New Flowerhorn scared of me all of a sudden

Hedrus

Feeder Fish
MFK Member
May 12, 2021
12
18
3
44
Alpharetta GA
www.artstation.com
I got a flowerhorn 7 days ago. He was packed very well and was acting like nothing had ever happened the night after he arrived. I have been feeding him for 2 min twice daily with med-small pellets. He is around 8 inches long. Hes been following my hand on the glass and very active. Great strong color too. Yesterday around dinner time, a friend was over and I wanted to feed him while my friend was here. He was very reluctant to take food. He ate some and then spit some out. Then he darted away from me into the back of the tank. This morning he no longer is following my hand and seems scared of me. He ate a small amount of pellets this morning. Dinner time he has hid from me and didn't seem interested in food at all. I tested the water parameters to be safe. No ammonia or nitrite. There is around 10ppm of nitrate despite doing a 1/3 water change on Friday(its Sunday as of writing). The PH is low at around 6.5-6.8. Tannins in drift wood is whats causing it I think. The color of the water is a tad dark(even though I soaked the wood for 2 weeks first). I did a fishless cycle for 2 months. I have a FX 6 canister and 2 sponge filters with airstones. 75 gallon with some gravel and large pond stones(rounded). Should I be worried? He swims around all the time. He isn't acting much different other than being afraid of me and not going for food like he was as of a day ago. I can post photos or even a video if anyone wants to see. I am 100% new to flowerhorns or larger fish in general.
 
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Daniel36

Candiru
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Dec 18, 2018
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I got a flowerhorn 7 days ago. He was packed very well and was acting like nothing had ever happened the night after he arrived. I have been feeding him for 2 min twice daily with med-small pellets. He is around 8 inches long. Hes been following my hand on the glass and very active. Great strong color too. Yesterday around dinner time, a friend was over and I wanted to feed him while my friend was here. He was very reluctant to take food. He ate some and then spit some out. Then he darted away from me into the back of the tank. This morning he no longer is following my hand and seems scared of me. He ate a small amount of pellets this morning. Dinner time he has hid from me and didn't seem interested in food at all. I tested the water parameters to be safe. No ammonia or nitrite. There is around 10ppm of nitrate despite doing a 1/3 water change on Friday(its Sunday as of writing). The PH is low at around 6.5-6.8. Tannins in drift wood is whats causing it I think. The color of the water is a tad dark(even though I soaked the wood for 2 weeks first). I did a fishless cycle for 2 months. I have a FX 6 canister and 2 sponge filters with airstones. 75 gallon with some gravel and large pond stones(rounded). Should I be worried? He swims around all the time. He isn't acting much different other than being afraid of me and not going for food like he was as of a day ago. I can post photos or even a video if anyone wants to see. I am 100% new to flowerhorns or larger fish in general.
I’m new to the fish hobby myself however I’ve had my flowerhorn for a little over three years now. I’ve had and continue to have periods of time where he is not interested in eating at all. Some times these spells can be as short as a day, a few times a week. I wouldn’t worry too much on that end. I also offer a variety of different pellets and the occasional frozen blood worm or brine shrimp cube as a treat. As for his shyness, can’t speak to that. My guys been a fearless buck as long as I’ve had him, perhaps it’s just a phase. Hope everything works out well for you.

DA72090D-2DE1-4904-AA05-5DF14FE1EAE3.jpeg
 

FINWIN

Redtail Catfish
MFK Member
Dec 21, 2018
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Washington DC
I got a flowerhorn 7 days ago. He was packed very well and was acting like nothing had ever happened the night after he arrived. I have been feeding him for 2 min twice daily with med-small pellets. He is around 8 inches long. Hes been following my hand on the glass and very active. Great strong color too. Yesterday around dinner time, a friend was over and I wanted to feed him while my friend was here. He was very reluctant to take food. He ate some and then spit some out. Then he darted away from me into the back of the tank. This morning he no longer is following my hand and seems scared of me. He ate a small amount of pellets this morning. Dinner time he has hid from me and didn't seem interested in food at all. I tested the water parameters to be safe. No ammonia or nitrite. There is around 10ppm of nitrate despite doing a 1/3 water change on Friday(its Sunday as of writing). The PH is low at around 6.5-6.8. Tannins in drift wood is whats causing it I think. The color of the water is a tad dark(even though I soaked the wood for 2 weeks first). I did a fishless cycle for 2 months. I have a FX 6 canister and 2 sponge filters with airstones. 75 gallon with some gravel and large pond stones(rounded). Should I be worried? He swims around all the time. He isn't acting much different other than being afraid of me and not going for food like he was as of a day ago. I can post photos or even a video if anyone wants to see. I am 100% new to flowerhorns or larger fish in general.
Your friend may have made him nervous and he's temporarily associating you with that (if the 2 of you were near each other). Sometimes certain colors bug fish, or items of clothing. My parrot Kong went through a phase where she would freak out at hats and neck scarves, seeing 'monsters' and banging the glass. Then it was anything green. Now she doesn't care. For awhile my other fish hated red. Now they don't care either...I fed them goodies when I wore red to take the negative association away. My Oscar likes some family members and not others.

Sometimes fish get bored with particular foods, too. If my Oscar is expecting a particular food and I don't serve it, he swims off. Remember fish aren't automations. They aren't always going to show the same behaviors every day.

I like your chunky flowerhorn btw.
 

Hedrus

Feeder Fish
MFK Member
May 12, 2021
12
18
3
44
Alpharetta GA
www.artstation.com
Thanks so much for the replies. I dimmed the lights in the room he is in and also dimmed his tank light to around 20%. A few hours later he took 2 pellets from me. He's still not like he was but he seems like he is getting better. Odd to think these fish can be like this. I never would have thought they would get spooked over different people and colors/clothing. Fascinating. I will be much more careful about scaring him then. I already have my lights dim slowly and turn on slowly to not scare him. I don't want him breaking his spine from a light turning on. I have read about that happening.
 

HybridFinatic

Redtail Catfish
MFK Member
Oct 24, 2018
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Yeah if your seeing tannins change the color of the water than it could be the ph drop causing it or maybe atleast contributing but I would say it's probably mainly what FINWIN said. I'm raising male cons right now and like a lot of new fish they can get a little spooked sometimes. I believe they are learning what is and isn't a threat.
 
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HybridFinatic

Redtail Catfish
MFK Member
Oct 24, 2018
1,271
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Virginia
Your friend may have made him nervous and he's temporarily associating you with that (if the 2 of you were near each other). Sometimes certain colors bug fish, or items of clothing. My parrot Kong went through a phase where she would freak out at hats and neck scarves, seeing 'monsters' and banging the glass. Then it was anything green. Now she doesn't care. For awhile my other fish hated red. Now they don't care either...I fed them goodies when I wore red to take the negative association away. My Oscar likes some family members and not others.

Sometimes fish get bored with particular foods, too. If my Oscar is expecting a particular food and I don't serve it, he swims off. Remember fish aren't automations. They aren't always going to show the same behaviors every day.

I like your chunky flowerhorn btw.
Oh yeah I learned about red and my fish after I walked in my fish room with a red hoodie and my two rainbow cichlids were like "oh sh*t" then swam at high speed into the glass back and forth. For a fishkeeper it's a little traumatizing when your beloved fish are trying to concuss themselves after you excitedly walk in the room to feed them. Took me a minute to realize what it was too.
 
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FINWIN

Redtail Catfish
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Dec 21, 2018
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Washington DC
Get a Finnex 24/7 led light strip. It goes through a whole day/night cycle gradually and you just set it and leave it alone. Makes a huge difference in your fish. They wake up at their own pace, then when its sleepy time they relax and disappear into hidey holes.
 
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Bbuckley

Dovii
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Mar 3, 2021
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He is an absolute stunner. I wouldn't worry to much especially because he's new, just make sure you don't see any white stringy poo as that's a sign of internal parasites which can be conman in flowerhorns.

I'm new to flowerhorns myself had my guy since Feb, your in for a fun ride 😊. Just make sure he's got cover and maybe approach your tank slowly for a little while untill he feels completely settled.

My guy hates if I have my hood up on my jacket he's injured himself a few times trying to escape me, at these times I'll drop his lights a bit and keep back a few mins.

What I do is just spend time sat at the tank even if he was hiding just so he can get used to you and know your no threat.

Where now at a point where I'm more scared of him than hin me 😂.

Dose your guy have a name.

This is Eddie.

IMG_20210729_131333.jpg

IMG_20210729_131316.jpg
 
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