Breeding American flag fish

Breeding American flag fish(Jordanella Floridae)

American flag fish trying to impersonate American flag
American flag fish trying to impersonate American flag

Equipment needed for breeding American flag fish

  • 24 inch tank and lid
  • Bright lighting
  • 100w heater stat
  • 2 sponge filters powered by air pump
  • plants around the aquarium
  • java moss
  • duck weed
  • dark gravel base

General care and description of American flag fish

American flag fish which are also known as Florida flag fish live quite well in temperatures ranging from 55-75 fahrenheit and slightly alkaline, moderately hard water. Ph of 6.7-82 and hardness of 4-8 degrees of dH is ideal.

American flag fish are a generally hardy fish. The males are more colourful and they grow to 2.5 inches. The females a little smaller.

The color pattern of the male is quite distinctive. He has a broad head and on his squared off body he has rows of red horizontal stripes. His back and in front of the dorsal fin is green, or in some cases blueish. His dorsal fin is far back along the body. A black spot is present on the side of most males, though it may be faded out in some cases. Below the spot many specimens sport yellow between the red horizontal stripes. This usually bleeds to white away from this area, but in some cases the whole side may be golden. Also present are faint vertical bands, which can be shown in varying degrees of intensity. None of these patterns have clear marked off boundaries and bleed together. The fins have red spots in them arranged to form horizontal rows. The tail is usually clear. The complete effect, if you take the green front as the field of stars is something that does resemble the pattern on the American Flag.

The female looks quite different from her mate. She is less squared off and does not show most of the male’s color pattern. She is a peachy, tan, or cream color and has the same brown bands as the male, only much more intense. The middle of each band appears to have been pushed forward…which may make it look like a checkerboard pattern. On her side she has a large black spot, ringed with white.

Flag fish are mostly vegetarian and are renowned algae eaters. They can be fed with spinach, lettuce, cucumber slices and split peas. This should be supplemented with some flake food. The American flag fish is easy to care for as long as you remember that it is a mostly vegetarian fish that occasionally eats insect tidbits.

Flag fish should be kept in a brightly lit aquarium that catches the sun to encourage the growth of their favourite food – algae.

They will also eat duckweed and may nip at java moss.

Flag fish do well in an aquarium with temperatures between 55 and 750F. They can also be kept in ponds outdoors in the summer months and might breed outdoors if the temperature reaches above 70F.

I recommend sponge filtration as a filtration method. It is best to avoid strong currents in the aquarium because the American flag fish grows in mostly still ponds.

They are sometimes temperamental especially when they come into breeding condition. So keep with livebearers that share similar water conditions and who keep out of the flag fish’s way by staying near the surface.

Preparation for breeding American flag fish

Raise the aquarium temperature to 75F and increase the duration of the lighting. Also feed well and add some live food to the diet. Place some spawning mops consisting of dark green wool mops, tied in bunches around the aquarium. Keep feeding fresh vegetable matter such as sliced cucumber and lettuce.

When you recognise a mating pair remove all other fish to another aquarium.

Breeding behaviour of American flag fish

American flag fish pair spawning
American flag fish pair spawning

When the male develops brilliant red and green horizontal stripes and has all his fins displayed wide and the female follows him to his territory then you know they are in breeding mood. Unusually the female makes the first move by reversing towards the male tail first towards the side of the male. This is repeated several times and there will be a quick flick, which sometimes results in the male and female sidling next to each other both in an s-shape. While they are side to side they will drift down and into some spawning material. They will mate with the male placing his dorsal over the female. After mating several times the female will go away. The mating ritual will occur over several days. The male will guard his territory. Anything that tries to eat the eggs will be attacked by the male.

Raising the fry of American flag fish

The eggs will hatch after 6 days after being laid when you keep the tank at 75F. It is best for you to remove the male at this time. For the first 4 days do not feed because the fry will still be absorbing their egg yolk. When the fry start to swim freely about then you can start feeding infusoria and with green water. The fry will also pick off any infusoria off the sponge filters and from within the java moss. After 2 or 3 weeks on the infusoria you should phase in the use of baby brineshrimp and stop the infusoria.