Editorial:What do you think of Flowerhorn cichlids?


By Neale Monks


It seems that most aquarists either love them or hate them; few aquarists are indifferent to them. I wonder why that might be?

The hate camp usually start off by complaining that they’re hybrids. But so are many of the most popular aquarium fish in the trade. Discus, Angelfish, Platies, Swordtails and Mollies were all deliberately bred by crossing closely related species. So in itself, hybridisation isn’t a reason to hate an aquarium fish.

Haters often criticise the shape and colours of the Flowerhorn cichlid as unnatural. That’s certainly a fair point, Flowerhorn cichlids certainly do have much larger nuchal humps than wild fish, and their colours are perhaps more vivid. But these are criticisms you could make about Bettas, Angelfish or Guppies. So again, the fact Flowerhorn cichlids have exaggerated colours and a larger nuchal hump than wild cichlids doesn’t obviously justify the hatred they incur.

The truth is that people don’t hate Flowerhorn cichlids; they hate the people who keep them, and this is where things start getting unpleasant.

For many of the haters, their mental image of a Flowerhorn keeper will be someone -- likely Asian -- who values the fish solely on how well it conforms to certain size, shape and colour standards. In all likelihood, such keepers will be rearing lots of juvenile Flowerhorns in cramped tanks hoping that some of them will be worth hundreds or thousands of dollars once mature. Any that fail to earn their keep this way will be disposed of -- humanely or otherwise.

But like all stereotypes, such mental images may contain some truths, but at the same time they also ignore the many Flowerhorn keepers who maintain their fish as well as anyone else. Indeed, simply because someone is keeping a wild-caught fish rather than a hybrid one doesn’t automatically make them a better fishkeeper. And the fact Flowerhorn cichlids are popular in Asia shouldn’t be seen as a negative; without the Asian interest in pet fish, the hobby wouldn’t be blessed with either Koi or Goldfish, fish that were created by Asian fishkeepers hundreds of years ago.

In short, Flowerhorn cichlids fall into the same unfortunate category that includes things like Chihuahuas and Ragdoll Cats. They divide people because they appeal to different people. Those folks who decide to hate Flowerhorn cichlids should stop and think about what it is they’re hating: the fish or the fishkeeper.


Flowerhorn Cichlids on WWM 

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


Related FAQs: Flowerhorns 1, Flowerhorn Identification, Flowerhorn Behavior, 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


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