วันอังคารที่ 23 ตุลาคม พ.ศ. 2555

Fish Data : Flower Horn Cichlid



Common name:

Flower Horn Fish , Hua Luo Han


The history of the Flowerhorn cichlid

    The Flowerhorn chichlid is a result of hybridisation between different South American chichlids. The Flowerhorn was developed in Malaysia during the second half of the 1990s, and exactly which South American cichlids that was used and in which combinations is still a secret. This secrecy has of caused a lot of speculation and a number of more or less reasonable theories have been put forth. One of the more far-fetched theories suggests that the Flowerhorn cichlid was artificially created in a Malaysian genetics laboratory by combining genes from a Goldfish with genes from the Trimac cichlid (Amhilophous Trimaculatus). A more reasonable suggestion is that the Flowerhorn cichlid is the result of crossing many different types of South American cichlids with each other, and that different forms of Flowerhorn cichlids can steam from different South American cichlids. The most plausible ancestry is crossings between the Trimac cichlid and other South American cichlids such as Midas cichlid (Amphilophus citrinellum), Red Devil cichlid (Amphilophus labiatum) and Redheaded cichlid (Vieja synspila).

     The look of the Flowerhorn cichlids available in fish stores today is however not just the result of selective breeding. You can affect the appearance of a Flowerhorn cichlid by adjusting environmental factors such as the water chemistry in the aquarium. The food you feed your Flowerhorn cichlid can also change its look. The single most important factor behind the look of the fish is however the genetic makeup formed by selective breeding.

     The Flowerhorn has been criticised as an unnatural and dangerous hybrid, produced by money-hungry breeders just to make money. Others have been impressed by the hard work that is evidently behind the creation of the Flowerhorn Cichlid. A lot of the South American cichlids mentioned above will occasionally interbreed in the wild as well, but there is no doubt that the Flowerhorn cichlid has been deliberately produced by breeders. The Flowerhorn cichlids are not the result of random cross breeding. Some people view the Flowerhorn as a purely man-made creation while others compare the hybrid to all the other animal variants that have been refined by humans during centuries of selective breeding.

Careing :

     The Flowerhorn cichlid is considered quite easy to take care of and do not require a lot of pampering from its keeper. The first thing you need to do is of course to set up an aquarium suitable for a Flowerhorn cichlid. Your Flowerhorn will require a large aquarium to do well, since this fish grows quite big and have an aggressive temperament. If you use plants to decorate the aquarium, they might be destroyed by the Flowerhorn cichlid, and plants are not necessary in an aquarium set up for a Flowerhorn cichlid. You should however decorate the aquarium in a way that creates natural territorial borders, since the Flowerhorn cichlid is a territorial and aggressive fish. You can of course keep the Flowerhorn cichlid alone, but if you want to have more than one fish in the aquarium other big aggressive cichlids from South America is the best choice. The Flowerhorn cichlid is a tough fish and can tolerate most water conditions, but it will do best in an aquarium where the pH is neutral or slightly basic. A water temperature around 28º C is recommended.

     The Flowerhorn cichlid is a happy eater and you will not have a hard time trying to make it accept food. Its metabolism and feeding habits are similar to that of the other South American cichlids, and your Flowerhorn cichlid will need a lot of energy and nutrients to stay healthy and develop in a good way. It is actually quite hard to over-feed a Flowerhorn cichlid. Your Flowerhorn cichlid will accept most types of food, and pellets are a good base. This base should be supplemented with plenty of worms, crabs, shrimp, or similar types of meaty foods. Feeding two or tree times a day is optimal.

Since the Flowerhorn cichlid eats a lot, it will also produce a lot of waste products which pollutes the water. Frequent water changes must therefore be performed. Changing 20 percent of the water twice a week is a good rule of thumb. If you can only make one change a week, you should change around 25 percent of the water. You can lower the risk of poor water quality by avoiding food types known to pollute the water a lot.


Distribution:    Since they are a hybrid, the Flowerhorn Cichlid is domestic and only found in aquariums. This hybrid was created in the mid 1900's in Malaysia by cross breeding different species of fish, primarily South American cichlids. It is up to speculation which species actually produced these fish. The combination and different lines is a well kept secret only known by the breeders who developed these fish. It is widely accepted that the Flowerhorn Cichlid is a product of several South American cichlids such as the the Three Spot Cichlid Cichlasoma Trimaculatus, Red Terror Cichlasoma Festae, Midas Cichlid Amphilophus citrinellum, Red Devil Amphilophus labiatum, Redheaded Cichlid Vieja synspila, and even the hybrid Jingang Blood Parrot.

Status:    There are no wild populations of this species.

Description:    The Flowerhorn Cichlid has a very thick oval body with a nuchal hump on the head. Its scales can range from a bluish green metallic overall, to pinks and reds in the front half of the body. There is a black horizontal marking on most strains, though some lack this feature. The dorsal and anal fins are particularly long and pointed. The caudal fin is rounded. They can live for 8-10 years.

   There are some breeders who are trying to get better colors, bolder black markings, and a larger nuchal hump on their forehead. Obtaining a juvenile for a particular look is risky as they haven't yet developed their adult coloration. If you are looking for a specific pattern make sure you buy an adult, or buy several juveniles and hope one looks like what you want as an adult. But even obtaining just one juvenile, you can still end up with a beautiful fish. For choosing an adult, flowerhornxport.com has come up with 7 points to look for, what they call the "Flower Horn Fish Standards". These include: body shape, coloration, pearl scales, black horizontal markings, a good nuchal hump, alert distinct eyes, and erect tail and fins.


   All cichlids share a common feature that some saltwater fish such as wrasses and parrotfish have and that is a well-developed pharyngeal set of teeth that are in the throat, along with their regular teeth. Cichlids have spiny rays in the back parts of the anal, dorsal, pectoral, and pelvic fins to help discourage predators. The front part of these fins are soft and perfect for precise positions and effortless movements in the water as opposed to fast swimming.


    Cichlids have one nostril on each side while other fish have 2 sets. To sense "smells" in the water, they suck water in and expel the water right back out after being "sampled" for a short or longer time, depending on how much the cichlid needs to "smell" the water. This feature is shared by saltwater damselfish and cichlids are thought to be closely related.




Size - Weight:   The Flowerhorn Cichlid will grow to a length of 12-16" (31 - 41 cm), depending on its ancestral breeding.
Aquarium set-up information :
    Due the big size they can reach, Flowerhorn need big aquarium with a lot of free space for swimming; a 200 litres tank is the minimum you can offer to an adult fish to let it live healthily. It is a really strong fish and can live in different water conditions without having problems, anyway it is important to provide a temperature between 25°C and 30°C; pH value is also important, because acid water can tone down fish colours and make it sick, the ideal condition is a light alkaline water, with a pH between 7 and 8. Moreover it is necessary to avoid sudden condition changes of temperature and chemical values, because they can make Flowerhorn being more sensible to sickness like bacteria attacks.

    Water filtration is really important because this big fish produces lots of refuses that end increasing nitrite and nitrate levels in the water. You can choose both internal and external filtration, even if the second one is preferred to leave more free space to the fish. The biological part must work properly, so be sure to have a well activated aquarium before to house a Flowerhorn cichlid.

    Take also a look to the water current, an excessively strong one can damage the fish, anyway it is important that a slow movement is present, because it oxygenates the water, and avoids that the water heats only near heater.

    Tank decorations are important to make the fish feel quieter. Use a layer of fine gravel and be sure that rocks and woods are stable and do not risk to fall easily on the fish; be sure, as well, that all the decorations do not make the tank cleaning too much difficult. Live plants are important for filtration and oxygenation, anyway choose strong plants like big anubias, because any Flowerhorn cichlid use to dig a lot; you can also use plastic plants, even if they are not useful and you can risk that the fish accidentally eat them.

    Being big and aggressive is better not to house it with other fish species, specially if they are smaller. While if you plan to house more than one Flowerhorn, provide a big tank and divide it with accessories to let fish divide the territory; to avoid fights it is recommended not to keep more than two or three fish together in the same tank.



Care and feeding:

    Flowerhorn like similar sized fish, astronotus ocellatus for example, need a live food integration to be healthy and in shape. Their diet can consist of live food, frozen food, and standard dry fish food. The live food should be of good dimension, or the fish could not notice it, earth worms and big meal worms or wax worm are accepted; moreover you can give small fish, poecilia reticulata could be a good choice since the high number of fry they spare monthly. Remember to feed every live food you choose, and in case of live fish be sure they are healthy.

    Frozen food is another good solution, especially when you do not have the live one. Young Flowerhorn usually eat chironomus, brine shrimps and other frozen fish foods, while older ones could not notice them; at their place you can offer frozen fish for human use, you have a great choice, anyway if possible get freshwater fish and avoid the sea ones.

    Both live and frozen food can pollute the water, so be sure that Flowerhorn eats all the given food in 5 minutes maximum, in case of rests remove them fast; for this reason it is better to have an aquarium set up that allow you to clean fast without needing to move objects.

    Dry standard fish food is a good complementary option, especially if it is of good quality. You can find special food produced for cichlids that usually consist of big pellets that Flowerhornlike.

    A Flowerhorn cichlid should be fed two times a day, everyday, anyway be careful with the quantities and avoid to overfeed it, reducing the food amount specially if it is really rich of nutrients.

Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom:    These fish will swim in all areas of the aquarium.

Acceptable Water Conditions:    Hardness: 9 -20° dH
   Ph: 6.5 - 7.8 (neutral to slightly acidic preferred)
   Temp: 80 - 89° F (27 - 32° C)


Social Behaviors: The Flowerhorn Cichlid is not a community cichlid, it is territorial and aggressive. This fish is best kept alone. Even your hands are fair game and its bite can hurt. It can only be kept with other fish if the tank is very large, 200 gallons or more may be required. Keeping other fish out of its 'line of sight' will help to lower aggression, so decorate in a way that provides natural borders for its territory.
   If breeding you may have to take steps to prevent a pair from killing each other. They are aggressive toward those of the same species. They will will not tolerate those of a different genus.


Sexual Differences:    Sexing is unconfirmed, and several methods have been suggested. When adults are ready to breed there is a thick tube that sticks out of the vent area. Some say the male's tube is thicker and others say the female's is thicker, some say the vent is bigger not the tube, and some say the female may have a black spot on the dorsal fin. A technique used by tilapia farmers for juveniles is to take the juvenile and lay it on its back in your hand out of the water. With the belly facing up, gently press the belly from below the "rib cage" down toward the vent. If it is a male then a clear liquid will squirt out and females will not squirt anything. This is pretty accurate according to some experts.



Breeding : 


    Sexing Flowerhorn is quite easy, especially when they have reached the length of 10 cm – 12 cm. The anal pore of the fish has a V shape in case of males and a U shape in case of females. Moreover females tend to have a smaller hump when adults.

    Being cichlids their reproduction can be similar to the cichlasoma one. The female lays eggs on a flat surface, like a rock or the aquarium glass and take care of them, while the male keeps other fish away. After 3 or 4 days the fry hatch and parents take care of them moving in more secure hiding places. You can feed them with just hatched brine shrimps and other specific food for fry.

   Breeding is not so easy because female can be easily stressed or worried and ends up eating her eggs, anyway if the environment is quiet and the parents are healthy reproduction is possible.

Flowerhorn Diseases

Common Flowerhorn Diseases and Treatment
Caring for your Flower Horn is not just about feeding it, it’s also about watching for potentially serious health conditions. Below are some of the problems your Flower horn might experience.

White Spot Disease

Cause and Symptoms
  • The cause of this condition is Ichthyophithirius multifilis (ICH ) , a ciliated protozoan .
  • Bad water quality can increase the likelihood that your fish will be victim to this parasite.
  • Low water temperatures (< 25°C) are ideal breeding grounds for ICH.
  • The most common way Flower horns get ICH is when they are fed live or frozen food that has already been contaminated with the parasite.
  • The most prominent symptom of this condition are the pure white spots that will appear all over your fish. You may also notice the fins are clumped together, and they act a bit more lethargic than usual. Moreover, it’s common for them to lose interest in food when ICH infects.
Treatment
The parasites resides under the skin of the fish, hence it is not affected by water treatment or direct treatment applied to the fish . Break the breeding cycle of Ich by washing the tank thoroughly to remove the cysts of the parasite. Keep in mind that this is a highly contagious condition, so your entire aquarium must be treated.


To cure white spots:
  • Place Kordon Ich inhibitor in your tank.
  • Add aquarium salt at 3g/l of water every 3 days together with the medication.
  • After 3rd day, tank must be washed thoroughly to eliminate the causative agent.
  • Add Kordon Malachite Green treatment to your tank.
Preventive measures:
  • Add Kordon Prevent Ich Fish Disease Inhibitor and Preventative to your tank.
  • Quarantine new fish for three to four weeks.
  • Avoid cross-tank contamination.
Hole-In-The-Head Disease
Cause and Symptoms
  • The cause of this condition is Hexamita Protozoa , parasitic organisms that are highly contagious.
  • These parasites thrive with poor water quality management.
  • If your fish has this condition, you will notice the appearance of small pits and pimples mainly on the fish’s head. These pits will simply grow and form bigger pits.
  • The pits are white in color, and sometimes mucous are visible around them.
  • In addition to losing weight, becoming lethargic, and losing their appetites, the fish will produce white, stringy feces.
Treatment
  • Add Dimetrydazole (5mg/l) or Metronidazole (7mg/l).
  • Repeat treatment once every 3 days.
  • Do a 20%-30% water change.
  • It is sometimes necessary to inject Metronidazole, but injections near the affected area should be attempt only by qualified personnel.
Preventive measures :
  • Change your water regularly.
  • Quarantine new fish for three to four weeks.
  • Avoid cross-tank contamination.

Mouth, body and tail fungus

Causes & Symptoms
  • This condition is caused by Saproglenia and other related bacteria.
  • Bad water quality only causes these kinds of bacteria to thrive.
  • Sudden changes in the water condition can also cause this condition in your fish.
  • If your fish has this condition, you will notice cotton like tufts at the mouth, body, fin and tail.
  • You may also notice your fish losing weight.
Treatment
  • Add Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Aquarium Salt to your tank.
  • Adding Jungle Labs Fungus Eliminator will also help.
  • Be sure to treat the whole tank, but quarantine the most seriously ill fish.
Preventive measures :
  • Change your water regularly.
  • Quarantine new fish for three to four weeks.
  • Avoid cross-tank contamination.
Dropsy
Causes & Symptoms
  • This condition is caused by a bacterial infection.
  • Poor water quality, overcrowding, and stress can make your fish more susceptible to this condition.
  • If your fish is affected, he may appear bloated and stop eating
Treatment
· Do not add aquarium salt to your tank.
· Use a commercially prepared treatment available at your local pet shop.
Preventive measures :
  • Change your water regularly.
  • Quarantine new fish for three to four weeks to avoid the introduction of new, dangerous bacteria.
  • Avoid cross-tank contamination.

Fin & Tail Rot Disease
Causes & Symptoms
  • This condition is caused by Pseudomonas and other related bacteria.
  • Poor water quality causes these bacteria to thrive in your tank.
  • If your fish is affected, the fin and tail appeared eaten away and white edged. You may even notice the fin or tail beginning to literally dissolve.
  • The color of the fish may dull, and the fins may clump together.
  • This bacteria is highly contagious.
Treatment
  • Treat the whole tank, but quarantine and treat the heavily infected fish.
  • Tetracycline should be added.

Preventive measures :
  • Change your water regularly.
  • Quarantine new fish for three to four weeks.
  • Avoid cross-tank contamination.
Air Bladder Disease
Causes & Symptoms
  • This condition is caused by a number of things, but the most likely problems are a virus or a bacterial infection.
  • If your fish has this condition, you may notice they have trouble swimming correctly, or they tend to swim upside down.
Treatment
  • Because it can be hard to determine the cause of this problem, it can also be difficult to treat it, but in general, an antibiotic agent should take care of the problem.
Preventive measures :
  • Change your water regularly.
  • Quarantine new fish for three to four weeks.
  • Avoid cross-tank contamination.

Velvet Disease
Causes & Symptoms
  • This condition is caused by a fungus living in your tank.
  • Poor water quality causes this fungus to thrive in your tank.
  • If your fish is affected, he may stop swimming, and he may begin to look ill.
Treatment
· Add Copper Sulfate (Blue Crystal) to your tank. Be sure to use the ratio of 1 g Copper Sulfate and 0.25g Citric Acid to 1 litre of distilled water. Dosage instructions: 12.5 ml to 10 litres of aquarium water for 10 days. Administer half of this on days three, five and seven.
Preventive measures :
  • Change your water regularly.
  • Quarantine new fish for three to four weeks.
  • Avoid cross-tank contamination.

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