The breeding of Flowerhorns is a rather easy task. There are, though, a few preparations that need to be made prior to breeding. One of the most important things you can do is prepare ar new bare bottom tank to store the tiny fries once they are ready to leave the parents’ nest. Do not install any filter mechanisms as the small fries will get sucked into the filtration system. An air stone is particularly sufficient for aeration purposes.
Selection of the breeding pairs is crucial prior to breeding. Desired phenotypic outcomes depend solely on the parents. Most of the time, it is almost possible to predict the external characteristics of the offspring produced by a pair of Flowerhorns. Thus, breeding Flowerhorn has an exciting aspect, as you would know the outcome of the selective breeding. Flowerhorns breed year round. No external stimuli are needed for breeding purposes, but you must place the breeding pair in a clean, big tank. An aquarium heater regulated to 28?C can be placed in the aquarium, but it is not compulsory. The use of a mechanical filtration system is sufficient to remove any feces and debris in order to keep the water quality in check as breeding pairs do not consume much food during this period.
The breeding pair need to be well fed at a fixed regime until they are ready to spawn. A balanced diet is crucial to produce fish well laden with eggs and milt. Broodstock can be fed with various types of food including live and pellet feeds.
If you intend to breed your Flowerhorn, you will need a few pairs of fish. Some pairs might not be suitable for each other. Normally, a mating pair is put in the same aquarium with a partition in the middle to separate the two. The female will usually develop black stripes all over its body when it is time to mate, and appetite loss is quite common. Observations also show that the female’s genital papilla will start to swell. It is advisable to cover the sides of your tank with newspapers or any other materials. This provides adequate privacy for the mating pair as they are easily frightened or disturbed during the mating period. When they are ready, females will secrete pheromones, and this signals the males to start spawning. Initially, this pair will show aggression toward each other through the partition. When the pair has stopped showing this behavior, the partition can be removed. Once you remove the partition, if they still seem to be ‘fighting’, observe further. If one fish is standing its ground instead of running to another corner, it means that they are actually courting each other instead of attacking. If the pair continues fighting until one of them is visibly injured, it means that this pair is not ready or not compatible for the moment. Separate them and try again after a few days.
If they are indeed a mating pair, the male fish will start to search for a breeding spot. In a tank with pebbles and gravels, the male fish will start clearing a chosen spot by removing all the pebbles. However, in a bare tank, none of this activity will take place. If you are using a bare tank, you should place a floor tile in the tank, because Flowerhorns will prefer a rough surface for spawning. Female Flowerhorns normally lay eggs close to the air stone, or where there’s a good flow of water, as this can help aerate the eggs. Moreover, because the water circulates in this area, a fungal attack on the eggs is prevented. Female fish will deposit rows of eggs, then the male will follow behind, fertilizing the eggs with its milt. This will continue until the female has deposited all of its eggs. No disturbances are allowed during the spawning moment as this will result in the parent eating the eggs as a natural protective measure.
A female Flowerhorn is able to produce approximately 500-2000 eggs at a time. The parents will usually take turns fanning the eggs with their fins to rid of unwanted debris or to prevent any fungal attack. It is advisable to add methylene blue (Hyperlink) or any anti-fungal treatment at a1mg/l gallon ratio to prevent a possible fungus attack.
The eggs will take a few days to hatch. When this happens, remove the parents. Once the parents are removed, be sure to practice proper fry management.