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Super Red Marlboro Discus

The Super Red Marlboro was one of the first Pigeon Blood derived strains. The Red Melon and the Red Marlboro look very similar. The main difference being that the Red Marlboro often, but not always, has some patterning in the fins. 15 years ago it would have likely had quite a bit of peppering, even if not stressed. The ones we sell today have very little to no peppering and when they do it is mostly temporary/transient peppering that will go away when the fish are not stressed. Super Red Marlboros can come in three different color options, the White Faced Red Marlboro, the Red Faced Red Marlboro and the Yellow Faced Red Marlboro. As juveniles, Super Red Marlboros often do not show their full coloration and usually only show the red coloration in patches across the body and in the fins. As they mature, these patches will fill in.

Pigeon Blood Discus were originally developed from a mutation found in a Red Turquoise Discus in 1989. Kitti Phanaithi, a breeder of Discus since 1970 in Thailand, saw a Discus in a friends tank that had a very yellow and golden sheen in the coloration. It also had considerable black coloration in the fins and a little on the body. It had extremely bright yellow eyes. Kitti recognized that this was probably a naturally occurring mutation and purchased the Discus for 3000.00 USD. He then selectively crossbred it with other Red Turquoise Discus to develop the Pigeon Blood strain. Kitti first showed the Discus to the world at the 1991 Aquarama in Singapore.

Most of the brightly colored yellow, gold, orange and light red Discus are Pigeon Blood derived strains. As mentioned previously, some of these are the Red Melon, Fire Dragon, Siam Yellow Master, Golden Sunrise. Recently, more […]


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Pigeon Blood Discus

While we do not sell the Pigeon Blood Discus, many of the strains we do sell are derived from the original Pigeon Blood Discus. Some of these strains are the Red Melon, Fire Dragon, Siam Yellow Master, Golden Sunrise and others.

Pigeon Blood Discus were originally developed from a mutation found in a Red Turquoise Discus in 1989. Kitti Phanaithi, a breeder of Discus since 1970 in Thailand, saw a Discus in a friends tank that had a very yellow and golden sheen in the coloration. It also had considerable black coloration in the fins and a little on the body. It had extremely bright yellow eyes. Kitti recognized that this was probably a naturally occurring mutation and purchased the Discus for 3000.00 USD. He then selectively crossbred it with other Red Turquoise Discus to develop the Pigeon Blood strain. Kitti first showed the Discus to the world at the 1991 Aquarama in Singapore.

Most of the brightly colored yellow, gold, orange and light red Discus are Pigeon Blood derived strains. As mentioned previously, some of these are the Red Melon, Fire Dragon, Siam Yellow Master, Golden Sunrise. Recently, more strains of different coloration such as light blues and white (Snow White Discus are not derived from Pigeon Blood) have been developed. About 10 years ago, Pigeon Blood Discus with bright red eyes were developed. At first, most of the Pigeon Blood derived Discus still had the black “peppering” on most of the fins and some of the body. Over the last 20 years, since the Pigeon Blood was first developed, highly selective breeding has been successful in getting rid of most of the black peppering. With that said, many of the pigeon blood strains will show a little black peppering. The black peppering will increase dramatically when these Discus […]


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Breeding Flowerhorn Part 9

Last month we went over how to raise the fry. This month, we will go over how to grow out the fry. This will conclude our series on how to breed Flowerhorn.

Flowerhorn have large Spawns and there can be 100 to 600 eggs, so you will need at least a 10 gallon tank to start the fry rearing process. We recommend that the set up be very simple, a 10 gallon tank, a submersible heater and a sponge bubble filter. That’s it.

Flowerhorn grow extremely fast. If kept properly, they can reach the 1 inch size in two to three months. As they grow, you will need to move them into a large tank or spread them out over several tanks. Flowerhorn are extremely aggressive, but can be kept together in large holding tanks until they are around 3 inches. At that time, we move them into 20 gallon individual grow out tanks. When you keep large numbers of Flowerhorn in tanks to grow out, it is important to add lots of distractions and hiding places. For Distraction, we will put three strong bubblers in the tank, The currents keep them distracted and as they have to constantly swim to move with the current, the exercise helps them to grow faster. To make lots of hiding places, we will add in 8 3 inch elbow PCV pipe fittings. These work well as they stay stable on the bottom and as there is a 90 degree angle, a bully Flowerhorn cannot see one hiding on the other end of it.

Food is important. We feed the fry 4 times a day, as much as they can eat in 5 minutes. We feed them Beef Heart Flake twice, Egg Yolk Flake one and Freeze Dried Blood Worms once. We feed at […]


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Breeding Flowerhorn Part 8

Last month we went over the hatching of the eggs. This month, we will go over how to raise the fry. Next month we will go over how to grow out the fry.

Flowerhorn have large Spawns and there can be 100 to 600 eggs, so you will need at least a 10 gallon tank to start the fry rearing process. We recommend that the set up be very simple, a 10 gallon tank, a submersible heater and a sponge bubble filter. That’s it.

Flowerhorn, even as fry, are extremely hardy. You do not need to worry very much about water conditions such as Ph and Gh. It is important that you keep the water very warm, around 82 degrees, to stimulate growth and appetite. You also need to make sure that there is no ammonia build up in the tank. On a daily basis, for the first month, you will need to do partial 50% water changes. The best way to do this is using an airline as the siphon and very slowly sucking up the food on the bottom. We run the airline into a net over a bucket, so that if you suck up any of the fry, you can recover them.

They will start to become free swimming about 2 to 3 days after hatching. Flowerhorn fry, while still extremely small, are larger than many other Cichlid fry. This is a huge advantage, as compared to other Cichlids such as a Discus, as they can eat larger food. Newly hatched Brine Shrimp is the best food for the first week. Two days after they become free swimming, we start mixing in Beef Heart Flake that we have sifted into a fine powder. After two weeks, we stop the Brine Shrimp and feed them exclusively a mix […]


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Breeding Flowerhorn Part 7

Last month we went over the behavior after the spawn. This month, we will go over the hatching of the eggs. Next month we will go over how to raise the fry.

Flowerhorn have large Spawns and there can be 100 to 600 eggs.

After 48 to 72 hours, depending mainly on water temperature, the eggs will begin to hatch. Only the dark ones will hatch. They are dark because after about 36 hours, the eye starts to develop and will show through the egg sack. Most of the fry will stay attached to the surface where the eggs were laid via a small membrane on their head. A few will become detached and will fall to the bottom. At this point the fry will look like a small comma to the naked eye. Under magnification, they are quite ugly and will look like something straight out of a monster movie.

They will remain attached to the substrate for another 48 to 72 hours. There is not much to do at this point. They will have an egg sack and will live off of it during this entire time. The main concern is fungus. Adding Methylene blue to the water will mostly solve this. If you are going to artificially raise them, and have taken the parents out of the tank, you should add aeration about one inch from the fry to keep the water moving around them. They will start to become free swimming about 2 to 3 days after hatching.


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Breeding Flowerhorn Part 6

Last month we went over the actual spawn. This month, we will go over behavior after the spawn.

The good news is that unlike many other Cichlids, Flowerhorn will usually not eat their eggs. They will display other common post spawn activities that many Cichlids display. The female will take up a position above the eggs and will constantly mouth the eggs. The purpose of this is to get rid of any eggs that are infertile and to keep fungus from forming on the eggs. She will defend the eggs with her life. If you put your hand in the tank near the eggs at this time, she will viciously attack it (and it will hurt). Most of the time she will chase the male away from being directly above the eggs, but not always. It can vary depending on the pair. The male will usually stay near the eggs guarding against any other threats. Once again, if you put your hand in the tank, even on the other end, the male will attack it. While the male and female will often show some aggressive behavior towards each other, they will not usually do any actual damage to each other while there are viable eggs. You can feed them pair while there are eggs without any worry that it will stimulate the to eat the eggs. They will eat while they guard the eggs.


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Breeding Flowerhorn Part 5

Last month we went over getting a pair to spawn, this month we will go over the actual spawn.

The first sign that your Flowerhorn are getting ready to spawn is that they will start to clear off a flat surface in the tank. As we said last Newsletter, this will often mean that they clean of the bottom of the tank. Flowerhorn can lay up to 500 eggs in one spawn and that requires a surface that is about 8 inches square. Prior to this, the male will have been the dominant fish. During the entire spawn and while the eggs are not yet free swimming, the roles will reverse and the female will become dominant. She will start acting aggressively toward the male and often will do “Lip Locking” with the male as a sign of courtship. Lip Locking is not a sign off affection as in kissing. Rather, it is a sign of aggression in the courtship. Unlike many other Cichlids, such as Discus, they will do very little in the way of a spawning “Dance”. At some point she will try to herd the male to the area that will be the spawning surface. Spawning actually starts when she begins laying the eggs. She will lay them in rows of 10 –30 eggs. The male will follow behind her, sometimes every time she lays eggs and at other times after every 3rd or 4th laying run, and fertilize the eggs. After the spawn, the female will stay directly above the eggs and the male will stay on the periphery of the eggs and guard against all intruders. If you put your hand in the tank, it will be viciously attacked.


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Breeding Flowerhorn Part 4

Last month we went over breeding tank set up, this month we will go over getting a pair. You will find that the triggers for getting Flowerhorn are pretty much the same as other Cichlids. Once they go into pre spawning mode, the fighting will decrease, but rough mating will start. The technique that works the best is hard for most of us aquarist to do, as it goes against everything we strive to accomplish with our aquariums. With that said, it works and does not hurt your Flowerhorn in the long run.

The best way to get a pair of Flowerhorn to spawn is to let their aquarium conditions become very poor for one to two weeks. This will include, taking the filter pads out of the filters and running them without the pads (they need to run to keep the water circulating), letting algae build up in the aquarium and letting the water level of the aquarium get low. Please make sure that you leave aeration in the tank so the water does not become oxygen depleted. I also recommend that you feed them at about ½ the normal amount during this time. Once the conditions in the aquarium have deteriorated to the point where it is becoming stressful, do a complete water change and cleaning of the tank. You will find that most pairs will spawn within one or two days (often within hours) of the completion of the cleaning.

Other techniques are:

• Change the water temperature to 72 degrees for a few days and then bring it up to 84 degrees over about 12 hours and then leave it at 84 degrees for the remainder of a week.

• Feed them heavily for a few days, then stop feeding them for two days, followed by […]


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Breeding Flowerhorn Part 3

Last month we went over how to keep a pair, this month we will go over breeding tank set up.

The first thing to be aware of is that mature Flowerhorn are very strong and no matter what you do, they will most likely completely rearrange the tank when they spawn. As part of the pre spawning courtship, they will move, pile, re-move and then pile again any gravel in the tank. They like to spawn on flat, horizontal surfaces. I always place several large pieces of slate to lay flat on the bottom of the tank. Flowerhorn can lay up to a thousand eggs at one spawning, so you need to make sure the pieces of slate are at least 8 x 8 inches.

With that said, it is my experience that they usually choose to remove all of the gravel from an area of the bottom of the tank and actually lay the eggs on the glass bottom of the tank.

Directly prior to spawning, the male sometimes will brutally hurt the female. During spawning, they will often get along fine. Directly after spawning, the female will become extremely protective of the eggs and I have seen her actually beat up and kill a male that just days before was abusing her. I mention this so you will know that it is extremely important for you to have plenty of hiding places in the tank during the entire breeding process. I usually try and put several 8 inch pieces of PCV pipe in the tank that are large enough for the female to go into, but small enough that the male, who is usually larger, cannot go into. This can be easily accomplished as PCV piping is sold in 2, 3, 4 and 6 inch diameter sizes. Also, […]


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Breeding Flowerhorn Part 2

Last month we went over how to sex them, this month we will go over how to keep a pair.

Sexing Discus is not the end, it is actually just the start of the most difficult part of breeding Flowerhorn. The problem with breeding Flowerhorn is that the male will often kill the female, sometimes within hours of putting them together. Males can be relentless in attacking females (and other males). There are several ways to deal with this problem:

• Occasionally you will get a pair that are not overly aggressive towards each other. While this is rare, it can happen, and if you do get one of these pairs, count your blessings. • The best way to get a pair that will be OK together is plan well in advance. If you by 6-10 of them at a very small size, usually they will grow up without becoming fatally aggressive. They will still be very aggressive, but not fatally, starting around 3 inches, so make sure you have many, many hiding places. Usually, the largest male will pair off with the largest female when they become mature. This pair can then be kept in a separate tank together. Once again, while they will not kill each other, they will still be aggressive, especially between spawning, so make sure there are plenty of hiding places. Often if you keep the ones left in a large tank, another pair will separate out after you take out the first pair. • Another trick is to keep them in a divided tank. This will keep them from killing each other while they are not spawning. Once Flowerhorn start the process of spawning (we will go over this in a subsequent Newsletter), they will stop being so aggressive towards each other. The female […]


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