How to improve Flowerhorn Color?

The Flowerhorn fish possess some of the most amazing colors you will ever see. Brilliant, fiery reds, deep sapphire blues, golds that twinkle and shimmer. Greens that rival the most precious emeralds.  Hobbyists and breeders strive to both help create and maintain every hue for these fish you can possibly imagine.

How to improve Flowerhorn Color?

So how do you keep these beautiful fish looking their best? Everything from diet to water quality will help with improving the color of your Flowerhorn. Will it be difficult to help make the colors really pop on your Flowerhorn fish? Bringing out the best coloration in your Flowerhorn is not difficult at all, even though there are different factors that can influence the colors on these lovely fish.

Science and genetics come together to find ways to make both these tasks easier. Flowerhorn fish have nearly unlimited variations and combinations of colors. The discovery of a new strain brings the excitement of yet another spectacular color for Flowerhorn enthusiasts to enjoy.

Do Flowerhorn Change Color? 

It is possible that you will see your Flowerhorn transition through a few color changes prior to full maturation. Your Flowerhorn will go through some mild color shifts dependent on its environment as well. While these changes may not be stark, you will notice changes in tints or the deepening or lightening of markings. Your Flowerhorns also goes through color changes that depend on its mood. It has been noted that the more dominant a Flowerhorn is, the deeper and richer the colors tend to be. There are also disreputable breeders who inject the Flowerhorn fish they sell with color. This practice is to make them more appealing for sale. Color changes are often just a result of maturation and aging. However, they occasionally can be a result of a poor environment, stress, or disease.   

Can you Force Color Change in a Flowerhorn?

Some breeders compare Flowerhorn to Chameleons. They can and do change color dependent on the environment. Try changing the color of your background used for your tank set up. You will likely see your Flowerhorn respond with a color change because of this. Some Flowerhorn enthusiasts have induced color change with the food they feed their Flowerhorn. For example, feeding a white Flowerhorn food meant to increase red colors have turned their fish pink. Feeding a predominantly red Flowerhorn food meant to enhance blue tones can deepen the red. However, you may only succeed in turning your Flowerhorn colors muddy by attempting this.

Does Stress Affect Flowerhorn Color? 

Keeping your Flowerhorn happy is the goal of most hobbyists. Just as with humans, stress causes many problems. However, with proper care, stress can be avoided.  Stress in a Flowerhorn can result in fading or loss of pigmentation. You may also see new or different lines and stripes or changes in markings in your Flowerhorn. Markings or pearling may disappear completely when the Flowerhorn becomes too stressed. Some Flowerhorn can even begin to turn black.

Can water quality affect my Flowerhorn color? 

Your Flowerhorn will need a very specific balance in their water. This is crucial for the best care. The pH in your tank water is what will have the most impact on your Flowerhorn coloration.  You should be aiming for 6.1 to no higher than a 6.5 in your pH levels in your tank. This will be a huge help if you want to increase the color development in your Flowerhorn.  Higher pH levels will decrease the coloration and not show them to their best advantage. You also need to change the water in your tank at least once a week. Introduce a minimum of 25 percent fresh water following that schedule. Proper filtration for your tank is also a must. Vacuum gravel or other substrates during water changes.

Will water temperature improve my Flowerhorn color? 

Flowerhorn fish need a specific water temperature range to obtain optimum health and to develop and maintain their color. The recommended temperature for your Flowerhorn is 28 degrees Celsius. The water temperature in your fish tank will not directly impact the coloration of your Flowerhorn. However, it will affect the stress levels of your fish.  Stress will directly affect the colors in your Flowerhorn, so keep your water in this temperature range.  Hobbyists are aware of the damage a small fluctuation in water temperature can cause.

Do light sources improve Flowerhorn color? 

Natural daylight and indirect sunlight are the best light sources available. Natural light will improve and enhance the coloration in your Flowerhorn fish. However, it might be impossible to have your tank set up where your Flowerhorn can benefit from this natural light.  When you need to use artificial light for your Flowerhorn, there are a few options to choose from. If you choose a daylight fluorescent light for your tank, this will work extremely well. However, you should avoid any true white or bluish tinted lights. These lights can be too bright and cause discomfort for your Flowerhorn.  LED lights are a good option as well. Choose a natural color light, and never use any light source that is too bright to avoid stressing your Flowerhorn.   

Why is my Flowerhorn Fading? 

There are many reasons that can cause your Flowerhorn to fade. First of all, there are several varieties of Flowerhorn strains that go through a fading process as they mature. Your Flowerhorn may be one of the fish for whom this is fairly common.  Secondly, your Flowerhorn might be a Fader. Faders are a strain of Flowerhorn with a strong Midas Flowerhorn ancestry. However, many other varieties of Flowerhorn will fade as well and often completely change color altogether.  Lastly, you might be stressing your fish because of sudden changes in the environment. Water quality, new food, and even an incorrect tank background can make your Flowerhorn fade.  The color of your Flowerhorn should return to normal once they have adapted to any changes. Finally, the fading you see in your Flowerhorn might be due to parasitic or fungal infections which are easily treatable.

Why is my Flowerhorn turning Black? 

Your Flowerhorn turning black is loosely related to the fading process described above. A variety of Flowerhorn called a Golden base will go through a period sometimes described as their blackout period. Different strains of Flowerhorn will do this as well. This is simply your Flowerhorn maturing and developing the vibrant colors it may display as an adult.  However, sometimes the black coloration is not a matter of genetics.  Occasionally, this development of black color in your Flowerhorn can be the result of a stressed fish.  Your water quality should be top-notch. A temperature set in its optimal range will help combat any stress your Flowerhorn may be feeling.  Just as a Flowerhorn can fade from stress, they can also darken, or turn black. Tank size must be appropriate for your Flowerhorn. The choice of substrate, background, and tank ornaments can stress your Flowerhorn and cause it to turn black.  

Can diet affect my Flowerhorn color? 

The diet that you feed your Flowerhorn fish is very important. What a Flowerhorn eats will have a tremendous impact on all aspects of its life. This includes how well its color develops as it matures. There are a number of foods available for your Flowerhorn that will help enhance its natural coloring.  You can choose either a flake or pellet food with ingredients to boost nearly any color present in your Flowerhorn. For example, food with higher amounts of Spirulina will help enhance blue colors. Foods with increased amounts of Astaxanthin will accentuate reds. A Flowerhorn that is yellow or orange benefits the most from food with large amounts of Xanthophyll. Alternatives to enhancing food include other options to add to your Flowerhorn diet. You can try bloodworms or shrimp for red tones.  Some breeders feed yellow-toned Flowerhorn dried egg yolk or marigold powder.  

It is easy to see why the Flowerhorn has captured the imaginations of so many aquarium enthusiasts.  Besides their engaging personalities and interesting habits, their brilliant colors can be riveting to beginners and experts alike. Ensuring that you provide your Flowerhorn with the best possible care is the best place to start. Everything from tank setup to what you choose to feed them can make a difference how your Flowerhorn colors look. Caring for your Flowerhorn carefully will provide several rewards. However, the biggest reward will be watching your beauty show off those colors. You can take immense pride in having these amazing fish to enjoy and display.