Flag Cichlid

Flag Cichlid (Mesonauta festivus)

Flag Cichlid

Flag Cichlid

Flag Cichlid (Mesonauta festivus)–

Origin: the northern half of South America

Size: 10cm/ 4 inches

Temperature: 24-28°C/76-82° F

Two fish are frequently sold under the common name Flag Cichlid. Mesonauta festivus in one and the other is the related M. insignis. They look very much alike with the latter having a splash of yellow on their throats. Their requirements and behavior are identical, so this write up can serve for both of them. Although not as readily available as the angelfish, the Flag Cichlids are perhaps better suited for a general community tank than angels because they stay much smaller. Their personalities are good for cichlids and they can be kept with smaller fish that are too large to eat like barbs and heftier tetras and other types of peaceful cichlids like rams and earth-eaters. However, like most cichlids, they will become aggressive when breeding.



This is one dwarf cichlid that is not a picky eater. It happily eats flakes and pellets but should be given a varied diet to maintain its health.


They like to be in a well-planted tank. Add some floating plants to dim the lights a little and provides a sense of security. They prefer a soft substrate of sand or dirt.


To breed them, a flat stone or piece of slate should be added to their tank. Approach the tank as little as possible once the eggs are laid. Although both parents will take care of the eggs and fry, they become nervous while guarding the brood and will eat them to prevent a predator…or you…from taking them.


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