I contributed to it by adding more information or making corrections
[ 0 ]
It was of no use
[ 0 ]
I am not interested in flowerhorn keeping. So it doesn't matter to me
[ 1 ]
Total Votes : 21
TheChannaGuy Frequent Visitor to IAH
Joined: Dec 16, 2010 Posts: 125 Location: Mumbai
Posted: Sat Nov 19, 2011 11:15 pm Post subject: THE BIG THREAD OF FLOWERHORN KEEPING
This is an aggregation of Kastor's posts so far on flowerhorn keeping, a task that took me all day long. He's out of station for a few days and couldn't manage it from his mobile's gprs and so, entrusted this herculean task upon me. After burning my right eardrum for three hours on phone with him and another five sifting through 540 posts and selecting relevant stuff and arranging it according to his precise instructions, here's the result. Kastor will take it from here. - TheChannaGuy
"Inspired by Balaji's brilliant idea, I decided to start a single huge thread on flowerhornkeeping, so that any flowerhornkeeper, myself included, who needs help, shall find it at one single place. I kickstarted this by aggregating all my previous posts related to Flowerhornkeepig on IAH, worthy of finding place in such a thread, with tremendous amount of help from The Channa Guy. He was kind enough to arrange all these random posts in a meaningful order. I hope that his efforts won't go in vain.
This is just the beginning. This thread is in no way, complete. I have written these posts to the best of my knowledge in that particular period of time. There might have been some minor edits, but in no way have these posts been tailored for this particular thread. So the information may still appear to be fragmented and incomplete. I humbly apologize for the same.
If you have any corrections to make, you may do so freely. If you have any information to add, kindly do so. Your contributions will help enrich this knowledge pool and help it expand further. Let us leave something worthwhile in these posts for the next generation of flowerhornkeepers. Let them learn from our experiences and save some fish from losing their lives due to newbie errors.
I myself will contribute to this thread from time to time when I learn something new and hope that you will do so too.
If you are sharing your post from another thread or webpage, kindly add a reference link to that thread at the end of the post, so that if the reader wishes to read more on that topic, he can visit the particular thread.
A poll has been attached to this thread. Kindly vote in it so that the contributors know what you think about it. Without wasting any time in further details, I end my editorial here. Wish you a Good Read and Successful Flowerhornkeeping."
INTRODUCTION TO FLOWERHORNS & FACTORS AFFECTING FLOWERHORN DEVELOPMENT Originally posted on Flowerhornusa.com by myself. Posted in IAH on Sat Jun 13, 2009 1:05 am
The term, FLOWERHORN, is a generalised lingo for various Central and South American Cichlid hydrids, created by selective breeding or otherwise.[ For it cannot be denied that crossbreeding is a normal phenomenon in nature and has had a lion's share in evolution. All the various cichlid varieties are a result of successful hybridisation and proliferation of the new hybrid species in nature. eg. Differences in the fauna of the great lakes of Africa. However, in nature, this process is slow and on a minute scale. Plus, there is elimination by natural selection. ]. Although biologists haven't given the various flowerhorns, their rightful place in taxonomical classification of animals [ For which, they cannot be blamed ], we must understand and assume that the term FLOWERHORN incorporates, in itself, half a dozen unnamed genera, dozens of unnamed species and hundreds of unnamed varieties.
Thus, what we need to understand here is, that comparing zz with kamfa or kamalau or jing kang or whatever, is similar to comparing gorillas with chimps or orangs or humans or whatever.
Rather, even ZZ, Kamfa, Kamalau, Jing Kang and the various new world categories are broad classes and have wide variations in the phenotype as well as the genotype within their class [ class, not as in taxonomical class ] itself.
Thus, two ZZs [ for that matter, even two blue dragons ] might not be genetically similar.
And thus, due to differences in the lineage of individual flowerhorns, there is no point in denying the role that genetic factors play in the development of your fish. All the same, food, temperature, water parameters, medications broodcare, etc. have their own role in the development of the fish.
Moral of the paragraph:
100% Development of Individual Fish= 75% Genetic factors + 25% Environmental factors.
The below table summarises the physical characteristic and the main [ not the only ] factor/s responsible for its development :-
Type of fish ----> Genetic
Primary/Base color ----> Genetic
Intensity of Pri. Color ----> Mood
Finnage ----> Genetic
Secondary color ----> Genetic
Intensity of Sec. Color ----> Food + Mood
Extent of Sec. Color ----> Genetic + Food
Max kok size ----> Genetic
Rate of kok growth ----> Food
Eye color ----> Genetic
Flowerline ----> Genetic
Intensity of Flower Color ----> Food + Mood
Pearling ----> Genetic
Extent of pearling ----> Genetic
Rate of extension of pearling ----> Food
Intensity and breadth of individual pearls ----> Food
Build ----> Genetic + Sex + Food
Maximum size of fish ----> Genetic + Disease
Rate of fish growth ----> Food + Water parameters + Tank size + Mates + disease
Personality ----> Genetic, Tank size, water parameters, mates, temperature, noise, lighting, disease and Keeper interaction.
Productivity/Fecundity ----> Genetic + age of attaining sexual maturity + age of initiation of breeding + disease
Breeding and brood care ----> Genetic, Experience, age, compatibility, noise and light level, disturbance, tank size, water quality, live feeds and safety index.
Why to buy a Flowerhorn and what things to look for when buying a new flowerhorn Posted on Sun Nov 06, 2011 2:05 am
First of all, let me tell you that having a large south American cichlid in the tank, especially a flowerhorn, is a great stressbuster. These guys overflow with personality. It's like having a puppy in your tank. So the decision to buy a flowerhorn is commendable.
What features to look for depend on what type of flowerhorn you like.
Commonly available strains in India are:
-Blue Dragon Zhenzhou sold as 'local flowerhorn'.
-Red Dragon Zhenzhou sold as 'red dragon'.
-Zhenzhoumalau / Indomalau / Indozhenzhou sold as 'pearl flowerhorn'.
-Faders of the above strains sold as 'albino flowerhorns'
-Short bodied variants of the above strains.
-Hormone enhanced and visco-injected individuals of the above strains sold as 'Humpy Head Flowerhorn' / 'Monkey Head Flowerhorn' / 'Imported Flowerhorn' ( These are fish ranging from 2" to 4" with a large disproportionate kok with a 4 to 5 figure price tag. Please avoid buying these if possible. )
You will be lucky if you can find the rarer strains of:
-Golden Monkey / Kamalau Variants
Lookup the abovementioned FH types in google images, youtube and in the masterpiece galleries of aquatic forums and choose the strain of your liking.
Observe the fish for adequate amount of time before choosig one. Be it any strain, the individual fish should have the following features:
-Good colouration ( inclusive of distribution and intensity of base colour, flowerline, secondary colour and pearling )
-Good bodyform ( good symmetry and a greater depth/length ratio )
-Erect, flowing finnage and a open, non-drooping and relatively broad tail.
-Active and responsive personality and should feed readily.
-If the babies are lesser than 1.5", as a rule, go for the largest, fattest and most dominant one.
-If you have a friend who is experienced in Flowerhornkeeping or if a local experienced IAH member is available, you can take him/her along to help you in choosing the right fish.
-If you can take a snap/vid, post it here so that we can help you in choosing the best of the lot.
Please don't consider head / kok size as a parameter of good quality. You will get scammed by some LFS thug if you go kok hunting specifically.
Kok develops with age. It is desirable but not essential.
Whatever fish you choose, give him atleast 50 gallons of water. Keep him in a bareborrom with adequate lighting and filtrtion. Give him good quality pellet food on demand ( No livefeeding please ) and a personal level of care.
At the end of the day, whatever fish you choose, it will guaranteedly give you satisfaction and a reason to smile.
At what size should Flowerhorns be bought? Posted on Sun Nov 06, 2011
In my opinion, The money factor apart, always go for a juvie. You don't want to miss the fun in raising it. You share a special father-son/daughter-like bond with the fish when you have raised it from a juvenile stage. Due to this bond, even an averagely developed fish appears like a masterpiece to you.
In my experience, by 2 years of age, even a flatheaded flowerhorn gets a kok, however small. But it is the coloration, health status and personality that matter in the end. Think of the kok as a bonus. Don't expect it all the time. That way, if your fish doesn't develop a satisfactory kok you won't lose interest in raising him and if he develops a kok, you feel like the luckiest guy in the world.
Grading of Flowerhorn Fry Posted on Wed Nov 23, 2011 10:43 pm
A classification is in place to Grade flowerhorn fry based on the primary flowerline. It serves as a guide to select fry for raising and sale while the rest are culled.
It is as follows.
Grade AAA A continuous flowerline from the operculum to the base of caudal fin.
Grade AA A continuous flowerline beginning from a point in between the base of the operculum and the midpoint of the body and extending to the base of the caudal fin.
Grade A A continuous flowerline extending from the midpoint of the body to the bse of the cuadal fin.
Grade B A continuous flowerline Beginning from a point in between the midpoint of the body and the rear quarter of the length of the body and extending to the bse of the caudal fin.
Grade C A continuous flowerline starting at the rear quarter of the length of the body and extending to the base of the caudal fin or a fragmented flowerline of any type (freeflower).
Growth Rate of Flowerhorns Posted on Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:12 am
If you provide good water conditions and a nutrient rich diet, the growth rate of a juvie flowerhorn is 1 to 1.5 inches per month till it reaches between 8 to 10 inches ( which I refer to as the 'Growth Phase' ), after which, the growth in length decelerates and the increase in girth and depth accelerates, the fish appears more stocky, gets an apparent triple chin, full cheeks, thicker jawset and the kok development gets a boost. In short, the fish starts ballooning up after the end of the initial growth phase ( Hence, I refer to it as the 'Ballooning Phase' ).
Identification of Common Flowerhorn Strains Posted on Mon Aug 22, 2011 12:34 am
If you are a newbie to fowerhornkeeping and are confused by the various misleading names given to fowerhorns, there is no alternative to extensive research. It is something that just cannot be spoonfed. Browse through the masterpiece galleries of various flowerhorn and fishkeeping forums and watch and rewatch related youtube videos until you spot the differences and are able to identify the defining features of the Broad strains.
Flowerhorns have been classified by laymen and not taxonomists and the traits are dynamic. These fish are so frequently crossbred, that most of them are infertile and those that are fertile, donot breed true. So the differences aren't clearcut.
On every other forum, you will find conflicting ideas on features and a lot of overlap. So gather all the information that you can and rely on your own judgement.
When you google up and visit masterpiece galleries, pay attention on the body form, finnage and colouration.
I will give you some examples of the defining features of the broadest strains which might aid you in identification.
Zhenzhous have a relatively small hard kok.
Kamalaus have a large hard kok that is in perfect proportion to their body depth.
Kamfas have a tumorously massive soft kok that is out of proportion to their bodies and is often reddish brown in colour, irrespective of the body colour and exhibits light reflex.
Try to divide a flowerhorn's body ( as viewed from the side ) into four quadrants and observe the following points.
1 upper cephalic, upper caudal, lower cephalic and lower caudal slopes of the body from operculum to mid section and from midsection to caudal peduncle.
2 symmetry between upper slope and lower slope.
3 angle between body and caudal peduncle
4 Length/breadth ratio
Zhen zhous are peach shaped with assymetry between upper and lower slopes ( lower slopes are flattened ) and cephalic and caudal slopes ( cephalic slopes are sudden/steep while caudal slopes are gradual. Caudal peduncle makes a highly obtuse to almost 180 degree angle with the body. The lower jaw is protruding.
Kamalaus ( Golden Monkeys ) are peach shaped with good symmetry between upper and lower slopes. Symmetry between Cephalic and caudal slopes is similar to ZZs. Caudal peduncle makes a low obtuse angle to almost right angle with the body.
Old world Kamfas Have a much flattened bottom and a highly curved back. All have a yellowish white iris of various shades.
New world kamfas have a full body with good symmetry in all quadrants. Caudal peduncle is thick making almost 90 degree angle with the body. Most hare yellowish white irides, but many have red irides too, so iris colour cannot be a solid distinguishing feature.
Zhen zhous have long fins with dorsal and anal trailers. The tail is teardrop shaped. the caudal fin, dorsal fin and anal fin are widely separated apart.
Kamalaus have brightly coloured erect fins with plenty of pearls and wrap tails. the caudal, dorsal and anal fins have a narrow gap between them.
Kamfas have broad finnage with no trailers. The caudal, dorsal and anal fins touch each other and may overlap. The tail is fan shaped.
Pearling is a predominantly, a Kamalau trait and is accordingly seen in kamalau crosses like ZZmalau, Kamfamalau, King kamfa, Tan King Kamfa, etc.
Defining Features of a Kamfa Posted on Sun Oct 30, 2011 3:31 pm
There aren't any hard and fast rules as to which traits define a particular flowerhorn strain and new strains appear every now and then and it is at the sole discretion of the breeder as to what his brood is to be named. However, along the years, some traits are taken for granted to define the broader classes ( viz. Zhen zhou, Kamalau and Kamfa ). Going by these, there are many different strains of Kamfa, but all of them share the following traits. The Kamfa's bodyform is almost squared ( deep and not elongated bodyform with apparent right angles at the the four corners. ) (Necessary Trait). The Dorsal and Anal fins lack trailers (Optional Trait). The tail is broad, such that it appears to be continuous or overlaps the rear free margins of the dorsal and anal fins (Necessary Trait). The kok is large, soft and exhibits transluminescence (Necessary Trait). The jaws are symmetrically aligned (Necessary Trait). The iris is pale (Optional Trait).
Regarding King Kamfas Posted on Tue Nov 15, 2011 3:23 pm
King Kamfa is the name given to Kamfamalaus who retain the Kamfa finnage and bodyform while incorporating the pearls, flowers and vibrant colouration from the Kamalau. The best of both worlds.
Thus, all King Kamfas are Kamfamalaus but all Kamfamalaus aren't King Kamfas.
Leaving the monochrome Kings apart ( considered as low quality and sold as red/yellow/green/orange/brown Kings ), they are further divided into Rainbow king, Tan King and Pearl King based on the variation in base colour, flowerline and pearling.
Thus, these are basically classified on the basis of phenotype and not the genotype. So most of them, if at all fertile, donot breed true. A single batch will contain more than 80% Kamfamalaus, and the rest, a mixture of all the above variants and that too, mostly monochrome King Kamfas. And most or almost all of them will be sterile.
Breeders and exporters, in order to maximize their profits, then give these guys various fancy names which are unheard of before. Newbie hobbyists having a lot of dough but lazy enough to conduct prior research usually fall victim in their desperation to lay hands upon the most fashionable and uniquely named fish.
In all of this, the eye colour really doesn't matter. It really isn't part of the criterion. Personally, I think the coloured eyes look way better than the white eyes, but due to its prolonged association with the classic Kamfas, the white eye has become sort of a status symbol and a lazy way to ID Kamfas ( which doesn't stand true these days ), inspite of its lower cosmetic appeal.
Sexing Flowerhorns Posted on Fri Nov 11, 2011 5:26 pm
I usually don't like venting my fish. I love the suspense and let nature reveal the sexes of my flowerhorns. I find it thrilling. But if you want to enter the breeding arena, here goes.
Venting mature flowerhorns is piece of cake. If you observe fully fed fish close enough, you don't even have to remove them to view their bellies. The genital pores of the fish are located on a retractable anatomical projection called the genital tubercle/papilla. It is located behind the anal pore and in front of the first ray of the anal fin. These tubercles are the fish equivalents of the penis and the vagina, modified for the act of external fertilization.
The male's papilla is slim, for the passage of semen and hence, appears to have a V-SHAPED tip.
The female's papilla on the other hand, is thick for the passage of the large eggs and hence, appears to have a U-SHAPED tip.
As I mentioned earlier, these tubercles/papillae are retractable and hence can be viewed naturally only when:
- The fish are trying to breed.
- When the fish's tummy is full due to overeating, gas or obstruction.
Artificial venting is done by:
- Removing the fish out of water, held in a soft and damp cloth, turning it over to observe the tubercle, with slight pressure on the belly to project the tubercle out of the abdomen.
- Excess pressure on the belly leads to forced ejaculation of semen by the male fish. This doesn't happen in the case of female fish since eggs need to mature before being layed. However, if the eggs are mature enough, some eggs my be released by this method.
Other than venting, there are other parameters that can be used to sex flowerhorns:
- Just like in humans, females flowerhorns have a bad temper, especially when in heat. Males are relatively docile. So as a rule, during breeding, the male must ideally be atleast 2 inches larger than the female or he is more prone to get beaten up badly.
- Females undergo frequent mood swings, exhibited by more aggressive or skittish behaviour and stress marks/dark banding/almost darkening to black colour, with the exception of the pearls, atleast once every couple of months.
- Females have comparatively slower rate of growth than their male siblings.
- Females develop smaller koks than their male siblings.
- Females balloon up lesser than their male siblings.
- Male flowerhorns respond better to their master, are more playful, hungrier (their frequent begging for food is often mistaken for aggression ), have more rounded contours and have brighter colouration. Females on the other hand, are sometimes unresponsive, eat lesser, are slimmer and more streamlined and have relatively duller colouration.
- But the most reliable confirmation of sex is the act of egglaying.
The age of laying eggs and hence, coming of age, varies according to the strain of flowerhorn:
Purebred Zhen Zhou - around the 5th month of life.
Purebred Kamalau - around the 10th month of life.
Purebred Kamfa - around the 19th month of life.
These are just average estimates. There is prone to be individual variation. There is no specific age estimate for hybrids.
Due to massive inbreeding and crossbreeding, many flowerhorns are either naturally impotent or sterile or are rendered so by hormonal abuse and selective sterilization by breeders. Even a sexually healthy pair requires a few failed attempts before they actually succeed in producing offsprings. So as I always say, breeding flowerhorns is a game of permutations, combinations and a lot of patience, persistence and hard work.
General tips for Flowerhorn Care Posted on Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:10 pm
1) Provide the fish atleast 50 Gallons of water in a Barebottom with good filtration. ( Any internal filter over 1500 L/Hr will do. )
2) Super / Chilly Red Syn is useless. It is intended for Super Red Synspilum, Super Red Texas and Red and King Kong Parrots. If you want to add a pigment food, Go for any of the following, preferred according to order ( There are many other good or better feed, but this is what I prefer ).
- Hikari Cichlid Bio Gold +
- Grand Sumo Red
- Chingmix Maxima/Headbooster SP100 PRO
- Ocean Free XO Ever Red ( not Super Red Syn )
* Chingmix Headbooster SP100 PRO has excellent results, but is costlier than the rest.
When it comes to a feeding regimen, rather than going for a single all-in-one pellet, go for a mix of 3-4 different pellets proportioned according to need. Remember that costlier isn't always better.
My regimen for your fish would be:
- Hikari Cichlid Staple/Excel ( Fibre rich )
- Chingmix Headbooster SP100 PRO ( Mainly for Kok development )
- Grand Sumo Red ( For Colouration, including pearling )
- Hikari Cichlid Staple/Excel (Fibre)
- Ocean Free XO Ever Red (Red Colouration)
- Ocean Free XO Humpy Head (Kok)
- Ocean Free Xo Starry (Pearling)
To bring down the economics, Increase the quantity of Fibre feed on weekdays and limit the colour feed to weekends (exclusively). There won't be much relative change in the development.
Moisten the pellets before feeding them to the fish. It increases palatability and reduces wastage.
Feed pellets one by one and let the fish catch them. Feed till the fish stops catching/regurgitates out/swims to the bottom. Don't feed unless the fish begs for food (on-demand feeding). These techniques reduce food wastage, increase the bonding between the fish and the owner and helps you keep track of how much your fish is eating and provides an early indicator of any disease affecting appetite.
3) Rather than carrying out weekly water changes, spare 10 minutes of your time everyday to siphon out the wastes from the bottom along with 5-10% water, depending on the feeding quantity and frequency and the resultant waste generation and top up the water. Topping up wan't take more than a big bucket of water in any case.
Donot clean the filter media frequently. Let it build up a good Biofilm. Biological filtration is the best filtration. Clean the filter only when you feel that the flow has significantly reduced/the water appears hazy or tinted/the media appears visibly clogged. I clean my filter media once every 60 to 90 days along with a major water change. But my fish eat a lot. I feed them about 6 to 10 times everyday. So you can imagine the bioload.
4) Add 2- 4 >8" plecos to clean the interior of the tank and keep the Flowerhorn active.
5) Add a little non-iodised salt ( 1-2 to 1 tbsp per big bucket ) to the water after every change. This keeps out certain freshwater parasites and pathogens. Plus, Flowerhorns love salt.
6) It is wiser to add Dechlorinator to the water or age the water before introduction.
7) Donot Livefeed the fish.
8) Observe the fish's behaiour and look out for any sudden change in it and be on the lookout for any early signs of infection/infestation.
9) Donot introduce any new fish in his tank without proper quarantine.
10) Simulate natural light as far as possible. Hitachi soft pink aquarium light is a good display light for your fish. It will really bring out its colours.
If you use tap water, start using Dechlorinator. It is available in a plethora of local brands. Use any one. The dosage is usually one drop per litre. But that again depends on the concentration at which an individual lab sells it. Read the instructions on the individual bottle for the details.
Can and should Flowerhorns be kept in a Commuity Setup? Posted on Sun Nov 06, 2011 7:55 pm
Flowerhorns share the aggressive temperament of their Central and South American ancestors.
Sure they can be kept in community aquaria with fish of similar size and temperment. But you need to add plenty of ditherfish and see to it that the aggression is well distributed.
The above things considered and considering the highly territorial nature of these fish, especially during breeding, it is imperative that you must either have a large tank with plenty of hiding places and territorial boundaries or settle with a overstocked tank.
I don't know about the others, but I will give you my reasons for keeping flowerhorns only with plecos. ( Note that I started flowerhornkeepig in a community tank and learned by experience to house flowerhorns alone.)
- I like to have a personal bond with my fish.
- I don't like it when my fish get injured or their fins get torn and deformed.
- I am lazy and prefer reducing my work by reducing the number of fish.
- I am of the opinion that by Housing a single fish in a tank, I can provide him/her with optimum level of care and keep him free of communicable diseases.
- I think that a large cichlid in a barebottom tank saves me a lot of money on interior decor as my fish remains the center of attraction of all my guests who know him as an individual. ( Currently I am growing out two in a partitioned tank. )
- I neither have the money nor the space to house a huge tank, but this is how I try to provide the best water conditions I could to my fish in a confined space.
Feeding Flowerhorns Posted On Sat Nov 19, 2011 4:50 am
I had mentioned my principle of 'On Demand Feeding' in some earlier posts. I have based it on the simple fact that though fish are speechless, you can make out from their body language when they are hungry and are begging for food. They are just like our babies, who cry when they want milk. Feed them whenever and only when they ask for food. Only the fish knows how hungry he is. So let him decide how many pellets he can eat at a particular time. How to do this? Feed him pellets one by one, till he is full. Once he is full, he will retreat to the depths and you will know when to stop.
This can be seen in the following video. Rudie (the female Zhenzhoumalau) ate till her stomach got full and then retreated to the bottom while Adolf (the male fader/golden base zhenzhou) lingered at the top and kept eating till his belly was full and later, retreated to the depths as well, thus indicating me to stop feeding.
In the above video, the green pellets are Hikari Cichlid Staple while the red ones are Grand Sumo Red.
You get to learn new things everyday from this hobby. Every fish teaches you something new. Enriches your knowledge. You just need to keep your eyes open and mind clear. So the crude experimentation must go on. I tried out different feeding regimens every month for the last three months just to record the effects. And what better fish to try out colour feed upon than a multicoloured fader ? I had experimented with Asthaxanthin based supplements before on my earlier fish. That only taught me regarding the effect of colour feed on the development of the secondary colour. This time, it was the base colour that interested me most. The observations then and now, however, were the same. Here is a brief summary of my observation so far:
1st Month ( August - Sep 2011 )
Hikari cichlid staple and azoo Arowana Sticks. No colour feed.
2nd month ( Sep - Oct 2011 )
Hikari Cichlid Staple on weekdays ( Mon - Fri ). 1:1 mixture of Hikari cichlid Bio Gold + and Grand Sumo Red on weekends.
3rd Month ( Oct - Nov 2011)
1:1 Mixture of Hikari cichlid staple and a colour feed 8 - 10 times, depending on demand everyday. As colour feed, I used Grand Sumo Red and Hikari Cichlid Bio Gold + on alternate days. While feeding, I usually alter every pellet to ensure that the 1:1 ratio is maintained. But due to the camera blocking my direct sight, I had a hard time doing so.
Experience so far:
The colour feed did help in bringing out the colours and maintaining them. As to the frequency of feeding it, it didn't matter much.
If you compare the snaps in the second and third monthend updates, you won't observe a significant difference in the colouration.
Thus minimal amount of colour feed is sufficient for bringing out and maintaining the colours. Daily colour feeding isn't required. Don't waste money on excessive colour feeding. Once or twice a week is enough.
On-Demand Feeding has the following advantages:
- You don't overfeed your fish.
- You don't waste food.
- The tanks water parameters don't deteriorate faster.
- You bond well with your fish.
- The fish become bolder and are less skittish around people.
- Since you feed the fish whenever they are hungry, they get better nutrition and grow faster.
- Scavengers donot resort to eating pellets.
- You get to set the ratio of different pellets to be fed to an individual fish.
- You get to feed all your fish selectively and see to it that no particular fish goes unfed due to bullying by larger fish in a community setup.
- You get a rough idea of the changing appetite trends in your fish. This helps in early diagnosis of diseases that affect appetite.
Pellets should be mixed in such a way that:
- The desired effect of the pellet in a particular fish is achieved without unnecessary overfeeding.
- The protein content is equally balanced by fibre, that provides roughage and thus prevents constipation and bloating due to excess flatus/gas formation.
- You need to understand the difference between Macronutrients and Micronutrients. A good staple food must be rich in Macronutrients. Micronutrients are to be fed in small quantities. Excess feeding of these causes wastage and hazards due to overconsumption. So far, I find Hikari Cichlid staple to be the best staple food for all cichlids including flowerhorns. Next in line was Azoo Flowerhorn pellets, which is off the Indian Market as of now. But Hikari Food sticks or Azoo Arowana sticks my be added as a variation in the staple feed.
Pre-soaking the pellets has the following advantages:
- Brings out their taste and thus increases their palatability. So wider variety of pellets are readily accepted without much fuss.
- The pellets get softened and can be swallowed without much chewing. This reduces their wastage in powder form caused during crushing by pharyngeal teeth.
- You must always remember that all pellets expand after absorbing water. Thus, if the fish eats a stomach-full of dry pellets, the pellets expand in their bowels after absorbing water and the fish gets bloated, constipated, breathes heavily and appears lethargic for some time after the meal. This is avoided when the the pellets are presoaked and already assume their full volume before consumption by fish.
- Can be used as a Drug Delivery System in times of need.
Always make it a habit to thoroughly wash your hands before and after feeding your fish. It will prove to be beneficial for both in the long run.
While we are at feeding, let me mention an interesting and funny observation of a Flowerhorn's feeding behaviour and the display of possessiveness and ego. Most of my fish displayed this at one point of time or another. It is primarily displayed when the regular feeder ignores the fish's feeding requests. You must be bonded with the fish before the fish displays it. It is also displayed in response to perceived favoritism by the master towards another flowerhorn. This results from possessiveness resulting from the close bond between flowerhorn and master.
- You know that a Flowerhorn is hungry when the fish follows you around the room and begs you for food by making biting actions, and rapid to and fro movements by wagging its tail.
- If you ignore these requests repeatedly or aren't paying attention to these, the fish starts splashing water.
- If you ignore these desperate attempts too, the flowerhorn stops all actions and constantly keeps staring at you for hours on end till you go near his tank and try to feed him. But instead of responding to you, the fish retreats to the furthest corner of the tank from you and refuses to eat for quite a long time. This is his style of frowning. Similar behaviour may also be displayed when you have another flowerhorn in plain sight of the first and you happen to feed him first.
If and when you observe the above behaviour from your flowerhorn, know that you have bonded with him in a Father-son like relationship and your little actions matter a lot to him.
Weekly fasting of Flowerhorns Posted on Mon Oct 31, 2011 3:58 pm
Here's my take on fasting and changes in feeding according to the growth stage.
Fasting fish during the growth phase is not recommended by me.
It is wiser to add fibre rich feed to the existing regimen rather than fasting. Hikari offers a wide range of fibre rich feed for cichlids.
Once the flowerhorn reaches around 8 to 10 inches and its growth slows down, the feeding must be marginally reduced in both quantity and frequency.
The alternatives to normal frequency voracious feeding at this stage are:
1) Once/Twice a day feeding 7 days a week.
2) Normal frequency 5 days a week with 48 hour continuous fasting.
3) Normal frequency on alternate days.
( * Normal Frequency = Same frequency as in the growth phase. It varies with every fish and owner. It is what the individual fish is used to. )
Regarding Weaning Flowerhorns off live food, siphoning, partitioning and substrate for Flowerhorn Aquaria Posted on Thu Nov 10, 2011 3:24 am
If your flowerhorn isn't accepting pellets, do the following:
- Buy some premium carnivore pellets or sticks. If azoo flowerhorn pellet or arowana stick 10g sachet is available, get it. Or go for any other branded product like hikari/ocean free/grand sumo, etc. These have less fillers and more amount of proteinaceous content. These have greater palatability and so are highly recommended.
- Wet a single pellet/stick or a broken piece of it for about 2-5 minutes, before feeding it to your fish. By moistening, the pellet softens, which is easy to bite and is more palatable.
- Let the flowerhorn spot it/taste it/ eat it/ spit it. Be patient. Wait and observe. Many flowerhorns have a habit of spitting out food and eating it off the bottom later. If the pellet gets eaten, feed more in the same manner one by one. If he spits it out, check from time to time whether he has eaten it. Feed no more until he eats it. If he hasn't eaten it by the end of the day, siphon it out and let the fish starve for the night.
- Repeat the above procedure the next day. you can do this for 4-5 days at a stretch. If he remains adamant till the 6th day, feed him the bloodworms or any feed that he readily accepts. Do so for the next couple of days. then again repeat the 4-5 day starving regimen.
- Usually flowerhorns don't wait that long. They usually crack within the first 3 days.
Siphonig out the excess wastes from the bottom and toppng up ( replacing ) the water ( therefore technically, not WC but WR or water replacement ) is a good practice and benefits in the log run. It doesn't take up more than 5-10 minutes of your time every night or whenever possible. I highly recommend it. And what better tank to do this than a barebottom?
If you decide to use fine soft sand as substrate this is how you conduct the siphoning
-Cut the bottom off a 200-500ml plastic bottle at a 5-10% angle.
-Drill out a hole in the lid of the diameter of your siphon tube.
-pass 1 inch of the tube through it.
-Glue it up to make it airtight.
-Now siphon out the poop by sifting the sand in a cyclical motion.
-Since the poop and wastes are lighter, they get sucked out, while the heavier sand settles back to the bottom.
-You need a little practice to master it.
-Its a little bit time consuming at first, but once you get the air of it, you'll sort of love doing it.
I have grown out flowerhorns in partitioned 2 footers earlier ( 3 juvies per two footer ). They had excellent growth and development and were a healthy lot. All of them developed koks including the females. The extras among those were later gifted to friends at 6 inches or so. My current flowerhorns, ADOLF and RUDOLPH are being grown out in a 50 Gallon partitioned 3 footer. You can see their growth in their respective threads. Only one of them will get to keep the entire tank eventually though. So the the answer to your partitioning querry is YES.
Use a mesh for partitioning rather than glass/acrylic. Having a free flow of water between the two sides has many benefits.
- Though it acts as a physical barrier for the fish, it doesnot hamper the flow of nutrients and wastes. Thus, by chemical parameters, both fish get to utilize the entire volume of water rather than only half of it.
- You need only one aerator and only one filter.
- Siphoning out wastes and topping up the water also neednot be done separately.
- The fish get to room in better with each other.
* use the greatest mesh size according to the size of your fish. I keep two to three partitions ready with different mesh sizes ( 8 mm, 15 mm and 1 inch ). As my fish grow, I replace the partitions in increasing order of mesh size. Greater is the mesh size, less hampered is the flow of water through it and thus, better is the filtration.
FH are kept both in barebottoms and substrated tanks. I prefer a barebottom since it makes siphoning easier, is easier to maintain and hosts no sites for colonization by pathogens.
It you are planning to add substrate and other decor, keep the following in mind
- don't use sharp chips/decor.
- know that flowerhorns dig a lot.
- there have been a few threads posted by members of Flowerhornusa.com wherein the fish ingested a piece of gravel causing intestinal obstruction leading to herniation, prolapse and death. You may browse these to note their experiences. I remember one thread posted in round July 2008 wherein the hobbyist manually removed the stone by taking an incision on the constriction ring of the prolapsed anus. He posted photographs of the entire procedure. The fish survived then, but for how long, I know not.
Treatment of Genital/Rectal Prolapse in Flowerhorns Posted on Thu Aug 25, 2011 7:56 pm
In an anatomical disorder like hernia or Rectal/Genital prolapse, the inflammation or swelling must be dealt with before manual reduction is attempted. This swelling might be due to venous congestion or secondary infection. In any case, Metronidazole will prove beneficial. Make atleast 33% water changes daily. Add modest amount of salt to the water after every change. After a couple of days, if the swelling has reduced, manual reduction can be attempted with gentle pressure, using a sterile ear-bud, a little at a time.
Check with your local LFS for the medication and you will find the dosage information on the label.
I use medical grade Metronidazole solution intended for I.V. or topical use for instillation. For external injuries or open lesions, I use metronidazole Ointment, that I apply using a sterile earbud, holding the fish in a tub fill of shallow water, every 12 hourly, till inflammation subsides. I have never used aquarium grade solution since the medical grade medication is always available with me.
Another method is adding Potassium Permanganate ( KMnO4 ) to the aquarium water in the cocentration of approximately 4 grains per litre of water or one tiny pinch per Gallon of water.
If the swelling doesnot reduce within 2 days, application of Magnesium Sulphate dressings ( prepere a saturated solution of Magnesium Sulphate aka Epsom in Glycerine and apply it on the Prolapsed area using a sterile ear-bud, holding the fish inverted and semi-submerged in a water bath, using a soft wet cloth for 2 -3 sittings of 3 minutes each. Repeat the procedure 3 times a day. All the necessary medications are available in your nearest medical store over the counter. )
You may use my methods ( which are based on the treatment of human genital / rectal prolapse ) or follow the ones recommended for Aquarium fish. Both work.
Once the swelling subsides, the prolapsed viscera might spontaneously retract or might require gentle manual reduction.
Humpy head alone is not recommended for any fish. It is overstuffed with lipids and proteins and low on fibre, leading to constipation. I am not aware of the contents of Tetra Bits.
In order to prevent future relapses, add some balanced food like Hikari Cichlid staple or certain algae based food along with vitamin supplements to the fish's diet. More fibre in her diet will prevent constipation. Weekly 30% water changes will ensure a pathogen free and clean environment for the fish. Adding salt to the water ( about 1/2 tsp per Gallon ) is highly beneficial as most freshwater pathogens are intolerant to even a slight increase in salinity.
Empirical Treatment = Secondary prophylactic treatment usually with a broad spectrum antibiotic / antiviral / antihelminthic / antiprotozoal agent before the exact diagnosis is confirmed. It ensures that we don't waste time in determining the illness, while the infection / infestation progresses. eg. The initial drug therapy administered to a patient while awaiting the Lab reports.
Instillation = Local application of a solution using a dropper, eg. occular , nasal or aural drops.
Treatment of Third-Degree/Complete Rectal/Intestinal Prolapse Posted on Sun Nov 27, 2011 2:58 am
A third degree rectal prolapse is caused by chronic constipation alone or along with congenital malformations leading to weak or aberrant muscular attachment.
Keep the fish in a well aerated medicated bath containing non-iodized salt and flagyl (metronidazole) (recommended) or methylene blue for a week. Donot feed the fish during this period. Siphon out the wastes daily, and top up the water and medication. Even if there are no wstes, carry out a daily 30-35% water change with medicine top ups. At the beginning of the treatment, record the length and girth of the prolapsed part. Make a concentrated solution of magnesium sulfate in glycerine. Remove the fish out af the water using a soft cotton cloth soaked in the medicated water and invert it to expose the affected area. Soak a cotton ball in the magsulf solution and apply it to the prolapsed part for 30 seconds and release the fish back into the bath. repeat this after a 2 minute interval. Conduct this cycliclly for 5 times in a sitting. Conduct 3-4 such sittings per day during this 7 day period. At the end of the seventh day, note whether the prolapsed part has reduced in length and girth.
-If the only the girth has reduced, you may attempt to gently reduce (gently push inside) the contents after application of glycerine. Do this little by little everyday, until it is completely reduced.
-If the length has reduced, it means that the prolapsed intestine is reducing spontaneously. No need of manual reduction in this case. Just continue the treatment in the same way till full reduction is achieved.
-If there is no change or increase in the length and/or girth of the prolapse, continue the treatment for another week with small feedings of fibre rich pellets. If still, the results are negative, let nature take it from there.
To prevent this in the future, provide the fish with fibre rich pellets. A protein predominant diet leads to constipation and flatulence. Maintaining good protein to fibre ratio in the diet prevents this.
Treatment of Hole In The Head (HITH)/ Head and Lateral Line Erosion (HLLE)/Hexamita Infestation in Fowerhorns Posted on Sun Oct 02, 2011 5:21 pm
The causes of HITH/HLLE is infection by the parasite hexamita, along with immunocompromise, most likely caused by vitamin/mineral deficiency and bad water parameters. There might also be another secondary infection.
Isolate the fish in smaller barebottom tank / tub / bucket half full of water.
Aerate the water heavily using fresh airstone.
Add aquarium/non-iodized salt in the concentration range of 1tsp per 10 - 15 litres ( no need to exceed 1 tsp / 5l ).
Add a metronidazole based solution in the directed concentration.
If you have a heater, set the thermostat between the range of 28.8 to 30 degree celsius.
Siphon out all the wastes everyday with 10 - 15 % WC.
Stop all feeds for 24 - 48 hours.
Resume feeding with high quality cichlid pellets or pellets / tetra bits ( whatever is accepted ) soaked initially in a concentrated solution of Multivitamins.
If pellet food is not accepted, try clean and boiled shrimp soaked in multivitamins or disease free live fish ( stuff the feeder fish's moth with half a tablet or a half emptied capsule of multivitamins.). A single dose regimen is sufficient.
Your friend will be ok in a week if all goes well.
Clean and sundry her original tank thoroughly along with all substrate, decor and filter media, before introducing her back.
If possible, keep her in a barebottom with weekly siphoning and WC. Good quality pellets are sufficient. But you can give him a weekly treat of cleaned and partially boiled shrimps/prawns.
Treatment of White Spot/ICH/ICK/ Ichthyophthirius multifiliis Infestation in Flowerhorns Posted on Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:49 pm
Treat all your fish in separate hospital tanks ( an ideal hospital tank must have a minimal level of water and plenty of aeration. The level of water in a well aerated hospital tank need not be higher than 3-4 times the depth of the fish. The level of water in a non-aerated hospital tank need not be more than twice the depth of your fish. The low volume of water leads to less wastage of medication. ). Treat by adding non-iodized salt and methylene blue or Rid-all Anti-ich ( I've had 100% cure rate with it all these years. And almost all fish I have bought have had ich in the LFS but never in my tanks.). You may alternatively use formalin or quinine or potassium permanganate or malachite green. Don't feed the fish during the treatment period. Siphon out all the wastes and carry out water and medication toppings everyday during the treatment period. You may use heater to maintain temperature if you have one (raise the temperature by 2 degrees in a 0.5 degrees step at a time, not to exceed 30 degrees centigrade) or a 60 watt incandescent bulb will suffice. Continue treatment till 2 days after the spots disappear. If you have any plecos in the tank, treat them too in the same fashion.
While you do this, clean the existing tank, any decor and filter media thoroughly by scrubbing with salt. Then let it sundry completely.
Adding salt to the water (optional) during every water change and abstinence from live feeding are the best preventive measures for Ich Infestation.
Diagnostic Procedure in suspected case of Foreign Body Ingestion Posted on Wed Nov 23, 2011 9:41 pm
You will need:
1) A bucket filled upto 6-7inches with dechlorinated water, containing 1 teaspoon of rocksalt and 4 drops/liter of methylene blue.
2) A soft clean cotton cloth or an old cotton vest.
3) A good torchlight.
Fill the bucket with 6-7inches of dechlorinated water such that the fish is just completely submersible. Add 1 teaspoon of noniodized salt and 4 drops per liter of methylene blue. Agitate the water to dissolve all contents well. Wait for 10 minutes.
Get someone to assist you in the procedure if possible.
Trim your nails. Wash and scrub your hands clean upto the elbows.
Soak the clean soft cotton cloth with the water in the bucket and use it while handling the fish.
Now remove the fish gently into the bucket and wait for couple of minutes.
Now using the soaked cloth, remove the fish out of the water. Using a tip of the cloth wrapped around your finger, open the fish's mouth to the full, gently and shine the torch into its depths. Inspect the entire cavity, especially, the furthest part and see whether you can spot any impacted gravel.
If yes, take him to a vet or attempt to remove it with assistance, using a pair of forceps or any blunt tipped angular probe, carefully.
Next, using the cloth, remove the fish out of the water, but still in the bucket ( So that even if it were to slip, it will slide smoothly into the water without hurting itself ) and turn it over. Now gently squeeze the bulging belly from one side at a time, using the soft part of your fingertip. The pressure should be gentle. While doing so, get your assistant to shine the torch upon the anogenital region and look out for any discharge (like clear fluid or gas or poop or pus ) or herniation. Ease on the pressure if such a thing occurs. Feel whether you can feel a hard lump in the abdomen at any point. Do this in a intermittent fashion by releasing the fish back in the water at 30 second intervals. Palpate the entire abdomen.
In case of pus or white/bloody discharge or gas, treatment with metronidazole (flagyl) is recommended for both fish.
In case of a hard lump, consult a vet or wait for the fish to naturally vomit out or pass out the gravel. But the chances of survival in this case are faint.
After the procedure, even if there is no abnormality detected, keep the fish in this medicated and aerated bath for 2 days before introduction into the barebottom.
Metronidazole ( Flagyl ) treatment tips Posted on Fri Nov 25, 2011 10:28 pm
As of November 2011:
10 Tablets (200mg) cost you less thn 5 bucks.
A 30ml bottle of Flagyl oral Suspension ( 200mg/5ml ie. 40mg/ml ) won't cost you more than 10 bucks in any Medical store. Shake well before use.
IV solution is available in 100ml bottles/bags ( 500mg/100ml ie. 5mg/ml ) and won't cost you more than 20 bucks.
The dosage that I have used successfully over the years is 15-20mg/day for adult fish and 5-10mg/day for juvies.
You can use a calibrated dropper/needle-less syringe to administer approximately 20mg/day of the suspension orally, for 7 days. Just make sure that the dose is delivered deeper than the gill plates. The con is that his requires daily handling of the fish.
Alternatively, you can feed the fish with a disease free feeder fish, who is stuffed with 1/10th portion of tablet (euivalent to 20mg) for adults or with 1/20th portion of tablet (euivalent to 10mg) for juvies every day for 7 days.
Alternatively, you can soak the pellets in the desired volume of solution (4ml for adults and 2ml for juvies), before feeding for the next 7 days. The con is that the fish needs to accept these.
Alternatively, you can dissolve the solution in the hospital aquarium water at the concentration of 1 ml per litre for the next 10 days (common for adults and juvies). Max dose for adults is 8ml (40mg) per litre, to be used only in refractory cases.
Joined: Dec 09, 2008 Posts: 661 Location: Mumbai Dahisar (w)
Posted: Sun Nov 20, 2011 3:04 am Post subject: Re: THE BIG THREAD OF FLOWERHORN KEEPING
You have far exceeded my expectations Bro. You're in for a treat.
@ Ashwin, Ashish, Rohit, Vicky
Thanks for your valued appreciation. Do add your experiences to this thread in the future.
From what I have read, "Kok" is one of the Cantonese words for "Horn".
Agree about the ugliness of the humongous and tumourous koks on some fish. But the naturally huge ones might not be painful. Just an obstruction to fast and graceful swimming and a blind area in the visual field. It is the injected ones that cause pain.
These huge koksters are in demand since they are associated by profit mongerers to Chinese lore. The kok is considered to be a sign of prosperity and longevity by associating it with the hunchback of the respective Chinese God. So larger koks are highly valued in the orient.
In India, some Feng Shui practitioners recommend intensely red Flowerhorns with huge koks.
Owning a huge koked flowerhorn is also considered as a status symbol by some, due to the obviously high price-tag associated with it.
You are our future King Kamfa expert bro. Hone your skills while there is time. You will be plagued by King Kamfa related querries in a matter of months.
Welcome back to the club bro.
It takes about 3-5 minutes to soak the pellets of all types completely.
The protein rich pellets soften faster. The fibre rich pellets take a little longer. But waiting for 5 minutes gets them all ready for consumption.
The size of pellets depends on the size of your fish's mouth. But it also depends on availability.
I currently use medium sized pellets. once my fish cross the six inch mark, I will buy large sized pellets.
Joined: Aug 10, 2011 Posts: 241 Location: Manchester of the South India - Cotton City - Coimbatore
Posted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 12:13 am Post subject: Re: THE BIG THREAD OF FLOWERHORN KEEPING
Wonderful Effort by ChannaGuy to gather and help out to collate all the sorted information
Kastor, You are amazing, i think that it might take up me couple of days to read this article as a whole.. But anyway Excellent Write ups and knowledge dude.. Expecting lot more information and updates in coming... In the meanwhile i hope your Rudie and Adie ( ) might become a famous specimen like Football Predictor Octopus , teach them some kind of tricks and unreal a new character out of your Flowerhorns ...
Posted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:03 am Post subject: Re: THE BIG THREAD OF FLOWERHORN KEEPING
awwsum dude for this nice writeup it because of people like u due to which newbies can learn things and stick to flowerhorn keeping..and hope someday people would keepfh as pets and not as items and so called fh haters would like them because as its mentioned hybridization also happens in nature but on a smaller scale.....i love fh just because of there personality and beauty
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