Mesonauta insignis - festive cichlid

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Bob Mehen
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Mesonauta insignis - festive cichlid

Postby Bob Mehen » Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:44 pm

Common name: Festive cichlid, Flag cichlid.
Scientific name: Mesonauta insignis, (Heckel, 1840).
Synonyms: Heros insignis , Heckel, 1840.
Origin: South America. Amazon river basin - Brazil, Columbia, Venezuela.
Size: 20cm/ 8".
Diet: Omnivore - crustaceans, plant material, fry etc. In the aquarium they enthusiastically accept most dried foods, frozen bloodworm, daphnia as well as courgette, lettuce etc.
Water: Soft acidic water is prefered - in the wild they are found in pH as low as 3 or 4, but anything below pH 7 and soft should be fine in the aquarium. 25oC to 30oC.
Aquarium: 120 x 30 x 30 is a good minimum for a pair. They appreciate cover in the tank, ideally in the form of roots/branches. Plants will also help them settle, but expect them to nibble! Generally very peaceful, especially for a cichlid and safe with all but the smallest fish species.
Stocking: A pair, or if the tank is big enough a larger group is possible. Buy a group of young fish and if both sexes are present expect pairs to form within 6 months to a year.
Habitat: Shallow water amongst fallen wood and leaf litter, pools and lake margins.
Breeding:Pair will clean a surface in the tank - usually wood, or plant leaves. Several hundred eggs are layed and defended by the pair. Eggs hatch after around 36 to 48hrs, and fry free swimming after around a week. Parent fish develop characteristic dark vertical tiger stripe barring when breeding and defending eggs/fry. Fry are very small.
Sexing: Males larger than females, developing a nuchal hump as they mature.
Price: £5 to £20 each depending on size.
Author: Bob Mehen.

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All photos: Bob Mehen.
Last edited by Bully on Sat Apr 24, 2010 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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