10 Compatible Flowerhorn Tank Mates

Beautiful yet boisterous, Flowerhorn Cichlids are some of the showiest large fish in the hobby. However they are famous for their territorial nature and aggressive tendencies. This makes finding tank mates something of a challenge for them.

However you need not keep your Flowerhorn alone forever. Here are 10 of the best Flowerhorn tank mates to consider!

Warning: Although it is possible to house your Flowerhorn with the fish on our list, you should always pay extra attention when dealing with aggressive species. Every fish is different, so what has worked for me not might always work for you.


10 Best Flowerhorn Tank Mates

Here are 10 of our favorite tank mates for Flowerehorn cichlids:

Midas Cichlid

midas cichlid

I highly recommend Midas Cichlids because they are part of the complicated genetic legacy of the Flowerhorn. As you probably already know, Flowerhorns are hybrids of several closely related Central American cichlids.

Midas Cichlids added their genetics decades ago for the square, blocky build and prominent nuchal hump Flowerhorns often display. This means they have identical care requirements and very similar personalities. Midas Cichlids are typically a vivid gold, referencing the Greek myth of King Midas’s golden touch.

Both Flowerhorns and Midas Cichlids are large, territorial species that need plenty of space or they will fight until one or both are dead.

And so long as you provide them that space (150+ gallons for mature adults), they will get along splendidly with only occasional lip-locking or displayed fins. But keep in mind that they will readily hybridize with each other and other Amphilophus sp. cichlids.

  • Scientific Name: Amphilophus citrinellus
  • Origin: Costa Rica & Nicaragua
  • Size: 12-16 inches
  • Temperament: Very Aggressive

Green Terror

green texas cichlid

Green Terrors get a pretty bad rap. Having personally kept this species I can say with confidence that they are more aggressive than, say, a Severum but aren’t nearly as mean as some of the nastiest Central American cichlids.

Only when spawning do they truly live up to their name – both the male and female become absolutely vicious towards the majority of tank residents.

Green Terrors are also some of the most beautiful large cichlids. The males have silver or golden trim along their dorsal and tail fins, electric green marbling, and a prominent nuchal hump similar to a Flowerhorn’s.

They are also good Flowerhorn tank mates because they provide greens, blues, and other colors Flowerhorns aren’t strong in. They contrast nicely with the intense reds, oranges, and yellows of most Flowerhorn breeds.

Keep an eye on them as your Flowerhorns mature because an adult male will weigh almost twice as much as a fully grown Green Terror. In a small aquarium this can spell trouble if your Green Terror decides not to back down if challenged.

  • Scientific Name: Andinoacara rivulatus
  • Origin: South America
  • Size: 8 to 10 inches
  • Temperament: Aggressive

Red Terror

Unlike the Green Terror, the true Red Terror absolutely lives up to its name. I would say this is a top 5 contender among all Cichlid species in terms of sheer bad attitude.

And to top things off they grow absolutely monstrous in size. An adult female will be roughly 13 inches within 3-4 years (as large as many adult male Flowerhorns). And a male Red Terror can reach a whopping 18-20 inches!

Once they grow this large they are more than capable of drawing blood if they decide to bite the hand that feeds them while you’re performing a water change near their eggs or fry!

As Flowerhorn tank mates they are excellent because both males and females have a gorgeous red and black pattern that’s quite distinct from any Flowerhorn.

They are also aggressive enough to take some abuse from their tank mates and dish it right back. Red Terrors and Flowerhorns should be given at least 150+ gallons of space if kept together.

And should your Red Terrors breed they should absolutely have the entire aquarium if you value your other fish! As they are also part of the Amphilophus group they will also hybridize with Flowerhorns if they take a fancy to one another.

  • Scientific Name: Amphilophus Festae
  • Origin: South America
  • Size: 15-20 inches
  • Temperament: Very Aggressive

Oscar

Oscar fish (Astronotus ocellatus)

Oscars are a popular choice for large cichlid lovers around the world. While not super aggressive they do well with other boisterous fish, including Flowerhorns. However a pushy Flowerhorn may be too much if the tank is too small.

Oscars have been around for decades and come in a wide array of color morphs, including Albino and Tiger. They are predators with large mouths and prefer live prey, especially small fish and crustaceans.

Fast growing and hardy, Oscars are slightly susceptible to ich and velvet disease but are otherwise fantastic Flowerhorn tank mates. While most Oscars are on the milder side a few can be extremely territorial and vicious.

  • Scientific Name: Astronotus ocellatus
  • Origin: South America
  • Size: 14 inches
  • Temperament: Semi-Aggressive

Jaguar Cichlid

Spotted Jaguar Cichlid

With their subdued yet attractive marbled pattern, Jaguar Cichlids are popular additions to large cichlid displays. While they are Central American and closely related to Flowerhorns they are too different to interbreed.

In the wild they fill the same niche as Largemouth Bass and other North American predators: lie in wait until something tasty strays near and then suck it into their enormous mouths. Jaguar Cichlids are somewhat leaner than Flowerhorns but a good match in terms of temperament.

Like most Central Americans they are easy to care for, preferring neutral to alkaline water (pH 7.0-7.5) and moderately warm temperatures (74-78F). They grow quickly when well fed and given a spacious aquarium (125+gallons for adults).

  • Scientific Name: Parachromis managuensis
  • Origin: Central America
  • Size: 18 inches
  • Temperament: Aggressive

Arowanas

close up of arowana fish looking at camera

Arowanas are a group of large predators with a distinctly prehistoric appearance. All are long, with large reflective scales and fins like barbels. In many countries they are known as Dragon Fish, particularly the vividly colored Asian Arowana.

Considering many vivid Arowana and Flowerhorn varieties are the result of intense East Asian breeding programs they are a natural fit.

While undemanding in terms of water conditions Arowanas get massive, grow very quickly, and eat a LOT. They are also skittish and prone to leaping; an adult can leap nearly 6 feet to catch insects, lizards, and even small birds from low hanging branches!

If you’re interested in getting to know the many different species in more detail, have a look at my Complete Arowana Fish Guide!

  • Scientific Name: family Osteoglossidae
  • Origin: Africa, Asia, Australia, South America
  • Size: 30-36 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful; Predatory

Bichirs

bichir fish in aquarium

Bichirs are great tank mates for not just Flowerhorns but many aggressive cichlids. Not only do they love the same carnivorous food but they have hard, armor-like scales that can shrug off an occasional bite.

Bichirs also grow large; the smallest are roughly 12 inches in length while others can top 24 inches fully grown. Despite being predators they are unaggressive, mostly nocturnal bottom dwellers. They use their highly developed sense of smell and electrical senses to find buried and hidden prey.

If Bichirs interest you as a peaceful, prehistoric option, get to know them better in my Bichir Care Guide!

  • Scientific Name: family Polypteridae
  • Origin: Africa
  • Size: 12-24 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful; Predatory

Silver Dollars

silver dollar fish

Dither fish for large, mean species like Flowerhorns can be a challenge. However Silver Dollars are some of the best dither fish around. They are closely related to both the tiny Neon Tetra and the fearsome Piranha.

Silver Dollars grow up to 6-12 inches, depending on the species, and all are voracious vegetarians. They can enter a piranha-like frenzy as the school uses their large teeth to strip carrots and zucchini down to the skin in minutes!

Their larger, also vegetarian relatives the Pacu are also peaceful, schooling Flowerhorn tank mates. However at 2+ feet, Pacu grow far too large for the majority of aquariums.

  • Scientific Name: Metynnis Sp.
  • Origin: South America
  • Size: 6-12 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful; Schooling

Tinfoil Barbs

tinfoil barb

Tinfoil Barbs really live up to their name; their iridescent metallic scales flash with any available light. And considering how large they grow they make an impressive school for 250+ gallon aquariums!

Tinfoil Barbs are excellent dither fish for Flowerhorns and other aggressive cichlids because they are both fast and schooling. Should your Flowerhorn get upset at an invader he won’t be able to take it out in a single Barb; their flashing sides confuse attackers long enough for the school to quickly retreat.

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Much like Silver Dollars, Tinfoil Barbs also appreciate soft vegetation and cooked vegetables in their diet! While fresh veggies should be offered regularly I also recommend using prepared vegetarian options for their convenience and healthy spirulina content!

  • Scientific Name: Barbonymus schwanenfeldii
  • Origin: Southeast Asia
  • Size: 12-14 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful; Schooling

Spiny Eel

Spiny Eels are a diverse group of highly specialized nocturnal predators found in Southeast Asia. They use their well developed “nose” and straw-like mouths to find sleeping fish, worms, and invertebrates hidden in crevices. Once detected the Spiny Eel vacuums the helpless animal up and swallows it whole.

Some species, such as the Half-Banded Spiny Eel (Macrognathus circumcinctus) stay fairly small (8 inches) and are a poor match for Flowerhorns. Others, such as the Fire Eel grow up to 3 feet long.

As a whole, Spiny Eels are fascinating, even personable fish that will eat straight from your hands if well trained. If Spiny Eels fascinate you, I cover several of the most popular species in my 8 Unique Freshwater Eels guide!

  • Scientific Name: family Mastacembelidae
  • Origin: Southeast Asia
  • Size: 12-36 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful; Predatory

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