If you have Flowerhorns and want to breed them, one of the most important things to know is you will need to prepare a bare bottom tank for the fry, once they leave their parent`s nest. You must not have any filter mechanisms in the tank because the fry will get sucked into it, but an air stone will provide sufficient aeration.
Picking a breeding pair is crucial as desired phenotypic outcomes depend on the parents. Most times it is almost possible to predict the external characteristics of the offspring produced by the pair and you MUST use selective breeding, to know the outcome!
These fish breed year round and need no external stimuli to breed, but the pair must be in a big, clean tank. It is recommended to have at least a 50 gallon tank, purchase 6 baby Flowerhorns, so they will be raised together, thus forming stronger bonds, like you should do for all Cichlids. Once you get better at breeding them, you can purchase other older Flowerhorns, if for example, you wish to bring other colors into the mix.
The water temperature should be 28 degrees C. and have regular filtration for the tank. The pair must be well-fed at fixed times, until they are ready to spawn. A balanced diet is a must to produce fish well laden with eggs and milt. You can feed them a variety of foods that include live and pelleted foods. as per http://tyrawoods.articlealley.com
You should have more than one pair as some may not be suitable for each other, which is another reason why you should start with 6 baby Flowerhorns. You should get at least 2 breeding pairs from these 6. Usually you put the mating pair in the same tank, with a partition in the middle to separate them.
Usually, the female will develop black stripes all over her body when it`s time to mate and she`ll lose her appetite. The female genital papilla will begin to swell and it is advised to cover the tank with newspapers or some other material, so they can have privacy. They are easily startled/scared during mating periods.
Once ready, the female will secrete pheromones, which tells the male to start spawning. They will show aggression towards each other through the partition and when the aggression stops, you can remove the partition. Watch their behavior, if one is standing it`s ground instead of running to another corner, it means they are courting, not fighting.
If they continue to fight until one is visibly injured it means they are not ready yet or not compatible. Separate them and try again in a few days. For more info, you can visit: www.flowerfish.com
Image source en.wikipedia.org used with permission