry food. They are made from high quality raw materials, contain a lot of protein to meet the nutritional needs of cichlids. A complex of vitamins supports immunity of fish and ensures longevity.

Specialized Tetra LuoHan food has been developed according to the nutritional needs of the flowerer horns. It is a floating balls that contain natural color enhancers and ensure the healthy growth of these cichlids. High digestibility feed components reduces water pollution. nine0003

Good fit Tetra Cichlid Color food - it enhances the color of fish with red, yellow and orange flowers and contains the whole complex of nutrients and vitamins. The food will definitely appeal to flower horns.

Tetra Cichlid Sticks Floating All-Purpose Base Food is another suitable option for feeding adult flowerhorns. The high protein content ensures optimal growth of the fish, and the special components in the composition increase resistance to disease and give extra vitality. nine0003

Feed the flowerer horns are better in smaller portions, but more often. It is desirable that all food be completely eaten, this will avoid water pollution.

Propagation and breeding

Unlike many hybrid forms, flower horns are mostly fertile, that is capable of producing viable offspring.

Distinguish adult males and females is not difficult. Males are larger, their fat growth is much larger, and the dorsal and anal fins are greatly elongated. nine0003

Breeding is easy, similar to most large South American cichlids. Spawning can take place both in general and in a separate spawning aquarium.

It should be noted that the male may be aggressive towards the female if she is not ready to spawn. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that the male does not injure his girlfriend. It is best to have a transparent partition at the ready, which will allow you to separate the female from the raging male.

Flower horns are able to breed at home

For stimulation spawning it is recommended to raise the temperature to 28 ° C, the water must have neutral pH. It is necessary to feed producers abundantly and more often change water. Caviar is laid on a flat stone or similar decoration. The fecundity of the female can reach 1000 eggs. After fertilization, the eggs remain with the male. The flower horns are well developed parental instinct: fish guard their offspring until hatching and 3-4 more weeks after. Incubation of eggs lasts about 3 days.

One month after spawning, spawners and offspring are separated. The fry are fed and sorted by size. nine0003

One of the most difficult tasks - the preservation of the breed. Unfortunately, often even from beautiful parents gray and unsightly individuals may appear. The fish take on their color age 5-6 months.

Flower Horn: photo, content, compatibility, breeding

Flower Horn (Eng. Flower Horn), this is a unique fish for those who love bright and large cichlids. She has a very interesting behavior, character and a completely unusual appearance. Those who decided to get themselves a flower horn never regretted it. nine0003


  • 1 Information about Flawer Horne
  • 2 Handing in nature
  • 3 Description
  • 4 Complexity

Information about the flower horn

Cichlids, as a rule, do not differ in picky partners, and can form pairs not only with similar ones, but also with completely different types of cichlids. This feature made it possible to obtain many completely unimaginable hybrids from different types of fish. nine0003

Not all of them are successful, some do not shine with color, others after such crossing become sterile themselves.

But there are exceptions…

One of the famous and popular fish in the aquarium is the trihybrid parrot, the fruit of artificial crossing. So is the flower horn, a child of the genetics and perseverance of Malaysian aquarists.

It was in Malaysia that careful selection and crossing of various cichlids (which is still not clear for sure) was carried out in order to obtain healthy and reproductive offspring. This is a hybrid, but at the same time it is not prone to disease, beautiful and prolific. nine0003

An interesting feature is that the color of the fish changes throughout life, before reaching sexual maturity. So, if you are interested in buying a bright fish of a certain color, then you need to choose an adult fish, or grown up enough.

Otherwise, you may be in for a surprise, not always a pleasant one. On the other hand, if you buy fry, then a whole series of magical transformations will pass before your eyes, and who knows, maybe you will have a fish of rare beauty? nine0003

Flowerhorns are very easy to care for, they are hardy and hardy fish. It is worth noting that it grows very large, about 30-40 cm, and requires a spacious aquarium for maintenance, especially if you keep it with other fish.

Fish love to dig and eat plants, so you won't be able to create a beautiful aquascape with plants. Because of this hobby, and also due to the fact that the fish itself is large, it is recommended to install stones, driftwood and other decor on the bottom of the aquarium, and not on the ground. nine0003

Otherwise, they can move them as they please.

Flower Horn is best kept alone as a rare show fish. They are very territorial, aggressive and do not get along well with other fish (except in very large aquariums, from 800 liters).

In other volumes the neighbors will be injured or under stress.

Habitat in nature

Flower horn is a hybrid that is bred artificially and therefore does not occur in nature at all. The first individual was bred in Malaysia in 90-ies of XX century, by crossing several species of fish, mainly cichlids of South America.

They admired his appearance, especially the fat bump on his forehead, and they named him "Karoi" - which means warship.

There is still debate about what fish this species originated from. The true combination is known only to those who brought this fish. Aquarists agree that the fish is descended from Cichlasoma trimaculatum, Cichlasoma Festae, Cichlasoma citrinellum, Cichlasoma labiatum, Vieja synspila. nine0003

The first line of cichlids that appeared on the market was called Hua Luo Han. Hua Luo Han were bred around 1998. But, since then, it has become very popular, and an incredible number of different variations and hybrids have appeared.

With huge fat bumps (which increase with the help of chemistry), with a shortened body, or curved and other options.

The most popular at the moment are: campha (KamFa), Malau or Kamalau (KML), Zhen Zhu (ZZ) and Thai Silk (Thai silk). nine0003

Flower horn, has received a special, elite status among aquarists. In Asia, along with arowana, it is considered as one of the lucky fish by adherents of the Feng Shui movement. Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese tradition that normalizes the arrangement of objects and things in the house in order to achieve maximum harmony with the outside world. And the aquarium in this current is one of the key topics for achieving wealth and success.

Accordingly, a flower horn, the pattern on the scales of which looks like a heart or a hieroglyph, can cost thousands, and sometimes tens of thousands of dollars. nine0003

Even a particularly large fatty lump on the head of a fish can bring a tidy sum to the owner. It is believed that it is a symbol of the Chinese god of longevity, and the larger it is, the more luck it will bring.

True, the more modest fish sell for a reasonable price and are now widely available to aquarists.

Thai silk - juvenile:


The flower horn has a very dense, oval body with a huge fat bump on the forehead. Large individuals reach 30-40 s in length. The scales can be either metallic, gray, or pink or red. nine0003

Most species have a wide, dark stripe along the midline of the body, breaking up into separate spots. But, some variations may not have it. The dorsal and anal fins are elongated and pointed, while the caudal fin, on the contrary, is rounded.

Life expectancy is about 8-10 years.

In general, it is rather difficult to describe the appearance of horns. Many aquarists breed their own unique fish. If you buy juveniles, there is a risk that their coloration will change dramatically as they mature. And, instead of an attractive individual, you will get a rather gray one. nine0003

Adult fish are classified according to 7 characteristics: body shape, coloration, scale size, presence of a horizontal stripe, fat cone size, eyes, and straight fins.

Difficult to keep

Caring for the fish is quite simple, they tolerate water parameters that would be a problem for other fish.

They are also unpretentious in nutrition, and eat any protein food, from artificial to live.

It's worth saying that although it seems like a suitable fish for beginners, it's still not possible, for several significant reasons. nine0003

First of all, this is a very large fish that needs a spacious and large aquarium to keep. Secondly, the flower horn is very aggressive and territorial, it is desirable to keep it alone, without neighbors and even plants. Beginners can quite find a smaller and more peaceful cichlid.

And finally, the flower horn is so aggressive that it attacks the hand that feeds it, inflicting rather painful bites on the owner while he maintains the aquarium.

However, if you are absolutely sure that you want this fish, then no circumstances should stop you. Despite the obstacles listed above, this fish is suitable for beginner aquarists, as long as they study their fish and are willing to take on some challenges. nine0003


This is an omnivorous fish with a huge appetite and is difficult to feed. They eat all kinds of live, frozen or artificial foods, as long as they contain a high amount of protein.

Variety of food is just as important as nutrition and quality, so it is best to give: high quality food for large cichlids, shrimp meat, bloodworms, worms, crickets, flies, grasshoppers, small fish, fish fillets, gammarus.

You need to feed two to three times a day, especially if you are feeding food that leaves a lot of waste. nine0003

It is important to know that feeding on mammalian meat, so popular in the past, is now considered harmful.

Such meat contains a large amount of proteins and fats, which are poorly digested by the gastrointestinal tract of fish. As a result, the fish grows fat, the work of internal organs is disrupted. You can give such food, but infrequently, about once a week.

Feeding crayfish:

Aquarium keeping

Like other large Central American cichlids, the flower horn needs a very spacious aquarium. If you keep it alone, then the minimum volume is 200 liters, but even more is better. nine0003

If you keep a pair, then it is already 400-450 liters, and if you keep it with other cichlids, then 800-1000 liters. They love a moderate current and clean water, be sure to use a powerful external filter.

Weekly water changes and a bottom siphon are also important, as the flower horn is very littering during meals.

As for the decor, it is difficult to create it - the fish likes to dig, does not like plants. There is no point in planting plants in an aquarium at all, they will be destroyed.

It is better to use gravel as a soil, and large stones and snags as shelters, however, the fish does not like to hide and is quite active. nine0003

Make sure the stones, decorations and equipment are firmly set and will not fall, as the horn is quite capable of tipping them over.

The temperature for keeping should be quite high - 26-30 ° C, pH: 6.5-7.8, 9 - 20 dGH.


Flower horns are not well suited to keeping with other fish as they are very large, aggressive and territorial.

It is best to keep one fish alone or in pairs, and if you still want neighbors, then only in a very spacious aquarium. The fish will even attack you while maintaining the aquarium, and the bites will be painful. nine0003

To reduce aggression, you need an aquarium with plenty of free space, lots of hiding places and large neighbors.

Such fish will be: black pacu, plecostomus, pterygoplicht, Managuan cichlazoma, astronotus, giant gourami. But, as a rule, people who keep horns come to one conclusion - the flower horn must live alone!

If you want to breed fish, then remember that his aggressiveness extends to relatives. Keep a close eye on the couple so that they don't kill each other. nine0003

Astronotus fight:

Sex differences

A reliable method to distinguish a young female from a male is not yet known.

It is believed that the female has a black dot on her dorsal fin, which is absent from the male, but other aquarists refute this. When sexually mature individuals are ready for spawning, a thick ovipositor is visible in the female, and the papilla in the male.

The only technique that can be considered real in sexing a flower horn is that used by tilapia breeders. Take the teenager, put it on the palm of your left hand, and gently run the right hand along the abdomen towards the caudal fin with the palm of your right hand. nine0003

If it's a male, you will see splashes of clear liquid from his anus, this is not the case with a female. An adult male is easy to distinguish by a fatty cone and size.


Very often such hybrids are fertile, that is, they cannot produce offspring. But not a flower horn. To get fry the same color as the parents, you need to have a good idea of ​​how clean the line is, otherwise the fry can be very different from their parents in color.

Breeding is similar to that of other large South American cichlids. As a rule, they are bred in the same aquarium in which they are kept and the biggest problem is to save the female from the constant attacks of the male.

You need to equip the aquarium so that she has a place to hide, so that the male does not see her. Very often, the female is not yet ready, and the male is already starting to chase her and kill her.

Alternatively, you can divide the aquarium into two parts using a net, so that both the female is intact and the species of fish stimulates the start of spawning. nine0003

You can even use this technique, a large flat stone is placed near the net, and all other objects on which she could spawn are removed from the side of the female.

When the female lays her eggs on this stone, it is carried to the male (or the net is moved so that he is on his territory) and a stream of water is directed onto the stone, helping the male to fertilize it.

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