How to Care for Red Dragon Flowerhorns

Simple Tips for Enhancing Red Dragon Flowerhorns

The red dragon flowerhorn is one of the very first Lou Hans I kept. As with other flowerhorns belonging to the Zen Zhou category, the red dragon is unbelievably very easy to enhance and care for. If you are a newbie to this hobby, I suggest keeping this strain or any strain belonging to the Zen Zhou category.

In this post, I will discuss with you everything you need to know on how to care for red dragon flowerhorns. Even if you have very limited experience keeping fishes, I guarantee that by following the tips below, you will do just fine in keeping these hardy cichlids.

Choosing the Right Fish
Health, above anything else, should be your primary consideration when choosing a red dragon. Fish should be free of defects, have no visible signs of disease, and should swim just fine. 

When it comes to buying flowerhorns, it’s better to buy a better quality fish even if the price is a bit higher.  In my experience, it’s almost always better buying a single high quality fish at premium price than buying a few low quality ones at bargain price with the hope that they will turn out beautiful once enhanced. Check out my other post for a more detailed discussion about the traits, pricing, and origin of the red dragon flowerhorn.

Preparing the Tank
A 50-gallon tank would suffice for most red dragons aging two years or less. In fact, these may serve them just enough for their entire lifetime. Unlike many classic Lou Hans, new strains normally don’t grow as large. However, you should still observe the growth rate of your fish as it’s not uncommon for many new red dragons to grow to a fuller size. If you think your fish is already having trouble moving around its tank, you definitely should get it a much larger tank.

If you prefer buying a juvenile fish that you could rear until they achieve their best potential, I suggest using a 50-gallon tank until they reach 6-8 inches in size. If you think your fish is still growing, buy it a larger tank. A 70-gallon tank is the smallest in this case. Or you could just use a 70-gallon tank right away. With these fast-growing cichlids, bigger tanks are always better. Read more about this topic on our guide on flowerhorn tank sizes

Comprehensive Feeding Guide
The red dragon flowerhorn would eagerly consume any fish food designed for cichlids and they would just do fine. If you however want to enhance your pet to achieve its full potentials, provide it with fish food that are rich in Astaxanthin, preferably those derived from natural ingredients like krill. Personally, I stay away from synthetic astaxanthin. In my experience, they make fish develop redness much faster but there effects are not as long-lasting and as vibrant as with fish food containing natural enhancers.

At their growth years provide them with high protein fish food, but slowly shift to those containing more vegetable matter as they grow older. Personally, I believe that this will help you fish live longer. Always check that they are not very fat and overfed as this is the biggest reason for poor health. The growth rate of the red dragon flowerhorn typically starts to decline as they reach six inches. I think that’s the right time to SLOWLY shift to fish food containing less protein and more fiber and spirulina. Read more on food for flowerhorn head growth.

Keeping Your Fish Healthy
Flowerhorns are voracious eaters so it’s expected that they would produce a lot of waste. Keep you fish healthy by following a strict feeding routine. Again, NEVER overfeed. 

Religiously follow a water change routine. Red dragons unlike many Kamfa are not as susceptible to the bad effects of water change and may in fact benefit from it more if done frequently. You don’t have to remove the fish from the tank. Just siphon waste along with 30% tank water and replace with aged water. Do this every week or two. 

Provide your fish with properly lighting as well. Check out our guide on flowerhorn lighting.