The History of the Flowerhorn Cichlid
The Flowerhorn cichlid is a result of hybrid between different South American cichlids. The Flowerhorn was developed in Malaysia during the second half of the 1990s, and exactly which South American cichlids that was used and in which combinations is still a secret. This secrecy has of caused a lot of speculation and a number of more or less reasonable theories have been put forth. One of the more far-fetched theories suggests that the Flowerhorn cichlid was artificially created in a Malaysian genetics laboratory by combining genes from a Goldfish with genes from the Trimac cichlid (Amhilophous Trimaculatus). A more reasonable suggestion is that the Flowerhorn cichlid is the result of crossing many different types of South American cichlids with each other, and that different forms of Flowerhorn cichlids can steam from different South American cichlids. The most plausible ancestry is crossings between the Trimac cichlid and other South American cichlids such as Midas cichlid (Amphilophus citrinellum), Red Devil cichlid (Amphilophus labiatum) and Redheaded cichlid (Vieja synspila).
The look of the Flowerhorn cichlids available in fish stores today is however not just the result of selective breeding. You can affect the appearance of a Flowerhorn cichlid by adjusting environmental factors such as the water chemistry in the aquarium. The food you feed your Flowerhorn cichlid can also change its look. The single most important factor behind the look of the fish is however the genetic makeup formed by selective breeding.
The Flowerhorn has been criticized as an unnatural and dangerous hybrid, produced by money-hungry breeders just to make money. Others have been impressed by the hard work that is evidently behind the creation of the Flowerhorn Cichlid. A lot of the South American cichlids mentioned above will occasionally interbreed in the wild as well, but there is no doubt that the Flowerhorn cichlid has been deliberately produced by breeders. The Flowerhorn cichlids are not the result of random cross breeding. Some people view the Flowerhorn as a purely man-made creation while others compare the hybrid to all the other animal variants that have been refined by humans during centuries of selective breeding.