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FAQs on the Flowerhorn Cichlid Selection

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 Behavior, Flowerhorn Compatibility, 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

Some cichlids can be purchased as "mated pairs"... most of the time, it is best to raise a batch yourself, have them choose, grow together over time.

1st International Flowerhorn Show in Singapore 4/15/12
Flowerhorns from the region were in town for the show.
Judging standards -
Overall impression 15.00
Head growth 20.00
Face and eyes 5.00
Body shape 20.00
Flower markings 5.00
Pearl 10.00
Color 10.00
Finnage and tail 15.00
Total 100.00
<Thanks for sending all along Per. B>
Grand champion, Class C 1st, Class B 1st, Class A 1st.

11th Pramong Nomjai Thai Tuala Show   4/2/12
This Flowerhorn was a prize winner in the short body category.
<Ohhh, I'm getting a headache! B>

FH question, stkg./sel.    7/12/11
Hi there! I've been searching all over the net for answers to my flower-horn question and may have found an answer but I'm not to sure. I have a huge tank (130 Gal). At the time it housed one full grown FH, 2 small algae eaters, 2 small cichlids and a rope fish.
<Am wondering how the poor Rope gets enough to eat here!>
About 2 weeks ago a friend gave me her female FH to add to my tank. Within the first 3 days she laid eggs. My FH didn't respond to her and the eggs were eaten by the algae eater. Now here is my problem, Since adding the female my male FH hunger slowly decreased and now he doesn't eat at all. He will chase the female away from the food, trying to prevent her from eating.
<I would remove or at least separate the new/female and older male Flowerhorn... They need to be introduced to each other slowly>
They don't fight anymore ( they did at first for the first couple of days)
I don't want to lose my male FH. Should I remove the female or do you think if I give it more time his hunger will come back. Thank you for taking the time to view my email. Krissy
<I would remove the female. Bob Fenner>

Hi Neale!!!!
I recently purchased a Thai Silk which is 3.5" from a well known aquarium shop in my city, the fish is amazing and has nice features, its got a big bubble head too,
<Yes, I see.>
however I am worried after a recent chat I had with another aquarium store owner, he said that the fish that I have has been injected with silicon gel in its head
which is used by the local aquarium shop so that the fish head looks big and can be sold at heavy price and after few days my fish head is going to disappear even if I feed him best of food and its never going to come back to normal again,
<Indeed, the silicone could easily leak out, and deflate the nuchal hump.>
I have almost paid more than $200.00 for my FH which is quite expensive
<I'll say.>
for a fish in my city, my concern is what if the head size goes down in spite me feeding it well and maintaining good water conditions, right now I am feeding it Grand sumo red and chingmix head booster, can you please advice me some tips on this please.
<Do read here:
Nothing more to add beyond that! Despite the myth, there's no special foods that make their humps bigger or their colours brighter, though feeding crustaceans, plants and algae will ensure they have the best colours their genes allow. Foods advertised as "head booster" are lying to you, because they will do no such thing. Colour-enhancing foods enhance mostly red, and do this with beta-carotene, and this comes from crustaceans. Nothing magical about fish food for Parrot/Flowerhorn cichlids except marketing!>
Thank you.
<Good luck, 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.>

Flowerhorns, sel.   4/15/09
Hi, bought a Flowerhorn from an internet website its a zz malau it does not look like the picture of the fish I bought.
<You might bring this up with the shipper>
Its red brown color not green. Its not as pearly as the picture and the mouth looks bigger. I was told I was getting the exact fish in the picture, I had read that they can change colors.
I thought the fish might have changed its colors because of stress. I have two other Flowerhorns I bought they are brown color. Is there a brown low grade flowerhorn? i read that there are some Flowerhorns that are not good grade that are brown? i have been buying from internet I have a small fortune in flowerhorns. I would like to know for buying other Flowerhorns.
<I'd be sending your note, with some photos, to others who specialize in keeping this cichlid hybrid. Bob Fenner>

Purchasing Flowerhorn   11/3/07 Dear WWM Crew, I have been keeping a community aquarium for about 4 years now and have got a fair amount of success with it. Thanks to you people. <You're welcome!> I saw a Flowerhorn last month and have been researching on it ever since. <Hmm... understand it cannot go into your community tank.> I have got a 50g tank with a heater, filter and other necessary stuff. <50 US gallons or Imperial gallons? Either way, likely not enough space. 50 US gallons is a mere 190 litres and way too small a tank for a cichlid that normally exceeds 30 cm in length and can be quite a bit bigger. 50 Imperial gallons is about 230 litres, which is only marginally better. Realistically, these fish need around 500 litres of space (130 US gallons, 110 Imperial gallons). They are also destructive fish. Heaters need to be protected by a heater guard or (ideally) placed inside the filter. Obviously you need a massive filter for a tank this size and for fish this messy.> Now I would like to buy a Flowerhorn for my tank and was having a few queries. 1) What is the ideal size/age to buy a Flowerhorn? <Same as most other cichlids: not so small they're still delicate fry, but big enough they are adaptable and willing to eat the foods on offer. I'd suggest something in the 8-15 cm size bracket.> 2) Will a 6-7 inch Flowerhorn be okay for my tank? <For a while, maybe. But since they get twice that big (and therefore 8 times the mass) your 50 gallon tank will be viable for maybe 12 months.> 3) I know the hump is a fat storage, but at what size/age does it start developing? <It isn't for fat storage, although it is made from fat. It's a secondary sexual characteristic. The males develop them to show to females they can afford to "waste" energy on a functionless organ. This reveals to the female the quality of their genes, which in turn makes the males more attractive mates. Being hybrids, Flowerhorns have no "definitive" growth pattern like true species, so while you should see the hump develop within the first year, this isn't always the case.> 4) Is it so that only the males have humps? <Not all males have humps of equal size, and some don't really develop very substantial humps at all.> Kindly advise. Regards, Sohiel. <Numerous articles and FAQs on these hybrid fish at WWM. Start off with this one: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/flowerhorns.htm , and then read some of the related FAQs. I'm not a great fan of these fish, and if you're looking for a first cichlid to move onto from community fish, there are LOTS of better choices. In a 50 gallon tank, you could keep any number of medium sized species that are at least as pretty, if not prettier. Cichlasoma salvinii and Hemichromis bimaculatus immediately spring to mind. Both of these have amazing colours, and their relatively modest size, around 15-20 cm, makes them much easier to house and look after. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Flowerhorn sel.  11/5/07 Dear Neale, Thanks for the quick reply about my Flowerhorn questions a few days back. It was tremendously helpful. Well, I have decided to go with your advice and am going against purchasing of the Flowerhorn. May be I will get one when I have another tank, in 6 months. In the meantime can you suggest me a few more moderately sized but pretty Cichlids? Thanks a lot, you have been very helpful. Hoping to meet you some day! Regards, Sohiel Deshpande p.s. I read you have a fish named after you! Can you send me a picture? <Hello Sohiel! I think choosing against Flowerhorn cichlids is a good idea. Flowerhorns are too big for most aquarists to look after properly. I think you should look at some small to medium sized species. There are many, many cichlids that can be kept easily in tanks as small as 20 gallons. Among my favourites is Pelvivachromis pulcher, the Krib, a dwarf cichlid from West Africa. This is a widely sold species that is unusual in many ways, not least of all because the female is more colourful than the male! She is also much more forward at breeding time. Kribs make excellent first cichlids for any aquarist, adapting to most water conditions and being very easy to breed (largely because this species is a superb parent that does all the work!). Another superb small cichlid is Laetacara curviceps, the Flag Acara. It is a smallish South American cichlid with very variable colours that depend on mood and conditions. When happily settled in a tank with lots of shade (real or plastic plants) it has colours that vary from cream to green to blue with lots of spots of red and silver on the fins and scales. Mikrogeophagus altispinosus is known as the Bolivian Ram and is a dwarf cichlid from South America. It is not as colourful as the Common Ram (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi) but it is 100 times hardier and easier to keep. It is also a brave, outgoing fish so makes an excellent pet. A final recommendation is Apistogramma cacatuoides, the Cockatoo Cichlid. This is another South American dwarf. It has lovely colours, and unlike most other Apistogramma, it is basically a hardy, easy to keep fish. If you are prepared to take on a challenge, then some of the Rift Valley cichlids might appeal. Labidochromis caeruleus (the Yellow Lab) is amazingly brightly coloured -- like a coral reef fish! -- but its aggression and largish size (around 10 cm) makes it more difficult to keep than some of the others mentioned. Neolamprologus brichardi (Princess of Burundi Cichlid) is a peaceful and beautiful Tanganyikan cichlid but like other Tanganyikan cichlids needs excellent water quality as well as hard, alkaline water conditions. It is an adorable animal, famous for the fact older offspring help the parents look after the younger offspring, so you have a whole family working together as a colony! Note that there are almost 2000 species of cichlid out there, and many species make superb aquarium fish. Spending a little time reading up on this amazing family before making any decisions is well worth doing. Ah, and as for my fish, do a Google image search for "Ellaserrata monksi" and you'll find it. It's a fossil fish. A kind of Porgy, something like a cichlid or wrasse. Hope this helps, Neale>

Buying, shipping Flowerhorns Dear sir/ madam, <Bob F. here> We want to buy from your store about Flower horn ?Lou Han, I'm from USA  some to do business fish store in Indonesia. Can you ship to Indonesia if I need to pay with my credit card for international payment. If you can do, please reply me soon and I will choose for the models. Thanks and Regards <Mmm, we don't sell Flowerhorns, cichlids, or actually any livestock. Please see this article re this "species" here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/flowerhorns.htm Mr. Ong's e-address is linked there. You might contact him re this fish. Bob Fenner>

Identifying Flowerhorn fry 8/20/05 Today I went into the pet shop in Chinatown, Manhattan, NY. I was looking to purchase some Flowerhorn fry's about 1 inch or less ... the pet shop guy showed me some "Flowerhorn fry" that were with parrot fish fry but to me when looked at the "Flowerhorn fry" they didn't have red eyes, very dark coloration, some spots, and really looked like some sort of other cichlid ...... my question is how do you tell apart Flowerhorn fry from other cichlid fry? What are the major or key distinctions to look for if any? thanks a lot. < At one inch Flowerhorns look like the fry of red devils from which they are partially derived. They may range in color from  solid red to grey with stripes. This makes it very difficult to determine if you truly have a Flowerhorn. I personally buy fish from breeders if I am concerned about genetics. In this case I would ask the store to guarantee that they are truly Flowerhorns. If they are not, make sure you bring them back for a full refund. If the store owner declines then you already have your answer and you don't need to waste your time and money on a fish you have no interest in.-Chuck>

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