Flowerhorn Size and Growth Chart
Disclosure: I may earn a commission when you purchase through my affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. – read more
Flowerhorns are some of the most exhilarating cichlids, combining their unique look with an astounding variety and an equally colorful personality.
That being said, these fish grow quite large, requiring a vaster living space even compared to fish their own size.
The reason for that is the flowerhorn’s aggressive and territorial behavior, making the fish incompatible for a community setting.
But how large will a flowerhorn grow and what’s its growth rate? And is there anything you can do to boost its growth over time? Let’s see!
How Big do Flowerhorn Get?
Expect your flowerhorn to reach sizes between 6 and 16 inches. Yes, the difference is considerable, since flowerhorns vary dramatically in terms of size and growth rate.
The factors that will influence a flowerhorn’s maximum size include:
- Genetic – Flowerhorns are the exclusive result of selective breeding, which is people breeding specific species to prioritize certain characteristics and traits. The flowerhorn is the genetic child of the Blood Parrot and Red Devil cichlids, so they share a lot of similarities with them. Furthermore, selective breeding has also paired various strains of flowerhorns, further expanding their gene pool. This means that each strain of flowerhorn comes with different characteristics in terms of looks and size.
- Diet – As cichlids, flowerhorns are omnivorous and require around 40% protein in their diets. However, flowerhorn fry will demand even more protein to sustain their accelerated growth rate and faster metabolism. You should provide the fry with 60% protein during their first 3-4 weeks of life. You can then drop the protein content gradually to around 40% for adult flowerhorns, since they also require a lot of plant-based meals.
- Water conditions – Optimizing your flowerhorn’s water parameters is key to accelerating their growth rate and helping them grow larger. Temperature is a crucial factor here, especially during the fry stage, when warmer waters are necessary to boost the cichlid’s growth.
Out of all these factors, the first one is the most relevant. If your cichlid isn’t designed to achieve a certain size, there’s nothing you can do about it.
Flowerhorn Growth Chart
If your flowerhorns have produced their first fry, you probably have a lot of questions and concerns about providing them with the best care.
The good news is that flowerhorn fry grow fast, but they require your support to achieve their full growth potential.
Here is a chart detailing the fry’s growth phases during their first 12 months of life:
|0.6-1 inch – It’s atypical for the fry to grow 1 inch during their first month, but it can happen. Realistically, you should expect them to grow around 0.6-0.8 inches during their first 4 weeks.
|1.5-2 inches – The fry will begin to display cichlid-specific characteristics with fins becoming more visible.
|2.5-3 inches – The coloring will begin to show up, depending on your cichlid’s strain and diet.
|3.8-4 inches – The cichlid is pretty much a juvenile at this point, displaying characteristics distinct to its species.
|4.8-5 inches – Many species of flowerhorn are already approaching their maximum size by this point.
|5.5-6 inches – The cichlid is already almost mature, nearing its reproductive milestone which sits at around 8-9-month of age.
|6-7 inches and onward – Your flowerhorn should have achieved its maximum growth by this point. If it keeps growing past the 12-month mark, don’t worry, you probably have a larger species.
Most flowerhorns will reach sexual maturity between 8 to 10 months, so you have a lot of waiting to do if you want to breed the cichlids. It’s also worth noting that the values displayed in the chart are the ideal ones.
You will see a lot of aquarists claiming that flowerhorns will grow around 1 inch per month during their first year of life, but that’s not really true.
They might grow 1 inch per month during their first 2-3 months, but no longer than that. And even that growth rate is only realistic in the context of the cichlid having the best gene pool and receiving optimal care and diet along the way.
When do Flowerhorn Reach Full Size?
Expect your flowerhorn to achieve its full size within the first 12-18 months of its life. The timeframe will vary considerably based on the fish’s genetic makeup and quality of care.
Some flowerhorns will achieve their full size in about 10 months, while others may need 2 years for that, especially the larger species.
How to Speed Up Flowerhorn Growth?
If you’ve decided to provide boost your flowerhorn’s growth rate and maximum size, consider the following:
- Ensure an optimal diet – Provide your flowerhorn fry with a nutritious and balanced diet, especially during their first few weeks of life. As I’ve already mentioned, you may need to up the protein content in the fry’s food to 60% to boost their growth rate. They won’t need as much protein as adults. Depending on the type of flowerhorn and its nutritional needs, you may also need to offer some form of supplementation, whether vitamins or minerals.
- Increase the tank’s temperature – Flowerhorns require stable temperatures ranging between 78 and 85 F. Adults will be fine around the 80-mark, but you might want to boost the temperature slightly for the fry. Keeping them at environmental temperatures between 82 to 84 will accelerate their metabolism, allowing them to remain more active and aiding indigestion. This will cause your flowerhorn fry to grow faster and bigger than those kept in lower temperatures.
- Offer pristine water conditions – The fry are more sensitive to poor water conditions than the adults. Perform partial water changes every 4-5 days, especially if you have several fry in the same environment. You should also clean the tank to prevent algae formation and eliminate fish waste and food residues to keep the habitat cleaner and more stable. A filter is absolutely necessary to ensure the system will retain its optimal living conditions.
- Provide enough space – Flowerhorns are quite curious and active fish that require a lot of room to grow properly. Most people recommend 90 to 100 gallons for one fish, but you can get away with 70 for small-to-medium flowerhorns, up to 10-12 inches. What most hobbyists fail to realize is that the fry also require a lot of space. They might remain comfortable in a smaller environment for their first 3-4 weeks, but then you need to move them to a larger environment. The more space available for them to swim and exercise their muscles, the faster and larger they will grow.
These measures are necessary to boost your flowerhorn’s growth rate and help the fish grow larger overall.
How Much Does a Flowerhorn Weigh?
Your 10-12-inch flowerhorn can probably reach 1-1.5 lbs. Larger flowerhorns will be even heavier than that, sometimes exceeding 2 lbs.
The fish’s weight also depends on its diet, quality of life, genetics, and environmental conditions.
Flowerhorns are large, aggressive, and unique cichlids that can grow to impressive proportions, given optimal living conditions.
- Provide your flowerhorn with a balanced and nutritional diet to maximize its growth
- Keep the temperatures stable, around 80 F
- Ensure enough swimming space, preferably at least 70 gallons for one adult flowerhorn
- Avoid pairing the flowerhorn with tank mates that could fuel aggression and territoriality