History of the Flower Horn
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Flower Horn Fish or Hua Luo Han which is popularly known has taken the aquatic world (particularly in the South East Asian region) by storm within the last two years. Its popularity is gaining momentum day by day, and it is set to be an internationally known fish with the likes of the discus fish and arowana.
Luo Han fish is basically from the Cichlid family, which is classified under the genus of Cichlasoma, a specie commonly found in South America. This beautiful hybrid is thought to be the end product of cross breeding between the Cichlasoma Trimaculatus, Cichlasoma Festae, Jingang Blood Parrot, and etc.. To date, a lot of better quality Luo Han have been produced resulting from the intensified eagerness of breeders to produce the best show quality fish for the market.
As was stated in some reports, the Flower Horn Fish is also known as a "mutated" breed of fish. Rest assured that this is just a claim. We would like to stress that the Flower Horn Fish has gone through a lot of selective cross breeding in order to have the best characteristics of the respective strains of the Cichlid fish family. For instance, most breeders are striving to produce Flower Horn fishes with bigger nuchal hump on the forehead, better coloration, bolder black markings on the body (which at times resemble Chinese characters), more elegant fins, and wider body. No chemicals, or bio-genetic engineering have been incorporated to improve on the traits / characteristics of the Flower Horn. Thus, the claim that this is a mutated fish is unfounded.
In addition, this fish is very hardy, and can endure water conditions that are not suitable for most breeds of aquarium fish. This is also one of the many reasons why the Flower Horn is well received by many tropical fish hobbyists. As the Flower Horn is from the South American Cichlid family, this fish is very territorial. Thus, they are very aggressive in nature. Co-existing with another fish is not advisable, (especially smaller fish). Some parties have claimed that we can "play" with the Flower Horn. In actual fact, the Flower Horn is actually trying to get rid of the "intruder" (be it a stick or a person's hand). Therefore, it is advisable that we keep our hands to ourselves as the fish has quite a nasty bite depending on the size of the fish.Feng Shui of the Flower Horn
The Flower Horn or Hua Luo Han has been touted as the feng shui fish for the coming period of 8 (beginning in 2004), just as the arowana had been dubbed the feng shui fish for the present period of 7 (which began in 1984). It is said to bring its owner lots of prosperity luck and good fortune in everything ranging from wealth and fame to love and happiness.
Developed through selective crossbreeding in 1996, the popularity of the Flower Horn has been gaining momentum by the day. The origins of this hybrid fish can be traced from the Cichlid family, which is classified under the genus of Cichlasoma. The Kua or trigram for the period of 8 is Ken, which among other things, symbolizes the mountain and the earth element. The Flower Horn's most important distinguishing feature – its nuchal hump, which protrudes from its forehead– is said to simulate the mountain. This fleshy hump combined with its muscular bulk contributes to its overall squarish profile, which solidly reflects the earth element.
The current feng shui cycle is the Period of 7, which is governed by the Kua or trigram of Tui symbolizing Metal. The graceful arowana, with its body shaped like the blade of a sword and its pearly sheen, attests to the metallic attributes of the trigram.
Another distinctive trait of the Flower Horn would be its black coloured side markings, which develop as the fish matures. These side markings are said to resemble lucky numbers or Chinese calligraphy or even Arabic wordings. Well-developed adult fish with exceptional markings could well sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some Flower Horn have reddish pink side markings that are heart-shaped; these are said to bring excellent luck in love.
Currently the most popular fish among fish hobbyists and aquarium specialists, the Flower Horn or Hua Luo Han should be displayed prominently in public areas of your home or office to invite prosperity and good luck into your lives. Breeding Flower Horn
Breeding Flowerhorn cichlids are easy but it can be hard to get the offspring you want as this requires selective line breeding. You have to carefully choose the parents you want to breed from if you are looking to get a specific type of Flowerhorn fish as the outcome of the planned spawning.
To breed your Flowerhorn cichlids after choosing the parents you want to use you can proceed in the same way you would with many other large South and Central American cichlids. Which is quite natural since Flowerhorn fish is a result of selective cross breeding of different South and Central American cichlids.
It is best to keep your Flowerhorn cichlids in a large aquarium to breed them and to decorate the aquarium so that there are hiding places for the female and so the male doesn't always have a clear line of site to everything happening in the aquarium. Flowerhorn cichlids can be very aggressive towards their partner and a well decorated aquarium is not always enough to protect your female from the male's advances and aggression. Keep and close eye on the couple and if you se that the male is to aggressive you should remove the female from the aquarium . You will in that case have to attempt Flowerhorn breeding using a separator so that the male can't get to the female and hurt her. Leave a small gap between the bottom of the aquarium and the divider. The gap should be too small for any of the fish to fit through. The only decorations in the breeding aquarium should be a flat stone placed with the female next to the divider. This is done to force the female to deposit her eggs on the stone where the male still can fertilize them thanks to the gap between the bottom and the divider. The filtration in the aquarium should when attempting Flowerhorn breeding be arranged in such a way that the water flows from the males side to the females side as this facilitates fertilization. Flowerhorn breeding can be achieve in most water conditions but a neutral pH level and a temperature around 28°C / 82°F is optimal.
You will have to condition your Flowerhorn cichlids prior to breeding. This is relatively easy achieved since Flowerhorn cichlids accept most kinds of food and a diet consisting of pellets and some shrimps and other food for variation will do well. Feed them several times a day and do regular water changes as the large amount of food will but a large stress on the water.
The spawning is preceded by the usual cichlid courting behaviour the eggs are than deposited on an flat rock or other flat surface. Flowerhorn cichlids are usually very good parents once you gotten you Flowerhorn fish to breed. They guard their egg and fry fiercely. The fry is relatively large and will accept newly hatched brine shrimp once they are born. After a week or two you can start to feed the fry crushed flake food and pellets.
The potential problems that can surround Flowerhorn breeding is not over just because the fish spawned and the eggs have hatched. You will still have to keep a close eye on the fish since the male sometimes becomes aggressive towards the female and guards the fry from the female. The female must in such situations be removed or she will most likely be killed. Basic Flower Horn Keeping
The Flower horn is a sturdy fish that is not hard to care for. Providing your Flower horn with a suitable environment is not difficult. You need to give your Flower horn cichlid an aquarium that is large enough, suitable aquarium decorations, neutral or slightly basic water, a water temperature around 28º C and nutritious food.
The aquarium has to be quite large, since the Flower horn can grow big. A larger aquarium will also reduce the amount of aggressive behavior. You can keep your Flower horn alone in the aquarium, but it is not obligatory as long as the aquarium is large enough to house other species of roughly the same size and temperament. Large cichlids from South America that will not tolerate being bullied by the Flower horn is one example of suitable tank mates. Since the Flower horn is a territorial species you should fill the aquarium with decorations that create natural borders. If the fish can keep out of each others way and stay inside their own territory, the amount of aggressive behavior will decrease. Keep in mind that some Flower horns like to destroy plants.
As mentioned above your Flower horn will appreciate neutral or slightly basic water conditions. It is however a though fish and will survive in a wide range of different water conditions as long as you avoid the extremes. A Flower horn will produce a lot of organic waste since it eats a lot. You must therefore perform frequent water changes to keep the water chemistry at suitable levels and prevent the organic compounds from reaching toxic levels that will harm the Flower horn. A 20 percent water change twice a week is the best solution, but once a week is usually okay if you change 25 percent. If you notice that certain food types cause the levels of organic waste to sky rocket in your aquarium, you can naturally avoid these.
It is not hard to introduce a Flower horn to new food. If you have kept other South American cichlids you will recognize the feeding habits and adaptability. The Flower horn is an energetic and active fish and its metabolism requires plenty of food which makes this fish surprisingly hard to over feed. Feeding your Flower horn two or three times a day is a good rule of thumb. High quality pellets can be a good base and should be supplemented with more meaty foods such as shrimps and worms. With a varied diet it will be easier for your Flower horn to receive all necessary nutrients in order to stay healthy and good looking.