This is an old favorite, first introduced into Europe in 1908 and bred in captivity a year later. Despite this, there is still some doubt regarding the true identity of the species, with a school of thought leaning toward the “festivus” from the Rio Negro being renamed Mesonauta insignis and those from other areas being regarded as the “true” Mesonauta festivus.
Other common names
- Flag Cichlid, Festivum
- Mesonauta festiva
- Amazon basin, but may exist elsewhere, e.g. Guyana.
- Up to 8in (20cm) reported, but usually smaller.
- Territorial at breeding time, but otherwise can be timid.
- All foods accepted.
- Spacious and well planted, with adequate shelter and at least one flat- topped or smooth, rounded rock. Water chemistry not critical, but soft, slightly acid conditions preferred. Temperature range: 72-77°F (22-25°C); slightly higher for breeding.
- Eggs are laid on a precleaned site, which can be a broadleaved plant or a rock. Eggs and fry are protected by both parents.