Name: Mesonauta festivus|
Origin: Central Amazon|
I don't know why people don't pay much attenion to this fish. I think they are wonderful. I have found them to adapt well to any tank water, but they do best in the same conditions of Discus. These are one of the few wild fish that will hang around a group of wild Discus. They like a densely planted aquarium also, such as one for some Gouramis. They do get quite large, up to 7 inches. I would not recommend this fish for a community because they can be aggressive at times. Many people think they belong to the gourami family, but this is wrong. They are a true cichlid. I would strongly, strongly reccommend these be put with other amazon cichlids, and Discus. During the quarantine period of the discus, they would be great to accompany the discus while in this process, especially wild discus. They will eat a variety of foods, but make sure they get a varied diet because as with other large cichlids they can get HLLE (Head and Lateral Line Erosion). Please go out and buy one, I would like to see these wonderful fish rise to popularity!
Very peaceful, very easy. Will not let most plants grow in the tank, though. Will eat chopped salad or dandillion leaves. One of my favourites.
They are good tank mates for a school of Angels. I have kept them as pairs.
This is my second favorite cichlid. It can grace a community tank of tetras, mollies, Angelfish, and clown loaches, provided the tank is large, heavily planted, and tankmates are not too small. They do not always get along, so if your festivum is aggressive, put it in a semi-aggressive tank. It can also hold its own in a semi-agressive tank with convicts, blood red parrots, severums, oscars and fire mouths, where the closely related Angelfish would be beaten to death.
About 3-4 years ago I bought a small group of these fish in Guyana from an exporter, averaging around 5-6 cm and brought them back to the UK. They were very shy initially, in a large tank on their own, but totally enjoyed themselves when they thought they were alone and not under observation. A pair did try to breed but lost interest after a few days! They really shone when I introduced some dither fish. Now, a few years on, I am putting them through a major breeding program. Lovely species which has lost its definition through inbreeding (here in the UK) but with my wild bunch I hope to get a good crop!
I have had my 2 Festive's for about 2 months now and I am slowly regretting that I bought them. They ate about 6 of my neon tetra's, a guppy, and ate my ram cichlid's eggs! I probably should have done more research on these fish instead of walking into the pet store thinking oh, they look really nice, I guess I'll buy some! Festive cichlids are probably best kept with angel fish and discus.