The Flamboyant Flowerhorn: An Aquarist's Guide
Flowerhorn cichlid, a fish that's become quite a sensation in the aquarium hobby. With their vibrant colours, unique patterns, and distinctively large nuchal humps (also known as "kok"), Flowerhorns truly stand out.
Setting Up a Flowerhorn Tank
Firstly, let's talk about tank size. Flowerhorns are sizeable, active fish, so they need plenty of space. A young Flowerhorn can start in a 150-litre tank, but a mature one will need at least a 300-litre tank to be comfortable. The tank setup should include a sturdy, well-fitted lid, as Flowerhorns are known to be vigorous jumpers.
These fish are quite the decorators, often moving substrate and decorations around their tank. Opt for a sandy substrate and avoid small, sharp decorations that could cause injuries. Live plants might not be the best choice, as Flowerhorns tend to uproot or damage them.
Water Parameters for Flowerhorns
Like most cichlids, Flowerhorns appreciate clean, stable water conditions. Keep the temperature between 26°C to 30°C and maintain a pH level between 6.0 and 8.0. Regular water changes (around 20-30% weekly) are essential to keep the ammonia and nitrate levels low.
Flowerhorn Feeding 101
Flowerhorns are not fussy eaters. Feed them a varied diet of high-quality cichlid pellets, supplemented with treats of live or frozen foods such as shrimp or krill. Be cautious with feeding amounts, as Flowerhorns can be prone to overeating. We recommend the Ultra Fresh Royal Cichlid.
Choosing Tank Mates for Your Flowerhorn
Now, here's the tricky part. Flowerhorns, known for their aggression and territorial behaviour, are typically best kept as single specimens. Keeping them with tank mates often leads to fights and injuries.
In larger aquarium setups, some hobbyists have had success keeping Flowerhorns with other large, robust fish that can hold their own, like Plecos or large catfish. Still, close monitoring is a must to prevent potential aggression.
Flowerhorns are undeniably charismatic creatures that leave a lasting impression. Their bold colours, striking features, and interactive behaviour make them a unique addition to a suitable home aquarium.
Keep in mind, though, that these fish require commitment. Their large size, specific needs, and characteristic behaviour demand attention and understanding. But, if you're up for the challenge, they offer a truly rewarding aquarist experience.
Good luck, and happy fishkeeping!