When Da and I used to live in Marine Parade area, we reared several Flower Horn fish in our apartment. This type of fish is commonly known as "luo han fish".
The Flower Horn fish is considered by the Chinese as an auspicious fish. Owners of such fish believe that every characteristic of the fish is related to prosperity, health and wealth... to the owners of the fish, that is. The hump, the colour, the aggression, the so-called "pearls", etc are sought after by breeders of such fish.
Flower Horn fish is basically from the Cichlid family, which is classified under the genus of Cichlasoma, which is commonly found in South America. This beautiful hybrid is thought to be the end product of cross breeding. To date, a lot of better quality Flower Horn fish has been produced due to the intensified eagerness of breeders to produce the best show quality fish for the market.
The Flower Horn fish is not selective on food and their consumption is high. Worms, small shrimps and pellet fish food will do fine. What type of food or whether their stomach is fully filled are not a major issue, but the type of food which do not pollute the water should be taken into consideration. You can underfeed but not overfeed Flower Horn, thus it is advisable to feed them two to three times daily.
The Flower Horn fish may grow up to approximately 12 inches in length depending on its breed and may live to 8 to 10 years. However, many die before their time, usually because of the water conditions in the aquarium. Their bodies develop white fungus easily and I have lost count of the number of times that I have anguished over the death of one of our fish (yes, we kept that many Flower Horn fish).
There is a belief that the bigger, the brighter or more active fish, the more abundance the owner would have.
As Flower Horn is from the South American Cichlid family, this fish is very territorial. Thus, they are very aggressive in nature. Co-existing with other fish is not advisable, especially smaller fish. Some parties have claimed that we can "play" with the Flower Horn fish. In actual fact, the fish 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 (Da has survived several incidents of biting).
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 fish 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 region, the fish would need a conventional water heater.
With regard to the aquarium size, it would be advisable to keep the fish in an aquarium of at least 4 feet (length) by 2 feet (width) as the fish loves to swim. The fish that Da and I kept loved to do somersaults whenever we walked past. They were probably showing off!