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Family: Cyprinodontidae

Common Name: American Flag Fish

Origin: North America, Florida to the Yucatan Peninsula.

Compatibility/Temperament: Generally good community residents, although males are territorial. They can be compared to dwarf cichlids in terms of temperament, meaning they might not get along so well with other ill-tempered fish. They will become very territorial when breeding, as the male will select a nesting site and defend it with vigor. They are not a good choice for a planted tank with delicate flora, as they will rip up or eat plants. They also tend to be nippy, and should not be tankmates with fish like guppies for this reason.

American Flag Fish Diet

They are one of the few fishes that will eat hair algae, and will spend much of their time grazing the way livebearers do. They will eat flake, and do need a vegetative component to their diet.


2 - 2.5" adult length. In ponds, they can grow even larger.

Minimum Tank Suggestion

5g, larger for multiples

Water parameters for American Flag Fish

The American Flag Fish should be kept in an aquarium with the temperature ranging from 76 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and a Ph of around 7.


American flag fish were originally thought to be one of the cichlids or even sunfish. This fish is easy to mistake for a livebearer. They're not actually livebearers and are in fact part of the killifish family. Being a killifish, one might think that this fish is largely insectivorous but it is mainly an herbivore. This fish rivals the true Siamese Algae Eaters for algae consumption having been known to consume green filamentous algae, black brush algae and even staghorn algae.

While this fish does fit in small tanks, be careful when mixing them with community fish. This fish can be eager to breed and the males at this time, if irate, can be aggressive toward their fellow tankmates, even the female members of their species. They act much like dwarf cichlids do. They are rather territorial in their own way. They do not serve as long-term algae controllers in a community tank.

Determining gender is simple. Females have a black dot at the posterior end of the dorsal fin, males do not. Males also tend to be a bit more colorful and can often be seen guarding a selected nesting site, or even defending eggs similar to a ram cichlid.

Contributing Members

The following members have contributed to this profile: iamntbatman, Fishpunk


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