The Flowerhorn fish is an omnivorous fish. Hardy fish, they can survive under harsh conditions, even in drains. A pair of Flowerhorn fish can also give birth to about 200 fry every six months. Its high reproduction rate and hardiness, coupled together with a voracious appetite, give them the potential to wreak ecological havoc in the wild. During the craze, despite widespread demand for the fish, not all fish bred are "beautiful" or "lucky" enough to fetch a substantial price. These fishes were sometimes dumped at the nearest pond or waterway for convenience¡¯s sake. From there, they are able to make their way to the major waterways and irrigation channels.
There were little reports of the Flowerhorn causing trouble in Singapore, but the situation seemed to be pretty serious in Malaysia, a neighbouring country. An experiment was once conducted in seven of the lakes in Kelana Jaya, Selangor, in 2003. Bread was thrown into the water, and to the observers' horror, most of the fish which arose were Flowerhorn, some of them hideously mutated.
Fishes like the Fighting Fish, Three-Spotted Gurami and Snakehead were also badly affected by the release of Flowerhorn in the wild.
To combat this phenomenon, equally aggressive local fishes, such as the Giant Snakehead, the Malaysian jungle perch and the Featherback were released to combat the problem. The tactic seemed to have worked as the hullabaloo about the fish has since died down and the species affected have begun to recover.
This a classic case of ecological havoc brought about by man when he brings alien species into a into a new habitat, and we feel that it is one lesson we humans can draw from the incident. The Flowerhorn impact is considered a very minor one, there are many worse cases, including the killer bees of America, among others.