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The History of Flowerhorns

Flowerhorn, also called Luohan, is a breed of Cichlid. Flowerhorns are thought to arise from the man-made hybridization of a number of cichlid species, from South and Central America . Most notably flowerhorns include Cichlasoma trimaculatum and fishes from the Amphilophus citrinellus (red devil) complex. Flowerhorns first emerged for sale on the aquarium market in Malaysia in the late 1990s . As a probable intergeneric hybrid the fish lacks a specific Latin name. Flowerhorns are, unlike many other hybrids, fertile.

Other notable inclusions in the flowerhorns breeding are Cichlasoma festae and Vieja synspilus ('Redheaded' cichlid). Only the original breeders know exactly which species they crossbred to create the Flowerhorn cichlid. Given the vast amount of mixing, it is doubtful any recorded details of hybridisations exist.

There is a superstitious belief in the Far East that ownership of a Flowerhorn brings good fortune, especially in gambling . The hump that the adult male fish develops is said to resemble the Chinese god of longevity, and it is believed that the owners luck will grow if the fish's hump grows. The males are thus the most commercially valuable. Flowerhorns have distinctive markings on their sides, which can be interpreted as recognisable symbols. It is also noteworthy that the original species from which these cichlids were hybridised also display a number of these traits.

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