Flowerhorn Cichlids: Profile and Complete Guide To Unique Fish

As I have a keen interest in fishkeeping, I have a lot of unique fish in my aquarium. Among them, Flowerhorn fish is my favorite. The unusual figure, behaviors, and color of the flowerhorn fish will make you so interested in them that you won’t regret buying them. In this article, You will get the knowledge of “How to take care of Flowerhorn fishes? Why is it so popular? Why should you buy flowerhorn fish? And every detailed study of flowerhorn fish.

Flowerhorn fish is a hybrid artificial fish having a flower-shaped body and a unique hump in its head, also known as KOK. The flowerhorn fish are aggressive. You have to separate them in a minimum 20-gallon size quality tank. After that, you have to use a proper water testing kit is used to test the water for your flowerhorn fish.

There are different types of flowerhorn fishes, i.e., Zhen Zhou, Kansas, golden base flowerhorn, etc., and many more. You should feed the flowerhorn with proper food items. Feeding varieties of foods like staple pellets, blood worms, and frozen food improves their coloration and growth. Lastly, your flowerhorn can be kept with its proper tank mates.

Equipment List That Might Help You Choose For Flowerhorn Tank

Types of equipment Features Link to amazon
SeaClear Acrylic Combo Aquarium
  • It can hold temperatures
  • Acrylic
  • Reasonable price
  • Durable
  • Comes with a lifetime guarantee
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Flipper Ollie & Hutch Wildwood 55 Gallon, Rustic Gray Aquarium Stand
  • Sturdy
  • Looks beautiful
  • Spacious shelves

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  • Explosion Proof
  • Rapid Heating System
  • Simple as well as reliable for use
Marineland Penguin 350 BIO-Wheel Power Filter
  • Quiet
  • Easy to fix
  • Affordable
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Penn Plax Aquarium Cascade Canister Filter
  • 360-degree rotation
  • Quick push button
  • Affordable price for canister filters
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Imagitarium 50-Gallon Terrarium Screen
  • Sturdy
  • Cat-proof
  • Well designed
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MingDak LED Aquarium Plant Light
  • Bright
  • Three light modes
  • Enhances the beauty of an aquarium
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TEEMO Aquarium Groot Air Bubbler Decorations
  • Makes air bubbles
  • Enhances the beauty of an aquarium
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Penn-Plax Reptology Shale Step Ledge for Aquariums & Terrariums
  • Perfect for small fish
  • Looks like realistic rocks
  • Natural hideout
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Basics About Flowerhorn And Its Origin

Flowerhorn is an aquarium fish that belong to Cichlids, a grouping of fish that is medium, measuring up to sixteen inches in length. It is symmetrical in appearance. They like to roam around the surroundings; they are curious fish.

Flowerhorn is now not even a hybrid; they are a hybrid of hybrids. Flowerhorn fishes are crossed and breed with “Giant Blood Parrot,” which is a hybrid of its own. Then with the resource of this crossing and breeding, the Flowerhorn originated artificially with the aid of the capacity of people.

Family  Cichlidae 
Origin  Hybrid 
Behavior Semi-aggressive 
Dwelling tank level Mid-dweller 
Minimum size of the tank 70 gallon 
Diet and Feeding Omnivore 
Breeding  Egg-layer 
Care level Beginner 
the pH of the water 7.0 to 8.0 
The hardness of the water 8 to 20 dgH 
The temperature of the water 78 to 84 F (25 to 29 C)


Flowerhorn is a particularly long-lived fish. You know it can survive for 12 years if good care and a fair environment are provided to them.

Main Types Of Flowerhorn

There are distinct sorts of flower horns observed everywhere. Among those, there are two foremost sorts of flower horn fish. They are Zhen Zhu, Kansas.

Zhen Zhou(OZ)

Zhen Zhou is additionally considered a ‘pearl flower horn.’ This type of fish has an egg-like body, largemouth, crimson eyes, and rounded fins of tails. Their eyes are crimson and have a well-known head flower.

They are very fertile and frequently breed with other colorful flowerhorns.


Kansas is the variant that, without delay, bought here from a loan. They have white and yellow eyes; then again, some even have pink eyes, rectangular and thick physique shape, quick fins, hollow-eyed, smaller lips than Then Zhu fish, and a wrapped tail. Their tail fin is generally widespread and appears like a fan.

The Kama with yellow and white eyes are less fertile than red-eyed Kansas.

Is It Difficult To Take Care Of Kansas?

They are very sensitive to water parameter changes. So, yes, it is difficult to take care of Kansas Flowerhorn.

Why Is FlowerHorn Called So?  

Flowerhorn is extraordinary amongst all the fish species. As its name says, “Flower” refers to the flower-shaped colorful body of the flowerhorn fish and “horn” refers to the hump in its head, also known as KOK.

How To Identify The Sex Of Flower horn Fish?

We can understand the sex of this fish with the aid of using searching at its anal pore. You can differentiate between the male and female flowerhorn fish by the following steps:

Anal Pore

Male flowerhorn has a V form in their anal pore. While women/ female flowerhorn has U form in their anal pores. You should mate flowerhorn fish when it reaches the length of 4 inches.

Nuclei Hump

They obtained a nuclei hump, which is also known as KOK. They usually appear in male flower horn fishes. Basically, the flowerhorn hump grows on its head with its sexual maturity.

Flowerhorn Behavior

Flowerhorn is very aggressive but playful too. If they see any bugs over the aquarium top, they tend to jump and seize them, on the other hand, they harm themselves too in this catching process. If you are unlucky, Flowerhorn fishes can even assault your hands. 

Overall, the Flowerhorn fish is considered smart and clever fish, too, as they easily respond to humans.

Flowerhorn Growth/ Size

Flowerhorn fish can enlarge up to 13-15 inches. The flowerhorn growth depends upon the factors like food, size of the water tank, 

The Appearance of Flowerhorn Fish

Flowerhorn is not a naturally going on fish, and they do have a weird bodily appearance. The flowerhorn fish has an awesome head and brilliant pores, making them so in the world. 

Other Reason For Being A Popular Fish

Many Asians believe the Flowerhorn fish is a fortunate fish or the fish with a precise success charm. The magnificent pores and skin of extraordinary colors, with a large hump on their head, make this fish popular and unique.

So you can have the confidence that the larger the hump of the Flower horn, the higher the good fortune will be. Most aquarists are keen to make it a pet in their aquarium.

Flowerhorn As A Pet

People love to maintain flowerhorn fish as a pet in their aquariums. These fish do have a quite interactive nature with people and easily respond to their actions. These fish are even capable of knowing their owner’s face if you feed them.

Feeding Flowerhorn 

These fishes have the exceptional urge for food when it is healthy. They devour each existence and dry feed. The flowerhorn fish eagerly eats first-rate dry feed and universal frozen prawns or mussels.

Flowerhorn requires a staple pellet to furnish micronutrients and nutritional vitamins as excellent as additions like sun-dried crickets, grasshoppers, mealworms, anchovies, etc.

Worms, such as white worms, earthworms, and nightcrawlers, can be fed to flowerhorns. 

Generally, Omega one pellets and OKIKO Fish Foods brands are the best protein-rich food for your flowerhorn fish.

Is Flowerhorn Carnivorous Or Omnivorous?

Flowehorn fish are omnivorous and devour any variety of ingredients looking to their large appetite. You can see they devour earthworms, crickets, feeder fish, and even consume distinctive dietary supplements as foods on an everyday basis. They additionally require a leafy complement to their diet. 

Flowerhorn fish mostly eats balanced veggies as appropriate as incredible ingredients for their healthy diet.

Flowerhorn Feeding Mistakes You Shouldn’t Do

  • You should feed Flowerhorns three instances a day. The quantity that you need to feed varies on the sort of elements being fed and the flowerhorn variety.
  • Overfeeding can lead to larger ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate in the fish tank. 
  • They are particularly touchy with ammonia and nitrates. A small volume of these chemical compounds can put your fish in grave danger. 

Common Diseases In Flowerhorn 

Your flowerhorn is might suffer from these diseases. They are as follows:

  • Head in The Hole Disease
  • White Spot Disease (Disease)
  • Dropsy
  • Flower horn Fungus disease
  • Swim Bladder Disease

Except for the above-mentioned diseases, there is a list of many minor illnesses that flowerhorn is prone to. Thus, you should be careful and act fast if u notice any changes in your flowerhorn fish.

How Can We Know If Your Flowerhorn Have Health Issues?

If your flowerhorn fish is acting stressed or is not normal than other days, then something is wrong with your flowerhorn fish. For example, white poop disease is a dangerous disease for flowerhorn fish.

  • If the flowerhorn head begins to limit the lower back, then it requires proper care and treatment immediately. 
  • If the flowerhorn is hiding behind the tank and begins to hide its physique color, your flowerhorn is experiencing trouble and requires your help.
  • In case the water in the aquarium contains hazardous chemical materials like Sulphur then it lacks oxygen in the water and unique sorts of infections may additionally show up on them.
  • The alternate in its behavior needs to be analyzed and treated before it gets seriously ill.

Water Conditions For Flowerhorn

Flowerhorn requires relevant care for its survival. Additionally, the flowerhorn fish requires ideal feeding, water cycle, and acceptable aquarium amenities to retain their health.

Proper Aquarium Management 

The simple component is water, which is the primary source of their survival. The water should be gleaming and clean. Flowerhorn is a messy fish, so the water in the tank needs to be changed regularly. Water should be kept at a constant temperature and filtered thoroughly.

Tank size

Tank dimension performs an essential feature in the extent of the fish. If the tank is now no longer modified after the flower horn fish starts off to develop bigger, you might not get top-notch effects in fish growth.

So, I propose the use of a tank which is 50 or 75-gallon dimension for large flower horn fish (3-8 inches) as it wishes for a massive space. It can amplify monstrously huge. 

For a small flower horn fish, I recommend the use of a smaller tank which has 20-gallon size.

Can You Use Tap Water For Your FlowerHorn Fish?

Yes, of course, but there is a detrimental chlorine current in Tap/well water that can slowly kill the fish. We can use a water tester bundle, API, to make faucet water safe.

Which Water Tester Is Best For FlowerHorn Fish?

Any water sort you pick out should be acceptably tested with exceptional water test kits. The water test kits are easily reachable from the nearby aquarium shops. I recommend the usage of the popular API water. Take a look at the bundle as it offers the right penalties on relevant parameters for aquarium flower horn fish.

Basic Parameters For Freshwater Flowerhorn Fish

I use these parameters for my flowerhorn fish:

  • PH meter range from 7-8. It maintains the acidity of water.
  • Water temperature (84-86) degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Recommended TDS(total dissolved Solid) degrees up to 200-400 (higher the TDS level, the harder the water will be).
  • Ammonia and nitrate- 0.
  • Nitrate – less than 0.75 ppm.

Ammonia, nitrite, nitrates, chlorine, water hardness, pH, and the temperature of the water, which determines the level of water for the fish to survive, are recognized as water parameters. It helps to point out when water adjustments in an aquarium.

Flowerhorn Aquarium Must-Have Equipment

You have to take care of the flowerhorn to make it happy and healthy. Suppose you buy a new apartment, but it doesn’t have the necessary furniture you need. How will you feel? It is the same with the flowerhorn. So, you must have the following equipment to make it feel at home!

Proper Filtration System For Flowerhorn

Flowerhorn is a massive fish with a large appetite, and they are generally messy eaters. So a good filtration system is required to be saved in their aquarium. The water from the aquarium tank desires to be cleaned weekly to supply healthful water surroundings to the fish.

There are different types of filters you can use for your flowerhorn fish. They are hang-on filters, canister filters, box filters, internal sump filters, etc. I recommend using these filters as they are efficient, easy to use, long-lasting, produce less sound, and are easy to maintain.


When you have a flowerhorn in your tank, be sure that it is going to dig on the substrate. Considering its size, it can even uproot some of the plants in your aquarium.

Thus, you should go for a softer substrate to keep your flowerhorn safe. Any hard or sharp substrates can cause casualties in the tank which you will not want. I recommend sand substrate. Some of the best substrates for flowerhorn are:


Decors are the bed to bedrooms and tv or sofa for the living rooms. For your flowerhorn fish, it should be driftwood and rocks. These are essential for the flowerhorn to think it is in its natural habitat. Plants can also be a good option, but I would not recommend them as flowerhorn cichlid tend to uproot them.

It will be harder for you to manage the decoration as per their goofiness. If you really want to put plants in your aquarium, go for floating plants. You can even use floating PVC pipes to support your plants.

Finding the perfect match for your aquarium might be difficult! I loved these decor items for my Flowerhorn. You can check these out too.

Natural Large Coral Driftwood for Aquarium Decor Reptile Decor, Assorted Driftwood Branch 9-14″ 2 Pcs, Fish Tank Decoration

For rocks, I will be giving more recommendations based on monochrome, natural, and colorful rocks as per your preference:



You can get the second one in a variety of color choices. For that, you have to click and check the ideal ones for you. I personally find the transparent and blue one amusing!


The flowerhorn is okay with any aquarium light. It does not need much light. So, you can use any standard ones. Perhaps, the 70-gallon tank already comes with one. But, if you really need to choose one aquarium light, I will go for MingDak LED Aquarium Plant Light.

Difficulties While Caring Flowerhorn

Flowerhorn is an aggressive fish, and they hate if we interfere in their vicinity and might also damage us. As we can see, the flowerhorn is a large fish and requires a giant aquarium with a splendid filtration system which is fairly tough for us to adjust. 

A single tank is required for them, with no other random tank mates. They are aggressive and can harm other species. 

Flowerhorns might chew their proprietor in the way of feeding, and their bites are painful as a sword. 

Tank Mates For Flowerhorn Fish

Popular tankmates for your flowerhorn fish are:

These are the few of the tank mates which is suitable for your flowerhorn cichlid. These tank mates should be the size of your flowerhorn fish which helps to avoid conflict. It is safe to put these flowerhorn tankmates in a single tank.

Breeding Flowerhorn

Even though the flowerhorn is a beginner fish, breeding it can be equally difficult. There are a lot of challenges that you will need to face. The major challenge of breeding is that most of them are not fertile.

After you make sure that they can breed, you should have a breeding tank set. You don’t have to worry about the tank considerations as they are similar to the normal tank size. For substrates, you can use smooth rocks. Similarly, the breeding tank is used to save the fish fry when they hatch.

You won’t need to change the temperature of the water to start the breeding process, either. However, using a separator that allows water to flow between the male and female is an effective approach to stimulate mating.

Y create flowerhorn will take care of the eggs for a few days after fertilization (the female should be removed) until they hatch. You can also remove the male once the fry is out and about.

You should feed the fry live food (such as brine shrimp) to help them grow and get the nutrients they require. To keep up with their hunger, you’ll have to feed them anywhere from five to ten times a day.

Some FAQs:-

Flowerhorn fish is a very difficult fish to a pet in your aquarium if you do not know how to take care of this fish. With this article, you will know more about flowerhorn fishes. I have answered some of the questions about flowerhorn cichlids.

Q: Can Flowerhorn Eat Worms?

   Yes, Flowerhorn fish can eat any worms. The worms should be frozen to feed them.

Q: Can You Put Flowerhorn Fish With Smaller Fishes?

    No, Flowerhorn fish will harm smaller fishes and may kill them. You should put flowerhorn fish in a separate tank with suitable tankmates of your Flowerhorn size.


The flowerhorn fish will be a splendid choice for people who love interacting with creatures. Despite their aggressive nature, the flowerhorn fish is fun to take care of.

All that matters is feeding, cleansing the aquarium tank, altering water, etc. needs to be carried out cautiously as they can provide a bite. 

Overall, this lovely fish is very proper for spending time with due to the reality of its uniqueness.