I saw Flag Cichild for first time in Youtube video. It was about catching Discus fish in Amazon river or something. There were these Cichilds swimming along with Discus fish in dark water but I had no idea what are they or name of them For years I wondered why I haven’t seen them in Aquariums or Pet shops.
So I found their name finally which searching something else in Google. I learned they are commonly called Flag Cichlid and a really great community fish which live peacefully with many types of fish. It looks like they are not exactly rare but not common either.
They are belong to Mesonauta, is a small genus of cichlid native to South America. There are six recognized species in this genus at the moment. Usually in pet shop all these types sold as Flag Cichlid, Barred Cichlid or Festivum.
These guys are not colorful like many other Cichlids but very peaceful. You can keep them with most of other Cichlids and also with Tetra and Barbs. Of course don’t try to put them with tiny fish like Neon Tetra which looks more like snacks from their view but other than that they will be fine with any small or bigger size fish.
Males could grow up to 6 inches and females usually grow up to 4 -5 inches. So preferable tank size would be around 40 gallons or 140 litres. Bigger the better since you might want to keep them in a community. Here’s a 77 gallon community tank with Festivums.
If you are setting up a tank for then make sure you have a big tank with alive plants and also with open area. Fish should able to reach the surface since Festivum to pick food from surface.
They like to swim near surface or mid area of tank searching for food. They eat both plants and meat so you can feed them variety of food. In Wild they feed on worms, crustaceans, plant matter etc.
These guys are pinky lovers. Once they choose a mate they stay mates as all their life time. It’s not easy find their gender either. Usually males are bigger and have more pointy fins. Festivum are open breeders so they usually lay eggs on a stone and cleaned spot in tank even might on glass or filter like Discus fish does.
It might be difficult to find what type of Mesonauta you have since they look similar and not much information out there about them. I will try to find photos of all six types and post.