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Flag cichlid - Mesonauta festivus

Scientific name: Mesonauta festivus

Common name: Flag cichlid

Family: Cichlidae

Usual size in fish tanks: 12 - 15 cm (4.72 - 5.91 inch)


Recommended pH range for the species: 6.5 - 7.5

Recommended water hardness (dGH): 18 - 30°N (321.43 - 535.71ppm)

0°C 32°F30°C 86°F

Recommended temperature: 22 - 28 °C (71.6 - 82.4°F)

The way how these fish reproduce: Spawning

Where the species comes from: South America

Temperament to its own species: peaceful

Temperament toward other fish species: aggressive to smaller

Usual place in the tank: Middle levels


The Flag Cichlid will eat small fish, insects and mosquito larvae. Occasionally they will feed on veggie matter as a source of roughage.


Sexing this cichlid is difficult. The males have slightly longer fins than the females but not always by much. The females can be a little smaller and the males may have a longer snout. These methods of sexing the Flag Cichlid are not always 100% effective.


The female will produce between 500-1000 eggs on a smooth, flat stone that the male has cleaned and prepared for her. The male and female both keep watch over their eggs and fry. It takes 48 hours for the eggs to hatch and another 72 hours for the fry to become free swimming. The fry can then be fed finely crushed flake foods and newly hatched brine shrimp.


5-8 years.


The Flag Cichlid comes from rivers of South America including the Amazon, Rio Negro and Orinoco Rivers.

Short Description

This cichlid is considered to be one of the more peaceful cichlids but they are still not to be trusted with smaller fish, especially tetras. They can be pretty timid so provide a dimly lit environment with plenty of hiding places.