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Festivum Cichlid


Apr 22, 2004
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Common name - Festivum Cichlid

Scientific name - Mesonauta Festiva,Cichlasoma festivae

Family - Cichlidae.

Origin - South American, widely spread through the Amazon, West Guyana

Max size - 8" female and 6" male.

Care - The Festivum is, despite its size, a very peaceful fish and also very timid. They like to hide out in shelterd areas such as caves, rocks/stones or bog wood. They like to have a temp. between 72-77 degrees F. They also like a pH of 6.5-8.0. A recomended tank size for begniners is 50 gallons but can live in smaller tanks while they are young.(no smaller then 25 gals.)

Feeding - Most foods will be excepted by these fish. i.e flakes,frozen or live.

Sexing - The males are green with out bars and females are red orange with heavy dark barring.

Breeding -Festivum Cichlids are open breeders and the female will drop from 600-1,000 eggs on rocks and roots. The female who will circulate water over the eggs by fanning them with her fins, carefully guarding them in pits.


Jan 13, 2008
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Here is my festivum.... just because I'm a bigger fish dork than I thought... :blush:

He's our biggest fish -- and my favorite.... :fish:



Oct 6, 2006
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Northern Virginia

Here are the six I got to see if I could get a breeding pair. Well, it worked.

That's the tank.

About two weeks ago, a pair laid eggs on a flowerpot (on the left, nearest the mossy driftwood) and chased the other four to the far end of a 55. Two days later, they ate the eggs. I then netted out 3, putting 1 in a 55 gallon Peruvian stream biotope show tank and 2 in a 33 gallon flatback with a school of rummies. The remaining oddball proved to be uncatchable (and I didn't want to break up the pair trying too hard.)

In any case, yesterday they spawned again. The center pot on the left. As I type this, the female is fanning the eggs with the pectoral fins, the male is patrolling along the driftwood, and the third wheel is hiding in the hygro on the far right.


A stroke of the brush does not guarantee art from
Jul 16, 2005
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Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, England
There are six recognised species in the genus Mesonauta, and while the differences aren't great in terms of care, there are differences in colouration.

Some species are definitely more attractive than others, so it's well worth spending a bit of time looking over Fishbase and the like so that you can identify the species on sale in your area. The specimen in the post by sabinalistic looks like Mesonauta festivus thanks to the abundance of blue and green, while those posted by tophat665 appear to be closer to Mesonauta insignis because of the contrast between the plain body and the bold oblique band. Mesonauta guyanae is another species traded, and to my eye at least seems to be characterised by fairly obvious vertical banding a bit like those on a convict cichlid.

One little point I'd make in terms of husbandry: these fish are capable of eating neon-sized fish. Wild fish feed primarily on plants (important for good colour!) and small invertebrates, but in aquaria they can and will eat very small fish. They may well ignore their tankmates when well fed, but if you go away on vacation and leave them hungry (the best approach for periods 2 weeks or less) then they might become a bit more predatory!

Cheers, Neale

EDIT: Sometimes Fishbase links are slow. If the .DE mirror above doesn't work, try these:
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