Flower Horn is a breeding fish. It is a descendant of African cichlids. For a standard urban dwelling aquarium with such an inhabitant is unlikely to fit. But if you are the owner of a large living space be it in the city be it outside the city you may like this creation of Chinese breeders. Also space for an aquarium with these fish may be enough in offices, hotel lobbies, lobbies of enterprises.
This species does not exist in nature. It is a hybrid, which is the result of a long-term selection by crossbreeding. It was introduced to the general public in 1996. Since then, due to some features of coloration, behavior and variability of forms has been steadily gaining popularity. When breeding this hybrid, if we believe its creators did not use modern technologies of molecular biology and genetic engineering.
Description of Flower Horn
Flower Hornets are descendants of South African cichlids, which is reflected in their appearance and behavior. The body of the fish is elongated (but there are varietals with a short body, in shape approaching a disk). Dorsal and anal fins stretch to the base of the tail. At the rear of their part have a large width and end in a pigtail. The pelvic fins are graceful and resemble the shape of feathers. One of the distinguishing features is a strongly pronounced frontal outgrowth. Coloration is bright and highly variable. The background color can be of different shades, more often red prevails. A number of spots with irregular outlines appear on the background. Often these spots, merging, resemble Chinese or Arabic characters. Giving the fish the status of a verb of fate.
Sex Differences: Body length in males can reach 30 to 40 centimeters. Females are usually somewhat more modest in size 20 – 30 centimeters and in coloration. It in females is paler. Also the frontal ridge in females is not as strongly expressed as in males and in some cases may be absent.
Flower Horn content
The breeders have done their best. Their creation is unpretentious. It is only necessary to observe a few simple conditions. Namely:
The aquarium should be from 150 liters per pair. 150 liters per pair is the minimum, if it is supposed to be cohabitation with other species or the content of several pairs in one aquarium, then you need an aquarium of 300 liters or more. With insufficient living space cichlasoma Flower Horn turns into a squabbler in the communal kitchen. Fights will be inevitable.
Large well washed gravel or pebbles are suitable as a ground. Be sure to build several grottoes from larger stones, so that the female can hide in them when the male will be in sorrow … Also when containing several pairs or with representatives of other species should be built rocks and ridges that would help residents to properly divide the territory, which will reduce the likelihood of endless clashes. All these engineering structures should be properly reinforced. After all, we are dealing with the descendants of South African cichlids. Dig a pit in the ground for them a couple of trifles. The main thing is to make sure that during this socially useful work poorly reinforced grotto you did not collapse, burying under its debris fish sheltered in it.
Plants should only be used with large, mechanically resistant leaves and a well-developed root system.
Water parameters for Flower Horn
The water temperature should be between 27 and 30°C. The water reaction should be neutral or slightly alkaline (pH= 7-8). The hardness is 9 – 20 dGH.
They are not demanding on lighting. It should be selected based on the needs of plants, if you will use them. If not, then play with the light, selecting the brightness at which the fish will look best. In this case, note that the lack of light, as well as an excess of it, will lead to loss of colors in the coloring. In the first case, the colors will be too dark. In the second case, too faded.
Aeration and increased filtration, both mechanical and biological is necessary, because the metabolism of cichlasoma Flower Horn enhanced and appetite it is not lacking.
Co-keeping with other species is quite possible in tanks of sufficient size. Also aggressiveness can be reduced by the joint cultivation of fish from the fry age. Neighbors should be commensurate in size and similar in temperament. Small fish better not plant them, unless you do not want to use them as live food. The best candidates for neighbors Flower Horn can be astronotus, Managuan cichlasoma, pterygoplicht.
You can feed large moths, clams, shrimp, earthworms, dry and frozen food. There are feeds specifically designed for these fish. The manufacturer promises unusually bright saturated colors if you use his products. But the same results can be achieved by simply alternating the above types of feed. Feed it is better to feed more often in small portions. Not forgetting the main rule – it is better not to underfeed than overfeed. True on a starvation ration to keep them all the time is also not worth it. When Flower Horn is fed and neighbors are calmer.
Flower Horn Breeding
Breeding is relatively simple. Again, for the peace of mind of neighbors is better to drop off the formed pair in a separate spawning tank volume of about 150 -200 liters. At the bottom, too, it is necessary to equip several grottos. The female should have a place for political asylum, while the spouse to determine from which end of the egg should be broken. Water parameters in the spawning ground are the same as in the reservoir for permanent housing. If the general aquarium has a sufficient capacity, then the fish Flower Horn can spawn in it. Choosing and fondling a suitable stone, driftwood or flower pot, which you carefully put on the bottom in advance, the spouses will clean it. And then lay on its surface about 1000 large to 2 millimeters in diameter pinkish transparent eggs. Incubation lasts about 72 hours.
After that, the fry will swim and need to be fed. Well, here again about a thousand hungry mouths … Thankfully not too fastidious. Starter food – small crustaceans, Artemia nauplii, powdered dry food for fry, some sources even specify egg yolk. Parents quite carefully guard their offspring periodically taking out for a walk this kindergarten. But after three to four weeks it is better to drain the fry through a wide hose in a growing tank filled with water with the same temperature, hardness and reaction of the environment that in the spawning tank. As the young fish grow, it is desirable to sort them by size to prevent cannibalism. Gradually, they should be transferred to larger food types.
Spots on the body of cichlasoma Flower Horn form almost the same individual pattern on their body as a fingerprint in humans. And as indicated above, they can form such a bizarre pattern that they can guess or read Chinese characters or Arabic words … To Cyrillic for some reason did not reach. The Chinese must have been breeders. These very inscriptions, encoded at the genetic level, and manifested in the phenotype as the organism grows, make them “fortune tellers” and contribute to the growth of their popularity.
So the fish Flower Horn was recognized as the fish of Feng Shui of the 8th period (the beginning of which was in 2004). The second fish awarded the same honor or sacred duty was Arowana (fish – dragon). Both species are considered wealth inducers and are quite popular among millionaires in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia, who believe that the fish brings good luck in business to its owner. Especially valued are adults with manifested hieroglyphics. If the inscription on the body of the fish is favorable, then such a specimen can cost several thousand dollars. It is believed that specimens with inscriptions of red color bring good luck in love.
Warning! Adult specimens can be unsafe for children (but for adults too) on curiosity stuck his hand in the aquarium. Their jaws easily tear the chitinous shell of a live adult cancer.