What is a flowerhorn cichlid? the answer is flowerhorn cichlid or more popularly called the Louhan, is a man-made type or species that were selectively bred by hobbyists of freshwater predatory fish from China at the turn of the century. So, this fact means, flowerhorns are not found in the wild and the closest family is the South African cichlid.
However, through efforts to release fish into their natural habitat, several types of flowerhorn cichlids have been able to adapt to their natural habitat and are now living freely in several parts of the world’s rivers or waters.
This fish is the result of selective cross-breeding of various types of South African Malawi cichlid fish. Like their predecessors, Flowerhorns have a noticeably elongated body and unique head construction. Flowerhorn cichlid fish also have a very long life and can live up to 12 years!
Their popularity has increased rapidly since their first appearance on the market around 1996. These fish can be found in almost every freshwater ornamental fish shop wherever you live. If you make the price is very diverse. Flowerhorn fever’ has also occurred in Indonesia several years ago. Now that the fever is over, it turns out that there are still residents who keep flowerhorn cichlids or flowerhorn cichlids at their homes.
Distinctive Characteristics of the Louhan Fish or Flowerhorn Cichlid
This hybrid retains the aggressive character seen in many cichlid varieties, such as the Jack Dempsey fish or their other families. They are arguably not very sympathetic with other species and often attack one another. Even though they are not a schooling type of fish, they still like to swim together. These characteristics or habits help reduce aggression and reduce stress.
The Flowerhorn Cichlid or Flowerhorn is an aggressive fish, but if you care for it properly, this aggressive character can be overcome and you will be satisfied to see this giant with a beautiful hue among other varieties.
Because of its large body, this most expensive freshwater ornamental fish is a bit slow when you compare it to other fish with smaller bodies. Very true to the behavior of their ancestors in their natural environment, this species prefers to swim up and down the water, rather than staying at a certain level in the tank.
Physical Characteristics of the Louhan Fish or Flowerhorn Cichlid
We have discussed a little above that the flowerhorn cichlid or flowerhorn cichlid has an elongated body that is rather flat, although there are indeed some types that have bodies that look more rounded like discs. The dorsal and anal fins extend all the way to the base of the tail. Its constitution is the same as that of the South African cichlid from which it was bred or its ancestor.
One of their main characteristics is their large protruding head as hobbyists call it, with deep-set eyes. This is one of the most iconic sights in the world of ornamental fish farming. You can know and know flowerhorns only from their silhouettes. All varieties of flowerhorn cichlid fish must have a cone on top of their head.
Both the anal fin and the dorsal fin have a long tip. Their tail is almost artificial and thinner than the rest of the fins. Their pectoral fins look very elegant, sometimes they look transparent, but their size is indeed much shorter than the other fins.
This singular shape is joined by a wide selection of hues. They have a very wide color variation, ranging from gold, bright red, to light purple. The many colors are also accompanied by a variety of different patterns or markings. Whether you want a plain, one-colored fish or a colorful exotic fish, the flowerhorn or flowerhorn cichlid is the choice.
Flowerhorn Cichlid or Louhan Fish Habitat and Aquarium
Louhan is a fish that is cultivated in a breeding place from which they are distributed to the wider community. This reason makes us unable to describe clearly what their wild environment is like. But most likely the circumstances or atmosphere they like are similar to most other cichlids. This species is commonly found in warm and relatively harsh tropical waters.
Their favorite spots are basins with slow currents and well-covered riverbeds, where there is lots of plant life on the bottom and a wide variety of potential prey. This situation can be easily replicated in any aquarium. The only thing that is difficult is the size of the aquarium they need.
Setup a Flowerhorn Cichlid or Flowerhorn Fish aquarium
This fish is very happy with clean water with moderate currents, so it is highly recommended that you add a strong filter, for example, a canister. It is equally important to maintain the aquarium neatly by changing the water frequently and regularly cleaning it because flowerhorn cichlids or flowerhorns can be quite messy fish.
You have to pay close attention to the water parameters, to ensure the fish don’t get sick and their natural rhythm is maintained. The recommended temperature for this variety is 25 to 30 °C. The acidity level of water also affects health, so you also have to pay attention to it, and it is recommended to be in the range of 6.5 to 7.8 pH, and for good hardness in the range of 9 to 20 dGH. Paying attention to these parameters at all times is key to keeping them healthy.
When it comes to aquarium decoration, the problem can be a little more complicated. Flowerhorns really like to dig into the substrate and often damage living plants. For the substrate, it’s a good idea to use mono-colored gravel and lots of rocks and driftwood to make an artificial cover.
You also have to make sure all the decorations are secure because the flowerhorn cichlid or Flowerhorn fish can bump into them and flip them easily. Also, make sure the ingredients you choose are safe and don’t contain sharp or broken grains.
Flowerhorn fish is quite demanding in terms of aquarium volume. You should distribute at least 70 gallons or 264 liters per fish and 150 gallons or 567 liters per pair. If you want to keep cichlids or any other variety, you will need at least 215 gallons (813 liters) of water.
Tank-Mate for Flowerhorn Cichlids
On average, cichlids are popular as a type of fish that is quite aggressive and the choice of tank mates for ornamental fish in the aquarium is somewhat limited. Louhan is not an exception. But don’t be sad, there are still several choices of types of fish that can be kept with them if you look carefully.
Because these fish are artificially bred and never actually live outside the aquarium, we can’t say for sure which fish will get along well with them in the wild. However, we can get can from the compatibility of their ancestors.
It’s good if you keep this fish alone or in pairs. First, the tank must be at least 150 gallons or 567 liters if you are going to combine flowerhorns with other fish. This is to avoid clashes and maintain fish health. Aquarium friends for flowerhorn cichlids or flowerhorn cichlids are the best fish with the same physical size or slightly larger with the same behavior, for example, pirapitinga, ornamental broomsticks, and jaguar cichlids.
So, there are other types of fish that you can make the right flowerhorn aquarium friends, including giant gourami, oscar fish, suckermouth armored catfish, spotted hoplo, spotted Raphael catfish, lowland cichlid, parrot fish, and bushy nose catfish. Flowerhorns will not do well with smaller, slower-swimming fish. If their friend turns out to be weaker, Flowerhorns don’t hesitate to attack them. Don’t choose overactive minnows as these often get into trouble by upsetting the cichlids.
Flowerhorn cichlids can in fact be kept together with the same species, but their aggressive nature makes this difficult. But this doesn’t mean it’s impossible, but you need to provide the right space for each individual and they all get enough food so they don’t get into fights over food.
Louhan Fish Food
Louhan fish have a voracious appetite which seems quite reasonable if you look at their body size. They will be very happy to eat anything that is put in the tank, whether it is live or processed food. As omnivores, they also need the same thing as leafy supplementary feed. They can also eat any type of feed, but it should be noted that they are good feeds that have a lot of protein as these are the compounds that make up a large part of their diet.
A variety of foods is just as important as the quality of the food. That’s why you can give ready-made feed for large cichlids, shrimp, blood worms, other worms, dried crickets, dried grasshoppers, small fish filets, or Gammarus.
In addition to meat feed, you can also provide some plant-based feed. This can be done either by buying processed feed that has been packaged at the ornamental fish market or by buying live plants for the aquarium. This alternative is a bit more difficult because the fish will often damage the stems of the plants or dig them up.
When fish are adults they should be fed two or three times a day, depending on how well their digestive system is working. If the portion size is right, fish will generally eat within five minutes. Beyond that, they are considered a fairly healthy variety and don’t need any extra vitamins.
Louhan Fish Care
Louhan fish is a fish that is quite tough and not so fussy about caring for it. Even though if you look at it technically this fish can be kept for beginners, the requirements for a large aquarium make most beginners withdraw. This means you will have to spend more time cleaning the tank and maintaining the equipment.
Flowerhorns are not only big but also territorial, similar to betta fish, which complicates things. Their aggressive character can turn a little excessive at certain times, to the point that these fish can even attack you who are feeding them. Even though incidents like this are very rare, it doesn’t hurt to be careful when you put your hands on the surface of the tank so that these giant fish aren’t provoked.
Diseases of Louhan Fish or Flowerhorn Cichlids
Fortunately, they are not prone to any particular disease, but there are still things that you should take note of and pay attention to. For example, injury is a serious problem for large, energetic fish. They can easily injure themselves when digging into the substrate or swimming close to sharp rocks. All of this can be easily avoided if you screen the media beforehand and choose not to have sharp edges in the tank.
The big problem that can happen is poisoning. Poisoning doesn’t mean the fish ingests poisoned food. It’s generally the other way around; Harmful chemical compositions in water such as low oxygen levels or high sulfur content are the causes of fish poisoning.
The last problem that can make you confused is an infection that can make the fins rot. Depending on the severity, this disease can be treated by simply adding certain chemicals to the tank, either for prophylactic intentions or to speed up recovery.
Breeding or How to Cultivate Louhan Fish
- Prepare the Aquarium and Supporting Equipment
Choose an aquarium that is about 40 centimeters wide and 70 centimeters long and 40 centimeters high. Of course, the size of the aquarium must also be matched to your needs and if you can, choose a bigger one, the better.
- Prepare Water for the Aquarium
First, you have to check the pH of the water first or you can also use the method of adding precipitated water. The normal pH for flowerhorn fish is in the range of 6.5 to 7.5.
The right way to provide sediment water is to put the water in the aquarium and then let it sit for one day. This method is used to stabilize the pH of the water, if one day is too long, you can add a 5 ppm thiosulphate solution or use a special salt for ornamental fish. For good temperatures between 32 to 35 ℃.
- Choose Good Feed for Flowerhorns
We have discussed above that good feeding is an important indicator in louhan fish cultivation. So don’t just give food so that you get quality fish.
Good feed also greatly impacts the success of louhan cultivation, especially during the first 2 weeks before being cultivated.
- Choose Quality Louhan Broodstock
The quality of the fish fry is certainly very influential from the quality of the broodstock. The way to get quality broodstock is to buy louhan fish which has a high price (of course, taking into account many factors). This stage will also be very profitable if the sires are sold again.
- Egg Spawning
The mating process lasts for about 1 to 2 days, then the eggs will start to appear at the bottom of the aquarium. You need to remember that not all eggs will be successfully fertilized, so eggs that fail to be fertilized are marked in white. Meanwhile, eggs that are successfully fertilized have a yellow color with black dots.
Let the mother remain in the tank as they will circulate the eggs by fanning them with their fins. Don’t forget to give food either. In about 2 days, the eggs will finally hatch, now the next step is for you to move the broodstock so that it doesn’t threaten the children.
The Flowerhorn Cichlid is an excellent choice for any setup if you have a very large aquarium at home. They come in a wide variety of hues, including blue, purple, green, reddish, and many more. Flowerhorn is a fish with a large physique and keeping it you can say it requires patience and patience.
However, if you are experienced enough, they make a beautiful and colorful addition to any aquarium. They have a big appetite and you won’t have any trouble feeding them. You also don’t need to be confused about flowerhorn health problems because they are strong fish and don’t get sick easily.