So, you want to breed flowerhorns ay? Well you are in the right place at the right time. As I’m typing this my Flowerhorn pair just laid a fresh batch of eggs! At first glance it seems to be a few hundred tiny eggs in the terracotta dish I set up in their aquarium.
But enough of me bragging about my new batch of soon to be Flowerhorn fry, you came here to learn how YOU can breed Flowerhorns. So, let’s back track first to about a month ago then we’ll fast forward to just 3 days ago when I first added my female to the aquarium. Going back in time will help lay the foundation for everything you’ll need to do and have on hand if you are going to breed Flowerhorns like I’m doing.
First Things First: Proper Aquarium Set up and Environment
What you’ll need: A large tank, proper filtration, adequate heating
Before even thinking about breeding large aggressive cichlids like the Flowerhorn you’ll want to make sure you have an adequate aquarium environment. That means a large enough tank, proper filtration, a heater, filter media and that’s it at the bare minimum.
When it comes to aquarium size, I’m not a person who pushes extra large 100 plus gallon tanks for 1 to 2 fish. For me personally I have a 75-gallon tank that is just enough for my breeding pair. It does seem to be the very minimum size tank I would recommend. Anything else like a 55 gallon or smaller wouldn’t really suffice for 2 large aggressive fish.
Filtration is an area where I like to take a very simple approach. Since I keep my tanks bare bottom and with no decorations at all I’m only running two Aqua Clear 110 “hang on the back” filters. One thing that I also do is add these nifty little sponge filters to my Aqua Clear inlet tubes. You don’t really see these anywhere at pet stores so I’ve added a link below so you can copy my set up.
For filter media I use the included Aqua Clear sponge for mechanical filtration at the bottom but on top of the sponge I use media rings and crushed coral. Both medias are perfect nest havens for beneficial bacteria growth. Before we change subjects from Filtration and water quality three other things that I use to keep my tank in optimal shape are this Ehiem Vacuum, SeaChem Purigen and these cool little water parameter monitors.
Lastly, in this section you want to make sure your water keeps a suitable temperature. Right now, I’m running my tank at ** degrees Fahrenheit. When selecting a heater for your Flowerhorn you can use these simple guidelines:
40 to 50 gallon – 100 to 400-watt heater
65 to 75 gallon – 200 to 600-watt heater
Introducing Your Two Fish Together
What you’ll need: A Divider
If you ever kept cichlids of any kind before then you know that they can be downright nasty to each other. It’s not that they don’t like other fish but the cichlid family is extremely territorial so they have a hard time tolerating another fish that could a threat to them in their general vicinity. That other fish could be a threat to their mate, their food and their home.
Thinking about it in those terms how would you feel about someone threatening your spouse, food and house. I’m sure you’d agree you want them out and away from you. Flowerhorns are no different, they want to feel secure in their space.
The best way to make your fish feel secure is putting a divider into the aquarium when introducing two fish together. Some people like to get the grate that is used in industrial lighting. However, my choice is going to a plastics/acrylics manufacturer and getting a custom piece. This way just looks a lot cleaner and professional. Where I live in northern California I used TAP Plastics, for my 75 gallon aquarium the custom divider was about $27.
In my latest pairing I only left the divider in overnight for about 16 hours. My male Flowerhorn had lived in the tank for a few months already by himself.