Tropical Tank Care Advice: From Keeping to Breeding American Flagfish

A shoal of colorful American flagfish will pop out against the lush green aquatic plants in a tropical tank. Apart from being an algae eater, this species can grab the bystanders’ attention while looking at the meticulous freshwater aquarium.

This ravenous kill fish features an attractive color pattern that resembles the American flag. It has a slight staining metallic shade with bright blue, yellow, and red stripes.

Those vivid streaks look in contrast to the brown driftwoods, dark hardscapes, and light substrates.

This article presents some expert guidelines for housing, feeding, breeding, and so on. To house the flagfish in your freshwater tank, consider the following information to create an ideal home for this species.


General Description of American flagfish

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Jordanella floridae is a scientific name of the American flagfish. This unique-looking species is native to Florida.

It dwells in ponds, marshes, lakes, swamps, canals, and other slow-moving waters. It is also adaptable to any water conditions.

A mature kill fish species grows about 6 centimeters long, so it is the best for swimming in a school. The American flagfish lifespan is three years. However, a five-year pupfish possibly lives if you provide well-maintained care.

An Ideal Tank for the American Flagfish

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The minimum size of the tank for a pair of American flagfish is 75 liters. For a small group, a 30-gallon aquarium is large enough to make them dwell comfortably.

This capacity is suitable for a school of six fish. Thus, you can upgrade the container for new larger teams.

Recommended Tank Parameters

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Although American flagfish can adapt to any condition, you should set up the tank parameters to create a more comfortable living space.

The temperature is about 18 to 30 degrees Celcius.  Then, make sure that the water chemistry is at a pH of 6,5 to 8.

Moreover, applying a filter in the American flagfish planted tank is necessary to offer a minimum current. For instance, choose an air-powered sponge filter to reduce the mortality rate of the juveniles.

Beautiful Coloration

beautiful coloration of american flagfish's aquariumamerican flagfish beautiful coloration
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This peaceful pupfish brings a variety of vibrant colors. Enhance the beautiful coloration by pairing the species with some contrasting elements. Starting from the dark shade of the substrate will bring out the vibrant hues of American flagfish.

Blue, red, and yellow body tones can be emphasized with black gravels or brown soil base.

The bold colors of the substrate might evoke the brightness of the fish without muting the hues of other aquatic animals in the tank.

Additionally, installing an LED light is essential for giving a more attractive look instead of lighting intensity supply. It will perfectly emphasize the tank appearance by establishing a glimmer effect.

Well-Structured Layout

american flagfish nano tank
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To create an illusion of a larger space, opting for a dark blue background. It is the best for setting up a territorial area in limited space for small groups of American flagfish.

If you have a handful of male flagfish to house in a large aquarium, the tank should include hardscapes, driftwoods, and several aquatic plants.

For example, arrange the rocks and tree roots in a U-shaped layout to give an open space for swimming.

Furthermore,  attaching some plants on the hardscapes helps to break up the males’ aggression. A well-structured arrangement will disperse their line-of-sights.

Habitual Nourishment for Feeding American Flagfish

american flagfish eat algae
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American flagfish belongs to omnivore that eats algae, crustaceans, and insects for diet. Therefore you should provide the same food as what it consumes.

In the wild, this species likes feeding on plant matter, so don’t forget to supply fresh vegetables in the home tank.

Algae is the based food for flagfish that should be provided in several weeks. Instead of that, it is necessary to feed it on fresh vegetables such as zucchini, cucumber, and shelled peas.

This species becomes sought-after fish since it feeds on hair algae. Thus, the flagfish might control the aquarium from this plant matter.

However, they can damage any aquatic elements in the aquascape tank.

Additionally, flake food is high-quality nourishment for this small kill fish. Also, live or frozen supplies become the other alternative diet that includes blackworms, Daphnia, and brine shrimps.

Brood of Juvenile Fish

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To achieve a successful propagation, prepare a separate breeding tank. It provides a proper condition to breed and protects the juveniles well.

Set up a small breeding tank with a size of 61 centimeters. Control the temperature higher than common condition, for about 22 degrees Celcius. Utilize sponge filters to provide soft filtration. They are to ensure that the fry can hatch safely.

Don’t forget to apply for a small and thin substrate in the foreground. It serves a comfortable area for the juveniles to avoid getting stuck in the gravels.

Furthermore, decorate some floating plants for hiding areas. The females need those sites to stay when they are not ready to propagate with over-enthusiastic males.

During the breeding process, the females need a short time to rest. Thus, the floating plants serve the best hiding place for them.

The breeding of flagfish occurs during the fall and spring seasons. To avoid having many aggressive males during the propagation, identify the genders are necessary. Both males and females have their specific characteristics.

The females feature a large and fleshy yellow body with a black marking on the dorsal fin. Meanwhile, the males have a more colorful appearance without any dark spots. The big flat thin part on the back is as big as the anal ones.

The process starts with setting up the males’ territories to tempt the females into the denning site. Then, both fish will copulate in the territorial area.

After doing a successful display, they find an aquatic plant or hardscape. The male will start bouncing motions over the female to release the eggs. Both genders try to keep jerking several times.

American flagfish has two types of spawning. They are depositing the eggs in the substrate and the roots of the floating plants.

This fish usually scatters the eggs widely instead of digging out holes for parental care. Then, after breeding, remove the parents to maximize the number of juveniles.

The eggs will hatch after ten days. Then, the young fishes will stay at the bottom of the aquarium since they cannot swim due to the early brood of the fry.

You can feed them with baby brine shrimps and micro worms. However, it takes many efforts to give them foods properly.

The Best Companion Fish of American Flagfish

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Since the males of American flagfish tend to build territories, you should provide a large space in the community tanks.

Applying well-structured decorations and plants will avoid too many open areas and create a safe condition for potential tankmates.

To keep this species in a community aquarium, consider choosing fast-swimming and narrow fish. A group of danios and tetra are the best companion species.

The flagfish can have a bad attitude toward slower fish like guppies and bettas. Sometimes, this pupfish can be too strenuous and annoying to others. However, they are still possible to be good tank mates.

Guppy Fish vs American flagfish

american flagfish and guppy fish
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Guppy is a rainbow fish that can be paired with American flagfish. This slow-swimming species will balance the energetic speed of Cyprindon floridae.

However, to prevent the kill fish bite Poecilia reticulata, establish an aquascape with some driftwoods and rocks to break the flagfish’s line-of-sight. It is better to add a school of five male guppies as the tank mates.

Betta Fish

Betta Fish american
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It is not a good idea to pair a flagfish with betta fish. The aggressive kill fish can be a fin nipper to other species, but don’t worry! You can mix them safely in a specific condition.

The least number of kill fish will be safe for others. Try to pair a single American flagfish with one male and four female bettas in a large planted aquarium. The marshy vegetated tank will reduce its line of sight. Thus, it will aid in your struggle.


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The safest companion option for American flagfish is a group of danios.

Mix the small kill fish with these quicker species that feature rows of spots and horizontal striped patterns. To minimize stress and aggression, keep at least a group of five.


Tetra fish and american flagfish
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A group of neon or rummy nose tetras will be the best tank mates for American flagfish. Both fishes serve colorful patterns in the body.

These stunning tropical species are active in the peaceful community of a well-planted aquarium.

American Flagfish Care Guide

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American flagfish is suitable for cold water aquarium. You can set a high value on the beautiful colors from the tank.

This species is also a good choice for small ornate ponds but the colors will be difficult to admire at close range.

The flagfish that combined with other stunning species will make your home aquarium look colorful and bright. The attractive coldwater fish is very peaceful and hardy.

Since the Florida flagfish used to swim in slow-moving streams, you should prepare a tank with a smooth flow of water.

An aquarium with plenty of plants and some shaded areas will be a perfect home for American flagfish.

In conclusion, if you want to establish an outstanding aquarium with bright colors, American flagfish becomes the best option to keep in your tank. It requires less effort to care, brood, and eat anything. Happy fishkeeping!

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