Complete Flowerhorn Guide

It all started around 1993 and it hasn’t stop, actually the madness and admiration for this magnificent fish continues to flourish even today. Malaysians have always admired fish with protruding heads (Karoi) The protruding head and long tails of the Flower horns-as we called them today’s days- were prized in Taiwanese society as bringing good luck, prosperity and fortune. To own one of this simply represents good fortune in life.

In and around 1995 several crosses between native fish from South America and other native species in Malaysia produce what they called the God of Fortune. Selective breeding continued through 1998, when the seven color Blue fiery mouth(also known as the Greenish Gold Tiger) was imported from central America was crossbred with the blood parrot from Taiwan. This mix led to the first generation of Hua Luo Han or Flower Horn hybrid, which were then followed by subsequent introductions.

Todays days we have a variety of flowerhorns but the main four breeds of flowerhorn are
  • Zhen Zhu 
  • Golden Monkey(Kamalau)
  • Kamfa
  • Golden base Faders


Good or superior quality Flower Horn the head will start to grow up and swell when it's around 3" inches. Some excellent juves may even grow faster. It is important to mention that todays days there are so many people breeding and mixing the breeds that quality has become a personal choice in my opinion. But in reality good quality is always link to the roots and to the proper breeding of the farmers.

So remembered that the fancy name given to a Flower Horn does not guarantee  the quality of the fish. So with that in mine you need to look to the best sources or breeders that have maintain their reputation and passion for the fish.

One of the best ways to identify quality is through the experience and knowledge acquired through  time and if you are lucky enough to get to be close with the experts and then gain their trust you have a winner ! But prepare yourself to pay a few dollars to say the least for a quality Flower-Horn.


 ZZ means = zenzu (mandarin) = pearls. As you can see the earliest of ZZ do not have any pearls dots on their body, so, how did they come about the name pearls? the pearls on the ZZ are each dark flower line found on the ZZ body which was surrounded by some metallic hue & glow which resemble a black pearl shine.

The eyes are red and they normally bulge out.Color may vary, but the main colors are red and golden tones, and the Red and Blue Dragons are the predominant strains in this category.

The body is egg shape and their fins are long and stranded, and they tend to go upwards and downwards, the tail fin is rounded or stranded, and the older they get the tail and caudal fin will droop.

Flower lines can be single, double and sometimes even triple. Also a flower is common in the side of the head. This flowers are easily seen in a Zhen Zou. The size of the kok varies, depending on the genes of the blood line.

The lower lips of the ZZ is sticking/protruding out and the upper lips is shorter.

Distinguishing features are brilliant colors and pearls.


This strain has white, yellow and even red eyes.

Their bodies are thick and rectangular in shape. Their Caudal and dorsal fin will wrap to form an almost perfect rectangle with the tail fin. The tail fin is usually wide resembling a fan.

Some have flower lines and some don't, most of the original kamfas had very little flowers. Todays days they come in a variety of flower and pearl patterns, but the trait of the shape of the body and fins should remain the same.

Low grade Kamfas will have a pointy face, no wrap fins and the ends are elongated, small tail and small gill plates

Sample Pics of Original Kamfas 

From the kamfa family comes the King Kamfa( a name given to the best that the trait of kamfas have to offer and it was originated in Thailand, the best of the best) Lots of sellers are using the name KK , not necessarily means it is! 

Sample Picture of a King Kamfa.


GM = Golden monkey which is also called...kamalau which is Cantonese dialect meaning: kam= gold and malau=monkey.

Originaly this variety of Lo-Han has a green, pale, metallic, gray, or other relatively pure hue color in the body. Early specimens of this strain almost always had white around the eyes ( rarely red), because this was a very early Lo-Han variety, it is generally known as the Classic Strain. But todays days that is not the case anymore. The eyes are normally red.

They don't have all that brightness of color when young, but has lots of pearls, colors are not dull as most Kamfas, different pearlings that are bigger and thicker than ZZ and not to mention the pearlings on the head do spread.

Body shape tends to be thicker and broader and stocky. Fins are not suppose to droop(poor genes will cause that) and they resemble more Kamfas than ZZ, they also should have a a bigger tail bone. The flowers vary as with the pearls depending on the genes. The face is usually shorter that a ZZ, fatter face and resembles a monkey face.

Basic Environmental Control

Water Temperature

The Flowerhorn fish is able to thrive best in water of tropical temperatures, ranging from 76 to 84degrees Fahrenheit. The optimum temperature would be between 79 and 83 degrees Fahrenheit. It is advised that you maintain the optimum water temperature when keeping a Juvi or premature fry.PH Levels

Flowerhorn fish can survive in water with a neutral pH value of 6-8. Similarly, it is advised that the pH is maintained at 6.5-7.2 when keeping premature fish. Changing the water of the tank regularly once a week is a good way to maintain pH stabitlity. If you are unwilling to change the water so often, you can also mix some crushed coral with the gravel. This will help to prevent any drastic fluctuations in pH levels, which will be detrimental to the fish. If you have the right apparatus, it would also help to check the pH of the water regularly.

Change of Water

Overly clear or clean water is also not necessarily the best for the fish, as it is of course difficult to maintain, and more importantly clear water from the tab is treated with chlorine and other minerals which are not too good for the fish. It is therefore advised that when changing the water, it is better not to change all the water, a 30% water change is sufficient. Changing all the water at once will also cause too drastic a change in the fish's environment, giving stress to the fish to adapt to a new environment all over again. It would also be difficult as changing all the water in the tank would involve getting the Flowerhorn out of water, and being the aggressive and active fish that it is, it would be difficult to simply hold it on a small net for a while. It would probably jump out, or even attack you.

Cleaning and Filtration Systems

It is essential to have an efficient filtration system when keeping any fish in a fish tank, or the fish's waste or the fish food will contaminate the water, causing it to be very murky and dirty. The filter should be cleaned regularly. Some people keep sucker fish in the tank together with the other fish because the sucker fish is known to be able to feed on the fish's waste and algae, serving as a good cleaning agent. This is not applicable however when keeping a territorial and aggressive Flowerhorn Fish, as both fish will probably end up dead.The Flowerhorn will probably choke with the spines of the sucker fish. It is therefore inevitable that you have to spend time brushing and cleaning the tank frequently if you wish to keep a Flowerhorn. Filtration systems are in no way functional as a substitute for water changing, as too much waste will eventually clog up the filters, and not all waste particles can actually be filtered. They are also unable to filter up the waste and algae that sticks to the sides of the tank, so it is very important that the water is changed and the sides of the tank are cleaned and brushed regularly.

Oxygen Pumps and Water Flow

Oxygen pumps are also essential to the well-being of any fish kept in a tank, as this will replenish the dissolved oxygen in the water. The pumping of air into the water will also cause mild currents and keep the water flowing, preventing uneven distribution of water temperature oxygen concentration. Water must also be flowing in order for the filtration systems to work.

Salt and its Benefits

Salt is good as a stabilizer of sorts. It helps maintain water conditions and keep the fish healthy by acting as a disinfectant and killing some parasites in the water. Also, although the Flowerhorn is a freshwater fish, even freshwater ponds and rivers have a certain concentration of salt, thus adding a little bit of salt in the water also helps to make the fish feel "at home". A "little bit" would mean one or two teaspoons, too much salt will also kill the fish!Background Pictures or Fake 

Plants in the Water

This will also help to make the Flowerhorn feel that the environment in the tank is more similar to its natural habitat. Contrary to belief, fake rather than real plants are better for the fish because real plants are hard to maintain without extreme care, and should the plants end up dying, they will contaminate the water. Some people think that plants will actually help to convert carbon dioxide in the water to oxygen. Although the plants may seem helpful in this sense, you need a lot of plants to produce enough oxygen to replace an air pump, and as mentioned above, air pumps are more useful in creating mild water currents. Fake plants and background pictures will also help to decorate the tank and complement the appearance of the fish.


How often the fish should be fed 

The Flowerhorn fish has a voracious appetite. There are no so called "optimum" times when it should be fed, but it is advisable to feed the fish in small amounts spread over a period of time every day.
Live Feed

The Flowerhorn is more carnivorous in nature and prefers meat or live feed. This includes small fish and shrimps. Blood worms and mealworms are exceptionally popular feed sold in Singaporean aquarium shops. Some of these insects are even enhanced with chemicals like colour enhancers to increase their size and nutritional value. Some of them are said to be able to brighten the colours of the fish, increase the size of its nuchal hump etc. It can feed on either fish feed or live feed.
Processed Fish Food

Processed pellet feed that is high in protein is recommended to be used together with other live feed, as they also contain colour enhances and other chemicals that are meant to be perfect for tank fish. It is not advisable to replace live feed with such foods however, as overdose of the different chemicals in the food will be harmful to the fish. A balance between natural live feed and fish food should be maintained.

Other Tips and Techniques

Keeping Multiple Fish

The Flowerhorn fish is aggressive and territorial in nature, and it is not advisable to keep another fish with it. If you wish to keep two fish in the same tank however, it is a must to partition the tank to prevent the fish from fighting or killing each other. This technique is useful should you intend to breed some baby Flowerhorn. Keeping a male and female Flowerhorn in the same tank separated only by a transparent plastic partition will allow the two fish to be more accustomed with each other, before removing the partition for more intimate contact.

Flowerhorns show their best colours when agitated. When the Flowerhorn sees its reflection in a mirror, it will also be agitated and look its best. Putting mirrors and colourful images in the tank is actually a technique used by competition breeders so that they get the best quality from their fish and increase their chances of winning a competition.

source : mannysflowerhorns