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FAQs on the Flowerhorn Cichlid Systems

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 Selection, 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

Algae on aquarium glass and gravel... FH sys., using WWM      9/24/13
Hi,
<Binesh>
Good day.
<And you>
One month back i bought a 340 litres of new aquarium tank.
I have filled the bottom with white gravel.
<Mmm; okay... real light colors are hard to keep clean; and tend to be a bit "too reflective"; making some kept animals uneasy>

I have a standard filtration in the tank( Company supplied this with the aquarium ).
I have two Flowerhorns in the tank. A male and a female.
<I do hope this tank is cycled...>
After a week of my purchase of the tank the walls had brown patches on it and also the gravel started developing brown patches all over.
<Good. Indicative of the system being suitable; cycled>
 My supplier of the tank says this is algae and it may be due to the lighting. The tank has two lights. One white and another blue. I usually put both of them on from 6 in the morning to 10 in the night.
<You can leave them off; just turn them on when you're there... This will help to limit the algae... but there are other methods... Have you read on WWM re?>
I cleaned the wall of the tank with sponge brush and the brown patches reappear in 2-3 days. I have not cleaned the gravel.
The tank does not have any plants and only have white gravel, two Flowerhorn fishes and two light sources along with overhead filtration.
Also the tank is kept away from direct sunlight. The water used is underground well water.
<... do you know more re it's chemical, physical make-up?
Read on WWM re FH systems:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/flowerhornsysfaq.htm>
Please advise whether i can prevent the algae formation on the wall and the gravels.
Should i use a UV filter?
<... this might help; but would not be the "first thing" I would do... You need to read... Start here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwmaintindex.htm
scroll down to Algae... Bob Fenner>
Rgds,
Binesh

Flowerhorn query, hlth., sys.      8/29/12
Hi Bob,
<Vinay>
How's life...? Well hope everything is fine at your life, profession and health.
<Fine, thank you>
Well I am again here with a typical observation of my Sunny (Flowerhorn - Red Dragon).
<Oh?>
I had put glass stones to the ground of the aquarium which he started pushing and throwing vigorously. Sometimes I observed him hitting himself horizontally to the stones very hard with his small hump head.
He became very aggressive against these glass stones. I thought he might not like them.
<Likely saw his reflection in their shiny surfaces. Better by far to use natural gravel of reasonable size... see WWM re freshwater substrates>
 So henceforth I removed all the glass stones and now the ground of aquarium is plain. Now he has calmed down. But during this aggressive hitting, he has lost a layer of his head scales which had developed very nicely earlier. He might have hit himself to the stones or suction pump. No deep injury observed. A line of his scaly skin has gone...   :-(  Will this recover in future???
<Yes>
His appetite has also quite reduced since this change. He used to consume up to 9-10 pellets in the morning and the same in the evening.
But now its reduced to 4 and even less. His activity also reduced.. :(
Now he is attacking the Oxygen supply bulb also....  Please suggest me should I remove it...?
<I would not remove it... think of ways instead to protect it... add other indestructible decor here>
 Will only the suction can provide Oxygen to him.
Please suggest.
Also please suggest weather I can put back those glass stones after some days........
<... Read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubstrates.htm
and the linked files above...
Can you please suggest "Aquarium set up for him" where he can grow and play peacefully without any disturbance.
<... and here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/flowerhornsysfaq.htm
and the....
Waiting for your kindful reply as always.
Thanks and regards,
Vinay M.
<Please search, read ahead of writing. Bob Fenner>
Flowerhorn picture     8/29/12

Dear Bob,
Find attached the picture of my Sunny.
1. Is he healthy enough?
<Appears to be>
2. Does he require any special food for his hump head and body growth?
<... see, search WWM re... no>
3. Presently those glass stones in the attached picture have been removed due to his aggressive behavior.
4. I am not able to determine weather he is ready for breeding. Does he needs a mate?
<... does not need a mate to be happy, healthy. Does need such to reproduce>
Kindly suggest.
Regards,
Vinay M.
<Cheers, BobF>

Flowerhorn poops   8/19/20
Dear expert
I see algae like matters around my fh poops are these thing harmful?
<They are an indication your filtration isn't working very well. Increase water turnover (bigger filter, bigger pump) and clean the gravel (e.g., with a siphon) more often.>
My gravels are blocking poops from draining into the filter
<Your filter is not strong enough. More water current = faeces sucked towards filter.>
I also bought 300W heater what temp do u recommend? Can I implant it horizontally? My tank is only 24x18x18
<Far, far too small for a Flowerhorn.>

I want to implant it horizontal. Thanks for your former reply.(@^_^@)
<We can't do much to help you if you choose to keep this fish in a small aquarium. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Flowerhorn poops

Thanks for your suggestion I'm planning to buy a new aquarium too I shall buy 65gal tank with better filter power :)
<Very good. Cheers, Neale.>

Flowerhorn; system; diet     8/16/12
Hi there
<Hello Salai,>
This is my new big head
It cost me 30$
I wonder is my 20 gal tank appropriate to pet him?

<For a few weeks or months, yes; but not in the long term. If you keep a Flowerhorn in a small aquarium (anything smaller than 55 gallons for a specimen 3-6 inches long, and 75 gallons for an adult 6+ inches long) it will likely become stunted to some degree. Indeed, it may even get sick and die because limited water volume (high nitrate, low oxygen) make cichlids extremely prone to latent protozoan, bacterial infections (such as Hexamita, Octomita). Either way, it won't be an attractive fish. Do bear in mind Flowerhorn cichlids get their "looks" from a combination of genetics
and good care. There are no magical foods that make up for poor care or breeding.>
He is about 2 inches I guess.
<Will grow very rapidly.>
And i can only buy OceanFree pallets here is this food effective?
<Together with cooked peas and cooked spinach, yes (these are a source of fibre, crucial to avoiding digestive tract problems).>
And I got earth worms in my yard can I feed them?
<Provided you do not use chemicals (insecticides, herbicides) in your garden, yes; these chemicals are poisonous to your fish.>
I also plan to feed chicken heart
<I would not do this.
These fish evolved from omnivorous-to-herbivorous ancestors, and "meat" in the general sense is not a necessary or perhaps even a healthy addition to their diet. Instead concentrate on providing green foods; without green foods, cichlids are prone to constipation and bloating, as well as vitamin deficiencies that seem linked with Hole-in-the-Head and similar syndromes.>
Will it b OK?
Thanks for your former answers I am Ivan Bob
<Read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/FHParrotCichArtNeale.htm
There's nothing special about these hybrid cichlids that makes them different to any other large cichlid. They need a big aquarium, a strong filter, and regular water changes. A varied diet with some green foods is essential. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Need help on Flowerhorn !!! Sys., maint.    6/12/12
Hi Bob,
I'm sure you are doing fine.
<Thank you Waseem>
My fish is doing better now. I need some inputs from your side on raring  my FH in a better way.
<Ah, good>
I have 25 gallon tank which i know is pretty small I'm planning soon to upgrade it.
As said on your website i am giving it thawed green peas often with some market available pellets.
I would wish to know few things listed below, kindly guide me with it.
     After feeding it with peas my aquarium has got a white flurry kinda stuff (fungus) by consulting with the place were i purchased my FH he said its because of the left over food(peas) and the waste FH leaves after eating.
<Yes; this is so... you need to remove such rotting food, be careful how much you're offering... Increase water changes... get the new, larger system and more filtration going>
Then he suggested me to add a tank cleaner fish, i did that my FH is hitting it harming it and over night my FH has eaten all the fins of this new fish.
<Remove it>
      Kindly guide me with a suggestion on how to remove this fungus from water with out harming my FH.
<Gravel vacuuming, water changes>
Thanks & Regards,
Waseem
<Welcome. BobF> 

Re: Brewing Water  9/20/22
Hi Crew, Neale to be specific
<Greetings!>
This is Eric King again and I have a question about the Rift Valley Salt mix recipe that you suggested for my Flowerhorn Cichlid. I was wondering if this salt mix is all I would need to add to RODI water for my water changes?
<You can if you want. Not essential.>
I am thinking about installing an RODI with holding tanks and I was wondering what I would need to add to this water after I add it to my brewing tanks and if this water would be a good option for my Flowerhorn Cichlid, my Red Tail Tinfoil Barbs and my Community tank with Gouramis and Rose Barbs.
<RO water can be excellent for all aquaria. You can add so-called Discus Buffer for soft water fish (like Gouramis and Barbs) or Rift Valley Salt Mix (whether the DIY recipe or commercial stuff) for hard water fish like Central American cichlids. RO kits are expensive to buy and maintain though, and you waste a lot of water in the process of making RO water, so think about that side of things carefully beforehand. Cheers, Neale.>

Gravel Color for FH; and FW period.    8/15/11
Neale,
<Ted,>
I read all of your blog posts on this page back to 2006 before writing you.
You are incredibly patient to answer the same questions over and over again, especially about tank size and hump growth. Folks, READ EVERYTHING BELOW BEFORE YOU ASK A QUESTION! My 3 questions are:
Would you kindly elaborate and clarify on gravel color? You recommend dark color gravel but virtually every other site I have researched is recommending the opposite. Most are claiming that dark gravel dulls FH coloring, whereas white or bright colors enhance FH color development. This is confusing for a FH newbie.
<Fish that can change colours will usually try to blend in with their surroundings, and Flowerhorns aren't any different. They may tweak their colours brighter when flirting or fighting, or else make their colours more muted when stressed, but on the whole, they try to remain as inconspicuous as possible to predators while maintaining sufficient colouration to communicate with their own kind. Precisely how this maps out under aquarium conditions will vary, and given Flowerhorns aren't a species but a hybrid, there's at least another complicating factor too. I freely admit not to have kept Flowerhorns personally, but I've kept plenty of Central American cichlids, and the basic rule with them is that a neutral substrate, e.g., plain gravel, generally works best. It's not the only factor of course, with genetics, stress, overhead lighting, and the availability of shade all being at least as important. I will make this general point though, that Central American cichlids on the whole aren't happy about bright light upwelling from beneath them, but conversely, if the tank is too dark, the fish will reduce their colouring somewhat, just as they do at night. So a black gravel might work better under very bright light, while plain beige or even white sand might be acceptable under more subdued lighting. There's a happy medium to be struck, and generally plain gravel under ordinary lighting hits that spot nicely. Given the low cost of gravel and sand, you may choose to experiment yourself, and find out what works best for your fish in terms of aesthetics. I do worry that a lot of the advice about enhancing Flowerhorn colouration is much the same as that to do with foods to boost nuchal hump development -- questionable at best, and at worst putting the welfare of the fish behind cosmetic values or superstition.
Putting aside colouration, Central American cichlids are universally happier under subdued lighting because that's precisely what they'd experience in the wild. So I tend to be biased in that direction...>
I have a new 8" FH in a 55 gallon tank that is currently undecorated. After 2 days he's settled, good behavior and eating well, I will decorate as soon as I clarify colors and options with you. Given the tank size and 8" fish a cave will consume a significant portion of swimming space. Is this really necessary or can you suggest an alternative setup for this tank size?
<A singleton might not need a cave, but it's worth adding for the sake of the fish, and a flowerpot will work just as well without using up as much space as a pile of rocks. I've taken to using terracotta pots in larger tanks, with some of the fancy Grecian and other types looking rather fun once they have a bit of algae on them. Alternatively, if scrubbed clean they work in more formal arrangements with lighter substrates and things like coloured lights and air bubblers that look out of place in natural-looking set-ups.>
I have a 10" Pleco that could help with cleaning the tank. I'd love to alternate him between this tank and the 72 gallon he's in. Is this possible or will he most likely be attacked by a FH?
<Plecs generally work well, but there are specimens that "go rogue" and latch onto slow-moving cichlids and cause serious harm as they graze on the mucous cichlids produce on their flanks. We've had one or two such reports here in the last year or so. So while, yes, I've kept plecs (Pt. gibbiceps, to be precise) with Central Americans, that was in a 200 gallon system with plenty of space, and in a much smaller tank your own experiences may be different. In any even, plecs have no value at all as tank cleaners thanks to the volume of mess they produce themselves. Nerite snails make far better algae eaters and are sufficiently armoured they might escape predation by these cichlids. Because they don't breed in freshwater, they don't become a pest either. Tylomelania might be worth trying as sand-sifting scavengers for the same reasons.>
Thank you for your answers.
Ted
<You're welcome, Neale.>

Problems with my FH   7/1/11
Hi WWM
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
Wayne
<Read:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwset-up.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/FHParrotCichArtNeale.htm
Cheers, Neale.>

Tank size, FH, gen.  4/28/11
Hai,
<Hello Senthil>
Sterday I had purchased my first 3month Flowerhorn fish, while I purchase the shopkeeper asked to keep that in the small tank not to have it in big tank, so that only I will be getting big hump and coloration,
<Mmm, no. Best to keep these hybrid cichlids in as large a system as you can afford. Size of the system won't improve the "humpiness", nor colour>
pls advice me its correct else what's the correct procedure for getting good colour and hump, also the feeding procedure.
Awaiting for your reply.
<Yes. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/flowerhornsysfaq.htm
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/flowerhornfdgfaq.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Flowerhorn Cichlid Question, sys.   1/7/11
Flowerhorn Questions

Hi All, I have my 15" Flowerhorn Cichlid housed in a 72 gallon bowfront tank by himself. I have never attempted to change the pH (It is 6.2) temp is 86. I do partial water changes 20 to 25% every 3-4 days. I have had my fish for 2 years now. Do you think I should adjust the pH or temperature since this is what he is used too?
< The pH is a little low. If you are not prepared to constantly test the water then I would leave it alone. The water temp could be lowered to 80 F.>
If so what would be the safest way to do this?
The temp can just be lowered. The pH of the water should be adjusted in a separate container. Fill a container with water and measure the pH. Add a pH buffer to the desired pH. Wait 24 hrs and check the pH again. If it is where you want it then slowly change the pH when you do your water changes. Eventually the water will be where you want it.>
Two weeks ago he changed colors to a dark black and wasn't eating)-now he is back to original color except for a black tail on one side of his body and is eating again normally) My water has always tested good except for pH being low and temperature being 86.
<The black coloration could have been from an injury and is now almost healed. I would recommend keeping the pH the same since it has worked for so long.>
Also could you tell me what type my Flowerhorn is and his approximate age?
< Flowerhorns are a cross between a few different cichlids. You will have to check other websites that specialize in Flowerhorns to determine which type you have.-Chuck>
Thank you, Dee

FH... sys.  6/24/10
Hi again,
I was wondering what kind of special light for an fresh water aquarium that help prevent bacteria build up? Thank you.
Nina
<There is no such light. To keep your Flowerhorn cichlid healthy you need to provide the correct conditions: aquarium size, water chemistry, and water quality. Do read:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/FHParrotCichArtNeale.htm
Provided your fish is properly maintained, bacteria are not a danger.
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.
:(
Thanks,
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:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/FHParrotCichArtNeale.htm
Cheers, Neale.>

Maintaining pH, /FH  4/23/10
Hi WWM Crew
I have a flowerhorn about 7 and half inches. He is housed in a 22 gal tank.
<Much too small for this species.>
I use a thermostat with the temp set at 25 degrees. I have a corner filter and a power filter. I do 40 percent water changes once a week and after every 2 days I siphon of the feces in the tank.
Query-
I am located in Mumbai( India). I use tap water to fill the tank and after adding dechlorinator I put the following mixture in the below proportion to maintain the PH of the water.
For 5 US gallons.
one-half level teaspoon baking soda;
<Do read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwh2oquality.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/FHParrotCichArtNeale.htm
In terms of water chemistry, treat Flowerhorn cichlids as Central American cichlids. Cheers, Neale.>

Urgent reply please
Fighting FHs    4/6/10

Hi,
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.
Thanks.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Pls Help, FH temp., sys.  3/3/10
Hi
WWM crew
Sir,
<Hello,>
I am located in India. I am having a Flowerhorn about 8 mths old. He is approx 7 inches in length. I keep my day today water temperature of the thermostat at 28 degrees. Is this temperature okay for day to day maintenance of the Flowerhorn.
<It is a little on the warm side, but not enough to cause problems.>
Will this temperature be beneficial for the fish or will it affect it adversely.
<The ideal temperature is around 25 C for maintenance, and up to 28 C for breeding. Cheers, Neale.>

Water quantity for Flowerhorn, sys.   12/28/09
Hello Crew,
I'm Musa
<Hi Musa, it's Melinda again.>
Thank you for all the info I got from you guys.
<You're certainly welcome!>
I had read on WWM. that a Flowerhorn requires a 75 gallon tank, but I couldn't find the size of the tank can you tell me the perfect size of the tank in inches or feet.
<A 75 U.S. Gallon tank is four feet long, about eighteen inches wide, and twenty inches high. If you're ever in doubt (such as when viewing ads online or something), you can plug the dimensions into an aquarium volume
calculator, which you can find by Googling.>
I also want to know how many litres a gallon is? <3.8... Google will do this for you.>
Thank you.
<You're welcome.
--Melinda>

Re: Water quantity for Flowerhorn  12/29/09
Thanks again Melinda,
Musa here,
<Hi Musa!>
I have one male Flowerhorn of about 3.5 inches, I stay in India and the temperature here is 23.C in winter and 35.C in summer so do I need a heater?
<Yes, it would be best. The heater will help to stop temperature fluctuations -- set it to 25-26 degrees, and it will always be that temp in his tank, even if it gets cooler in your house. If the temperature is higher than that outside his tank, the heater has a thermostat and will shut off, so it won't be making any heat, anyway.>
And Melinda, my Flowerhorn is not big so what size of tank does it require?
<After keeping some fish that grow shockingly large, I can attest to the fact that it's always better on your pocket just to go ahead and make the necessary upgrades. With each tank size upgrade often comes other things that are necessary for the next-larger tank; buying new tanks and accessories can get expensive! Also, your Flowerhorn should grow relatively quickly. I would go ahead and plan on that 75 gallon (If I remember correctly, this fish is already in at least a 20 gallon, right?).
That way, you'll save money in the long run, and avoid worrying about constant upgrades. However, your Nitrate tests are the best tool to help you figure out how "crowded" your Flowerhorn's tank is -- when it gets difficult for you to keep them below 20, even if you're doing extra maintenance/water changes, then it's really time to get this guy into a new home.>
Thank you.
<You're welcome!
--Melinda>

Flowerhorn... sys., repro.     12/22/09
Hello again guys,
<Hello,>
I'm Moosa,
<Yes you are.>
I wanted to know that what should be the temperature of the heater for a FH normally, for increasing hump size, and for breeding.
<The best all-around water temperature is 25 C/77 F. There is no point raising the water temperature except for breeding, in which case aim for 26-28 C. Warmer water contains less oxygen but speeds up metabolism. This
is a bad combination, which is why it is avoided. Nothing, repeat NOTHING, will make the hump bigger than its genes allow. Provide good water quality and a balance diet, and the hump will get to its proper size.>
Thank you.
<Cheers, Neale.>  

Flowerhorn Aquarium Water  12/21/2009
<Hello.>
I wanted to know whether the water from the bore well is better for FH or the tap water (purified water), tap water contains chlorine so I use a chemical called antichlorine, is it fine?
<It should be. I use a dechlorinator, Prime, which also removes chloramine. Some water companies use this, and if your dechlorinator does not state that it removes chloramine, then you'd need to find out whether or not this is an additive used by your water company. However, I figure it's just better to be on the safe side, because one dechlorinator often costs about as much as the other. Be sure and test your tap water, as some contains Ammonia or Nitrate. Mine contains Ammonia at a level of .25 ppm, and this is gone within hours of the water change, because I run abundant biological filtration on all my tanks/pond. However, Nitrate can be a bigger problem. If you test your water, and come up with anything abnormal, feel free to write back. You are also entitled to a report of your tap water quality, and can request one from the water company in order to see what's coming through your tap.>
I got two baby FH 2.5' and 4' inches. The Bigger FH keeps attacking and chasing the smaller one.
<Flowerhorns, like many Cichlids are very territorial. It could be that the larger Flowerhorn has already claimed the entire tank for his territory, leaving none for the smaller fish! Flowerhorns are generally kept singly unless housed in very large systems. I would put a divider into place if you must keep them in the same tank. Keep in mind that you'll be looking at a fairly large tank in order to house two of these fish with a divider and still give them adequate room to move. A six-foot tank is probably your best bet, both in terms of swimming room and water quality/waste dilution.>
I thought that it is happening cause he wants to stay alone...Later I bought a Jewel fish and a Mango cichlid and I had put them in the same tank the FH in spite continued to chase the other FH. <Sometimes, "dither fish" are placed into tanks which are large enough to accommodate them. These are generally fast, schooling fish intended to take the heat off of the other fish in the tank when a more aggressive fish is in place. However, that's not what you're doing here -- most Cichlids have attitudes of their very own, and will likely exacerbate the problem, rather than cure it. It sounds like you need to separate these fish somehow. Although I'm sure you've been linked to our archived information on Flowerhorns before, I'd like to provide that link again. Research is key to success here.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/flowerhorns.htm>
Thank you
<You're welcome.
--Melinda>

FH Temperatures   12/18/09
Hi WWM Crew
First of all Greeting to you for a MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR.
<Thank you.>
I have a Flowerhorn fish since last 5 months. I am located in India- Mumbai. I have a thermostat installed in my tank.
QUERRY
I have been reading the various articles regarding Flowerhorn from your site as well as some other sites. However, I have found out the temperature required for the said fish is mentioned as 25 degrees and sometimes as 28 to 32 degrees on your site. This has confused me a lot.
<No need for confusion.>
Presently my thermostat is set at 26 degrees temperature.
<That is fine.>
Can you kindly confirm me at what temperature should I set my thermostat ?
<Central American cichlids are best kept at the cooler end of the range for day-to-day maintenance (e.g., 25 degrees C) but you can raise the temperature when you want them to breed (e.g., to 28 degrees C)..>
Below are the links where different temperatures regarding Flowerhorn are mentioned.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/flowerhorns.htm - 27 to 32 degrees
<There is no particular advantage to keep them this warm. When water gets warm, it loses oxygen. High temperatures also speed up metabolism and increase the oxygen consumption of the fish. Many people keep their
aquarium fish much too warm. Cheers, Neale.>

Flowerhorn poo 12/15/09
Hi WWM CREW
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?
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/FHParrotCichArtNeale.htm
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.>

Lighting and Temperature query 10/29/09
Hi
WWM crew
Thanks a lot for replying back to my previous queries and that in no time.
<Happy to do so.>
This is the best site for fish keepers.
<Nice of you to say so.>
May god bless you .
<I hope so too!>
I am located in India
<A country with lots of interesting freshwater fish...>
I have a 20 gallon tank with mixed colour gravel and good background, natural cave, powerfilter, sponge filter. I have a Flowerhorn along with a golden snail in the tank.
<Indeed? So, what's the question? If the Subject line is anything to go by, let me say this: Lighting isn't critical, and the fish will be happier in shady conditions. Floating plants help a lot. To a degree, cichlids will
fade their colours in bright light, and also if the substrate is very pale or artificially coloured (e.g., red/blue gravel). As for temperature, aim for 25 degrees C. A couple of degrees cooler in winter, and a couple of
degrees warmer in summer, are not a problem. But avoid extremes (anything below 18 C for more than a few days, or anything above 30 C for more than a week or two. And also avoid sudden changes in temperature. Cheers, Neale.>

Another day, another Flowerhorn  10/27/09
Hi
WWM Crew,
<Hello Amit,>
I am attaching a JPEG image of my Flowerhorn tank. I would like to know whether there are any changes required for my tank in terms of wallpaper, gravel or any other necessary changes.
<Looks nice enough to me! The gravel looks a bit sharp though, and sharp gravel is more likely to cut the fish when it digs. Smooth gravel is best.>
2. I am located in India in Mumbai. I would like to know whether is it necessary to install a thermostat in my Flowerhorn tank for maintaining the temperature.
<Depends on ambient temperature in Mumbai. These cichlids need a water temperature between 24-28 degrees C. Exposure to much cooler conditions (below 18 degrees) will kill them quickly, and even below 22 degrees they will be more prone to sickness.>
Further does proper temperature aid in good growth of the fish and the colouration of the fish.
<Yes, like all cichlids, and indeed all cold blooded animals, growth rate is directly proportional to body temperature. Up to a point, the warmer they are, the faster they grow. Of course, if too warm (above 30 degrees C) other problems develop. The optimal temperature is around 25-26 degrees C.
Do read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/FHParrotCichArtNeale.htm
Cheers, Neale.>

Substrate, FH sys.   -- 10/21/2009
Hi
WWM Crew
I am really obliged for the prompt replies given to my queries from time to time.
<Happy to help.>
I have a few queries regarding my Flowerhorn fish.
<Indeed?>
1. Can I feed the fish with good quality dried shrimps once or twice a week.
<Once a week, tops. Dried foods of all types are more likely to cause constipation. Curing sick fish is expensive and difficult. Much better to avoid problems. So use wet-frozen or fresh foods, as well as suitable green foods. Naturally, avoid risky live foods, such as "feeder" fish.>
2. You had advised me to use a darker substrate for the fish tank because my fish looked a little bit pale, I would like to know whether can I use a mixture of red, grey and black substrate for the tank.
<Black substrate would be fine. Non-natural colours are best avoided. When was the last time you saw a fish swimming over some bright red gravel?>
Further should I avoid using white coloured substrate to make the tank darker.
<Indeed. Avoid white gravel.>
3. Do these fishes love darkness or brightly lit tank. I only put on the lights only while feeding the fish and watching it for some time the rest of the time the lights are off. Is it ok or should I keep the tank constantly lit.
<Fish almost all prefer low/no light. If you want to use lights, add some floating plants for shade.>
4. Should I use Hitachi fluorescent tube light or normal tube light for the tank.
<Either, just make sure there's shade. Indian Fern (Ceratopteris thalictroides) is ideal.>
Hope you will answer to my queries.
<We do try.>
Thanks in advance.
Amit
<Cheers, Neale.>

Some queries regarding Flowerhorn. 10/4/09
HI
Chuck / Neale
<Both apparently out. This is BobF, who "cleans up" all "next day" unanswered queries>
I am having an Amphilophus trimaculatum about 3 and half months old. As per your confirmation from my previous mails sent to you.
I have certain queries regarding the fish, hope you will do ur best to try to solve them.
1. Do water temperature and Water PH aid in growth and colouration of the fish. Secondly I am based in India and I am unable to acquire a PH testing kit nearby . So in the absence of PH kit, is there any other method from which we can come to know the approximate PH of the water in the tank. How to maintain the PH to 7 in the absence of the testing kit.
<There is no way to adjust pH w/o knowing where you're starting from, going to, but doing regular water changes... a quarter every week or so... Read
here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwh2ochgs.htm>
2. As per your directions, I am feeding my fish with Chili super red pellets, freeze dried blood worms etc. I am surprised to see the growth of the fish. It is really satisfying. I wanted to ask u whether can I feed
the fish with cooked beetroot, finely cut chicken heart(Raw). finely cut raw fish and cooked soya chunks.
<I would avoid terrestrial animals... their fats are too hard to digest, but the others are worth trying>
I will be very obliged if you can reply to my other queries.
Awaiting a response from your end.
Thank you
Amit S Ghosalkar
<Welcome Amit. Bob Fenner>

Mr. sun. Flowerhorn Q's   8/8/09
Greetings!
* Can a direct sun light affects a FH fish?.,.,
<... yes>
* Hear some says, they put mirrors on the tank.,what's that for?.,
<To divert, direct the fish's aggression perhaps>
* Do background pictures help in its growth?
<Mmm, maybe... by conserving energy the fish might expend reacting to viewed stimuli out these panels>
thanks.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

hello again!
about the...
Can a direct sun light affects a FH fish?.,., 8/11/2009
<... yes>
in what way?
thanks again..
<Stimulates behavior, growth... B>

Flower Horn not eating since last 2-3 days 11/24/08
Dear Sir/ Mam,
I have a 4 inch flower horn in a tank size of 24 x 15 x 15 inches. Since last 2-3 days he has given up eating. No physical symptoms are visible so as to come to any conclusion as to why he has given up eating. I feed him Hi red, XO Humpy head and XO Red sync. Temperature of the water is constant between 25 to 28 degrees. I Have added Rid All General Aid and Anti Itch along with some salt. He is swimming as usual but is a bit lazy in between for some time.
What could be the problem?
Please help. I am worried about him.
Rgds,
Amu.
<Amu, the tank is too small for this fish. Water quality is likely not good, and consequently your fish is stressed. When cichlids stop eating it is a very bad sign! These fish eat like pigs! Without upgrading the tank substantially, there's not much point worrying about what type of food you use, adding salt, or what medications. That said, randomly adding
medication (as you have done) will make a bad situation first. Please understand ALL medications are poisons, and have to be used carefully.
Cheers, Neale.>

Flowerhorn, sys., keeping...  11/21/08 Dear Sir/ Maam, <Hello,> I have a Flowerhorn fish (4 inches) kept in a fish tank of size 12 x 9 x 9 inches. Is this tank size ok as of now. if yes then till when can I keep him in the tank and when do I need to go for a bigger tank for my fish? <This tank IS too small. A 55-gallon tank would be about right for a single specimen. Flowerhorns get very, very big and tend to be aggressive. The bigger the tank, the healthier the fish and the faster it will grow.> Also I feed him Humpy head and Hi-Red daily. but still the color of my Flowerhorn seems dull. What do I feed him apart from the above to get the bright color... Kindly advise. What all are the other products apart from Humpy Head ...do you know the site of the manufacturer's of humpy head? <All you can do is offer a healthy, varied diet and maintain optimal water conditions. Since the ancestor species were from Central America, that means they need hard, basic water. Diet should include lots of green foods (tinned peas for example), algae, and crustaceans for best colours. Both plant foods and crustaceans foods contain chemicals fish need to make various colours. Red colouration for example comes from carotene. Flowerhorn cichlids are hybrid cichlids, and that means it is VERY difficult to predict precisely how big they will get, what their behaviour will be, or what colours they will display. Because they are so popular in some parts of the world, breeders often produce low-cost specimens that they "juice" with antibiotics and colour-enhancing chemicals. In other words, they sell fish that look healthier and more colourful than they actually are. After a few weeks the fish become less colourful, because the chemicals wear off.> how do I know the age of my Flowerhorn? I brought him 2-3 months back. at that time it was hardly 1 inch in size? is this growth OK. How fast is their growth? <Your specimen is less than one year old. Lifespan is around ten years, but varies. Growth rate depends on the quality of the diet, the amount of swimming space, water quality, and of course genetics. Cichlids will not grow quickly if kept in small tanks, fed a poor diet, kept too cold, or exposed to high levels of certain chemicals, particularly nitrate.> Kindly advise. Regards, Amit <Cheers, Neale.>

Flowerhorn diet, maintenance, need for research
dear sir/madam i am Denver from Bangalore India i have a 146L tank i have two pearl FH i had separated theme for the first two days in my tank but then i removed the division for a little while they were lip locked i would like to know if that is a sign of mating could you please reply and tell me all the mating rituals of FH as i am new to this hobby and am very interested in breeding FH the two of them aren't fighting now they are getting along with each other and swimming together i do not see any eggs as i don't know how the eggs look or where the female would have laid them}. is it healthy to feed them feeder goldfish i give them about five to six fish each a day. the male and female both do not have any lump on their head but the owner who i bought it from said that they were male and female how do i tell the difference. could u please write and tell me everything you know about FH if you don't mind. thanking you, Denver drooge <Hello. For a start, 146 litres is too small for these fish! The chances are they are fighting. If they persist in fighting, you will likely end up with at least one dead fish. While you might be able to keep a single specimen alive in 146 litres if you have good filtration and do LOTS of water changes, really these are BIG fish that need BIG tanks. Do see here: http://208.112.95.51/FWSubWebIndex/flowerhorns.htm Mouth-pulling is how cichlids fight. It isn't "kissing". It's a trial of strength. Sometimes potential mates do this, but so will fish getting really mad at each other! NO, feeder goldfish are NOT SAFE. Each goldfish is a chance of giving your cichlid an infection. Moreover, goldfish contain too much fat/thiaminase, so long term, you will have sick cichlids. These are basically hybrid Central American cichlids, so you need a diet that comprises insect larvae, small crustaceans, and a certain amount of plant material. I am not going to write back everything I know about Flowerhorn cichlids! That information is here at WWM. Use the search tool or follow the links. And next time, please remember to use capital letters where they're necessary! Cheers, Neale.>

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>

Questions about foreign elements in tank (Flowerhorns) Hi. Have a question. I have two Cichlids (photos attached with the mail because I don't know their breed. They were given to me by my ex-neighbor). They been with me for almost 1 year.   <Gorgeous fish! I dont know the exact species but you should be able to find out by searching for Cichlid at http://www.fishbase.org or by asking at http://cichlidforums.com/ > The problem I'm facing now is that about 2 weeks after I change the tank water, small white thread-like worms start appearing in the tank. And because of this, I've got to change the water once every 2-3 weeks to get rid of the worms.  May I know what these worms are and how do I get rid of them? <They are actually fairly common and are completely harmless. Please check out http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwinvertfaqs.htm as there are some good posts on them there.> How do I prevent them from appearing again? They are very unsightly and causes my fishes to twitch, and I'm afraid they may affect the health of my fishes. <Nope, they shouldnt affect the health of your fish.> And changing the water too often is not good for the fishes too.   <Actually, doing a water change (20-25%) every 2-4 weeks is a good idea and helps keep your fish healthy> Also, is it advisable to have some pebbles or sand in the tank for the fishes to play with? <Most Cichlids will dig in the substrate and really enjoy it.> Their tanks used to have some sand and pebbles but the fish wastes always get caught in between the sand. This makes cleaning difficult and cleaning cannot be thorough. <Get a gravel vacuum and use it when you do your water changes.> My fishes do not like to eat dry food and pellets that are easily available in the super marts. what can I give them then?  <Most fish stores offer frozen foods such as Krill, Bloodworms, or Mysis Shrimp. Cichlids will often take to these foods very well. Another option is salad shrimp from you grocery store. I have a large Cichlid that was spoiled on feeder goldfish to the point that he wouldnt accept anything else. I tried him on the shrimp and he loves them, he even eats right out of our fingers (as long as were careful because hell gladly take the finger too! *G*). Just make sure to cut them up into sizes that your fish can handle and make sure theyre fully thawed before feeding.> I appreciate the info and advice. Thanks Regards, Chen Ying

Flower Horn Questions 4/27/04  <Hi, Pufferpunk here>  I recently found a Flower Horn here at my LFS marked as a 3" Firemouth (complete with red eyes and flower spots) Cichlid for $8.  <Wow, don't you love those finds?!>  I understand it isn't an evolved species, but a combination of many. Even so, my questions are about these parameters:  -it is in a 55 gallon by itself with XP2 for filter  -10% water change every other day with live plants in the gravel  -Rosy Red feeders (small), crayfish, anything I could find in a pond/river and generic Cichlid foods. Are these above points OK for this guy?  <Sounds ok, just make sure you feed lots of high protein foods for good coloration & the development of a nice big hump. Here's a good website for info: http://biofresh.tripod.com/haf/index2.html >.>  -a graduate school herpetology friend suggested putting 2-3 smaller  cichlids in with him to give the Flowerhorn's system a chance to make territorial hormones. This sounds crazy to me and seems quite evil and I won't do it, but is this valid at all? Will its body produce growth hormones to out-compete the others?  <It looks like all your Qs should be answered at that link I gave you. As Flower Horn is from the South American Cichlid family, this fish is very territorial. Thus, they are very aggressive in nature. Co-existing with another fish is not advisable, especially smaller fish. Some parties have claimed that we can "play" with the Flower Horn. In actual fact, the Flower Horn is actually trying to get rid of the "intruder" (be it a stick or a person's hand). Therefore, it is advisable that we keep our hands to ourselves as the fish has quite a nasty bite depending on the size of the fish.>  Thanks for any info  Ian  <Good luck with your great find! ~PP>

Flowerhorns, filtration Hi, I have a pair of Flowerhorns which I have kept in a 3 feet tank with a divider of 2 feet for the male and one feet for the male. The divider is slightly raised from the bottom so that there is sufficient filtration . The problem I am facing is that the female fish goes under the divider and enters the male side the male then attacks the female ferociously and injures her. Why is the female Flowerhorn doing this. Secondly Is filtration enough to improve the water quality of the tank. < In nature, fish naturally school together for a number of reasons. Apparently your female has not learned yet that the male is not very social and is only interested in breeding. If the female is not ready to mate then he beats her up. Proper filtration will remove debris from the water and make it easier to see the fish. It helps convert fish waste from deadly ammonia and nitrite to a less toxic waste, nitrate. Go to Marineland.com and look at Dr. Tim's library on articles on filtration.-Chuck>

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 Questions  9/3/05
Hey, WWM, Chuck, I was just told by my friend that I should put crushed coral into my Flowerhorn tank, because it promotes the hump growth and fish health by balancing the ph... or increasing it? < Crushed coral is simply calcium carbonate. In acidic water the shells dissolve and help buffer the water and keep it from crashing (Becoming too acidic). It may stabilize the pH and thus keep your Flowerhorn healthy. Especially if you live in an area with soft water.> Well I searched your forum and I couldn't find an answer... I want to know is Crushed Coral good for Flowerhorns? < In soft acidic waters it is probably beneficial to have crushed coral in the tank.> Are Flowerhorns hard water or soft water fish? < More hard water than soft water.> Can Flowerhorns survive in high ph water? < To a point. I would not go much higher than 8.> What are some signs that a female Flowerhorn is ready to spawn? < Heavy belly with a thin tube protruding from the anal region. The pair will usually be seen cleaning an area and chasing away other fish.> Can I put a Pleco or cat fish with my male Flowerhorn 8 inches big? < Big Central American cichlids are very territorial of their spaces. I probably would not risk it. Chuck> thank you very much

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>

One Out of Four Tanks With An Algae Problem  - 2/4/2006 My parents in the Philippines have 4 flower horns each in a separate 20 Gallon Aquarium but there is this one particular flower horn that within a day of cleaning the tank the water turns green and streaks of green (is this algae??) < Probably.> can also be noticed on the base of the tank.  They have tried replacing half of the water of the tank to almost 3 times in a week but the problem seems to be persistent.  The tank has a pump & an overhead filter but this doesn't seem to help.  The fishes are fed with 'Grand Sumo' - the brand name of the flower horn fish food they've been feeding the 4 flower horns for almost a year now.  They don't have any problems with the 3 other tanks but only with this one.  Do you have any suggestions or answers with this kind of problem?  Thank you so much in advance and hope to hear from you soon. < Check the water in all four tanks for nitrates. If the readings are all the same and the filtration is all the same then the problem is indirect room lighting. Light from an adjacent window or lamp is probably the answer. remove or block the light source and the algae should match that of the other three tanks.-Chuck>  

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