Mesonauta festivus
(Cichlasoma festivum)


    Another one of the original Cichlids we saw from times past. The Festivum is a peaceful and graceful cichlid that deserves greater distribution in our hobby. A nice compliment to the angel..

Quick stats:

Listed tank sizes are the minimum
Size: up to 4 inches (10cm)
Tank: 30 gallons +
Strata: Mostly middle, lower
PH: 6.5-7.5
Hardness: Medium hard to hard
Temperature: 72°- 82°F (25 to 34°C)


Order: Perciformes
Suborder: Percoidei
Family: Cichlidae
Genera: Mesonauta

Common name:


    , flag cichlid, Barred cichlid


The Amazon area and Western Guyana

General Body Form:The Festivum has a truly unique look. It is deep bodied with a pointed head. This point is more pronounced in young specimens. The Dorsal, Ventral and Anal fins are pointed and can reach to the back edge of the caudal fins. Older adults take on a more hunchbacked appearance.

Coloration:The Festivum have many distinct coloration patterns. This is due to the fact that some sub species are occasionally imported and each has slight variations, mostly in the number of bands and how they are arraigned. Here are some of the variations. Mesonauta insignis has 7 faint vertical bars that these fish exhibit when stressed,the 2nd and 4th are joined and the scales above the diagonal flagbar are reticulated. M mirificus third bar is divided and there are think horizontal lines above the diagonal flag. M. egregius has the third bar divided into two. I will give a general description here. The most easily identified trait is the diagonal bar or “flag” that extends from the mouth, across the lower part of the eyes and then up to the soft part of the dorsal fin. The back or the part above this band is a dark shade of Brown. The rest of the body color is a Green-Yellow with a metal like sheen. Air the start of the tail fin there is a large Black spot outlined in gold and sometimes a similar spot is seen in the center of the flag band. The pectoral fins are colorless and the rest have an over-all faint yellow look interlaced with small spots. Sexing is hard, with the females being slightly smaller than the males.

Maintenance:Mesonauta festivus

    1.  Is a timid fish that should be kept in a fairly large and tall aquarium, with plants that reach from the substrate to the water surface. Festivum prefer to live among the plants. There should also be an open area for swimming. The water temperature should be kept at least at 72°, but preferably higher. The hardness of the water is not overly important, but as with all fish the, you must do your water changes. They are not fussy eaters and will accept flake and frozen food and relish live foods of all kinds including small Crustaceans and Tubifex worms. The Festivum are usually peaceful with all but the smallest fish, they do not dig up the substrate or destroy the plants and they prefer to swim in the middle layers of the tank. They are happy in groups and should be kept in small schools
    and purchased small, not as older specimens. An all around winner for any aquarium.


    Mesonauta species are widespread in South America, Inhabiting most types of waterways.


    Reports of the Festivum have been reported, but no widespread process has been described. The sexes are difficult to tell, some say the males have longer fins. They are very selective when choosing a mate and several attempts might be needed before a pair is formed. They are the typical cichlid open breeder which spawns mostly on rocks and sometimes on the glass. Once a pair id formed they will remain faithful for life.

Complete Care Guide including coloration, breeding, tank size, water ph & temperature.


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