What Do Flowerhorn Eat? – Feeding the Flowerhorn Fish

As an aquarium enthusiast who wants to keep Flowerhorn fish, there many things to consider when you begin this hobby.  First of all, you need to worry about tank size more than many other types of fish. Secondly, you need to worry about water cleanliness, temperature, and keeping your chemicals properly balanced.  Lastly, and most importantly, you have to be aware of the best food for your Flowerhorn.   

Speak to anyone who keeps Flowerhorn and they will certainly have some advice on what to feed these beautiful fish. Flowerhorn fish are not particularly fussy eaters. However, just because they will eat nearly anything doesn’t mean they should. Flowerhorn is carnivores by nature, so it’s best to stick to animal-based feed. Having said that, it is usually alright to give an occasional “treat” or to vary their diet somewhat, as long as you follow some basic guidelines.  Also keep in mind that as a member of the Cichlid family, their appetites will naturally be very similar to their relatives.   

Do Flowerhorn have a favorite food? 

Finding out if your Flowerhorn has a particular meal that they prefer above other foods is trial and error.  Your Flowerhorn may love pellet food and refuse to eat shrimp.  It may also shun conventional food and only accept it for nourishment and to satisfy hunger, but go crazy for cooked peas.  Each fish is very unique and will have its own preferences.  Therefore, it will be up to you as the caregiver to pay attention to what it really enjoys eating and then build its diet accordingly.  It is a bad idea to feed your Flowerhorn only the one type of food it loves because providing a variety will not only banish boredom for your fish, but it will also provide an adequately balanced diet. 

Will my Flowerhorn eat Flake Food? 

Flake food is not recommended for adult Flowerhorn.  There is simply not enough substance to the food to satisfy the voracious appetite of these fish.  Flake food is great when the Flowerhorn is younger and not quite ready for a heavier diet.  

Are pellets a popular food for Flowerhorn? 

Most Flowerhorn will readily eat pellets.  There are two types of pellets in this category, either the sinking or the floating variety.   Both are fine for your Flowerhorn, but it may prefer one type over another.  The pellets are meant to mimic the way your fish would naturally obtain its food in a natural state; that is to say, by either feeding from the substrate, or rising up under the food to “catch” it.  A good point to remember is that size matters with pellets.  You should aim to find pellets that are a little smaller than your Flowerhorns’ mouth.  Very small pellets will not interest a mature Flowerhorn, just as pellets that are too large will not be attractive to juveniles.  

Should I feed my Flowerhorn live food? 

There are differing opinions regarding a live diet for your Flowerhorn.  There are some risks associated with a diet only comprised of live foods, so variety is key.  Live food such as other small fish, worms, maggots, and flies.  Other types of insects will be fine for your Flowerhorn as well, including crickets, some beetles, and even cockroaches.  It is vitally important that you are familiar with where these foods originate.  Be confident that you are feeding your Flowerhorn live food that is free from the risks of pesticides and potential parasite risk or the threat of other diseases. Many pet stores stock live feeder fish and insects that will be healthy and free of any issues that can harm your Flowerhorn.  

Can a Flowerhorn have frozen food? 

Your Flowerhorn can have food that is kept frozen, but you must be careful and ensure that you thaw the food out a little first.  The best way to do this is to let the frozen food soak in some water from your fish tank.  Flowerhorn digestive tracts are sensitive and it would be easy to cause damage by feed food not properly prepared.  Some of the frozen foods you can let your Flowerhorn eat include bloodworms, waxworms, krill, maggots, and small fish. Keep in mind, however, that the longer any food is frozen the more nutrients are lost.   

Should I give my Flowerhorn Freeze Dried food? 

Your Flowerhorn will appreciate some freeze-dried meals to keep things interesting. Some of the best foods that have a freeze-dried option include minnows, shrimp, grasshoppers, and mealworms.   It is not a good idea to feed a diet comprised of just this type of food.  While very high in protein,   your Flowerhorn still needs a staple pellet to accompany these choices.   

Can I feed my Flowerhorn Fruit and Vegetables? 

As a general rule, Flowerhorn is not really built physically to properly digest plant material.  It would be possible to feed your Flowerhorn very small amounts of vegetables such as peas, cabbage, and spinach but strongly advised that you blanch these foods in plain water first. Flowerhorn may accept some types of fruit such as papaya, mango, and occasionally banana but this will depend on the likes and dislikes of your particular fish.  If you like the idea of a diet that includes fruit and vegetables for the nutrition they provide, there are extracts available that contain all the nutrients of fruits and vegetables without the mess and possible digestive problems.  

What other types of Meat can I feed my Flowerhorn? 

While most Flowerhorn fish will accept nearly any meat, it is a better idea to stick to varieties of aquatic animals as feed.  Your Flowerhorn is not designed to consume the tougher to digest meats from land mammals.  Occasionally you can offer you’re your Flowerhorn very small quantities of raw organ meat such as liver or heart, but make sure these offerings are from a reliable source.  While there may be some enthusiasts that will integrate beef, chicken, or pork in their Flowerhorn diet, there are better plans to follow for the optimum health of your Flowerhorn.  

Do I need Specialty Food for my Flowerhorn? 

Giving your Flowerhorn foods designed to bring out its best features is never a bad idea.  There are commercially produced Flowerhorn foods available specifically to enhance many of the natural attributes of these beautiful fish.  There are foods available to increase the size of the Kok, and foods to enhance color or pearling.  However, the same processed foods combined in these special formulas are also available in natural form and will usually provide the same or better results.  For example, certain types of shrimp can be fed to your Flowerhorn that will dramatically enhance any red tones.  Diets high in proteins and natural vital nutrients will help increase the size of the Kok.  

What kind of food should I give Flowerhead Fry? 

Your Flowerhead fry will not need much of your attention for a few days, at least not until they have used up the stored food in their feeding sacs.  Once that happens, you will need to start making sure they have adequate food.  New fry will benefit simply from having infusoria-microscopic organisms that naturally occur in a watery environment-as their first source of nourishment.  You can learn to produce your own infusoria.  As the fry begins to grow, they can be fed daphnia and mosquito larvae.  Daphnia can be obtained ahead of time and frozen, as it can be hard to find a food source. Once the fry reach around 1.25 inches, you can begin offering frozen bloodworms and ground up flake food or pellets. As your fry continues to mature you can introduce the other types of available food as required.  

How often should I feed my Flowerhorn? 

Your Flowerhorn will need a few meals per day.  You will need to space the times between feedings out so that your Flowerhorn can adequately digest its food. This will help avoid any types of stomach troubles and having an obese Flowerhorn. With the appetites Flowerhorn fish typically have, your fish will never say no to more food.   The span of time you will need to give your Flowerhorn between meals will vary.  At the minimum, wait at least eight hours before your next feeding. The only time this schedule may vary is possibly when the Flowerhorn is in spawn, which requires a tremendous amount of energy for your fish. Expect to feed at least one extra meal per day, so space the meals at this time accordingly.  

How much should I feed my Flowerhorn? 

Your Flowerhorn should be fed only as much as it can consume in approximately five minutes.  This will take a little trial and error, so you start with small pinches of food if you are feeding flake food, bloodworms, or brine shrimp.  For the Flowerhorn that is being offered pellets, begin with two or three pellets.  Offer one more at a time, to a maximum of five pellets.  It is better to underfeed a little than to overfeed at each meal.  Food leftover and not consumed by your Flowerhorn will affect your water quality.  You will be able to tell you are overfeeding your fish if the belly begins to take on a constant rounded appearance.  A Flowerhorn eating appropriate amounts should have a slightly plump belly, but not bulging. It is also common practice to have your Flowerhorn fast at least once a week to help aid digestion.  

Your well-fed and healthy Flowerhorn will provide you with hours of enjoyment. By ensuring that you are choosing only the best ingredients to feed them, you will be showing your love and dedication of care for these stunning creatures.  You may find that you have to go the extra mile occasionally to care for your Flowerhorn properly, but you will feel the rewards of your efforts every time you take a moment to relax and enjoy your aquarium.