- Scientific name: Mesonauta festivus
- Common name: Festivum, Flag cichlid
- Synonyms: Acara festive, Chromys acora, Cichlasoma insigne, Hems festivus. Cichlasoma festivum.
- Group: Cichlids
- Habitat: South America; Western Guyana and the Amazon basin.
- Size: 15 cm.
- Biotope: Near the bank in quiet, protected streams with enough vegetation for concealment
- Social behavior: Territorial, peaceful, it will not damage plants. The fish are timid and easily frightened. Pairs form nuclear fami¬lies.
- Diet: Omnivorous, give them live foods as Tubifex worms, water fleas and mosquito larvae; dried food; supplements of lettuce or oatmeal are important.
- Breeding: Quite hard
- Tank: Minimum 150 litres.
- Population: 1 pair for 150 litres
- Decoration: Needs a tank with dense vegetation and hardy plants such as Sagittaria, Vallisneria and Cryptocorynes. Create places to hide among rocks, roots and bog-wood. Needs a few flat rocks for spawning.
- Temperature: 20-28°C
- pH: 5,5-7,5
- Hardness: 2-18 NK°
- Lifespan: 5-10 years
Description: The Festivum has a truly unique look. An oval-shaped cichlid with some lateral compression. The dorsal, pelvic, and anal fins are elongated and whitish-yellow in color. The back is whitish gray to dark gray. The body is whitish silver. A diagonal band extends from the tip of the dorsal fin to the eye. One of the most common Cichlids in the central Amazon, the species is sensitive to chemicals and nitrates. They should not be kept with Neons as they are a preferred food and will be eaten. They are best combined with Pterophyllum scalare.
It’s hard to tell the sexual differences, the male has longer fins. The genital papilla is a certain factor. It is pointed on the male, blunt on the female. The species is more difficult to breed than most Cichlasoma. Recommend slightly acid, soft water, pH 6.5 and 5° dGH. Keep temperatures between 25-28°C. Open breeders, the female spawns on leaves or flat rocks. After cleaning the site she drops 200-500 eggs. Both parents care¬fully guard the brood. The fry hatch in 2-3 days. The fry hang from leaves for 2-3 more days, and then are free-swimming. Start feeding with small live foods and crushed flake food. The Festivum reaches sexual maturity at one year.