Managing Your Flowerhorn Aquarium
Proper fish tank management and beautiful Flowerhorn fish complements each other perfectly. Therefore, it is crucial for all hobbyists to have proper knowledge of good fish tank management. It is indeed more important to practice a good tank management than to purchase the suitable type of fish for your tank.
Setting Up Your Flower Horn Fish Tank.
As 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, 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. Always assume that Flowerhorns will grow to be about 500 mm in length. Therefore, it is advisable to get at least a 3 feet tank to start comfortably. Acrylic aquariums are recommended as these tanks are leak proof, light weight and the wall materials provide exceptional clarity. Always have a tank top or tank cover to prevent your fish from jumping out. This is one common mistake of many hobbyists that lead to their fish “committing suicide”.
Various attractive background designs for aquariums are available easily. Choose one that will fit the natural environment of the fish. Pebbles, stones and gravels is a must in your flower horn tank because it be used as substrate for biological filtration. The fish is also a naturally active “digger” and this creates an environment closer to its original habitat.
One advice is to prevent pebbles that have sharp edges. These types of pebbles usually inflict cuts on the mouth of your fishes and if not treated, it will be infected. Many flowerhorn fishes are prone to mouth infection because of minor cuts sustained when they constantly dig at the pebbles.
Other unnatural tank ornaments are discouraged as these do not serve any purpose at all in the tank. Furthermore, these objects may even be hazardous, which might cause accidental cuts and injuries on your Flowerhorns as these fish possess fierce territorial behaviors and is always actively swimming.
Suggestions : Aquarium stand, tank divider, Multi-filter (10-40 gallon tanks) , tank top
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. With proper water quality management, your tank should not go green with algae with that minute amount of sunlight. If this is not possible, getting a full spectrum light is therefore advisable. An exposure of your Flowerhorn to 4-8 hours of light per day from a full spectrum light source is sufficient to maintain the color development of your Flowerhorn.
Optiomum Water Quality For Flowerhorns
Flowerhorns are ‘hardy’, which means this fish are highly adaptable to different water conditions, including bad water conditions. However, it is often being mistaken that it is all right to keep your Flowerhorn in bad water condition since they are termed as a ‘hardy’ fish. Hobbyists also often mistook the fact that one can feed the Flowerhorn any possible food and not have to worry about water quality. These are indeed the few general misconceptions among Flowerhorn hobbyists. Adequate feedings and frequent water changes promote better growth and this as a result would even change the whole body morphology of the fish.
pH Level and Hardness
Water pH levels indicate the acidity and alkalinity of the water. As for the ‘hardness’ of the water indicates the amount of dissolved minerals in the water.
There is an inter relation between these two water parameters. The water is considered ‘hard’ when there is a high content of dissolved minerals in it e.g. 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 then neutral, hence more acidic.
The Flowerhorn is hybridized from large South American cichlids. These large cichlids are from lakes in South America, where the water parameters are soft and slightly acidic. Therefor, the optimum water parameter for the flowerhorn should be close to the waters of its origin. pH of about 6 -7 should be best for your flowerhorn. If the water in your location is too hard, just add peat or peat solution into the water to soften it.
Suggestions: pH Test Kit, pH Up, pH Down, Multi-Function Test Kit
Flowerhorns are tropical fish. It can survive in water with various temperature ranges. They grow well in water temperature of 28°C. During transportation of Flowerhorns, water temperature is usually maintained at about 22°C. Temperature is raised to about 30°C when the fish is sick but this doesn’t mean that all illnesses are curable this way. A simple thermometer may be purchased to monitor water temperature changes in your tank.
Suggestions : Aquarium Heater, Thermometer
Tap water is commonly used by hobbyists. High chlorine toxicity may lead to fatalities. Chlorine will harm the fishes’ slime coat and therefore it will subject the fish to infection. Always dechlorinate water before it is added into the tank. If you see your fish darting around, gasping for air and shows listlessnes after a water change, always suspect its chlorine poisoning. Test the water and if chlorine is present, neutrlize it immediately. After that, add a little bit of stress coat or if it is a severe poisoning (fin rot or/and cloudy eyes) quarantine the fish and add some anti-septic to prevent infection.
Suggestions : Anti-Chlorine, Stress Coat Solution
A good filtration system is extremely important in an artificial aquatic environment. Reasons being, Flowerhorns feed on huge amount of food and secretes large amount waste that turns into 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 various factors.
Mechanical filters work mainly to sieve out wastes but 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 (refer to the Ammonia and Nitrogen Cycle). The best that we have found is to have a good cannister filter with the proper mix of filter materials such as activated carbon, ammonia-removing resins, bio-balls, and fiter wool.
Always add activated carbon resins as part of the filter material to control ammonia, nitrate or nitrite poisoning. It can also help to absorb chlorine if chlorine is present.
Suggestions : Multi-filter (10-40 gallon tanks), activated carbon, ammonia-removing resins , cannister filter