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Flower Horn Cichlid
~Pooja Chakrabarty

Flower Horn Cichlid: The New Entrant

There has been a great deal of controversy regarding the Flower Horn Cichlid which many regard as being a mutated species. It is in fact a cross breed, and breeders try to combine the better qualities of two different species in this fish. Believed to be lucky, this fish has become very popular in East and South-East Asia.

The flower horn cichlid is a relatively new entrant into the aquariums of cichlid enthusiasts. Flower horns are the result of cross breeding species such as the Cichlasoma Trimaculatus, the Cichlasoma Festae, and the Jingang Blood Parrot among others.  Their parents are from the South American Lakes. Breeders of late have even brought out other strains like Golden Flower Horn, and Golden Mercury. Its protruding head is its most distinct characteristic.

Flower horn cichlids grow up to 12" in length, and hence need a 55 gallon aquarium at the least. These fish are hardier than a lot of other species, but they survive best in water having a temperature between 27oC and 32oC, and with a pH ranging from 7.0 to 7.8. As with other cichlids, you should provide them with plenty of hiding places. You could also place plastic plants rather than live ones as flower horn cichlids tend to dig them out. These are not difficult fish to keep if you are new to fish keeping.

The flower horn cichlid is considered by the Chinese to be lucky for its owners

These are not mutants but have been bred in such a way as to have the best features of their parent species. These fish are beautifully colored and the colors differ according to their original environments of their parents, as well as according to their age.

It is relatively simple to identify the sex of flower horn cichlids after they have grown to about 4". The male has a v-shaped anal pore while the female has a u-shaped one. They can lay up to 1000 eggs at a time on a flat surface. Both parents guard the eggs aggressively. The fry become free swimming 5 days after hatching, and you can start feeding them small foods at this time.

These carnivorous fish can be fed bloodworms, insects, small fish, flakes and pellets. Donít ever overfeed your flower horn, and try to give it food that does not pollute its water.

This fish is territorial, and therefore aggressive. Desist from keeping them with other fish, particularly smaller ones.

The flower horn cichlid is considered by the Chinese to be lucky for its owners. The black markings on its side is said to resemble very closely the Chinese lucky numbers. Many buy this fish and then purchase lottery tickets. Flower horn cichlid enthusiasts also look for flower horn cichlids with large humps on their heads. A larger hump raises the price of this expensive fish. And irrespective of whether or not it helps its owner win a lottery, it certainly brings a lot of money to its breeder.

[Permission for using the above picture has been given by Jeff Rapps of Tangled Up In Cichlids.]

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