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FLOWER HORN CICHLID

KAMFA

THE FLOWERHORN CICHLID IS A HYBRID THAT CAME OUT OF MALAYSIA IN THE MID 1990'S AND BY THE LATE 1990'S, FROM TAIWAN ALSO.  THE NAME COMES FROM THE "FLOWERS" (THE DARK SPOTS THAT RUN ALONG THE LATTERAL LINE) AND THE "HORN" (THE NUCHAL HUMP ON THE TOP OF THE ADULT HEADS).  MALAYSIANS OFTEN CALL THEM "WARSHIPS".

 THE FIRST FLOWERHORNS WERE CROSSES BETWEEN TRIMACULATUS AND OTHER SOUTH AND CENTRAL AMERICAN CICHLIDS.  THUS MANY SPECIMENS HAVE A CLOSE RESEMBLANCE TO THE "TRIMAC".   LATTER, JUST ABOUT ANY CICHLIDS WERE CROSSED TOGETHER AND CALLED FLOWERHORNS, EVEN IF THEY DID NOT HAVE ANY "FLOWERS" ON THE BODY AT ALL.

CROSSES BETWEEN KING KONG PURPLE PARROTS AND TEXAS BLUE CICHLIDS PRODUCED SOME VERY DEEP RED, HIGH BODIED FISH THAT ARE HIGHLY COVETED BY COLLECTORS.  THESE CROSSES DO NOT APPEAR TO HAVE ANY "TRIMAC" TRAITS AND TEND TO BE SMALLER IN SIZE AS ADULTS. 

THE HUMP ON THE FISHES HEADS IS A STORE OF FAT.  IF YOU GO ON VACATION WITHOUT AN AUTOMATIC FEEDER, DO NOT BE SURPRISED TO FIND THAT THE HUMP HAS GREATLY DIMINISHED UPON YOUR RETURN.  DO NOT WORRY, JUST LIKE A CAMEL IN THE DESERT, THE HUMP WILL RETURN WITH REGULAR, HEAVY FEEDINGS. 

MANY PEOPLE HAVE SEEN THAT THE PRICES OF SOME FLOWERHORNS ARE OVER $10,000 AND WONDER IF THEY JUST COULD NOT CROSS A RED DEVIL WITH A TRIMAC AND MAKE THEIR OWN FLOWERHORN.  INDEED, EVERYONE WHO HAS KEPT CENTRAL AMERICAN CICHLIDS FOR MORE THAN A YEAR HAS HAD A TEXAS BLUE AND RED DEVIL CROSS.  THE TRUTH IS THAT MOST CROSSBREEDS LOOK LESS ATTRACTIVE THAN EITHER OF THE PARENTS AND THUS HAVE NO VALUE.  (THINK OF IT THIS WAY:  YOU COULD CROSS A $2000 PITBULL WITH A $1500 ROTTWEILER AND THE PUPPIES WOULD BE WORTH EXACTLY $0.  YOU WOULD HAVE TO SELECTIVELY BREED FOR SOME TRAIT THAT WOULD BE VALUABLE TO SOMEONE IN THE MARKET IN ORDER TO MAKE ANY MONEY ).

WHAT MANY AQUARISTS DO NOT REALIZE IS THAT EVEN THOSE $2000 FLOWERHORNS ARE ONE IN A THOUSAND.  JUST LIKE KOI, FLOWERHORNS ARE HAND SELECTED AT EACH STAGE OF LIFE.  THE BEST 10% OF THE 1 INCH SPECIMENS ARE PUT ASIDE.  LATER WHEN THEY GROW TO 2 INCHES,  THE BEST OF THOSE ARE PUT ASIDE.  LATER STILL, WHEN THEY ARE 3 INCHES, THE TOP 10% ARE SELECTED AND BROUGHT TO MARKET.  SOME OF THESE SELECT FISH ARE KEPT TO BE MATED BACK TO ONE OF THE PARENTS IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE LESS GENETIC DIVERSITY.   EVEN IF YOU BREED TWO $10,000 FLOWERHORNS TOGETHER,  YOU WILL ONLY GET A FEW THAT GROW UP TO BE THE EQUAL OF THE PARENTS.  

WHEN PURCHASING FLOWERHORNS, BE AWARE THAT SPECIMENS SMALLER THAN 3 INCHES DISPLAYING ADULT COLORS ARE INJECTED WITH HORMONES AND WILL FADE.   SMALL (LESS THAN 3" SPECIMENS) ARE DIFFICULT TO PREDICT WHAT THEY WILL LOOK LIKE AS ADULTS.  MOST TRIMAC LOOKING FLOWERHORNS GROW TO 13-15 INCHES IN LENGTH, WHILE THE PARROT LOOKING ONES TEND TO TOP OUT AT 6-7 INCHES.  THE TRIMAC RELATED FLOWERHORNS ARE VERY TERRITORIAL AND NEED TO BE KEPT BY THEMSELVES OR IN VERY CROWDED AQUARIUMS.

THERE IS CONTROVERSY AMONG SOME HOBBYISTS ABOUT SHOULD THE FLOWERHORN BE COLLECTED OR EVEN CONSIDERED A LEGITIMATE CICHLID.   WHILE IT CERTAINLY IS A "MUTT", IT FALLS INTO THE SAME CATEGORY AS THE FANCY GOLDFISH, DOGS OR HYBRID CORN.  MAN TOOK A COMMON CREATURE AND SELECTIVELY BRED IT INTO SOMETHING MUCH DIFFERENT THAN ITS WILD COUSINS.  LIKE IT OR NOT, THE FLOWERHORN HAS BECOME A STRONG (AND STILL GROWING) SEGMENT OF OUR HOBBY. 

 

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