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15 Best Flowerhorn Tank Mates
For fish owners who are looking for large and colorful fish, the Flowerhorn Cichlid is always a great choice. A combination of bright colors, unusual patterns and unique body composition gives the breed an inimitable tropical look.
What characterizes them the most is their aggressive and sturdy behavior. This is especially true for the males. Therefore, it is important to plan out in advance which other species they are put together with in the tank.
If put together with fish of similar size or even slightly bigger ones, there will be no conflict between them.
However, the Flowerhorn has to be accompanied with breeds that have similar, aggressive or semi-aggressive temperament. Here are 15 of the best tank mates for this breed:
1. Midas Cichlids
The Midas Cichlid has an oval-shaped body and a jutting forehead. The females usually have a smaller hump on their heads which makes them easily distinguishable from the males.
In fact, the lump on the female’s head only appears in the breeding season in its natural habitat.
In the fish tank, however, it is always there. Fortunately, this doesn’t have any negative effect on the fish.
Midas Cichlids are omnivorous and they tend to eat smaller fish as well. Therefore, it is recommended to accompany them with tank mates of similar size.
The bright orange, yellow combined with white makes this breed very attractive and valued amongst fish enthusiasts. The Midas Cichild was also an essential breed in the process of developing the Flowerhorn.
It definitely needs a big fish tank to live comfortably. They get aggressive once another fish invades their territory.
2. Jaguar Cichlids
The Jaguar Cichlid can be an awesome addition to any aquarium as long as it is kept around the right tank mates. It has a highly aggressive, predatory temperament that should not be ignored. It is also a rather big fish to keep so it requires a bigger tank in order to live comfortably.
It has small, black spots all over its body on a silver background that turns into yellowish gold around its head. There are also bigger, vertical black spots placed close to each other that start next to the eyes and end at its tail. It pretty much resembles the appearance of a Jaguar.
The only way to keep Jaguar Cichlids is to include other aggressive fish in the aquarium. They are definitely not going to attack other, large fish. It is important to avoid putting plants into the tank because they will tear them apart in no time. Big and solid decoration is recommended.
3. Wolf Cichlids
Wolf Cichlids are one of the most aggressive fish species one can add to their tank.
There are not that many fish breeds that can live in the same tank with them. What makes it a great choice is its attractive pattern and colors.
The Wolf Cichlid has a big mouth with thick lips and a jutting forehead. It typically has a distinctively dotted body on a light silver or goldish background.
There are shades of green and red around its head, while its fins and tail have a green and blue shade to them.
It is easy to distinguish between a male and a female Wolf Cichlid because the female is almost fully yellow.
One of the main traits of this breed is that it likes to play with the decoration he pleases. They will eat any food prepared for freshwater carnivores.
4. Pacu Fish
The Pacu fish is yet another unusual looking breed that can be an awesome addition to your fish tank. They originate from the rivers of South America and there is a wide range of Pacu fish species to choose from. What makes all of them special is that they have teeth that looks similar to ours.
Their teeth are not particularly sharp, yet they won’t shy away from biting anyone they feel threatened by. Since the meat of the Pacu fish is delicious, it is quite popular in gastronomy as well. The specialties prepared from its meat can be ordered in many South American restaurants.
Pacu fish that live in their habitat can weigh as much as 25 kilos, which is plenty of meat. They are more than eager to travel far away in order to find their food if necessary. Unlike piranhas who are carnivorous and have sharper teeth, Pacu fish are both plant and meat eaters.
5. Oscar Fish
The Oscar fish is the type of fish that can swim gracefully all day as long as it doesn’t run into any smaller ones in the aquarium.
Once it does, it instantly gets aggressive and devours its prey. Therefore, it shouldn’t be in the same tank with smaller fish.
The Oscar fish has to have its own territory; therefore, it needs enough space to swim around on its own.
They get particularly aggressive during the breeding period, which means they will attack any other fish that gets in their way.
It is yet another fish that can’t be put in the same tank with many other species. Oscar fish are omnivores, which makes it easy to feed them.
The main reason people like this breed is its unique shape and mixture of colors. Of course, their behavioral patterns are also rather interesting, provided that the right conditions are set.
6. Texas Cichlids
The Texas Cichlid is an amazing choice for every fish enthusiast thanks to its bright colors and unique pattern. It is very aggressive and defends its own territory vigorously, yet it’s still very popular because of its distinctive looks.
With a Texas Cichlid, there is no need to worry about the temperature of the water because it can adapt to both warm and cold fish tanks. Its main characteristics is a flat, oval shaped body, a big and protrusive mouth and bright blue and green spots on a dark brown background that cover its whole body.
It is an omnivorous fish that eats any food it can find. However, it tends to generate more organic waste than the typical fish, which makes it harder to keep the water clean. Also, the Texas Cichlid has to be put together with select tank mates, otherwise it gets really aggressive.
7. Green Terror Cichlids
The colorful freshwater fish named Green Terror is as aggressive as it gets. What mostly matters to this fish is water quality.
Keep the water clean and fresh and it will live in the aquarium comfortably. They can be found in their natural habitat in Peru and Ecuador, being discovered there back in 1860.
The Green Terror Cichlid likes to swim around in the aquarium, discovering all the decorations and messing around with the gravel.
Therefore, they occupy pretty much the whole tank while they don’t like to be disturbed by other fish.
They only tolerate breeds of similar size. Smaller fish will definitely get eaten or killed by them at one point, especially during spawning season. They also get more violent as they age.
This breed should be fine with enough space for free swimming and big enough decorations. Green Terror Cichlids often like to hide from bright light even though they are not sensitive to it.
8. Acara Cichlids
Since Acara Cichlids are territorial and semi-aggressive, they give no mercy to smaller fish. Sooner or later, they are going to eat them so it is better to accompany them with fish of similar size. There are various colors of Acaras to choose from, including black, brown, blue, green and gray ones.
The body of the typical Acara Cichlid is covered with a mixture of patches, dots and stripes. The stripes can be both horizontal and lateral depending on the species. This fish breed is not particularly dependent on water quality, which makes it pretty much effortless to create an environment they can comfortably live in.
In the tank, there should be a bigger open area so that the Acara can seamlessly swim around. Rocks, roots and other decoration should be kept on the side. They might occasionally find hiding places once they are done swimming around.
9. Three Spot Cichlid
The Three Spot Cichlid is a red eyed fish that can be found in the slow flowing stretches of Central American rivers.
The color of its scales is a mixture of green and yellow with black spots on the sides and one red spot next to the gills.
An interesting fact about the Three Spot Cichlid is that it was one of the required fish breeds for creating the Flowerhorn.
They tend to peacefully swim around near the bottom of the fish tank, hiding among roots, weeds or pretty much any decoration.
If there are smaller fishes in the tank, then the Three Spot Cichlid is definitely going to eat them.
Otherwise it lives on insects, bot terrestrial and aquatic. Fish keepers who keep them for breeding purposes should put them in a larger fish tank with a flat stone in it where the female can spawn the eggs.
10. Blood-Red Parrot Cichlid
The Blood-Red Parrot is one of the more peaceful breeds that we recommend keeping together with a Flowerhorn. With its bright red color, short body and a head that associates with a bird’s beak, it is a peculiar addition to any community aquarium.
With its blank stare and its mouth that is always open, the Blood-Red Parrot constantly looks surprised. Since the teeth of this breed are developed deep in its mouth, it has no way to attack the other fish. They tend to bump into other fish in the aquarium and then move on.
Blood-Red Parrots can eat both meat and plant-based food as long as it fits into their tiny mouth. It is important for the owner to make sure their Parrots have indeed eaten. It is significantly harder for them to compete for food with their small, unusually shaped mouth.
11. Common Pleco (Hypostomus plecostomus)
The Common Pleco is one of the friendlier fish that can be put in the same tank with a Flowerhorn.
Other species really don’t bother them and as long as they are of similar size with other, aggressive fish, they are not going to be attacked either.
However, the Common Pleco tends to rule its own territory if there are other fishes around from the same family.
They are rather passive during the day, using rocks and decoration to hide. This is the type of fish that gets active in the darkness or when the night comes in its natural habitat.
Even when they active, they usually swim close to the bottom of the fish tank in a slow pace.
They also clean up the algae as they move, which is another great thing about this breed. The Common Pleco is among the more popular cat breeds that people add to their collection.
12. Silver Arowana
While Silver Arowanas are only moderately aggressive, they are well-known about their hunting abilities. They are rather big and can be recognized of their unusual jawline and flat mouth that points upwards. Each of the scales that cover its body looks like a shining silver pearl.
While the Silver Arowana is in its juvenile period, these scales usually have a blue shade to them. Although they might appear thin while looking at them from the side, it is only because of their long shape and shiny scales. They are actual quite thick, especially the females.
Silver Arowanas are the type of fish that can be scared by quick movements inside or outside the tank. Even a simple thing as turning on the lights can scare them.
They can mostly be seen swimming near the surface of the water. If they feel like the fish tank is too small for them, they might even attempt to jump out.
13. Giant Gourami
Just as its name suggests, the Giant Gourami is yet another one of the bigger fish breeds that should be kept in bigger tanks.
It is not only big but it also eats a lot compared to the average aquarium fish. It is interesting to follow how the appearance of this breed changes as it ages.
While juvenile, they have a flat head that slowly turns into a swollen one with big lips and thick chin as they get older.
What makes females distinguishable is that they have thicker lips. A juvenile Giant Gourami is typically colored with a mixture of silver blue, golden yellow and silver.
As they age, they get darker and darker, slowly turning into dark grey. It is recommended to put only one Giant Gourami into the tank because their own species are the only fish they don’t tolerate.
As long as the aquarium is big enough, it won’t be aggressive towards other fish at all.
14. Bichir Dragonfish
Fish keepers like to make their collection more diverse by including Bichir Dragonfish in their aquarium. This breed has a unique eel-like body with a head like that of a dragon.
Although they are not as aggressive as Flowerhorn fish, there is still the possibility that they eat the smaller fish around them.
Bichir Dragonfish have no problem living with fish that are bigger than them. They peacefully swim around the tank, near to the bottom. Since their eyesight is pretty bad, they don’t rely as much on it and prefer getting food in the dark, relying on their other senses.
They sometimes crawl around on the substrate, using their tail and fins to get from one place to another. Another interesting fact about Bichir is they can breathe air through the top of their head. With these two attributes, this fish breed has the ability to adapt to land-life.
15. Clown Loaches
What makes Clown Loaches a good choice for every fish enthusiast is its unique striped appearance and playful nature. They are not aggressive at all and prefer being part of bigger fish groups.
If put together with a group of less than 5 fish, they will behave passively and try to find places to hide.
Otherwise they are absolutely energetic and eager to chase each other around. Clown Loaches tend to “play dead” from time to time, sinking to the bottom of the tank and not moving.
This is just one of their typical behaviors so it is definitely not something to worry about.
Clown Loaches follow a specific hierarchy that compels them to behave in specific ways. A great way to liven up the fish tank is to put more of them into it.
Their group of younger Loaches always follows the female alpha and copies it movements, which is interesting to watch.
How to Deal with Flowerhorn’s Aggressive Behavior?
The simplest way to lower the aggression of a Flowerhorn is to put another one in the tank. If they have enough space, the two will swim together and reduce each other’s stress levels. Pretty much every fish breed with an aggressive temperament has to have enough space to swim around.
Each of them has its own territory that other fish shouldn’t invade and the Flowerhorn is no exception. It definitely helps to put enough decoration, rocks or wood elements into the tank where other fish can hide from the Flowerhorn’s line of sight.
Keep in mind that they are big, massive fish that occasionally bump into objects. If the decoration is not properly fixed, the aquarium can quickly turn into a mess. Since the Flowerhorn doesn’t prefer to stay in a particular layer in the tank, they will leave no stone unturned.
Fish to Avoid Keeping with Flowerhorns
Flowerhorns act aggressive toward fish that are smaller than 10 inches. These fish will surely not survive if put in the same aquarium, especially if they are peaceful in nature. A rule of thumb is to match the aggression and size of the Flowerhorn.
Even some of the peaceful larger fish can get in danger with them such as goldfish, discus and angelfish. They also don’t hesitate to eat any invertebrates they can find in the tank. If they bump into any snail, shrimp or crayfish, they are immediately going to consume it.
Wrapping it up
Flowerhorns have an interesting way to behave and their exotic beauty makes it a must buy for any fish keeper. The only problem to handle is their aggressive behavior, which can be easily solved by accompanying them with tank mates of similar size and temperament.
With these 15 fish, anyone can comfortably fill up an aquarium with an enviable group of fish that can comfortably live together. We mostly suggested aggressive or semi-aggressive fish breeds that each have interesting personalities and will surely make any owner proud.