Can Flowerhorn Eat Meat?

Can Ferrets Eat Tuna and Other Fish?
Can Ferrets Eat Tuna and Other Fish?

I have been keeping flowerhorns for a while, and I can assure you that they are undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and majestic freshwater fish out there. They have an exotic look, achieved by crossing different cichlid species. But when it comes to diet, there is a lot of confusion about what these fish can and cannot eat. One of the most common questions I hear from beginners is – can flowerhorn eat meat?

So, can flowerhorn eat meat? The answer is yes! Flowerhorn can eat meat. in fact! Flowerhorns are carnivores and need animal protein in their diet to thrive. You can feed them pellets or flakes made specifically for carnivores or supplement their diet with live foods like brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia.

But you must be very cautious when you feed meat products to your flowerhorn. Usually, excessive protein can result in various health issues in fish, such as bloating, constipation, indigestion, and allergies.

Being new to fish and aquariums might seem difficult. But actually, it’s not. You just need some time and guidance, and you will know almost everything about them within months. The first thing you need to know once you bring Flowerhorn home is their diet.

Therefore, this article is here to help you. It will dig deeper into the diet requirements and can and cannot in your flowerhorns diet.

Can Flowerhorn Eat Meat?

Before answering this, let me first ask you do you know Flowerhorn is a carnivore? So, what do carnivores mean then! Carnivores are actually those animals whose diet comprises only meat and meat products.

Thus, here’s your clear answer. The answer to can Flowerhorn eat meat is a resounding yes! Flowerhorn can eat meat and will benefit from it greatly. This might startle you, but their diet should consist of about 50% meat.

Some good choices for meat include

  • shrimp,
  • crab,
  • tilapia,
  • cod,
  • and other white fish.

However, you should avoid feeding them red meats such as beef and pork, as these can cause problems to their digestive system, mainly bloating and constipation.

However, if you want something readily available in the house, you can go for chicken and chicken hearts. Chicken is something your Flowerhorn will love to eat. Just! Remember that the chicken is boneless and skinless, and do not overfeed them to your flowerhorn. But why do you think meat is important to them? Are you wondering about this?

The answer is simple: meat is vital for Flowerhorn because they are carnivores. In general, the bodies of Flowerhorn are designed to digest and process animal protein. But due to evolution and adaptation, you might find some Flowerhorns enjoying plants as well. But the truth is that Flowerhorns originated as meat-eating animals. 

So, if you’re looking for a way to give your Flowerhorn a boost, adding meat to their diet is the way to go! Not only will they be healthy and happy, but they’ll also put on some impressive weight gains.

What Types Of Meat Can Flowerhorn Eat?

Flowerhorns are meat lovers. They can almost eat any type of meat and will be pleased whenever they get some fresh or blood to eat. While there are many different types of meat that a Flowerhorn can eat, the best options are those that are high in protein. This includes:


Chicken is a good source of lean protein and can be easily shredded or cut into small pieces for your Flowerhorn to eat. I prefer to cook chicken in the oven with some herbs and spices to give it extra flavor. My Flowerhorn loves the chicken heart a lot.

I usually give about two chicken hearts to my four flowerhorns once or twice a week. Besides this, they also prefer eating chicken breast and skinless chicken. When I went through and talked to different experienced aquarists, all of them suggested giving the skinless fish chicken. Generally, chicken with skin is thought to contain more fat that is harder to digest. So, following their suggestions, I always prefer boneless and skinless chicken. 

However, some fish owners like feeding their Flowerhorns chicken feet and bones after cooking and softening them. But I don’t like taking the risk of getting by flowerhorns choked with bones or feet.


After chicken, beef is another most favorable and available meat option that you can find in your kitchen. Like us, Flowerhorns also love the meaty texture and strong beef flavor. In fact, you might not believe this, but beef is an excellent source of protein for your fish. In addition, the higher amount of fats in beef will help your fish glow and add up the necessary weight.

But sometimes, the owners fail to realize that too much of anything can be hazardous. As a result, they overfeed beef to their flowerhorn, which causes obesity, bloating, and constipation. In addition, improper methods of preparing beef might not kill the infectious parasite present in it, which leads to various diseases.

Therefore, it is crucial to choose lean cuts of beef such as sirloin or flank steak. You can either cook the beef in the oven or on the stovetop. Just cut the beef into small pieces so that your Flowerhorn can easily eat it.


Fish is a great source of protein and omega-three fatty acids, beneficial for your Flowerhorn’s health. In addition, feeding your buddy smaller fish can help to improve their appearance and coloration. Furthermore, Flowerhorn loves devouring different aquatic animals that fit easily in their mouth.

If your Flowerhorn is anything like mine, they will probably be excited and happier when you feed them fish as a meal. I prefer feeding your buddy fish once a day or every alternate day. Also, it is best to give them cooked fish such as salmon, tuna, or Tilapia. Then, you can either bake, grill, or pan-fry the fish.

However, I don’t know how much truth is it, but I fear that the smaller bones might choke my Flowerhorn. Thus, I always make sure the fishes to be given to Flowerhorn are boneless. You can also do the same for precaution.


Pork is quite a popular food for humans. Mostly, the fat present in it enhances the flavor and texture of this meat. I think this might come as a surprise to you, but pork is a good source of protein and zinc for fish. So giving your aquarium buddy this type of meat once in a while can help their well-being.   

But it’s important to choose lean cuts of pork such as pork loin or tenderloin. Unlike other meats, pork contains a higher amount of fats that tend to cause obesity in your fish. Besides this, I have also met a few aquarists who complain feeding pork can be problematic in the long run leading to indigestion, bloating, and even allergies to some of the flowerhorns.

Moreover, about preparing pork! Like beef, you can cook pork in the oven or on the stovetop. Then, cut it into small pieces so your Flowerhorn can easily eat it.


I personally do not prefer giving lamps often to my Flowerhorn. Actually, I am not quite a lam fan. So, I do not prefer eating it. But this is personally my say. Lamb, in general, is great fish food. It helps fill our Flowerhorn’s stomach and provides them with various nutrients (fats, zinc, protein, and many more).

Giving lamb works exactly the same as chicken and pork. But through my research, I came across the information that lambs are usually easier to digest than pork and beef. However, if you compare fish, worms, and chicken, they are not quite easily digested by Flowerhorns like the further.

However, to get the benefits of lamb, I recommend you to feed a very little portion of lamb in moderation. And it would be best to feed your flowerhorn lean lamps cooked properly. You can boil, grill, fry, or steam the lamb. It’s completely your choice. Just remember to skip spices.


Another famous meat option that most Flowerhorns love to eat is worms. It sounds insane, and I am not even lying, but worms seem to be the favorite feeding choice for many aquarists.

Worms are a great source of protein and other nutrients, and you can easily add them to your Flowerhorn diet. They are the perfect size for most Flowerhorns to eat, and you can buy them live or frozen from most pet stores. Few of those that most Flowerhorns can’t resist are earthworms, bloodworms, and tubifex worms.

In addition to this, I think the popularity of worms mostly has to go because you can directly feed to your Flowerhorn without preparation. That is, Worms are something that you can give raw as well. You just need to remember that the worms you feed are of the right size and do not contains parasites.


Lastly, shrimp is another famous meat for serving to your beautiful aquarium buddy. Generally, shrimps are no different from worms. I usually like to mix the two and give it to my flowerhorns once a day.

Actually, shrimp is a high-protein, low-fat food perfect for your Flowerhorn. You can feed your flowerhorns shrimp even without cooking. They are small crustacean that is high in protein and omega-three fatty acids. Most aquarists think that they are a great food to supplement your Flowerhorn’s diet with, and you can buy them frozen or freeze-dried from most pet stores. The most preferred shrimps are brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp, and krill.

If you ask me, I think the best way to give shrimps is to give two of the brine shrimps to your Flowerorns mixed with a bloodworm or earthworm. Some owners also prefer chopping shrimps or worms into smaller pieces. But, I usually go for smaller shrimps and will not chop them. 

What Are The Benefits Of A Meat-Based Diet In Flowerhorn?

Like humans, meat is a very important nutritional source for Flowerhorns. In fact, being a carnivore, meat products are an important part of their diet. A typical vegetarian diet does not provide all the necessary nutrients that your fish requires for growth and good health. Therefore, it is clear that the benefits of a meat-based diet in Flowerhorn are plenty. Here is the list of them:

Source Of Protein

Meat is a good source of protein, essential fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins.

A meat-based diet provides more energy for your Flowerhorn than a plant-based diet.

Essential For Reproductive Health

Meat such as beef, pork, and lamb are rich in zinc, essential for the Flowerhorn’s reproductive health.

Fight Diseases

Fish is a good source of omega-three fatty acids, which are beneficial for brain development and preventing diseases such as cancer.

Maintain Weight

A meat-based diet helps keep your Flowerhorn addition, active. In addition, a diet that contains meat helps your Flowerhorn maintain a healthy weight.

Amino Acid

Meat is also a good source of taurine, an amino acid that is important for heart health.

You can conclude now that the meat is crucial for your Flowerhorn. But this does not mean that meat-based food only has advantages. There are many downfalls associated with a meaty diet. Are you familiar with all of them? If not! Then stay connected to know them.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Feeding Meat To Flowerhorn?

Until now, I have been bragging and pinpointing only the benefits of meat as a diet. So, you might assume that meat has only benefits and is the best for Flowerhorn. Certainly, different types of meat are great for your Flowerhorn’s health. But this does not necessarily mean that meat does not have drawbacks. 

The meat-based meal has an equal share of disadvantages. Off course! There is no doubt that meat can be a great source of nutrition for your Flowerhorn. However, it does have some drawbacks. Some of them are:

  • It can be quite messy.
  • You need to be careful about the size and type of meat you feed them.
  • Too much meat can cause health problems for your Flowerhorn, mainly constipation.
  • Meat products sometimes contain chemicals that can be harmful to your Flowerhorn. Especially, the preservatives used in processed meat products.
  • Feeding your Flowerhorn a meat diet can be quite expensive. So if you’re on a budget, you might want to consider other options.

If you decide to feed meat to your Flowerhorn, make sure to do so in moderation and keep an eye on their health. Otherwise, you might end up doing more harm than good.

Believe me! I had lost four of my beautiful Flowerhorns by overfeeding them with chicken when I was a novice. I hope you do not repeat my mistake. It would be best if you decide the quantity of meat you need to serve according to the bodyweight of your Flowerhorn. Furthermore, I recommend you give them a little less meat than they need and supplement their diet with plants rather than overfeed.

Can Flowerhorn Live Only On Plant Diet?

The answer to this question is no! Flowerhorns are carnivores mainly. Originally, they ate only meat. But as they now have adapted to the different habitats and evolved with time. Now, they do consume both plant and animal matter. Their diet consists of small fish, insects, crustaceans, and other invertebrates in the wild. They will also eat plants, fruits, and vegetables.

While they can survive on a vegetarian diet, surviving only on the plants will stunt their growth and not thrive. As a result, your Flowerhorn will not get the required nutrients for their growth, development, and well-being. In addition, a purely plant-based diet will end up doing more harm to your fish than good. Lots of plant fibers can be hazardous to your fish’s digestive system. Thus, your Flowerhorn’s diet should consist of plant and animal matter.

If you are wondering what to feed your flowerhorn, a good diet would be pellets or flakes made specifically for carnivores. You can also supplement their diet with live foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia.

When Should You Feed Meat To Your Flowerhorn?

It’s best to feed your Flowerhorn meat when it is a juvenile. When they are adults, they will still enjoy meat, but you should also give them a variety of other foods to ensure that Flowerhorns are getting the nutrients they need. Usually, older Flowerhorns needs fibers and other supplements for good health. In addition, as your fish age, they might find it more difficult to digest a lot of proteins and fats. 

Besides this, while spawning, Flowerhorns need lots of protein to produce healthy eggs. Thus, giving them meat during this time will help them immensely. I personally feed my flowerhorn meat-based diet in the morning and then supplement that with other food later in the day.

You, too, can try this or any other schedule that you feel is best for your Flowerhorn. Just remember, when in doubt, ask your local fish store or veterinarian. They will be able to help you better than anyone else.

How Much Meat To Feed Your Flowerhorn?

Despite being a carnivore, Flowerhorn does enjoy plant matter and should have some form of vegetation in its diet. A good mix for Flowerhorn is two-thirds meat to one-third vegetables. You can give your Flowerhorn live food, frozen food, or pellets when it comes to meat. Some good options for meat include:

  • Bloodworms
  • Brine shrimp
  • Krill
  • Mysis shrimp
  • Squid
  • Tubifex Worms

The best brands that you can use for your flowerhorn are:

However, the amount of meat you give your Flowerhorn will depend on its size. A good rule of thumb is to give your Flowerhorn one food cube per two inches of fish. So, if you have a four-inch Flowerhorn, you would give it two cubes of meat.

What Are The Things To Consider While You Feed Meat To Flowerhorn?

As you read this article, you might now know that meat does not have all goods. So, you need a little consideration whenever you feed meat to your Flowerhorn. But why are the things that you need to keep in mind? When I was a beginner, this was a constant thought in my mind.

I assume you have realized a few things as you went through this post. But let me pinpoint each of them to make it easier for you. The things to keep in mind when feeding your Flowerhorn meat are:

Wash And Clean Properly

First, wash the meat properly before cooking it. Also, ensure that the water you use is clean too. 

Cook Thoroughly

Then, make sure that the meat is cooked thoroughly. Raw meat can contain bacteria that can make your fish sick. Fish owners often hesitate to spend time preparing meals for their pets. As a result, their buddy suffers from various bacterial or parasitic infections. 

Cut Into Small Chunks

Cut the meat into small pieces so that your Flowerhorn can easily eat it. Larger chunks can cause choking. In addition, most aquarists also believe that flowerhorn finds it easy to digest small pieces of meat. 

Make Sure Meat Is Free From Parasites

Always choose meat that is free from parasites. If you give them aquatic animals (shrimps, worms, crustaceans, etc.), make sure they come from clean water free from foreign infections.

Feed Occasionally

And finally, only feed your Flowerhorn meat occasionally. Too much meat can lead to health problems, such as constipation and excessive weight gain. Therefore, it is best to feed everything in moderation. For this, I recommend you make a schedule for your Flowerhorn diet.  This will make everything less complicated and reduce your stress. 

So there you have it! Now you know everything there is to know about feeding meat to your Flowerhorn. Be sure to give them a variety of other foods as well, so they can stay healthy and happy.

Some FAQs

Can I Feed My 4 Months Old Flowerhorn With Raw Chicken Meat And Prawns?

Yes, you can feed your four-month-old Flowerhorn with raw chicken meat and prawn. However, make sure that the chicken is boneless and skinless to avoid choking hazards. Also, remove the head and tail of the prawn before feeding it to your pet fish.

Can I Feed My Adult Flowerhorn With Frozen Fish?

Adult Flowerhorn can be fed with frozen fish but only as a supplement to their regular diet. Ensure that the frozen fish is thawed before feeding it to your pet fish. If the frozen fish is bigger, I would recommend cutting it into small bite-sized pieces. This will help your flowerhorn in the digestion of the fish. 

Can I Feed My Flowerhorn With Live Fish?

Flowerhorn should not be fed with live fish as this could lead to the spread of disease. If you must feed your pet fish live fish, make sure to quarantine the fish first to ensure that it is healthy. Usually, feeding live fish from an unknown source can invite various parasitic infections. So, I suggest you better not give your Flowerhorn live fishes. 

What Are The Best Foods To Feed My Flowerhorn?

The best foods to feed your Flowerhorn are pellets, flakes, and frozen foods. These types of food provide all the nutrients your pet fish needs to stay healthy and happy.

Pellets and flakes are the most common food fed to pet fish. These types of food are easy to find and are usually very affordable. Frozen foods are also a great option for feeding your Flowerhorn as they provide a variety of nutrients that your pet fish needs.


Ending up, the Flowerhorn diet should consist of meat, live food, and vegetables. This will provide the best nutrients for your fish and help it thrive. While some people may think that feeding Flowerhorn meat is cruel, it is actually very beneficial for their health. So don’t be afraid to give them a little bit of protein! Thanks for reading, and I hope this article was helpful.

Do you have any questions or comments about what Flowerhorn eat and how much meat to give them? Leave them below, and I’ll be happy to answer!

Happy Fishkeeping!