How to Breed Flowerhorn Fish Step by Step

In the world of fish keeping, Flowerhorn cichlids are among the most popular. These fish are almost ideal for the hobby of fishkeeping. Their personalities, playfulness, and ability to identify their owners contribute to this. Not to mention the fish’s stunning array of hues. 

The nuchal hump/Kok and vivid red coloration of these fish are well-known. In an aquarium, Flowerhorn cichlids are a lot of fun to watch and learn about.

Additionally, Flowerhorns may be intentionally bred at home, and this page has all the information you’ll need on how to breed flowerhorn fish step by step.

Here is a summary of what you’ll see in this Flowerhorn Diseases article:

  1. Getting Started with Breeding
  2. Identifying Male & Female Flowerhorns
  3. How to Pair Two Flowerhorns to Breed
  4. Setting up a Breeding Environment
  5. Mating Aggression
  6. Breeding Process
  7. Incubating Eggs
  8. Keeping Flowerhorn Fry
  9. FAQs
  10. Flowerhorn Breeding Summary

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how to breed flowerhorn fish step by step

Getting Started with Breeding

One of the first man-created hybrid fish, the blood parrot, provides the inspiration for Flowerhorns. Flowerhorn cichlids have been bred with dozens of different cichlids since the original ones, known as Luohans. 

Their genetic history is unknown for each strain, and it differs widely. Start by following these guidelines for Flowerhorn breeding.

Identifying Male & Female Flowerhorns

The sexes of cichlids differ significantly in their appearance. There are many means by which they might be distinguished based on their gender. 

Generally, the size of the fish is one of the easiest ways to tell the difference. The male Flowerhorn is much bigger than the female, despite both being the same age. 

Compared to the female Flowerhorn cichlid, the male has a broader and longer body. Generally speaking, male Flowerhorn cichlids have a huge hump/Kok, while females often have a smaller hump or perhaps none at all.

You can also tell the gender of a Flowerhorn by looking at its dorsal fin. Usually, male Flowerhorns have long, slender dorsal fins, while females’ dorsal fins are usually much shorter. 

Additionally, the female Flowerhorn’s dorsal fin also has some dot patterns lacking in the male Flowerhorn.

How to Pair Two Flowerhorns to Breed

Several Flowerhorn cichlids in your collection have undergone selective breeding to achieve the necessary characteristics. Flowerhorns may have lighter or darker hues, but most are bred to have a vast nuchal hump on their fronts.

When it comes to Flowerhorn breeding, you need to be quite cautious. Choosing the right parents for your breeding endeavor will significantly impact the next generation. 

In fact, it is possible to choose Flowerhorn cichlids with various qualities and attributes for the next generation. When Flowerhorn fry with big nuchal humps grows, they will have a vast nuchal hump. 

Similarly, a Flowerhorn cichlid with a short body will produce a short-bodied fry. Breeding Flowerhorns should be avoided at all costs if they have any abnormalities. If not, Flowerhorn cichlids of this sort will weaken the line.

For most breeders, Flowerhorns with larger Nuchal hump/Kok have historically been the preferred option for breeding. Select Flowerhorns with robust, thick fins and no genetic flaws like short guts for breeding so that their line remains healthy and free of deformities.

Setting up a Breeding Environment

Flowerhorn cichlids may be raised in a 40-gallon tank. This will be the bare minimum tank in which to raise them. In fact, a glass barrier in a giant aquarium should be used to separate the parents.

To encourage the fish to mate, you should clean the water and replace it often. Neutral pH and temperature are required for optimal water quality in a fish tank. Generally, the ideal temperature for Flowerhorn cichlid reproduction is between 28°F and 30°F.

In addition to an airstone for bringing oxygen into the tank, the big aquarium should include various decorative elements. A sponge filter may be used in the breeding tank for filtering since it is gentle on the eggs and the fry. During the breeding phase, you may also use a powerhead filter.

The water flow produced by powerhead filters is too strong for the eggs and newly born fish to survive. Therefore, sponge filters or other air-driven filters are recommended for use in the fry tank.

A smooth clay plate may be used to help the female Flowerhorn deposit eggs. The female fish may deposit eggs on a plate with a smooth surface if it is placed in the tank.

Even if your Flowerhorn breeders don’t get along, you don’t have to be concerned. Set the glass divider, so there is about 1 inch of space between the top of the tile and its base. 

During breeding, this will allow you to slide and turn the tile back and forth without damaging it. Pay attention to how much water moves in the tank area where the tile has been turned upside-down.

Also, ensure the glass or acrylic divider is appropriately positioned to prevent fish harm. There’s a good chance they’ll get into some scrapes and scrapes with the partition. Suction cup divider holders should be able to hold it in place.

Mating Aggression

Flowerhorns do not engage in any sort of mating ritual or dance. To ensure that their breeding mates are appropriate, they engage in some tail flapping and biting.

Females produce an egg tube from their anal orifice when they are ready to mate. The female cleans the clay plate before laying her eggs, which begins the breeding process. The male Flowerhorn then spends some time courting the female.

Generally, Flowerhorn females may lay anything from 70 to 1500 eggs. The eggs will stick to the smooth surface if it is clean (in this case, the clay plate). Then the Flowerhorn’s male counterpart will swim over the fertilized eggs.

Both parents are pretty protective of their eggs and newborns. In fact, the Flowerhorns may go without food for a few days while protecting the fries.

The unfertilized Flowerhorn egg becomes white, whereas the Flowerhorn’s fertilized eggs develop a clear tint. All of the unfertilized eggs will be eaten within a few days by the female Flowerhorn fish.

In around two to three days, the fertilized eggs will hatch. They travel in groups and are usually idle for a few days after hatching since the fry is so tiny.

After a few days, the newly born free swimmers begin swimming about the tank in search of food. In this period, the fry can take care of themselves so that you may remove their parents from the breeding tanks.

Breeding Process

Once you see the female Flowerhorn scrubbing a soiled area, cover the area with a new floor tile that is upside down. Bonsai pots are popular with many breeders.

Overhead filters and other water-sucking filtering equipment should be removed. Filtration would be a bad idea if the eggs were in it. Therefore, submersible sponge-type filters are appropriate for this step of the process.

Male fertilization occurs after the female has laid her eggs, this is the primary reproduction method.

Flowerhorn breeding generally begins in the late afternoon. Starting with a more aggressive clean of her flooring, the female gets the ball rolling.

Removing the partition once again is best if your pair has already learned to get along.

Observe them since they may turn to each other instantly if left alone. The breeding process will begin after a few days if the female is ready to mate.

Generally, the female Flowerhorn will soon be laying her eggs on the tile, so keep an eye out. Soon after she finishes, the male will follow her and spray his milt into her eggs.

From one hour to three hours, the mating process will go on. It’s essential to keep an eye on them throughout the mating season since they may start fighting again after that.

Additionally, it will be easy to recognize when the female has done laying her eggs since she will clean and fan the nesting area.

You may let the female or both parents take care of the Flowerhorn eggs at this time, or you can incubate the eggs yourself until they hatch.

Before reintroducing breeding to your Flowerhorns, give them some time to rest. This gives them the necessary time to get back on their feet.

Incubating Eggs

For incubating the eggs, use the Flowerhorn breeding tank. There are times when eggs aren’t laid in the tile for various reasons. A breeding tank must be used for hatching if eggs are found on the bottom or side of an aquarium.

After gently transferring the parents to separate tanks, clean the tank by siphoning off all the filth you can find. Generally, eggs should not be handled.

Remove as much water as possible until the soil is just 8-12 inches deep. Make use of methylene blue. If necessary, you may dim or turn off the lights.

Disable or remove any aquarium filtration devices that drain water. Replace the paper filters with sponges. The water should be circulated by using many air stones. Eggs should be kept near the air stone, but the water flow should be regulated so that the hatched eggs do not fall out of the tank.

If the water temperature drops below 28 degrees Celsius, use an aquarium heater. The eggs will hatch in 60 to 96 hours.

Raising Flowerhorn Fry

Flowerhorn cichlid fry raising may be challenging at times. The fries will require a big tank as well. In a tiny tank, there may be a lot of aggressive behavior because of their nature to be hostile. 

You’ll also have to sort the bigger and smaller fries separately. The Flowerhorn fry is usually mean to the smaller ones, and they’ve been known to kill the smaller ones.

A Flowerhorn fry may be fed newborn brine shrimps after they emerge from the egg. Therefore, they will be unable to eat pellets since they are so tiny.

You may switch to Daphnias and tubifex worms as a feeding source as they develop. Flowerhorn fry may be fed staple pellet food after they reach a length of 2 inches. A high-quality fish meal with a high protein content is what you should use for your Flowerhorn.

Humpy Head, Hikari Carnivore, Headup, Okiko Platinum, etc., are some of the finest fish meals for Flowerhorn cichlids. In addition to dry food, live shrimp may be fed to your Flowerhorn periodically. 

You should not feed your Flowerhorn any food that enhances its color. This sort of diet will have a long-term effect on its health.

Additionally, Flowerhorns will grow faster and develop a more vibrant color when fed high-quality fish food with high protein content.


What’s the difference between male and female Flowerhorn?

Short, rounded fins are present in both sexes at birth. Males have long fins that terminate in a tip as they age. Fins on females are smaller and rounded towards the tip. Compared to the larger males, the females are likewise less vibrantly colored.

What are the different Flowerhorn breeds?

Basically, there are 10 types of Flowerhorn breeds. Namely, they are:

  • Kamfa 
  • King Kamfa
  • Zhen Zhu
  • Golden Monkey
  • Golden Base
  • Kamfa Malau
  • Thai Silk
  • Super Red Dragon
  • IndoMalau 
  • Tan King

What filtration to use with Flowerhorn fry?

While breeding Flowerhorns, you should avoid using aquarium filters with a high flow rate. You should only use a low-flow aquarium filter.

If the flow is too strong, your Flowerhorn will be blown around the tank. Additional powerheads installed at the bottom of the tank are often used by Flowerhorn keepers to drive waste into the filter. 

Therefore, sponge filters are recommended. The most dependable filters are sponge filters. Generally, these filters may be used in the breeding and fry tank.

How difficult is it to breed Flowerhorns?

When it comes to raising cichlids, Flowerhorns are among the most straightforward. Flowerhorn cichlids reproduce often and readily if you can couple them together. 

It is possible, however, that breeding Flowerhorn cichlids will prove difficult for most hobbyists. Also, make sure your tank and filters are in order before you start breeding fish. Flowerhorns are a cinch to breed and raise.

Can you make money breeding Flowerhorns?

When done correctly, breeding Flowerhorns may be pretty lucrative and gorgeous, providing you’re not one of those “cichlid purists.”

How often do Flowerhorns breed?

Flowerhorn fish may be bred anytime since they do not have a set breeding season. Because of this, you simply need to offer a suitable breeding habitat.

What age can females breed?

Till the day of their demise, female Flowerhorns can produce eggs. They don’t have a stopping point at a specific age like humans and other mammals. Additionally, children born to older females—at least in humans—tend to have more health problems than children born to younger females. 

However, fish behave completely in the opposite way; older female fish will give birth to more, healthier, and faster-growing fry than younger female fish.

What age can males breed?

For a male Flowerhorn to be sexually mature, it might take up to eight months. A Flowerhorn male’s fertility should be evaluated at 10 months of age.

Flowerhorn Breeding Tips

While there are innumerable ways to produce Flowerhorns, only a handful of them are significant. Flowerhorn breeding may be difficult, so here are four tips to help you.

1. Use Parent Flowerhorns of the Highest Quality

You should utilize the best materials you can get your hands on to get the finest effects. Avoid breeding low-quality Flowerhorns and expect to produce high-quality fry.

If you’re just interested in breeding for its sake, you may choose lower-quality breeders. But if you want to produce the best Flowerhorns possible, you must invest in the best breeders.

2. Prepare Flowerhorn Breeders

The hatching rate of Flowerhorns may be considerably increased by using this breeding tip. Give your breeders at least 15 days apart before introducing them. Feed them regularly and in modest amounts throughout this period.

Allow your Flowerhorns to rest for a few days before attempting to breed them again.

3. Have a Breeding Tank that is Big Enough

When Flowerhorns mate, they grow more aggressive. Make sure they have an adequate area to move about. A 50-gallon tank is a good starting point, but it’s not mandatory. Use a 4-foot tank with a capacity of 70 gallons or more.

4. Don’t Give Up

It is rare for a new breeder to succeed in their first attempt. Your hard work will be repaid in no time if all your efforts have been put into it. It’s possible that your breeders just weren’t ready when you were. Just keep going!

Flowerhorn Breeding Summary

As a result of their very social character, Flowerhorn fish are the ideal “pet” fish. Humans have bred these fish; some will even raise their nuchal hump out of the water when handled! Now that you have all the essential knowledge, it’s finally time to begin breeding Flowerhorns. Good luck!

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