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FAQs on the Flowerhorn Cichlid Behavior

Related Articles: Flowerhorns by Ong, Blood Parrots & Flowerhorn Cichlids: maintenance and healthcare of two popular hybrid cichlids by Neale Monks, What do you think of Flowerhorn Cichlids? By Neale Monks, Cichlid Fishes

Related FAQs: Flowerhorns, Flowerhorn Identification, Flowerhorn Compatibility, Flowerhorn Selection, Flowerhorn Systems, Flowerhorn Feeding, Flowerhorn Disease, FAQs on Flowerhorn Cichlid Disease by Category: Environmental, Nutritional (e.g. HLLE), Social, Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic (Ich, Velvet...), Genetic, Treatments, Flowerhorn Reproduction, Cichlids, Dwarf South American Cichlids, African Cichlids, Angelfishes, Discus, Chromides, Neotropical Cichlids

FH snuggling?      3/30/17
Hey Crew,
<4 megs....>
I got this FH around Valentine's Day. I'm not sure how old he is but he has quadrupled in size (about 5inches + tail) since I've had him and has grown and considerably large hump, and from which I've read seems to be a sign of good health.
<Mmm; not necessarily, no>
Before getting him I already had a large, 8 or 9 inch Pleco. At first the FH would "attack" the Pleco, I think soon realizing that he has little effect on him the "attacks" decreased, now, he just kind of muscles him around. However, now he's doing this weird almost snuggling thing with him.
<Social animals; actually crosses>
At first I was thinking maybe the water temp and went down and they were trying to keep warm with body heat, but I just don't know.
<Are poikilotherms... no heat to be had>
Is he trying to mate? (Sorry if the picture is too big, I don't know how to resize). It's about a 45gal tank btw, and I know both of my fish are probably too big for it.
<Just like Gilligan's Is.; looking for a little buddy is my guess. Bob Fenner>

Re: FH snuggling?       3/31/17
Thank you so much for your response. As long as his snuggling is normal I guess I have nothing to worry about.
Except, maybe his hump. His seems to be a lot bigger than some of the other ones I've seen of FH his size. Am I doing something wrong? Or is that just genetics?
<The latter. Naught one can do. BobF>
Re: FH snuggling?       3/31/17
Ok. Thank you so much
<Welcome. B>

FH, env. READING        3/9/16
My fish is rubbing against glass of tank and the oxygen pipe I don't know what is wrong I have a small Flowerhorn
<Stop! Need data; re the system, water quality, history of the set up... foods, feeding... >
it is rubbing since two three days and scratching it's body also it's body turns red for sometime are there any possible medications please help ??
<Need to check water quality... Let's have you READ: Here:
Bob Fenner>

Re FH, making more belligerent         5/22/15
Thanks once again for your help sir...now my flower horn is in good condition.. He is in 250 liters aquarium.. And a good filtration system is there.. The pit's of his head is healed.. "BT now he is not so aggressive like before". I tried to feed him green food suggest by u...but he is not taking green foods....now he is eating 'humpy head' and 'red sumo'. what can
I do for bringing back his aggressive ness
like before? Pls help. Now he is 1ft long...and the head is like a cricket ball.
<Mmm; well; there are two general approaches here: Feeding live foods and placing a "whipping boy" fish in with it. The first might incorporate known-clean (parasite free) freshwater organisms; but I would use marine or brackish... fishes, shrimps. The second; some very sturdy, but smaller, faster, smart fish that could evade the FH; perhaps a large barb or three.
Bob Fenner>

Phase of breeding    3/6/13
Do you have any reason why a female FH darkens when it is ready to breed?
Thank you
<No, sorry. But many cichlids change their colours when courting. Cheers, Neale.>

Flower Horn that lost its markings    10/8/12
Hi Crew,
I have owned 2 Flower horns for approx. 2 years now, they have both grown into fairly large fish at about 25cm’s. They appear to be generally happy and healthy, we keep them in a large 350 lit tank, however, we learned in the early stages that we had to keep them apart as they appeared to want to fight to the death, so the tank is divided with holes small enough not to allow either FH to get to each other.
OK the main point is, one of FH appeared to catch a disease, its bright gray facial area, became a patchy dull gray colour and its still patchy after 6 months. The worse thing is, it had beautiful markings, (Just like everybody says .... like Chinese writing) along it body, but now, all the markings have gone ! Its as if they were only stickers, but they couldn’t have been of course. We had the FH fish for over 12 months before this happened ... any ideas on this ?
<As you state; disease, and/or genetic determination... perhaps behaviorally modified>
Are we ever likely to see the marking come back again ?
<Not likely; no; unless the cause is the last mentioned>
Our FH’s are called Nemo and Dory, Dory is the one with problem, however, I couldn’t help send you the attached photo of Nemo and his/her vibrant colours
<Ah, very nice>
(Note; We suspect that both fish are female as their horns haven’t grown much, and it is hard to tell if the anal area is a V or a U unless you have another to compare with)
I thank you guys in anticipation, your doing a great job and a great service !
Regards, Paul S.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner> 


Re: Flower Horn that lost its markings     10/9/12
Thanks very Bob for your prompt reply, very much appreciated !
Kindest Regards, Paul S.
<Welcome Paul. BobF>

Didn't find this in FAQ's........ FH Beh.    9/12/12
Dear Bob,
Hi again.......
How r you doing?
<Fine Vinay, thanks>
Well I am back here again with a query, The pearl scales on my FH are slightly disappearing.....  WHAT COULD BE THE REASON......?
<Water quality issue/s, nutritional deficiency, just genetic/ontogenetic expression... stress>
More than him I am stressed.........  Please help and revert back to me for any cure or steps to be taken to retain those pearled skin on him.
Vinay M.

My Flowerhorn     7/5/12
Nothing sent
My Flowerhorn     7/5/12

Hi I'm Ivan from Myanmar.
<Hello Ivan>
I want your help to define what my Flowerhorn type is is he a red dragon?
I just got it as a gift 2 months ago
I used to keep Flowerhorns while I was kid they all passed away real quick
But now I want to make sure this little fella grow strong NAND happy.
I'm sure it's a male it is 3inch and he really enjoy beef, prawn and chicken I also feed him pallets.
I saw some Flowerhorns smaller than his size got big knob will he ever grow a knob?
<Yes; in time, IF this fish is indeed a male. Just good care, nutrition and time going by is all that is needed for nuchal hump growth>
I'm really looking forward to your reply
Im sorry for former empty mail I got poor connection here so forgive that for me
<Ahh, no worries>
I also read a lot of articles about Flowerhorn from ur site
I am a student and I got a crazy idea to make thesis about Flowerhorn and get the degree here
How would u suggest? Would this work out?
<Ask your teacher/instructor/s re what sort of aspect of their biology might suffice as a topic. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Flowerhorn eating it's own poop... please help...      6/15/12
Hi Bob,
<Hey Nihal>
I am not too sure that you remember me. I had mailed you regarding a feeding query for my juvenile Flowerhorn about 3 months ago.
<I do recall>
Well, my Flowerhorn has been doing well for the past few months without any problems. But now, I think I have a problem that only an expert like you might be able to solve.
My Flowerhorn which is about 3.5 inches long now has developed a habit; a dirty one! It likes to eat it's own feces (poop)! I have only noticed this since the past 2-3 days.
I use a bare bottom tank for cleaning ease and this little guy thinks that the poop twirling at the bottom is food. He'll swallow it, chew it and then spit it out. Unfortunately, even though he spits it out, he still manages to consume at least half of it!
I have also noticed that he does this mostly with the poop that comes the day after I feed him Freeze Dried Worms. For the day after eating pellets, he will only swallow the poop and spit it out.
He is always fed well twice a day. So, I am sure it is not due to hunger that he eats his feces! I fear that he might do himself some harm by eating his feces.
Can you please guide me and help me to teach my Flowerhorn not to eat his own poop?
<Don't think the behavior itself is problematical, but it does lead me to wonder if like dogs, cats, there is something missing in this animal's diet... Which I would expand. Please read here:
Thanks a lot in advance...
- Nihal Adsul
<Welcome. Bob Fenner> 
Re: Flowerhorn eating it's own poop... please help...    6/16/12

Thanks a lot Bob... You always surprise me with the prompt help!
<If/when am on-line>
Well, I am currently feeding him Hikari Cichlid Gold pellets and Freeze Dried Tubifex worms. I also feed him a thawed Pea once a week.
<I'd add Spectrum pellets if you can find them>
So, I really don't know the reason why he might be having a deficiency in the diet. Maybe it's time I changed his pellets to some other brand.
<Yes; though Hikari is a fine brand>
Thanks again. Will keep you posted if I notice a change in his behavior.
- Nihal Adsul.
<Thank you, BobF>

Re: Discuss fish feeding problem; now FH beh., nuchal hump   6/12/12
Dear Neal,
I hope you are fine the grace of God,
<I am well, thank you.>
please help me out. Can a female Flower horn develop the Hump on her head?
<A small hump, sometimes.>
If yes then which food is best to make her hump bigger?
<There isn't a food that makes the hump bigger. It's partly genetic, and partly reflects good health. Cichlids grow a hump as an advertisement of how healthy they are. The hump is "expensive" to grow because it's mostly fat. If the fish is unhealthy, it won't have the energy needed to grow the hump. But a healthy animal can grow the hump. So it's an honest way for a (usually male) cichlid to show a female cichlid that it is a healthy, genetically robust specimen. In other words, the healthier your cichlid, the bigger it's hump will be -- assuming it has the genes for growing a hump. Females rarely grow the hump -- they don't need to! The role of the hump is to allow males to advertise to females that they are healthy. It's the females who choose which male they want to mate with, so the female doesn't need to do anything except say "yes" to the male! Some females have a slight hump, but it's never very big. It's like how male sheep have bigger horns than female sheep.>
I have a female flower horn of size 5 inch but I am concern about hump on her head. As larger the hump fish look more beautiful. Please help me.
Regards, Ali
<Hope this helps, Neale.> 

Flowerhorn abnormal behaviour   6/12/12
I have found out this website recently. U guys are doing great job :):)
keep it up. This forum is really helpful for the needy people. I am not sure whether this email would reach you or not.
<Hi there!>
I am new to this Flowerhorn hobby. I am interested in having good aquarium and I am crazy of Flowerhorns. So My husband gifted me 65 gallon aquarium last month with 6 inches ZZ Flowerhorn with pearls in the next half of the body. He was completely dark with no head when he come to our home on the first day, When we fed him the pellet, he did not eat it till evening. Then after I transferred him to the fish tank, he was fine and happy. I taught him to chase my fingers and he is too aggressive and fast. He is my favourite. He bit my husband finger once when he was fixing the air tube inside the tank. He is kind of very very active, non stop, always hungry and always beg for food who ever goes near the tank.  During night times he used to jump and catch the mosquitoes. He is scared of stick, fish net and shawls if I wave. Other than that he was such a wonderful gift to me. Once he ate the cockroach, after that 2 days he was avoiding his food. But then he was again back to the normal life. He is kind of cute, he started getting good kok also. I was not seeing stress marks for a while. Me and my husband are working, so morning while going to office I used to feed him and leave, then till evening he used to be alone. After I come back, I used to feed him again with pellets. Last week, I was out of town for 1 and half days, my husband was at home. He never used to interact or play with Flowerhorn, first time in this one month, he feed him food. That night and next day morning FH was fine. But in the evening when he comes back from office, FH was upside down, rotating circling at an angle of 15 degree, he was restless, something was bothering him, It was looking like he was crying aloud inside water. It was pathetic to look at him. he couldn't have direct face to face vision from inside, he was suffering from something, his stomach and area between pectoral fins and gills (neck) were bloated.

 I was also back on the same day late evening, I changed 70% water then.
 Next day I moved him to small tank of 10 gallons and medicated with Epsom salt, Flagyl, amoxicillin (Terramycin) for 1 hour  after referring few websites and transferred him to old tank. I did this treatment for 3 days and I didn't feed him for 3 days completely. after that his stomach bloating is gone, but still the neck part is still bloated types. I am not sure about it.  Then I had fed him with cooked and smashed peas, he ate first 2 pieces then he didn't have. Upside circling movement is gone after 1st day of medication itself. But he forgot me completely now, he is not chasing to my fingers. He is not very active like before. He looks always stressed and his face also turning black nowadays. His kok head has come down. Now he is completely scared of me, always hiding behind the decorations whenever I pass by except when I feed him food, Past 2 days I am feeding him with prawns and chicken Liver. He ate everything completely.
But still he is not fine. His wastage is blackish maroon in color, few were black. He is active (not so much as before) as like other fish, but he forgot everything, not looking casual as earlier always scared of people especially me.
Water changes - 70-80% weekly. Only one filtration and one air tube.
Diet - Only Humpy head quality pellet food till last week. Twice a day with 7 pellets each time. Pellets are 2mm diameter. Now added shrimps and chicken liver as part of diet.
Light settings - One pink color light I used to switch on evening till night.
Heater - Now it is summer season in India, so we are not using any heater.
We have heater but most probably its not required except on the month of December.
Tank mates - No.. but there is goldfish small tank kept near by in this eye site.
<Shouldn't be problematical>
I use Bactonil FWsolution 5ml for every 10 gallons,
<I wouldn't keep using this as a preventative>

 Mr. Yellow, 2 Spoons of aquarium salt after every water change. Used to clean the filter sponge completely. I am not used to clean the gravels for every water change. Because my tank dimensions are 3 feet Length x 1.5 feet Breadth x 2 feet height. While the water is sucked outside using hose and I used to try getting the dirt out of the gravels.
Please find attached his picture. Please let me know how to get my baby back to normal condition. I am not sure if he has recovered completely from treatment.
Thanks a ton. Sorry for such a long mail. Awaiting your reply.
Subha Prabhu
<Nothing "jumps out" as being of probable trouble. I would ask you to read:
and the linked files above for general input, in the hope that whatever the issue may be here it will come live to your conscious.
Bob Fenner> 

Before, after and sys.

Flowerhorn Breathing Through Mouth   3/30/12
Hello,  I have a young Flowerhorn (approximately 4.5 inches) in a 40 Gallon tank (I do plan to move him to a 75 Gallon tank).  The tank has two Marineland Bio Wheel filters, one is a 350 the other is a 200.  The water temperature is 80F, Ph is 7.4 with a general hardness of 180, Ammonia is 0, Nitrite is 0, and Nitrate is 5.0 ppm.  I have a 28 inch bubble wall with a large air pump.  My Flowerhorn appears to be healthy, active and eating well (always hungry).  However, he breaths through his mouth the majority of the time.
<This is what they do. Fish breathe water in through the mouth, then expel it through their gill openings. Now, if your fish is breathing heavily, that can indicate stress, higher than optimal temperatures, poor water quality, toxins (e.g., copper) in the water, varying/incorrect pH… all sorts of things.>
His gills also appear to be the correct color and healthy.  Do I have enough oxygen in the tank for him or does he possibly have some disease?
<Yes, Velvet and Whitespot can irritate the gills, causing heavy breathing. But you should see white spots on the body, too. Would assume this is environmental, and act accordingly.>
Thank you for your concern,   Kathieen
<Do read:
…and follow the links to other articles of interest, use.>
I apologize, I forgot to include my Flowerhorn's diet in my previous email. I feed him 3 times daily and he eats - Monster Kok and Hikari Cichlid Gold pellets, frozen Mosquito larvae (blood worms), frozen Krill, frozen Spirulina and Brine Shrimp, live Brine Shrimp and live Ghost Shrimp.  Note: cannot get him to eat soft peas. Thanks again, Kathleen
<Sounds fine. But make sure you are not overfeeding and/or under-filtering and/or not doing enough water changes. Cheers, Neale.>

FH beh. NNS  3/21/12
i have a Flowerhorn who likes to attack the glass each time i try to train it to follow my hand. what should i do to train it to follow my finger and not attack the glass? tq.
<Nothing that can be done as far as I'm aware. Part of this hybrid cichlid's naturally territorial/agonistic behavior. Bob Fenner>

weird question... FH, fdg./beh.    1/12/12
hi, my Flowerhorn is a red dragon male of 3.5 inch as your crew said me to feed him food only 2 times a day. so i gave him food in morning and then after 3-4 hrs i have noticed that the color of flower horn became white and her eye color i.e. orange circle became black. when fed him it became normal. can you tell what happened ?
<Likely just the reflection of light... but could be a diurnal behavioral (colour) change, due to mood...
Bob Fenner>

some questions about FH
Flowerhorn Questions, fdg., hump dev./beh.   1/10/12

Hi Crew,
I am from India, bought a Flowerhorn 2 days ago which is 60 days old and it is a Red Dragon (male) and the size of my Flowerhorn is of 3-3.5 inch's. From this afternoon my Flowerhorn started eating xo humpy head food which was referred by the seller. For now my flower horn is doing fine but after some time it waits and watches the humpy head box for a long time and then I feed him 2 pellets of humpy head but still after 30 min.s it does the same. I don't want to over feed my fish. Please tell me how many time's should I feed the fish in a day and how many pellets in each feed ?
< Feed once or twice a day and only enough food so that it is completely gone in a couple of minutes.>
 There is also other question I want to ask is that the fish does not have hump for now when inquired to the seller, he said that the hump will be visible when the fish size grows to 4-4.5 inches and he said that the father of the fish is red dragon and the mother is KOK as I was confused that the Flowerhorn that I got is a kamfa. As I have done lots of browsing its mentioned that the male gets the hump fast compared to female so how to check that my fish is male or female?
<Flowerhorns are a cross between a few different cichlids but they all have similar secondary sexual characteristics. Males are usually larger and have longer unpaired fins. Mature males may get humps on their forehead.>
Also the seller said that he shipped me a yellow red dragon but the fish I got is a combination of white and
pink, when inquired he said it will change the color with in 2 days as because of travailing the color has been changed to white and soon it will change to yellow. I have attached the pic's of my Flowerhorn please check it and let me know. Please tell me that my fish is a kamfa or a red dragon and a friend said that red dragon hump growth is faster than the kamfa hump growth. Sorry for such a huge mail as I am new to this stuff I am confused btw things. Thanks Regards Ali
< Since the Flowerhorn is a cross there are many "types' available. I would recommend getting photos of the pair to make some determination of how the fry will turn out. Maybe the seller could refer to online photos to what his fish look like.-Chuck>

A sulking Flowerhorn? Is that ever possible? <Oh yes>   12/14/11
Dear WWM Crew,
Yours is such a wonderful forum for fish lovers. I get to learn so much every time I visit your web site.
I have a female Flowerhorn fish. I think it is a female because its got a dark spot on its dorsal fin.
The way its fins are spread out most of the time, closely resemble those of positively identified female Flowerhorns. Despite what I could manage, I could not understand whether its anal vent was a "U" or a "V" shaped one.
<Only prominent of fully sexual and reproducing individuals really>
Its about 5 inches long, and probably a couple of years old at the most. However, its finnage (if I may call those) or the trailing tips of its dorsal and anal fins, are a good 2 inches longer than its entire body length. It lives in a tank sized 24 inches x 15 inches x 15 inches. There are two sponge filters which are powered 24 hours x 365 days by a dedicated air pump of 12 Watts, approximately. Besides this arrangement, I also have a multilayer canister filter with a power head attached - the kind of those which have ceramic pellets as one of the filter layers.
<Good to have redundant filtration>
But I am not writing you to describe any problem related to disease or illness afflicting it. Not that I can make out. I think my Flowerhorn is - how do I put it - annoyed with me.
I feed it AZoo 9-in-one Flowerhorn pellets. I vary its diet; but mostly its pellets as its staple. However, a few days ago I bought a new type of freeze-dried Tubifex food - packaged in small cubes to be crushed and fed. My Flowerhorn did not like it one bit. I let it go without food for a day except with a solitary cube of that freeze-dried Tubifex stuff. It still refused to eat.
My family has grown rather very attached to this fish which has been with us for just over a year now. My wife and my aunt both claim that it can recognize each one of us individually. Personally, I think this is rather far-fetched. I have never heard of fishes recognizing humans the way mammals do.
<I agree w/ your wife and aunt. I am almost certain that some species of fishes can easily distinguish humans; and cichlids as a group among them>
Curiously though, now that my wife and my aunt feeds it with its usual pellets (the AZoo ones) it has gone back happily eating and swimming around wagging its tail. This is another sight that I have never seen in my life - a fish wagging its tail and swimming back and forth during feeding time!
<Ah yes>
The whole point of writing this long story (and probably wasting a good deal of your time all for nothing) is that whenever I try to feed it now those very same pellets, it wheels around and nestles itself in a corner of its tank. It will not budge from there until I have moved away! Its been three days now without a change in this behaviour.
<Patience... DO be present when the two women are feeding... Your FH will "forgive you" in time>
At once it will swim up to the surface to gobble the pellets which are given to it by my wife or my aunt, once I am out of its sight!
What do I do now to make it let go of that "sulking" behaviour when I am around?
<I concur w/ your observations, rationale>
By the way, I always try and do a 30% change of water every week; failing that - 50% change every two weeks. Care is taken not to overfeed it. But that is a rule which we find hard to stick to given the fish's fondness to keep on eating every two hours or less!
Many thanks for your patience.
With sincere regards,
<Thank you for sharing. Flowerhorns are intelligent, social animals. Bob Fenner>
Re: A sulking Flowerhorn? Is that ever possible?  12/15/11

Dear WWM Crew,
Thank you for your reply and for your advice to be present when it is being fed either by my wife or my aunt.
Your suggestion appears to be working for I saw that the fish did not bolt away immediately upon noticing my presence. It slowly but surely back off from the glass nice and slow. But it ate the pellets. Not the ones that I gave it though.
<Heeeee! Take your time here>
With sincere regards,
<Thank you, BobF>

Flowerhorn; colouration  12/6/11
Hello. I have a flower horn that is about 3 1/2 inch. I do change its water frequently and it too  ha a proper lighting. However, it does not have a good colouration and I would like to enchance its colour. besides that, i would like to know when would i see the proper colouration of the fish and how long would it take for its hump to grow. tq
<Do read here:
Colouration is 50% genetic and 50% environmental. Since the fish are hybrids, it's very difficult (impossible) to predict precisely what a young Flowerhorn will grow into. The best you can do is buy a good quality specimen, maintain it in a big, well-maintained aquarium with excellent water quality, and ensure a varied, good quality diet. Crustacean and algae foods are particularly important sources of the chemicals that are turned into colours. Cheers, Neale.>

Flowerhorn restless
Flowerhorn Help -- 10/12/11

Sir, I got a Flowerhorn, kamfa on Sunday, its a male and its a 3 month old baby. The problem with it is its restlessness. The first day he hide himself beneath the air filter pump, then after a day he just came out. I'm feeding him with humpy head. He's not eating. He puts one pellet in his mouth and spits it out. When I feed a shrimp, he eats it for an hour and then from the time he had a shrimp he is jumping out of water I have a cover for my tank and he's active but not as much as he was in the pet shop. Can I feed him shrimp every day and what sort of diet should I maintain for him?
< Shrimp can be part of a good varied diet. I would recommend a high quality pellet food that is good for the overall health of the fish and doesn't really enhance a particular part of the fishes body.>
How many times should I feed him?
< Feed once or twice a day and only feed him enough food so that all of it is gone in a few minutes.>.
How I should train him not to jump out of water?
<Place some floating plastic plants at the surface of the tank and he will soon learn the tank limits end at the top of the plants.>
Can he be feed with all sorts of non veg and homemade food?
< There are many homemade recipes for fish food online. Most of them need to be frozen afterwards. I prefer a shrimp and frozen peas recipe myself.>
Please help I'm new with Flowerhorns., hope you can help me Regards
Avinash India
< A good reference might be the pet shop you got your fish from. They should be able to provide some customer service even after the sale is made.-Chuck>
Re: Flowerhorn restless
Flowerhorn Help II   10/13/11

Hey thanks Chuck. If possible would post his photo. He is eating only shrimp and how many days until he takes to his new tank?
<Depending on outside interference it may take a couple of weeks.-Chuck>
Re: Flowerhorn restless   10/17/11

my Flowerhorn is eating only 2-3 balls in 5 min is that enough 2 it??
<? Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/flowerhornfdgfaq.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Flowerhorn restless   10/19/11

dude is there any thing like a place or a corner in a room that effects the behaviour of a Flowerhorn!!
<Yes. Like all cichlids, they prefer quiet areas. They dislike slamming doors and loudspeakers with a heavy bass that causes the water to vibrate (often imperceptibly to us). Big cichlids often seem to enjoy a certain amount of interaction with humans, so having a chair or sofa nearby is a good idea, so they can watch you while you're reading, watching TV, or whatever. On the other hand, bright flashing lights at night, like from a TV set, would annoy them. The big picture though is that a bored or listless cichlid is more likely to be stressed by aquarium conditions than what's going on outside the aquarium. Oh, please don't call me "dude". Cheers, Neale.>

Problems with my FH   7/1/11
I have 2 questions regarding my FH, I just got it yesterday and its not eating and always hiding in the filter. Is it normal for a newly bought Flowerhorn?
<How did you cycle the aquarium? If you add a Flowerhorn cichlid to an aquarium without a mature biological filter, then yes, it will be stressed and shy because water quality will be dangerously poor.>
Secondly, how to set the water to 80F do I have to buy a heater for the tank. If I have no heater is there other ways to keep the water to 80F.
<You need a heater. You need to keep the water at a steady 25 C/77 F.>
Thanks for your time
Cheers, Neale.>

Flowerhorn hump reducing ?   6/9/11
Dear WWM,
you can see the huge hump. but now the hump is reduced for 30%. just want to know do breeding reduce hump of male Flowerhorn? or keeping with female Flowerhorn reduce hump?
<No. Genetics and environmental conditions are what matter here.>
I feed Flowerhorn humpy head of ocean free & cing mix head booster.
<No food makes the hump bigger. Genes determine how big the hump can get.
Environmental conditions how well the fish fulfils its genetic potential.
Being hybrids, you cannot predict how big the hump will get.>
please guide asap. even let me know to grow hump bigger & faster?
<Keep the Flowerhorn well, and it will grow its hump to the best size its genes allow.>
one more question
I have bred Flowerhorn. male Flowerhorn has hump will the babies will have hump? cause my friend gets 3inch Flowerhorn monkey head mean with marble size hump from Bangkok and sell. he say breeding the monkey head Flowerhorn will not get hump to the babies in India. it is not possible to breed Flowerhorn in India and get hump on 3 inch babies?
<The nuchal hump is a secondary sexual characteristic of males. It develops as the fish become sexually mature, and gets bigger as the male gets older.
Genetics determines its maximum size and maximum growth rate. Poor diet (including lack of variety), poor water quality, poor water chemistry, and lack of aquarium space will all reduce growth rate of the fish, including the growth of its hump.>
please let me know is thar true? if not then guide me how to get hump on 3inch babies of Flowerhorn fish
Thanks & Regards
<Enjoy the fish for what it is. Trying to grow a fish with the biggest hump is completely pointless. Maximum hump size is a lottery because you cannot predict what genes a hybrid will carry. Instead provide the best conditions for your fish, and enjoy him for what he is. Cheers, Neale.>

help! our fish is scared of us! 11/5/10
our fish has develop this reaction whenever we go near its tank...it would swim to a corner like its scared of us...sometimes it would charge at the glass as if attacking us. he hurt himself doing this though! he'd jump so that he would hit the aquarium cover and get gashed.
we don't know what to do...we cleaned the tank..kept temp, ph, ammonia levels checked.
we feed him cichlid gold pellets and he wont eat it unless were away from the aquarium...then we'll hear a splash...like he would grab the food and bolt away.
<Hello Tina. Fish do become nervous if water quality isn't good, so double check that. Non-zero levels of ammonia and nitrite irritate or stress fish, and in turn that triggers their fight-or-flight response. Sudden pH changes can do the same thing, so again, double check that. Make sure water chemistry is right for the species being kept. You haven't said what fish you have, or what the water chemistry is. A South American cichlid would be happy with soft and acidic water chemistry, but an cichlid from the Rift Valley lakes would be stressed by those conditions. Likewise the hard water enjoyed by Mbuna would be unpleasant for cichlids from West Africa where the water is soft and acidic. If all these things are fine, then yes, check the tank for swimming space, shelter and shade. Fish will become stressed if the tank is too small; an Oscar that was happy as a baby in a 40 gallon tank will be terrified by being trapped in that once its an adult. Cichlids and in general most other fish need shade and shelter. Floating plants are very useful and help nervous fish settle down. Try a clump of floating Indian Fern and see what happens. Caves are useful, but fish will usually hide in them if they feel scared. If you have floating plants AS WELL as
caves, fish will swim in the open more because there's more shade. Dither fish are helpful in many cases, but you need a big enough tank for both dither fish and the nervous bottom-dwelling fish to be comfortable. You've given me no data at all to work with, so I really can't offer you anything more specific. Cheers, Neale.>
help! our fish is scared of us! 11/09/2010
So our ammonia <0.02 ppm;
<Needs to be zero; tank too small, fish too big, filtration inadequate, overfeeding'¦ review and correct.>
ph level is between 7.4-7.8; temperature 78*F. Its a Flowerhorn cichlid but I don't know any other specifics on that. Its about 6 inches now..in a 30 gallon tank.
<Tank is too small. This species needs 55 gallons. It is unhappy and stressed. Read:
I will get a cave and floating plant (live?) but it might crowd this the aquarium.
<Least of your problems. It needs a BIGGER aquarium.>
Thanks for your help
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>


FH, feeding as it relates to humpiness...    6/29/10
I just bought a new Flowerhorn. It has a very big head for a 5-6 inches long. Someone told me to feed him chicken liver because chicken liver is made up fat will increase his color and Nuchal hump.
<Rubbish. The size of the hump is almost entirely genetic. Since Flowerhorns are hybrids, it is very difficult to predict how large the hump will be.>
Will chicken liver kill my fish?
<Certainly is bad for them. Never, ever give mammal or bird meats to fish.
The fats in these meats congeal inside the fish, causing damage to their blood vessels. The exception is cardiac tissue, such as beef heart, but this should be used very sparingly, perhaps once a week.>
Do you know it will help the Nuchal hump to grow bigger?
<Nothing. It will get as big as its genes allow. Good water quality, a big aquarium, regular water changes, the right water chemistry all improve the chances of healthy development.
There are NO wonder foods that make cichlid humps bigger. Any food that says it will do that is a CON.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: re:
Thank you for your help. I appreciate for the information on my Flowerhorn.
<A pleasure to help. Cheers, Neale.>

FH stunted growth 4/26/10
Hi, Just recently acquired a Flowerhorn Thai Zz at a very low price. My only concern is that it's 8 months old and it's 4"-5"?? the dealer said it's because he kept it in a smaller tank and if I put in a larger tank (currently in a 40 gallon tank) that I would still grow bigger. Is this true or has the Flowerhorn's growth been stunted and won't grow anymore.
Ingram Lim
<Your Flowerhorn will not grow much more, no matter what you do. While fish grow throughout their lives, they grow fastest when they are young. So a large cichlid species will typically grow very fast for the first 6 months, a bit slower for the next 6 months, and very very slowly across the next 10 or more years. Your specimen may grow a few percent, but it will never reach the same size as it would have done had it been kept in a big tank.
Flowerhorn Cichlids need about 75 gallons, and if you want to grow a specimen to its maximum size, you will put it into a tank this size as early as possible, ideally when it is less than 6 months old. Do read:
Cheers, Neale.>

Urgent reply please
Fighting FHs    4/6/10

Actually I have a pair of FH which had bred day before yesterday and now when I returned home from college I found them fighting very badly.
<Yes, happens in tanks the cichlids deem too small. As I've stated repeatedly, even a single Flowerhorn needs 75 gallons, and for two specimens to coexist permanently, you'll need several times that much water.>
The male is twice as big as the female, it took me 15 days to leave them together and they seemed to be getting along.
<Famous last words.>
Now the female is getting too aggressive and she has bit the male on his scales and the are biting each other's mouths.
<What they do.>
The male is not aggressive at all.
<Separate them. Use egg-crate to form a divider so they can see each other but water can mix freely. Do buy or borrow a copy of 'The Cichlid Aquarium' by Paul Loiselle and READ this book from cover to cover, especially the sections on behaviour and breeding. You can't expect to breed aggressive cichlids such as Central American cichlids without this sort of problem.
You need a very big aquarium to leave them together permanently, realistically 200 gallons. Otherwise maintain in their own 75 gallon tanks, and put together for spawning, and then rear the eggs yourself.>
Please help and reply soon.
<Cheers, Neale.>

FH behaviour
Flowerhorn Sex  2/10/10

Hello crew Musa here. I'm very thankful to you people in raising my Flowerhorn.
Actually my problem is that my FH is 5.5 inches long, it is developing its hump.
The shopkeeper said he(Flowerhorn) is a male because it has a hump. But since last week my FH has started to pick stones in its mouth and transport them to other side. Today I asked my friend about it and he said that its
definitely a female. Please help me out in this and also tell me the reason behind the transport of stones. Thank you very much.
< Your Flowerhorn is probably a male. He has started to mature and get his hump. He is also starting to set up a territory by rearranging the tank to his liking.-Chuck>

Flower horn acting strange  -- 01/29/10
Hello crew,
I'm Musa,
I have a FH of 4.5 inches. Since last week he has started a strange behaviour of picking up stones in his mouth and spitting it away, he dug and made a circle with no stones in it.
When I asked about it to the seller, he told that SHE is ready to breed.
He has a hump on his head, so I thought that he is a Male.
Please explain in details and Thank you very much.
<Hello Musa, your Flowerhorn is acting normally. Even if "he" has a nuchal hump "he" could be a female, usually breeders keep on trying to improve the fish qualities focusing on bigger hump on the head, colours, black marks on the body and so. Perhaps you have fishes selected mostly for bigger hump, also the female has the hump, maybe smaller from one of the male. What do they eat? Protein food is the main dish? This could be another reason for the nuchal hump, a fat store. Remember to offer them some vegetable matter, boiled zucchini, Spirulina flakes, veggie sticks. Probably your seller is right, your Flowerhorn wants to build a nest: he or she cleans a big area in the sand, transporting away anything he/she doesn't like. Both sexes work in it. The egg are laid on a flat surface, a big rock, a glass, the bottom of the tank, a driftwood, female has the task of take care of them while the male patrols the territory. The eggs are moved very frequently to secure them. Musa you have only to wait! Tell us the end of the story.
Daniela Rizzo>

Flowerhorn hump -- 1/22/10
Hello Melinda,
Musa here,
I wanted to know whether there is any way to make the hump of FH bigger.
Are the following ways correct?
1. Applying a partition in middle of the tank and a fish on the other side.
2. Partition with a female Flowerhorn on other side.
3. Putting a mirror in the tank.
4. Increasing the temperature of the water.
5. By getting more involved in sex.
Thank you very much.
<The size of the hump is related primarily to genetics and secondarily to the overall health of the fish. If you want a Flowerhorn with a big hump, first buy one with parents and grandparents that had big humps. (Don't forget, the gene for a big hump can come from the mother, just as the gene for a big penis on a human can come from that man's mother.) Even with the right genes, if you keep your Flowerhorn badly, it will not develop to the best of its potential. So aim for a balanced diet of meaty and green foods, clean water, the right temperature, and the right water chemistry.
EVERYTHING else said about these fish with regard to hump size is sheer myth. Cheers, Neale.

Re Flowerhorn
Flowerhorn Development -- 1/8/10

Hi Chuck Thanks for the prompt reply regarding my previous query. I would like to know whether is there any specific age as to when a good genetically Flowerhorn will start developing nuchal hump. I know the hump is largely dependant on genetically quality and water parameters. But is there any age of the fish when he will start developing the hump. Thanks in advance
<Secondary sexual characteristics are dependent on age, water quality, temperature and diet. These fish are usually fully mature at about 2 years at normal conditions. Nitrogenous wastes like ammonia, nitrites and nitrates will effect the growth and development of fish so you want to keep them as low as possible. By keeping the water temp at 82 F you will be maximizing the growth rate. A quality diet high in protein (30-50 %) should get you fish to its maximum potential. These fish get about 10 inches or so depending on the sex. When they start to mature then they may start to show the hump, which is a fatty tissue.-Chuck>

Hi. FH... hump...   1/5/10
I have two Red flower horn fishes. Both of them have grown nicely since I bought them. The problem is, their hump are too flat.
<Not much to do re... genetics mostly, some aspects of development (nutrition...)>
They are almost 15-20 centimeters now. I feed them with prawn and food pellets. Is there any special food that can be used to get good hump for them?
Please suggest.
Thank you.
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/flowerhornfdgfaq.htm
Bob Fenner>

Flowerhorn poo -- 12/15/09
I have a Flowerhorn 5 inches long. He is in 20 gallon tank with power filter, sponge filter .
<Too small.>
I offer him ocean free xo humpy, red chili pellets. I use a bare bottom tank with some pebbles to play with.
<Play? He doesn't play. He couldn't care less. Choose a substrate that darkens the tank. If the tank is shiny or bright underneath, the cichlid will "fade" his colours and not look as pretty. Cichlids are prettiest in DARK tanks with DARK substrates.>
I have a heater in the tank and it is at 26 degrees. I changed the full water 1 day back and I had feed him with fresh small prawns only in small quantity about 10 to 12 in nos.
<Use prawns sparingly. They contain a lot of thiaminase, so used more than 2-3 times per week could cause long term problems. Remember, whole prawns, not shelled prawns, are better. The calcium in their shells is very helpful.>
Problem with my Flowerhorn is it is mostly sitting in corner of the tank .
Whenever I approach the tank I do not see the normal behaviour like finger following or aggression. Kept him hungry for 1 day and then Fed him with one or two pellets he ate them but after that sat in the corner.
<Have you read the articles about Flowerhorns we've already mentioned?
These fish need lots of space, a good water current, and preferably a dark substrate and some floating plants (e.g., Indian Fern). If the tank is small, if water quality is not good, if water chemistry is wrong, the fish will not behave properly. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Flower horn doesn't eat pellets -- 12/14/09
What should I do to increase the hump of my Flowerhorn
<Nothing. It's all genetic. Since these are hybrids, unless you've seen the parents, you can't predict how big the "hump" will get. Old males have the biggest humps, but this varies. Lots of myths exist about making bigger humps: certain foods or putting mirrors by the tank to make them more aggressive for example. All utter rubbish.
Cheers, Neale.>

Flowerhorn acting strange -- 12/14/09
I got two flowerhorns,
<One fish per aquarium, I hope. Allow at least 55 gallons, ideally 75 gallons, per fish. Do read here:
in a tank of size-18 inches its length, 12 inches its height and 9 inches its breadth.
<Too small.>
I got two questions to ask.
1-why does my Flowerhorn floats on top of the tank? its happening since I changed the water in the tank
<Almost certainly bad water quality.>
2-Can u tell me which breed it belongs to?
<No. These fish are hybrids; there are no "breeds". They do not breed true.
You get what you pay for. Unless you have seen the parents, you can have no idea what your juveniles will grow into.>
Thank you.
<Cheers, Neale.>

My new Mate Rosi (FH), gen. care, training   12/12/09
Hi there
I am a Newbie in taking care of Flowerhorn. One week ago I have bought 2'' Short-body Flowerhorn. Initially he was under stress and not eating properly. As days go, he is getting better. Now he is eating normally and active. I'm so happy of it.
What should I do to enhance his color and body?
<Ensure the aquarium is well maintained. Almost all the colour in a Flowerhorn cichlid is "programmed" into the fish by its genes. There is NOTHING you can do to make them better. But there ARE things you can do that will make their colours WORSE. These including poor water quality, the wrong water chemistry, a diet that isn't properly balanced in terms of animal and plant foods. Because these fish are hybrids, you cannot predict their colours. If you have seen the parents, then its colours will be somewhere in between. Do read here:
Please also tell me how to train him to follow my fingers and to jump for food.
<Jump for food? Never heard about that. Adult males follow fingers because they are being aggressive. They aren't "trained" to do it. It's instinct. If the fish is male, and if he decides your finger is a threat, he will come to the front of the tank and try and bite it. Simple as that. Otherwise, behaviour is much like other large cichlids. These fish aren't as intelligent as Oscars though.>
<Cheers, Neale.> 

Flowerhorn colour queries   12/7/09
Hi WWM crew
I have a Flowerhorn about 4 inches. Must be approx 6-7 mth old.
<They grow fast, don't they!>
My query is that does the colour of the Flowerhorn intensifies as the Flowerhorn ages.
<Not really. It's mostly down to genes, good environmental conditions, and a balanced diet.>
Also does the hump start to develop after the growth of the Flowerhorn is sustained. Is it true.
<Again, no, it's largely down to genes. A common myth is certain foods make the hump grow; they do not. Give your Flowerhorn a big aquarium with good water quality, the right water chemistry, and a diet containing at least
some plant and crustacean foods, and you will get the best from your fish that its genes allow. Do read here:
Cheers, Neale.>

Male Cichlid Beating On Female Cichlid, FHs    12/6/09
Hello, can you please help me. my female Flowerhorn was attacked by my male Flowerhorn. so I removed the female Flowerhorn from the tank. now she is badly injured and can hardly move around. Do you know if there is anything I can do, to help nurse my female Flowerhorn back to health. Thank You.
< Usually the female is smaller than the male. Experienced cichlid keepers place a piece of plastic pipe that is only big enough to allow the female in and not the male. This gives the female a place to escape from a eager
male looking to breed. In the wild the male is looking for a female willing to spawn with him. He chases or kills the unwilling females and tries to attract another that will. If the pipe is not too attractive then others have been using ZooMed Aquarium Logs too. These have the additional advantage in that they float and allow the female a chance to get to food more easily. Now that the female is damaged you need to carefully nurse her back to health. Luckily cichlids are pretty hardy creatures and things may not seem as bad as they first appear. First keep the water very clean. High nitrogenous waste levels will lead to diseases that will kill if going untreated. Do lots of water changes and keep up on the filter cleaning.
Treat with an antibiotic called Nitrofuranace. It will work against disease causing bacteria and fungi. Add a little salt to the water. This will put a slime on the fish to keep parasites off. Look at some of the water conditioners that have some sort of wound control. Use these when changing water. When your fish acts hungry then go ahead and feed her. Good luck.-Chuck>

Flowerhorn colour queries -- 11/10/09
Hi WWM Crew
I am having a Flowerhorn about 4 inches from tip to toe. I would like to ask you that does keeping a mirror in the tank for about 2 hours help in giving a Flowerhorn good colours.
<A mirror will not do this. All a mirror will do is annoy the fish.>
Further my Flowerhorn is not that red coloured.
<These are hybrid fish and there is much variation. Genetics is the single biggest factor. Most Flowerhorn cichlids are farmed and the colours will not necessarily be very good. You may be lucky... or you may not! You get the best colours from keeping water quality and water chemistry optimal. A diet rich in algae and crustaceans also helps. But understand this: with Flowerhorn cichlids, there is nothing, NOTHING, you can do to make the fish more colourful than its genes will allow. Talk about mirrors, special "magic" foods, and so on is all rubbish.>
Shall I keep a white aquarium light or keeping a Hitachi fluorescent tube will help in growth of the colours of Flowerhorn.
<Strong lighting makes fish "fade" their colours. Add floating plants to produce shade. Use a dark substrate as well. Don't use a colourful substrate.>
Secondly is it mandatory to keep the heater in the Flowerhorn tank or these fishes can be raised without heater also.
<Must have a heater. Do read here:
Cheers, Neale.>

Aggressive Flowerhorn   10/7/09
Hi WWM Crew! This is the most helpful site I've ever visited so far when it comes to Flowerhorn fish! Great job!
<Kind of you to say so.>
I'm Steve from Philippines, and I have a few questions regarding my FH.
First, I bought my FH about few days ago and it's about 4 inches with its head now starting to develop its hump, can anyone please give an idea even just for the estimated age of my FH for its size?
<Likely 6 months old. Obviously, you cannot sex them at this size, so your fish might be a girl, might be a boy. Juvenile Flowerhorn cichlids look *exactly* the same. Do read here:
and secondly, I want my FH to be very aggressive but for every time that i went home from work, I always found it just on the corner of the tank.
<Sounds scared. Does it have a cave? Is the tank big enough? Is water quality good? Flowerhorn cichlids need, at minimum, a 55 gallon tank and realistically a 75 gallon tank. The filter should be mature and rated at
not less than 6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour (i.e., for a 75 gallon tank, the filter would be rated at 450 gallons per hour.
Water chemistry should be hard and basic (10+ degrees dH, pH 7-8). Like all cichlids, they appreciate floating plants, and a cave (such as a flowerpot) will be needed for the fish to feel secure.>
What I'm doing now is to put a mirror beside the tank for a about an hour at least twice a day (morning and evening) and it keeps on trying to get it out of his sight.
<Then remove the mirror. Why stress the fish?>
What I've read is that it only not helps the FH to develop its head but also helps him to be more aggressive.
<This is nonsense. The hump grows depending on genes. How aggressive the fish is makes NO DIFFERENCE. Why would it? Think about this scientifically for a few seconds. If I became more aggressive, would my secondary male characteristics become more enhanced? Would my beard grow faster? Would my voice get deeper? Of course not. I suppose this idea came from the same "box of crazy ideas" from whence the idea Flowerhorn cichlids bring good luck to their owners. They don't. They're just hybrid cichlids, nothing special or magical.>
My other question is what kind of fish do I have to put in the tank with him in order for him to be more aggressive?
<None. You cannot keep other fish with Flowerhorn cichlids, and you DO NOT want to make him more aggressive. There's no point, and it would only stress your poor fish.>
They said that you can put a parrot fish with him so he can practice fighting with that fish since parrot fish doesn't fight back.
<Flowerhorn cichlids can (and will) kill Blood Parrot cichlids.>
Please help me which of the things I've said will be more effective in order for my FH to be more aggressive.
<Why...? Why...?>
Thanks in advance to all you guys! More power WWM.
<Thank you.>
God Bless!..
<If there is a God, I'm not sure he/she would be wild about the idea of keeping animals for the sake of making them stressed and angry. Think about what you're doing. Give your Flowerhorn a good home and treat him well.
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Aggressive Flowerhorn  10/8/09
Great!! Thank you so much Neale, you cleared up my mind from all that crazy ideas!..
<Then my work here is done...>
More power WWM and God bless WWM Crews. -Steve
<Thank you for your kind words. Good luck, Neale.>

Flowerhorn cichlid (small tank, lack of growth)  9/23/09
i have been having a flower horn for 5 months but it still is very small......about 10 cm.
<For a five-month old Flowerhorn that isn't a bad size. In fact, it will likely take between one and two years for a Flowerhorn to reach full size.>
when i bought it it was around 6 cm. my tank is 3feet long
<Your tank is too small. Cichlids grow best when given optimal water conditions. In particular, nitrate has a very pronounced impact on their health and growth rate. While cichlids don't become stunted in small tanks,
other issues such as Hexamita infections can cause overall poor health, and this can indeed slow down their growth rate. Flowerhorn cichlids reach an adult size of at least 30 cm/12 inches, and such fish need aquaria
measuring 210 l/55 gallons. You also need to be providing hard, basic water (aim for 10+ degrees dH, pH 7.5 to 8). Water quality must be excellent, zero ammonia, zero nitrite, and nitrate levels below 20 mg/l. A middling temperature of 25 degrees C/77 degrees F is also important. If the water is too warm, then oxygenation of the water becomes an issue, and if the water is too cold, their immune response weakens. They are much like other Central American cichlids, so reviewing the needs of those fish will be informative.
Since Flowerhorn cichlids are hybrids, there are no certainties over what colours or final size a particular juvenile will acquire. To some degree "you get what you pay for" and juveniles from good parents, which are likely to become good fish themselves, will be expensive (at least in those parts of the world where Flowerhorn cichlids are popular). Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Flowerhorn cichlid (small tank, lack of growth) -- 09/25/09
Feeder Fish
Can I feed live fish to my Flowerhorn?
<In the wild, fish eat each other all the time. In the aquarium, this is not such a good idea. Feeder goldfish, minnows, guppies shiners, etc...are raised in very poor conditions and usually are heavily infested with parasites. When these fish are introduced to your aquarium they then can make your Flowerhorn sick. I would first feed your Flowerhorn a very high quality pellet food. In the mean time set up a quarantine tank. Put the feeders in the quarantine tank and treat accordingly. When the fish are parasite free for two weeks then offer them as an occasional feeder as a "treat". Feed the feeders a very high quality flake food. This makes the feeders more nutritious too.-Chuck>

My FH wish to hiding   7/30/09
hi dear Crew
I have an male FH with about 15cm length
1 month ago I bought him, he was very active in seller's tank but since he came to my tank , he wishes to be hide. please help me to make him aggressor, what do I do?
<Flowerhorn Cichlids are large fish, and the most common reason they become shy is that the aquarium is too small. Flowerhorn cichlids will need a tank at least 210 litres/55 gallons in size. They also need good water quality and the right water chemistry. You need 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite, and the nitrate should be less than 20 mg/l. Water chemistry needs to be hard and alkaline. Aim for pH 7.5 to 8, general hardness 10+
degrees dH. Water temperature should be middling, around 25 C/77 F. So, check that you are providing the right conditions. Diet should be varied.
While good quality pellets are important (e.g., Hikari Cichlid Gold) they also need some invertebrates and plant material to ensure sufficient fibre.
Small snails, brine shrimp, earthworms, and cooked peas are all good. Do not ever feed them live fish! This is very risky because of fat, thiaminase, and parasites. Flowerhorns are best kept singly, and do not mix
well with other fish. Cheers, Neale.>

Flower Horn Behaviour   7/23/09
Hello, a little background first before my question. My setup at this moment is a 55GL tank with a pair of FH, natural gravel, caves, hiding places, PH is stable at 7.5, their sizes are 7" the male and 5" the female,
they have laid eggs and successfully hatched them twice, their diet is Hikari Gold, Spectrum and dry shrimp. I have had several Flowerhorns besides this successful pair which display their normal behaviour ( lip locking,
chasing each other, tail slapping, etc, etc.) and this pair are not the exception. They are not separated and they never had.
<Do keep your eyes on them... not hard for real damage to be done...>
But there is a particular behaviour that I have not been able to find a why in any forum and I wanted to see if I'm the only one that seem to experience this or there is other FH owners that have had this happened to
them and that is, " every time I do a 30% water change, which I do every week, along with the filter and gravel cleaning their aggressive behaviour tours each other is so intense that I think their going to kill each other" this only happens with water changes and all water changes ,no exceptions.
Can anybody tell me why could this be happening.
Manny Vivero
<I am guessing that the water change triggers something similar in their "natural behavioral regimen" re spawning... and that the extremeness you are observing is intensified by their being so proximal; in such small quarters. Again, I would either keep them separated except during planned spawns, or at least put them in a larger setting (six foot instead of the present four foot). Bob Fenner>

problem with my FH
Skittish Cichlids  5/10/09

Hi, I recently bought a 3 inch Flowerhorn which I have kept along with a pair of 3 inch green terrors. They are doing quite fine together and do not seem to be fighting at all. I also have a pair of 1 1/2 inch blue morphs which seem to be dominating the 3 inch green terrors!!!!!!!
The problem I am having is that the terrors were always scared of me and used to go into hiding as soon as I came near the tank. Now the FH follows them every time they go hide and so I don't get to see any of them. What do you suggest I do?
< The fish are startled by sudden movements and seek refuge because they think you are a predator. Add some dither fish like barbs or Danios so they add some movement to the tank but won't be eaten by the cichlids.>
Secondly, I read in one of your threads that a FH gets its hump when it reaches 8 inches or so but recently I visited a shop where they were selling a 2 inch FH with an amazing hump and it was priced at 3000 Indian rupees!
How is this possible? Thanks, Samuel
<This is not a natural occurrence and could be a mutation thus the rather high price. Since this fish does not exist in nature it doesn't surprise me that hormones and chemicals can alter the morphology of young fish at any age. If someone pays the price then that will encourage more of these fish to be produced.-Chuck>

Re: Ask a question... FH beh.    5/1/09
my Flowerhorn is about 3 inches. may i know how old it is?
<A few months, perhaps 6 months? Difficult to say without knowing things like water temperature, diet and water quality since these factors affect growth rate. Genetics plays a role, too, and male cichlids tend to grow faster than females. Cheers, Neale.>

Ask a question... NNS, FH... beh.    5/2/09
hey my Flowerhorn is about 2.5 inches long and probably 6 months old. will it have exactly the same colour pattern when it grows big? at the moment it doesn't seem to have a lot of red colour. Thanks
<Flowerhorn cichlids are hybrids, and that means it's very difficult to predict anything much about them. Colours do vary a great deal, particularly among the less expensive fish. The best you can do is provide optimal water quality; the right water chemistry; a varied diet that contains both algae and crustaceans; and an environment with a dark-coloured substrate and plenty of shade. All of these factors will improve the colours of your fish. Cheers, Neale.>

Flowerhorn growth and survival rate???   1/8/09 I am a master student of fishery, and now I have a thesis in the title of "comparing growth and survival rates of Flowerhorn fingerling by feeding on different ratios of earthworm, Artemia and artificial feed" I want some information about Flowerhorns. I wanna know if I wanna use the combination of these feed (earthworm, Artemia and artificial feed) what is the best ratio of these three feed to have the maximum growth speed of this fish???my fish is 1 gram and I should observe its growth for 2 month. I want these information for these 2 months I would be glad if you give me information about speed of growth in these 2 months for each of these feed separately, I should have a diagram of its growth in these 2 months for each of these feed and for the combination of them (4 diagram)?? tanxxxxxxx <Hello. We all "want information" but unfortunately the only way to earn your Masters Degree is to actually do the work yourself. I got my PhD the traditional way, by doing experiments and collecting data. I suggest you do the same for your MSc. What I suggest you do is run an experiment across two months with a sufficiently large number of juvenile fish that your results will be statistically significant. Feed each fish a specific combinations of foods, and then measure its growth rate. After two months, you will have precisely the data you need. You can compare the growth rates of the 10 fish fed one combination against 10 fish fed another combination. Lo and behold, the science will be done! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Flowerhorn growth and survival rate??? 01/09/09 hi you are right but here in my country it is very difficult to find this fish tanx for your guidelines <You can't get Flowerhorns in your part of the world? No great loss! There are plenty of alternatives among the Cichlidae, with Convict Cichlids in particular being very well suited to laboratory work. Have been widely used in labs for 60+ years. Much literature on them, both scientific and hobbyist. Edible cichlid species, particularly Tilapiines, are also much used in labs, and much written about. You might look around your part of the world for native cichlids: most work on cichlids has concentrated on the African and American species, but the Madagascan, Levantine, Iranian, and South Asian species are interesting and not at all well studied. This would make them great subjects for MSc or PhD research, where originality is everything. Cheers, Neale.>

Flowerhorn being aggressive - 12/06/08 Dear Sir, <Big Z> My 4 inch Flowerhorn is at times being too aggressive and at times too shy. <What they do> what might b the problem...he just starts swimming aggressively here and there and bumps his head on the tank whenever sum1 <...> moves around. he even broke the thermometer in the tank and keeps on pushing the oxygen pipe. further he eats less now a days but is still healthy... Regards, Zolwala <Is the nature of this cross really... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/flowerhornbehfaq.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Juvenile Flowerhorns peculiar behaviour 9/14/08
Flower Horns Lost Their Color

Hi ,I've been reading your website for a few days trying to find a solution for my problem. A couple weeks back I bought a couple of juvenile flower horns (2.5 inch each) from my LFS. He assured me that 1 was a male & the other a female. They were both pearl silver/grey with black markings, and neither had a hump. When I brought them home, I placed them in my 30 gallon tank with a divider in between.
My tank has dark red gravel & no other decorations. The tank has no background & is next to the window where there is indirect sunlight all day. Immediately both of them turned dark brown/grey in color. There is good filtration and I do weekly 20-25% water changes.
I feed them regularly with flakes, blood worms, etc. They are active but the color is not changing back. On 1 of them the colour is a lighter shade of brown now but not the original pearl silver grey. Another peculiar thing I've noticed is that they are behaving like they are spawning. I've checked for parasites & flukes but cant find any. Any help will be appreciated.Regards,Frz
<Stressed fish will not be very colorful. They have no place to hide and probably feel threatened by each other. I would recommend getting hood or hoods with a fluorescent lamp. Use a daylight color temp of around 6500 K. Start to feed a high quality pellet food with lots of shrimp in it. Make sure the water temp is up around 82 F. You should start to see some improvement in the colors. If not then add some caves or decorations to give them something to hide behind when they feel scared.-Chuck>

Re: Juvenile Flowerhorns peculiar behaviour   9/16/08 Flower Horns Losing Color II Thanks chuck.. but how do v explain the peculiar thing I've noticed is that they are behaving like they are spawning Rgds,frz < Spawning behaviour would include lip locking, flaring of fins, cleaning an area and digging in the sand. Usually fish get more colorful when they spawn. At 2.5 inches they may still be a little to young to spawn.-Chuck.>

Re: Juvenile Flowerhorns peculiar behaviour-my flower horns are still brown Brown Flower Horns With No Color 9/18/08 Flower Horns, Hi again. My flower horns are still brown. I have done the following as per your advice * Changed the hood. < A hood is a good idea. It keeps fish from jumping out and controls some of the ambient light entering the tank. Hopefully you added the florescent light with the right color temp. too.> * Started feeding shrimp [one of the two FH refuse to eat it, whole or diced] < Shrimp is a part of a very good diet for your fish. Offer the shrimp once each day. Leave it in the tank for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes remove any uneaten shrimp. They will eat it in a few days. I would still try a commercial pelleted food with shrimp in it.> *Added caves. <Giving them a spot to hide will give them a place to retreat from any perceived threats and make them feel more comfortable.> I'm quite worried as both the flower horns are still brown, in fact they are extremely jittery & scared every time I approach them to feed or clean the tank or change water. I've even moved the tank to get direct sunlight in the tank. < Moving the tank will be very stressful on these fish and it will take a while for them to calm down.> Dose having no background make a difference? <If the aquarium is in an are with lots of foot traffic close by then a background will help darken the tank and block out some of the external distractions that may be adding to the stress of the fish.-Chuck> any help is appreciated rgds,frz

Bigger Better Flowerhorns   4/24/08 I have 6 Flowerhorns and I was wondering how come they don't have humps at all? I asked the store where I bought it from, he told me that he never fed it hormones, so today decided to buy hormones which where called super luohan. I waned to ask for your opinion if that product really works? The store told me that it will help the Flowerhorn grow hiss head. Is that true? I also bought another product FAST COLOUR for enhancing there color. What other product do you recommend in buying for my Flowerhorn to grow there head? What live food should I feed it? What other strategies should I use for it to grow? Is there any specific way to enhance their growth and color quicker? If you have any good recommendations and advice please let me know. I would like other opinions rather than hearing it from the store. Thanks for your time Chuck. < The hump on the forehead is a fat storage device for male Central American cichlids. Since the Flowerhorn is a cross between numerous species of cichlid, the mechanism for enhancing the hump should be the same. To bring out the most in both color and the hump of the male fish you need to feed you fish often with quality foods. As a base I would use the best pelleted food I could find. In the U.S.A. I would recommend Spectrum or another high quality cichlid food. I would supplement this wish my own home made fish food. The recipe can be found in a book by Ad Konings titled "Enjoying Cichlids" by Cichlid Press. It a mixture of peas and shrimp that could be modified to have more shrimp that peas to increase the protein content. I would feed it three times a day but make sure all of it is eaten in a few minutes each time. Keep the water clean with frequent water changes. Keep the nitrates under 20 ppm to keep you fish at the peak of health. Clean your filters often too. The last thing that many aquarists fail to mention is lighting. Strong bright light will bring out very vivid coloration on even very young fish. I have never tried hormones. I know that they can temporarily boost colors but soon fade when the hormones are removed.-Chuck>

FH Pairing Flowerhorns Reacting To Red Light -- 03/08/08 Hi to all the crew, I'm Lance from the Philippines, sorry if I just sent you a trial mail just now. I was trying to send you my query since this afternoon but failed so I tried to look for another way. Anyway here are my questions. I have this FH that I bought from different owners. I am not sure if the pair are male and female. I have read some of the reply that you have made to most of the people asking you and I have compared some facts regarding this issue. The other one is that I'm sure that it is a male for it's hump that is quite visible than the other one and the round shape of the body which is full. The other is with a long face and flat belly. Is this a female? < The best way to determine if you have a pair is to examine the genitals. It is also called venting. Take the fish out of the tank and look at the belly of the fish. Just at the base of the anal fin you should see two openings. If the two openings are the same size then that should be a male. If one of the openings is much larger than that should be a female. Secondary sexual characteristics would be longer more pointed fins on the male. The female would be smaller and not have a hump on her head.> This FH has been in the tank for 3 weeks now without partition. They have been able to coup with each other very well until last night that I have decided to change the light from a regular fluorescent lamp to a colored one which is RED. As soon as I have turned on the light they both became so uneasy and start biting each other. They have been biting and locked lips or jaw whatever you call them and can not separate for maybe around 10 minutes. I decided to separate them with a partition and still they are banging their heads on the glass portion as it they were attacking each other. As a result they have both scratches on their heads and lips some on the side. Anyway, I was afraid that this can lead to serious injury as one of your articles said. So what I did is that I turned OFF the RED light that I have installed and for a surprise they stopped for that behavior. I read also from your articles that this are some of the signs of mating so what I did is that I just turned off the light. I was not really convinced regarding the light so this morning I turned ON again the RED light and they went back to the attacking behavior. So my question is that does LIGHT affects FH? Specially the RED color? secondly is that the one that I have described a FEMALE? Thanks and more power on your sight, really helps people like me who are fascinated with this variety. Actually I have already 4 of them. Those pair that I put in the tank are 6 inches by the way. I'll wait for your reply, Godspeed Lance < What is very interesting about your question is the effect of red on your Flowerhorns. One of the cichlid species that makes up the Flowerhorn is the red devil. This red coloration seems to indicate dominance to other non red red devils. It appears that the red coloration projected with the red light has stimulated this behavior between your two Flowerhorns. If they are a pair and are thinking about spawning then the color of the light really shouldn't matter.-Chuck>

Flowerhorn Growth   2/3/08 Hello sir or madam, I would like to ask these questions. I know Flowerhorn is a hybrid and their growth differ from one to another within the same species. But I hope you can answer me in general. When do flowerhorns reach their max size? < Cichlids in general have a pretty good growth spurt when they are little and then start to slow down a little when they get older. They can be forced by keeping their metabolism up by keeping the water at 82 F. Any nitrogenous wastes like ammonia, nitrite and nitrate will also inhibit their growth. They will probably really start to slow down after a couple of years.> When did the hump start to grow? < The hump on the forehead is a fat storage device usually associated with males. After about 8 months when the fish 's growth starts to slow down you may start to see the beginning on the hump on the forehead.> When did they attain their max hump size? Thanks. < Probably after the they have stopped growing and all the excess food goes into fat storage and is not utilized for growth.-Chuck>

Growing  A Hump On A Flowerhorn  3/6/07 Hi Guys, This is Ramanan. Pls find the attachment of my FH. I hope it is a male b'cos of its colour. Pls help me in growing his hump. I am feeding him with XO HUMPY HEAD, E-SHRIMPS and XO STARRY. Regards Ramanan < The hump on your male Flowerhorn will increase as he ages. This is a fat storage device. I am not familiar with the food items you are currently feeding him.-Chuck>

Flowerhorn hiding in the corner. Flowerhorn Up Keep  -- 2/25/07 Hi, Your site is great and you guys are doing a great work. I have a problem with my flower horn. He is around 15-18 cm in length. I bought him a couple of weeks back and this is what I see while I observe him, 1) The fish most of the time hides in the corner of the tank. 2) If I keep a mirror he strikes at it thinking its an opponent. 3) Scratches himself on the gravel and pebbles in the aquarium. 4) Doesn't eat pellet food but eats prawns. 5) If I switch of the light he comes out and swims and that is the time when he hunts the feeding fish. 6) He generally flips his tails like shivering. I have a big tank around 150 gallons for him and I change water 40% every 10 days, I add salt and have good filtration mechanism like under gravel filter and power filter. I thought  he would be infected with parasites and so gave him salt bath dip, after that he reduced scratching himself. I do the same to feeding fish before letting them in to the tank. I have a small tank where I have the feeding fish treated before putting them into the main tank. 1)My question is, is this the normal behaviour of Flowerhorn? < Pretty much what a Flowerhorn does.> 2)He doesn't seem to be aggressive against small fishes in the tank and kills them only when hungry? < He is only not hungry when he is full.> 3) What extra I could do to improve his growth and coloration? < Stop feeding him feeder fish . Get rid of the undergravel filter. Keep the water at 80 F. Vacum the gravel while doing more water change. Add a high quality pelleted food.> 4) He eats around 1 big prawn say around 5-6 grams and not more or 10 to 14 small fishes around 0.5 to 1 cm length is it a good appetite? < His appetite is fine.> 5) I don't see him very aggressive is it that he is stressed? Please advice. Thanks & Regards, Arun < He will get more aggressive as he gets bigger.-Chuck>

Re: Flower horn hiding in the corner.  - 03/02/07 Hi Crew/Chuck, Thanks for the help. Your answers are gr8. I have few doubts; it would be great if you can answer them. 1) Why do you want me to remove the under gravel filter, any specific reason? <The undergravel filter works by pulling water through the gravel down to a filter plate. As the water passes through the gravel the bacteria living on the gravel perform the biological filtration needed to break down the fish waste. When you have fish that like to dig like cichlids, they usually expose the filter plates by digging through the gravel to establish a territory. The water now takes the path of least resistance and goes directly through the filter plate and not through the gravel. Without a current of water going through the gravel the filter is essentially useless.> 2)  Can I partition the tank and keep another small flower horn around 5-8 cm in length, I heard that they get more coloration and better hump growth when they get aggressive?( my tank dimension is ( 3.5 feet length * 1.5 feet width *2.25 feet height) < They will not develop any additional color. That is the result of conditioning and genetics. It will get them to display what colors they have more often.> 3) I use Humpy head pellets. He eats them now? < Sorry, never heard of "Humpy head Pellets". 4) Can I feed him chicken and beef heart in small pieces? < If you use a high quality food, then these items shouldn't be needed. I know long time discus keepers use to feed beef heart mixtures to discus. I would not recommend it.> 5) Is live feeding harmful other than chances of disease and parasites? < Many feeder fish have been raised in such poor conditions that they have almost no nutritional value except for being a protein source. If you take your feeder fish, treat them for diseases and feed them a high quality flake food, then they are full of vitamins and minerals and become a better food for your bigger fish.> 6) Is there any other pellet food that you can suggest me please? < I like Spectrum Food, but it not always easy to find. I use to feed MarineLand food until they quit making it.-Chuck>> I greatly appreciate your help in this regards. Thanking you once again. Regard's Arun

Flowerhorn Not Swimming Or Eating  11/12/06 Hello, I chanced upon your website while looking for a cure for my sick flower horn fish, but was unable to find any similar cases. I have a flower horn fish that is about four years old. Two weeks ago, it stopped eating, following a bout of fin rot. It no longer has fin rot, but has a swollen mouth and swims vertically, with its mouth facing the bottom of the tank. It does not have a distended body, or have any other obvious symptoms. I have tried changing the water (50% of it) every week, washing the filter, vacuuming the bottom of the tank, and putting a little salt in the water, but nothing works. It is still refusing food, and hardly swims at all. I really have no idea how to cure it or what to do to make it feel better, and am really hoping you guys could help! Thanks very much. Lirong Lim < Take him out of the water and look down his mouth for an obstruction. He may have swallowed something or something is choking him like a bit of plastic plant or wood.-Chuck>

Flowerhorn Asleep on the Job 10/11/06 hi, good day to you all. uh, my fish keeps lying on it's side (i have a Flowerhorn by the way)  but when i turn the lights on, it swims well, normally. why is that so? and my other Flowerhorn, (they are many, given to me) swims upside  down, though not most of the time. could you explain this to me too? thank you for any response on this matter. Cecille <<Please provide details of the tank, test readings (ammonia, nitrIte, nitrAte), any changes in the tank recently, and I will gladly help. Thanks. Lisa.>> Lonely Flowerhorn?  - 09/14/06 Hi! Good day to you all! I'm Cecille from the Philippines. <<Hello, Cecille. Tom from the U.S. (Michigan, specifically)>>   Uh, I have managed to put two FHs <<Flowerhorns, just so folks know, Cecille.>> together and they seemed to get along well, they do not fight, it was great. But one of my FHs died =( and its tank was emptied, and so I decided to take the other FH and place him into a tank of his own. <<Sorry to hear about your pet, Cecille.>> It's been about a day now and the other one seems to go along well. But the other one seems quite lonely to me. Is that even possible? <<In a certain sense, it is, Cecille, but not in the way that we humans feel "loneliness". Fish are creatures of habit like most all animals are and, once adapted to specific circumstances/situations, do not readily accept changes in their lives. The loss of its tank mate along with the new aquarium has, no doubt, left your Flowerhorn stressed to a degree. There was a psychological attachment there rather than an emotional attachment. In other words, the Flowerhorn you lost was part of the remaining Flowerhorn's environment and, one that it was accustomed to. Your pet's "world" changed in two ways and now it's struggling to re-adapt. In truth, if you had left it in its old tank, there probably wouldn't be as large a degree of change in his behavior.>> He just stays at the bottom of the tank and hardly eats. <<A typical reaction to change, Cecille. It happens even when it's for the better sometimes.>> Why is this so? Is he just not used to being on his own tank? Will he get used to it? <<Don't worry. As long as he's healthy, he'll adapt and come around to being himself again. Be patient and, be attentive to him. Seeing you (particularly with food he likes) will bring "normalcy" to his life again.>> Thanks in advance. Any response will do. Cecille, <<Hope this helps, Cecille. Best of luck to you. Tom>>

Sleeping Flowerhorn Night Pattern  - 07/30/06 Hi to all crews of WWM, I just want to ask about my new Flowerhorn. Is it normal that when the lights are off, (I think he is sleeping) that there are black markings in its body and a black mark around his pupil?? < Fish normally take on a different pattern when they are asleep so they are less obvious to a would be predator.> What live plants can you suggest me to put with my Flowerhorns fish? < Plastic. All others will be torn up and eaten.-Chuck > Thanks, I hope you reply soon! God Bless to your website!!

Cramped Flowerhorn 7/25/06 Today I noticed that one of my male Flowerhorn is being getting dull from several months and the size of his head is also not increasing. I have kept him in 2'L X 10"W X 1'H Tank. He is about 7 inches. I have put lights on his tank, whenever I turned on the lights his colour gets dark and when the lights are off, his colour looks good. Please help me with this. <No wonder your fish isn't well or growing properly, you have a 7", very large bodied/mass fish in a 12 gallon tank!  Check the water parameters, ammonia, nitrites, nitrates & pH.  Your fish needs a much bigger tank, it's stunting in there.  ~PP> Flowerhorn Growth Questions  - 05/13/2006 Hi again, I've some questions about flowerhorns. First, what is he ideal size (growth rate) of a Flowerhorn if he reaches 1 yr., 2 yrs., and so on? And can Flowerhorn siblings be able to mate? Thanks and more power. < At one year the average size should be 5 to 6 inches for a female and 7 to 8 inches for a male. All this is dependant on temperature, food and waste in the water. Siblings do mate.-Chuck>

Flowerhorn help PLEASE!! Hello, I think this is one of the most informative sites for Flowerhorns! I need help about my Flowerhorn (Louis). I've had him for about two wks now, and you'd think that it'll be already used to its environment. but it still gets flared black stripes. whenever someone walks in the room. I have Louis in a 10 gallon tank, with mint green rocks, and one plant/rock thing. When you peek in the room, I'll see Louis swimming around, all white with its black spots, but when he senses someone walking in the room. or coming. it darts to its rock and its stripes come out, I don't think it is hurt...it did jump out of the tank once, but even before that, the stripes would come.. what does this mean? < This is the fishes fright pattern and it is trying to blend in with its surroundings.> This is the second Flowerhorn I've had, the first one died, because it was a JUMPER and jumped out of its tank *twice.. the people who sold me the fish, never heard of Flowerhorns jumping, but so far, all the Flowerhorns I've brought home have jumped! I am considering returning him and getting more blood parrots, but I really love the way Flowerhorns look.. I am pretty frustrated! I feed my Flowerhorn floating pellets and bloodworms. PLEASE HELP! < Feed a very small amount of food every time you walk up to the tank. After a while she will associate you with food and will not be afraid any more. Try not to make too many sudden moves until your fish settles in. Give her an area to hide and she won't jump out.-Chuck> NuNu Flowerhorn pair behavior Respected sir/ madam, I recently brought a pair of flower horns from a local dealer (a male and female), male slightly bigger than the female (the male is about 8-10 cm long, the female 5-6cm long). Now I see the male attacking the female and the female has some scars on her body. should I now remove the female or is this a temporary action by the male. Hope to get a reply soon. < Remove her to another tank or he will kill her. Many times pair bonds are broken when fish are moved and need to be reestablished. Try dividing the tank and keep each one on its own side. When the female is ready to spawn she will begin to start to flare back at the male. You can try and put them together for a short time and see how it goes. Be aware that he can decide to kill her in just a few hours so only put them together when you are home watching them. Eventually when they start to breed again you can start leaving the female with the male, but there is no guarantee when large cichlids begin to breed.-Chuck> Thanking you , Rohan

Re: Separated Cichlids Respected sir/madam, I wish to thank you for giving me the solution for my problem so soon. I have as suggested by you. I have divided the tank into two by placing a glass piece in between the two, hopefully this solves the problem. One other thing I wish to ask is I was thinking of introducing a albino parrot fish with the male flower horn (of the same size), do you think its safe to do so & what are the signs to look for to separate them. Can I maintain the flower horn on dry worms alone. Well I once again thank you for your suggestion. Thanking you, < Big cichlids get very territorial, so much to the point that they don't even like some people in the same room with them. This makes them very personable but also a pain to match up with other fish. You can try and put them together. Rearrange all the decorations and put them together at night. It is best to do this if you are going to around for awhile to see how it goes. If they don't like each other you may need to get another tank. -Chuck> Rohan

Flowerhorn needs a Bigger Hump Hey there I'm a Flowerhorn fancier. I have a question. My flowerhorn's forehead isn't big enough. What should I do/feed to make it bigger? Is it okay if I put pebbles in the tank of my flower horns? Signed, Mario < The hump on the forehead of Flowerhorns depends on a few different factors. The hump is a fat storage device for many male Central American cichlids from which the Flowerhorn was derived. Genetics plays a part of which you can't do anything about. I would cool the water down to 75 to 76 degrees. This will slow down the fish's metabolism so it will start storing some food as fat. Look for high quality pelleted fish food. Many lesser foods have fillers that are not as nutritious as they could be. Washed earthworms would be good too. Don't keep him in too large a tank. The extra activity will burn up fat. I would put a half inch layer of fine sand in the bottom instead of pebbles. The sand will act as a site for the good bacteria to help break down fish waste and food won't become trapped between the pores space of the sand.-Chuck>

Cichlids Fighting But now the flower horn is just staying at the bottom of the tank with her beautiful colors in place is this a disease only Flowerhorns get or is this normal? < It is a survival tactic. To color up and move around would invite an attack by the more dominant fish.> But she still eats but then goes back down. < She still has to eat but doesn't stay out in the open any more than she has too.> And also my red devil is hurting my Oscar now because last night before I went to bed I turned of the lights of the fish tank and then I saw my red devil hurting the Oscar to the bottom all the way to the top and the Oscar is not even fighting back! I can see many scares on him right now so what do you think I should do? I'm thinking of selling him or putting him in his own little fifty gallon or if not if you can help me in stopping him from doing all this stuff so help. Sean Thanks < Big cichlids get pretty territorial. Once they get on the rampage there really isn't too much you can do but separate them. Lowering the temp may help. But the red devil will always be hard to get along with.-Chuck> 

Fighting Flowerhorn - 08/11/2005 Hello Bob. <Actually, Sabrina here, in his stead> I have a question or two about Flowerhorns.  I have three flower horns housed separately in 50gallon tanks each.  They are about 6-7inches long and 8 months old.  How do you distinguish between a male and female?   <Can be very difficult with this unnatural/man-made hybrid.> One of my flower horn has a huge nuchal hump but short fins.  One has long fins but no nuchal hump.  The third one has a nuchal hump and long fins.  All have been purchased from the same brood.   <It could be entirely possible that all are males....  or not.  Again, with no natural standard, it can be exceedingly difficult to have any sort of guideline to tell you "this is female" or "this is male" until they actually breed.> I want to breed them, but the problem is that when I put them in my 125 gallon tank all three start kicking each other.   <Could be all males, or could just be that none are willing/able to breed yet.> There are no other fishes in the tank.  I would be very thankful if you help me out. <If you are absolutely bent on breeding this hybrid, I would pick the likeliest male (long fins, obvious hump) and the likeliest female (no hump) and let 'em duke it out.  Keep in mind, if they are both males, or if they're just not as ready to breed as you are, one or both may die.  Be CERTAIN to offer PLENTY of hiding locations (PVC pipes big enough to fully hide in, rocks, plants....) for the fish to "get away" from each other.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Flowerhorn Questions  8/27/05 Hey, I got a couple questions about a flowerhorn's hump on the head.... This guy is selling a Flowerhorn online, and in the picture it has a pretty big hump, but when I finally decided to go buy it and pick it up, he told me, that since he had sold his 150gallon tank, and the fish has been in a 29gallon tank, the hump on the head has gotten "a bit smaller", but he said it will regrow in my big tank.... My questions are; 1) Does a flowerhorn's hump shrink?????? < The hump on the head is nothing more than a fat deposit that can shrink or swell depending on the diet, genetics and environment that it is kept in.> 2) Will it regrow when I put it in a larger, if it shrank? < Give it good food and clean water will definitely bring it back, maybe to the same extent that it was before depending on the age.> 3) Does the size of the tank affect the size of the fish (or hump) once it has grow to adult??? (so for example, you have a fish it grows to adult in a 150gallon tank and then u put it in a 29 gallon tank, does it size or hump shrink?)... < Larger tanks tend to be more stable than smaller tanks. Nitrates accumulate quicker in smaller tanks between water changes with bigger fish due to the dilution factor and better filtration.-Chuck> Thank You very much for reading my email I hope hear from you soon ;)

Flowerhorn Stopped Growing  9/19.5/05 I separated my Flowerhorn from each other since they were starting to be aggressive (2 out of 4 died) and one was brutally injured (I placed it in a small aquarium first) but one remained strong. The one who was in perfect condition grew rapidly but the one who was injured stopped it's growth for about 2 months already. It's now in a big aquarium but it is still not growing. It has a very low appetite and would not even eat pellets but choose to eat insects of different kinds instead. What should I do for it to grow bigger again. <First, if this is a female it may not grow as large as a male. Also, it's normal for the fish to stop growing if stressed from a bad injury or aggression. For now I would keep it in a low aggression tank. Give it time and plenty of water changes. Insects are a fine natural food for a cichlid. But too many with hard shells can cause digestive problems. Earthworms would be better. You can wean him her back to pellets after it's appetite returns. Don>

Flowerhorn Cichlids Don't Have Color   2/10/06 Hi! I'm Joan from the Philippines.  My husband and I are newbies in FH care.  We have 2 Flowerhorns that are almost 1 year old.  The thing is, both their colors are not as vibrant as other Flowerhorns that I see in the website.  They are mostly black with red along the gills but that's it.  I did some research but nothing that can possibly answer specifically to my problem.  1.What can I do/feed my FH to make their colors change? (the aquariums have coral backgrounds.  No gravels or sand. No decorations either.) < A Flowerhorn is a hybrid of three different cichlid species. Their colors can range from grey to bright red. This is determined by the genetics of the parents. If your fish do not contain the correct genes then they will never look like the web site photos.> 2. Can it still be remedied? They are almost 1 year already.  3. One of the FH's aquarium water becomes greenish in color after a few days.  What causes these things? (note: the aquarium is not in direct sunlight). < You can enhance what color they do have with good nutrition, but you cannot create color on a fish. The green water may be from the food or high nitrates in the water.-Chuck>

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