Monday, February 22, 2010

I love my Flowerhorn

Aquariums should be considered to be miniature versions of natural habitats. Even though we are not able to establish perfect ecosystems in our aquariums, we can try to provide environments as close as possible to natural habitats to enjoy their beauty. 

- If you buy a flowerhorn for the nuchal hump, take a look at the frontosa (Cyphotilapia frontosa) a Tanganyikan cichlid. When left in small groups in a big enough tank the dominant male develops a hump which no flowerhorn will produce. 
- If colour is what you seek in a fish, then take a look at the redheaded cichlid (Cichlasoma synspilum). It's got all the colours of the rainbow. 
- If you desire black markings, a trimac (Cichlasoma trimaculatum) has a distinct pattern. 
- If you are looking for pearls, consider the Texas cichlid (Cichlasoma cyanoguttatum). 

If there are natural specimens that have all the traits one expects in terms of sheer beauty then why go for the man-made stuff? There are 1500+ known species of cichlids in the wild and hundreds with striking beauty and amazing personalities available to the hobby. This availability is rich enough to fit anyone's need. Let us respect Mother Nature. Doing something awful is not difficult but the consequences would have to be faced. As far as we know only one planet holds the key to create, support and cycle a phenomenon called Life. Let us not cheapen it or take it for granted. 

Some reports claim that the Flower Horn Fish is a "mutated" breed of fish. Rest assured that this is just a claim. Flowerhorn have gone through a lot of selective cross breeding in order to have the best characteristics of the respective strains of the Cichlid family. For instance, most breeders are striving to produce Flower Horns with a bigger nuchal hump on the forehead, better colouration, bolder black markings on the body (which at times resemble Chinese characters), more elegant fins, and wider bodies. No chemicals, or biogenetic engineering have been incorporated to improve on the traits/characteristics of the Flowerhorn. Thus, the claim that this is a mutated fish is unfounded. Its a big NO!

This fish is very hardy, and can endure water conditions that are not suitable for most breeds of aquarium fish. This is also part of the reason why the Flower Horn is well received by many tropical fish hobbyists.

What ever Negative statement I encountered, I will never let go loving the most wonderful fish.