- Scientific name: Vieja synspilus
- Synonyms: Vieja synspilus
- Common name: Flower horn fish
- Group: Cichlids
- Habitat: Central America; Mexico, Guatemala, Belize.
- Size: 30 cm.
- Biotope: Rivers, lakes
- Social behavior: Flower Horn Fish are very territorial and very aggressive. They usually will not tolerate other fish, and will often eat smaller fish that fit into their mouths
- Diet: Pellet food
- Breeding: Quite easy
- Tank: Minimum 300 litres
- Population: 2-4 couples for 1000 litres
- Decoration: Rocks and roots.
- Temperature: 25-26°C
- pH: 7-8
- Hardness: 9-20 NK°
- Lifespan: 8-10 years
Description: 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 with bigger nuchal hump on the forehead, better coloration, bolder black marking on the body (which at times resembles 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. Chinese call the flower horn cichlid "Hua Luo Han".
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. But the ideal pH level in the water should be around pH 7 to pH 7.8 with water temperature ranging between 27 °C to 32°C. For temperate / colder climate regions, just need a conventional water heater. With regards to aquarium size, try to have at least 4 feet (length) by 2 feet (width) aquarium. The tank should be decorated in typical Cichlid fashion, providing open swimming areas as well as caves and driftwood for hiding. Plastic plants are best as they will dig. They are very aggressive in nature. Coexisting with other fish is not advisable, especially smaller fish. Some parties have claimed that we can "play" with the Flower Horn. In actual fact, 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.
Sexing the flower horn can be attempted the following way: The most accurate way is look at the anal pore of the fish. The male fish has a V-shaped anal pore. As for the female, it will have a U - shaped anal pore. Generally, it will be easier to identify the sex of the fish when it is around 4 inches in length. Breeding should be typical of any of the large parent stock like Cichlasoma Trimaculatus or Cichlasoma Festae.
As many as 1000 eggs are usually laid on a flat surface like a piece of slate or sometimes on rocks on the tank bottom. The eggs are guarded by the female and the male will keep all others away. The eggs will hatch in about 3 days and then the fry will be moved to large pits in the substrate where the parents will continue their care. After about 5 days the fry are free swimming and can be fed the small food needed for growth.