Managing Your Flowerhorn Aquarium

If you’re thinking about purchasing a beautiful Flowerhorn fish, you’re not alone. The beautiful Flowerhorn fish is one of the more popular additions to your aquarium. However, if you have chosen a Flowerhorn, proper tank management is essential. It is, indeed, more important to practice a good tank management than it is to purchase the suitable type of fish for your tank.

Proper fish tank management and beautiful Flowerhorn fish complement each other perfectly. It is, therefore, crucial for all hobbyists to have proper knowledge of good fish tank management. While it is not as simple as dumping clean water in every few weeks, it isn’t as terribly complicated as you may imagine.

The Tank
As the Flowerhorn’s ancestry originated from the Central and South American cichlids, it is essential to set up your tank to a closely simulated natural habitat for the fish, which at the same time, is incredibly pleasing to the eye.

Various sizes and designs of fish tanks are available at your local fish store. Choose one that will complement your house, and always assume that your Flowerhorns will grow to be about 500 mm in length. It is advisable to get at least a 3 feet tank to start comfortably. Acrylic aquariums are recommended as these tanks are leak proof, lightweight and the wall materials provide exceptional clarity. The SeaClear 26 gallon flat back hexagonal tank is one good example of an acrylic tank that is great for keeping Flowerhorns.

Tank Accessories
Once you’ve gotten the tank, you may want to think about backgrounds. Various attractive background designs for aquariums are easily available. Choose one that will fit the natural environment of the fish. Added pebbles, stones and gravels is a good idea as well. They can be used as substrate for biological filtration as well as a tool to help smooth and polish the teeth of Flowerhorns as they dig, shove and carry these pebbles. Keep in mind that in captivity, the teeth of the Flowerhorn tends to be quite sharp, and if you can help to take the edges off a bit with pebbles or gravel, less damage will be caused during mating or fighting sessions. Once you’ve added that gravel, expect to see it migrate around the tank a bit. Flowerhorns tend to build their ‘nest’ by moving the pebbles and stones from one place to another. This behavior normally indicates that the fish has matured, and it is ready for mating purposes.

Even though you may think that sunken pirate ship looks neat, other unnatural tank ornaments are discouraged. These do not serve any purpose at all in the tank, and they may even be hazardous because they can cause accidental cuts and injuries on your Flowerhorns. These fish possess fierce territorial behaviors, and fights among fishes are common. Keeping objects like these in the tank only causes problems during fights.

Suitable aquarium lighting will enhance the coloration and the overall physical development of your Flowerhorn. It is recommended that you place your tank where is it able to get at least an hour of indirect sunlight a day. While you may worry that algae will infest your tank because of the sunlight, with proper water quality management, your tank should not go green with algae with that minute amount of sunlight. If sunlight isn’t possible in your living space, getting a full spectrum light is advisable. Be sure to leave it on for four to eight hours a day to maintain the color development of your Flowerhorn.

Water quality
Flowerhorns are ‘hardy’, which means these fish are highly adaptable to different water conditions, including bad water ones. However, just because they’re ‘hardy’ fish doesn’t mean that you should keep poor water conditions in your tank. Adequate feedings and frequent water changes promote better growth, and, as a result, can even change the whole body morphology of the fish.

Water pH level and Mineral Content
Water pH levels indicate the acidity and alkalinity of the water. Dissolved minerals in the water are often termed the “hardness” of the water. These two water parameters are interrelated. The water is considered ‘hard’ when there is a high content of dissolved minerals in it (like calcium), and normally the pH of ‘hard’ water is above 7, which is more alkaline. When there’s a lack of dissolved minerals in the water, it is considered ‘soft,’ and thus the pH will be lower than neutral making it acidic.

Local breeders have indicated that higher pH levels (7.5 to 7.8) will favor the growth of the nuchal hump, and lower pH levels (6.1 to 6.5) will favor color development in Flowerhorn fish. Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Proper pH powder is widely used to maintain water quality. As a bonus, with its aloe vera and electrolytes contents, it also works to eliminate chlorine and heavy metals from the water while reducing fish stress. Depending on which traits you desire in your Flowerhorn, it is possible to adjust your water pH level accordingly.

Flowerhorns are tropical fish. They can survive in water with various temperature ranges, but they grow well in water temperature of 28C. During transportation, the water temperature is usually maintained at about 22C, and the temperature is raised to about 30C when the fish is sick. This, though, doesn’t mean that all illnesses are curable this way. Check out the “Common Illnesses” section for more information. A simple thermometer may be purchased to monitor water temperature changes in your tank.

Tap water is commonly used by hobbyist, but most tap water contains high levels of chlorine, which poses a danger to your Flowerhorn. High chlorine toxicity may lead to fatalities. Dechlorination of tap water is crucial prior to usage. Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Tap Water Conditioner instantly removes and detoxifies heavy metals from tap water. Add one teaspoon to your water to treat up to ten gallons.

Filtration systems
In an artificial aquatic environment, a good filtration system is extremely important. Flowerhorns feed on huge amounts of food, and as a by product, they secrete large amounts of ammonia. A good filtration system eliminates solid wastes from the fish, leftover food, ammonia and even dusts from the atmosphere. There are various types of filters available in the market. The efficiency of these filters depends on usage, stocking density and other factors.

Mechanical filters work mainly to sieve out wastes, but they do not break it down. It makes the water clear, but this doesn’t mean it is ‘clean,’ as the ammonia produced by fish is still in the tank. The misconception of ‘clear water’ being ‘clean water’ often contributes to a lot of fish deaths. A mechanical filter normally uses filter wools and filter sponges as sieve materials. Mechanical filters work best coupled with biological filters.

Biological filters are more efficient as they provide bio-media surfaces for beneficial bacteria to grow on. Bacteria colonize these surfaces and ‘work’ on the ammonia waste left by fish to break it down into fish friendly water components. You can read more about this in the “Ammonia and Nitrogen Cycle” article.

Flowerhorn fish are quite beautiful, and they’ll make a lovely addition to your home aquarium display, but ensuring successful aquarium management is essential to keep your fish healthy and happy.

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