Flowerhorn Fish – Species Profile & Facts

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The flowerhorn fish is one of the most sought-after fish in the fish keeping world. Not only are they quite sturdy and adaptable to various conditions, but they are also one of the most beautiful and extravagant-looking fish out there.

The flowerhorn fish belongs to the cichlid family. The distinctively shaped heads and the vivid, extravagant colors of the fish make it a must for everyone who is looking for an ornamental fish that will liven up their aquarium and add some flamboyance and colors.

It is a well-known fact that flowerhorn fish is a product of mixing between two different fish made by man. These fish are hybrids and did not exist in the wild until they were released.

Flowerhorn Fish

Flowerhorn Fish

These fish were first developed in Asia, namely in Thailand, Taiwan, and Malaysia and have gained a lot of popularity in Asia. But since then, the fish has spread all over the world. And it is not surprising that they are one of the most popular fish.

These fish are relatively new; they were first bred in 1993, and they didn’t arrive at the West until the 2000s. For this reason, not really many people know too much about them.

But we have you covered here in this article; we will cover just about everything about the flowerhorn fish – how to care for it, what diet it prefers, how to breed flowerhorn fish, what tank mates are recommended for the fish and we will also take a look at some other requirements that the fish might have.

Flowerhorn Tank Conditions

Flowerhorn Tank Conditions

Flowerhorn Tank Conditions

First, we will take a look at the most basic and also the thing you have to consider prior to getting a flowerhorn fish. The tank conditions and the settings that work best for this fish.

It is important to provide the best possible living conditions for the fish to strive in and live for a long time.

The flowerhorn fish are known as sturdy fish. You also need to keep in mind the aggressive nature of the fish and the requirement for a spacious tank.

We cannot really say for sure what natural conditions the flowerhorn fish really prefer. Because they are not really seen in the wild. But they are cichlids, which means that they prefer slightly more tropical settings with slow-moving waters and plenty of plants near the bottom and also some hiding spots. Let us take a closer look at the best possible tank conditions for the flowerhorn fish.

Water Parameters

Depending on the whole setup of your tank. It is recommended to keep the water parameters as close as possible to the required parameters of the flowerhorn fish. Doing so would make sure that the fish is happy and that it stays healthy for a long time.

As we already noted, these fish are tropical fish, which means that tropical water parameters would really work best for the fish. The ideal water temperature should thus be quite high – somewhere between 75-81 degrees Fahrenheit (24-27 degrees Celsius).

In terms of water acidity, it should be kept somewhere around neutral. There can be some nuances. For example, the fish can sustain in a slightly acidic or a slightly basic water acidity. In general, it should be at around 6.5 to 7.8 PH. The hardness should be at around 9-20 DGH. Try to keep these water parameters at all times, or at least in the correct ranges.

Tank Size

When it comes to tank size, we have already mentioned that the flowerhorn fish require quite a spacious tank to meet their territorial needs. These fish can be quite aggressive if they are not given sufficient space. Also note that the flowerhorn fish can grow to up to 16 inches in size, which makes them quite large.

The ideal tank size should be at around 100 gallons; however, if the fish are given enough space and are placed alone in the tank, a 70-75-gallon tank would also be sufficient. If you decide to keep two or more flowerhorn fish, then you would need to have a tank of at least 150 gallons.


If you have only the flowerhorn fish in your tank, then you could place sand on the bottom, or even gravel. They are not too demanding in this regard. Try to use the mono-colored gravel if you only have the flowerhorns in your tank; if you have some other fish in the tank as well, then the flowerhorns are quite adaptable in that regard.

However, try to also use some rocks to go with the gravel which would keep the fish quite happy.


As far as the tank vegetation goes, you can have it with the flowerhorn fish. But just make sure that it is tightly secured as the fish might dig them out or ruin them because these fish like to dig the substrate up. And this might cause the plants to get extracted.

It is better not to have many plants, though. If you already have them, but you want to put the flowerhorn fish in, then secure them tightly to ensure they do not get pulled out.


In terms of other equipment for the tank, you might want to get a powerful filter or a canister which will allow you to moderate the flow, because of these fish like a moderate flow from the filter.

You also need to keep in mind that you might need to perform frequent water changes and cycles, as the flowerhorn fish can be quite a messy fish to deal with.

Flowerhorn Diet

Flowerhorn Diet

Flowerhorn Diet

Now that the tank setup is out of the way, let’s take a look at some other specifications of the fish. In this part, we will take a look at the diet of the flowerhorn fish.

In essence, the flowerhorn fish are omnivores, which means that they will eat any sort of food you provide them. You need to keep in mind that these are quite large fish. Which means that they will need to be fed quite often. Whether you prefer to give them live or frozen foods, or even plant-based foods, these fish will not be picky.

What is important is to keep a variety of foods when feeding these fish. Try to feed them both live foods, as well as frozen foods and leafy foods. The diet should be rich in protein to keep the fish healthy and enable them to live longer. It is important to buy quality foods instead of cheap food.

When it comes to meaty foods, you can feed the flowerhorn fish shrimp, bloodworms, dried grasshoppers, dried crickets, other sorts of worms and also some other types of live foods and also dried foods.

In addition to that, feed them leafy foods from time to time. Such as live plants or some other plant-based foods that you can buy at the pet shop or even some vegetables. The importance is to keep the food varied.

Breeding Flowerhorns in Aquarium

Breeding Flowerhorns in Aquarium

Breeding Flowerhorns in Aquarium

Let’s take a look at how to breed flowerhorns.

The fish can be bred under the right circumstances. Often, these hybrid fish are not very avid breeders. But you can breed flowerhorns if you provide them with the right conditions to do so. It can be quite a challenge to do so, but if you get it right, they will breed.

You have to keep in mind that these fish will be very unlikely to breed in the same aquarium as they live in. So, you might have to provide an additional aquarium for breeding. This could be quite a challenge, as these fish require quite a large aquarium.

This separate tank should be designed in such a way that the female fish has plenty of space to hide from the male, as the male can become quite aggressive towards the female during breeding and might even attack her.

Another way to do that is to put a divider between the male and the female in the breeding tank, such as a net. Once they are ready to breed, release them and allow them to breed. They will be ready to breed once they are mature, which happens at the age of 2.

Once they breed, the female will spawn more than 900 eggs on rocks. You should provide the right conditions for the spawn. Which is the temperature of around 28 degrees Celsius and a neutral PH.

Once the new fish spawn, the males can become quite aggressive towards the female or other fish; for this reason, it might a good idea to separate them. If you provide all these conditions, then you might breed the fish successfully.

Flowerhorn Tank Mates

Blood-Red Parrot Cichlid

Flowerhorn Tank Mates

Just like other cichlid fish, the flowerhorn fish can be an aggressive fish. Which makes their compatibility with other fish limited. This is why it might be better if you keep the flowerhorn alone or in pairs (male-female), for which you will obviously need a larger tank.

If you want to keep some other fish with the flowerhorn, you can, of course. But make sure that these fish are of similar size and of similar temperament to the flowerhorn.

This means that they should be as large or even bigger than the flowerhorn fish, and they have to be aggressive in order to defend themselves from possible attacks.

Among the best tank mates for the fish are some sorts of Plecos (Leopard pleco and other plecos), some cichlid sorts (jaguar cichlids), pirapatinga fish, and also the giant gourami, Oscar cichlids, suckermouth armored catfish, some other catfish (bushy nose catfish, spotted Raphael catfish), lowland cichlids and more.

Basically, almost any fish that are not smaller than the flowerhorn fish and have a similar temperament to them.

Avoid smaller fish that move fast, as they can be harmed by flowerhorns. Also make sure that you do not overstock the tank (put too many fish in there).

Flowerhorn Common Diseases and Treatment

The flowerhorn fish are popular also due to the fact that these fish are quite hardy fish that do not catch diseases too often. There are no real specific diseases or issues that these fish can encounter.

You do, however, want to make sure that these fish are kept in an environment that is free of sharp objects. They can easily hurt themselves when they are digging into the substrate on a sharp object. For this reason, keep such objects out of the tank.

Another issue that a flowerhorn can have is an infection. Fin infection can occur with these fish, especially when they get older and the fish grow larger. You can solve this issue by applying some chemicals into the water which will allow these fish to heal faster.

Some fish might also encounter poisoning. This is not food poisoning. But it is rather poisoning due to the wrong chemical composition of the water, such as a lack of oxygen or some other chemicals (or too many chemicals).

You should have a balanced chemical composition of the water with enough oxygen for the fish.

Will Flowerhorn Jump Out of the Tank?

While it is a known factor that cichlids do tend to jump quite often, even when they are small, it is better to be cautious with this issue. Flowerhorns are, after all, hybrids of the cichlids, which means that they can jump out of the tank if the water is high enough.

To solve this or prevent it from happening it would be a good idea to have the water levels slightly lowered to disable the fish from jumping or simply get a lid (glass lid) done in order to prevent that.

Do Flowerhorns Bite You?

Yes, the flowerhorns can bite you if you offer them the opportunity to do so. They are known as aggressive fish, which means that they will bite you if you give them an opportunity to do so. It might not really hurt if the fish is small, but be careful when you clean the tank.

If you must, try to put the fish into a separate tank while you clean the tank to prevent getting bitten by the fish. It can have quite sharp teeth when it grows up, so be careful about that and keep it in mind before you put your hand in there.

How Long does Flowerhorns Live For?

Depending on the care you provide them and the tank conditions, the flowerhorn fish tends to have a life span of up to 10 years. If it is cared for properly and the tank conditions are good, then it can reach that age.

Try to keep the tank conditions perfect. Make sure that it gets enough care from your part, make water changes and cycles often enough. Make maintenance checks often and provide them with high-quality foods, and you will ensure that they will reach that age or even longer for some fish.

This is in the upper spectrum when it comes to cichlids, and the age of 10 or more is quite an impressive age if you manage them well.

Is Flowerhorns Good For Beginners?

In general, the flowerhorns can be quite complicated to care for, especially if you are a beginner when it comes to fish keeping. Their aggressive nature means that it is not recommended for beginners to look after them, especially if they want to have some other fish in the tank with them.

While they are not picky when it comes to diet and other maintenance requirements, their aggressive nature can mean that it might be a bit complicated to keep them and you would have to make sure that they are placed next to similar fish to them.


The flowerhorn fish is a stunning fish to have. They have some vivid, amazing colors to look at and the shape of their head is very unique.

They are not fussy eaters; in fact, they are omnivores, which means that they will eat both meaty foods as well as plant-based foods. Try to feed them regularly and provide them with the right conditions.

We have established that they prefer to live in slightly tropical conditions. The water temperature should be about 24 to 28 degrees Celsius, and the acidity should be neutral.

One thing to keep in mind when it comes to flowerhorn fish is the fact that they are quite aggressive fish in essence.

For this reason, you need to make sure that you do not place small fish next to the flowerhorn, as they can get hurt and this would mean death for the small fish.

We have also covered breeding patterns in this article; while you can breed them in your tank, you need to provide them with perfect conditions to do so. Or else they will not breed.

We have covered everything about the flowerhorn fish in this article, and hopefully, you have learned everything about it. Having a happy flowerhorn fish is very important, so try to do everything in order to do that.

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.
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