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American Flagfish Care & Facts(Jordanella Floridae)

American Flagfish

American Flagfish

Originating in the Florida Peninsula, these attractive little fish are unsurprisingly named after the American flag. Their bodies are striped in shades of blue, red and a pale green, with some scales that appear to some to resemble sparkling stars!

American Flagfish - Habitat, Care, Feeding, Tank Size, Breeding -  AquariumNexus
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But what is it about the American Flagfish that people find so captivating? Is this an easy fish to look after as a beginner? How big do they get, and how many will you ideally be able to house in a medium to large tank? Let’s take a look in our full guide below.  

  • Fish Lifespan: Varies
  • Tank Size: At Least 10 Gallons
  • Water Temperature: Between 62F and 77F
  • pH: Between 6.7 and 8.2
  • Hardness: Between 6 and 20 dKH
  • Compatibility: Compatible with Tetras
  • Fish Size: Up to 3 Inches

How do you take care of American Flagfish?

On the whole, the American Flagfish isn’t normally that much of a demanding critter. It’s a type of Killifish and is known as a ‘New World’ variety. You’ll generally find it living in still waters in the wild. As it hails from Florida, hence its Latin name, the American Flagfish will normally be easy to spot in swampy waters and ponds.

When looking after an American Flagfish, you should be ready to set up a tank that’s full of interesting bits and pieces. This means you should consider setting up plenty of logs and chunks of driftwood. Ultimately, the American Flagfish is going to enjoy hiding amongst all kinds of nooks and crannies, which means you should have plenty of opportunities for them to scurry away from other beasts as and when they want to.

Juvenile Algae Eating American Flag Fish | Arizona Aquatic Gardens
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As you can see from our essential facts above, the American Flagfish has a pretty flexible hardness and pH demand. This makes it one of the easiest fish to manage in terms of water quality. Of course, you should be ready to monitor the tank as much as you would with other fish, too.

The American Flagfish tends to be a popular fish to actually raise in a tank, which means it’s going to be a good beginner choice. They tend to eat just about everything, which again makes it fairly easy to care for on the whole. They love swimming among dense plants, too, meaning if you have designs on setting up a stack of aquatic plant life alongside your fish and other critters, the American Flagfish is never going to turn its nose up.

Generally, look for a tank that’s around 10 gallons in size to start off with. Naturally, the more fish you adopt, the bigger the tank you’ll need, so if in doubt, go larger. This should set you up well if you want to breed these fish.

How big do American Flagfish get?

The American Flagfish can grow to around two and a half to three inches long. However, they often measure much shorter than this, and can be some of the tiniest critters you’ll host in a brackish tank.

Usually purchased at an approximate length between ¾ of an inch and 1 ¼ inch in length, these perky little fellows are always an entertaining little fish to add to the aquarium. The males tend to have a more olive green color band along their body and can be considered somewhat more ornate.  

It’s normally fairly easy to tell female and male American Flagfish apart, as the female of the species is often slightly larger. They will also have yellower coloration. Even so, these are feisty little fish that probably won’t cramp your tank too much. In any case, as always, err on the side of a larger tank or aquarium if you are in doubt about how much space you actually have.

Will Flagfish eat shrimp?

Yes, indeed they will! Flagfish are omnivores and enjoy a mixed diet of meat and vegetable matter. They are often enthusiastic at feeding time, and if kept in groups, it is best to give a wide sprinkling of food so that everyone gets a fair share!

American Flagfish (Jordanella floridae) Complete Care Guide
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As with all fish in groups, feeding times can be competitive, but these fish are generally good-natured and sometimes food floats to the bottom. As usual, where multiple fish share a tank, some fish may scoop up food from the bottom or where it has fallen onto plants and rocks. Nonetheless, hyperactivity at feeding time is not a guarantee that all the food has been devoured – so it’s a good idea to check the surfaces in your tank and ensure the water is clean.

Decaying food will contaminate the water and your Flagfish will suffer as a result. Good hygiene is of course always recommended and can help control the health of your fish. 

What do Flagfish eat?

The American Flagfish is a voracious ‘foodie’ and will pretty much gobble up anything they come across. Such is the life of an omnivore!

They enjoy eating live worms and shrimp as well as eat flaked and frozen food. Variety, as they say, is the spice of life – and your Flagfish should thrive on a mix of those foods as well as do a great ‘community service’ by keeping the algae levels down in the tank.

Flagfish tend to be great additions to any tanks where there is a fair mix of food going on. They don’t tend to be very aggressive feeders, but even so, these are critters that like taking their fair share of anything that sinks into their tank.

Do American Flagfish eat plants?

No. As detailed above, American Flagfish are omnivores, which means they will eat and prefer a mixed diet of meat and vegetables, such as they would choose in the wild.

These fish explore different feeding opportunities in the wild, and the closer you can achieve a diet near to that which they would normally enjoy in their natural habitat, the happier they will be and the more likely to breed. That is, if that is what you are looking to do!

American Flagfish-Jordanella floridae
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Plant matter in flakes as well as natural plant matter in the tank are great additions to the diet of a Flagfish, which means you really should keep your eye out for all kinds of bits and pieces you can feed them on.

It’s probably best to try and put these fish in a tank with creatures of a similar size, as they will likely want to eat anything smaller than themselves! Make sure to take care with any carnivorous or omnivorous fish you introduce, to that end!

Should I get an American Flagfish?

American Flagfish are extremely appealing for all kinds of reasons. They are lots of fun to watch in your tank and will add a ton of color and charm, too. Even better is the fact that they tend to be pretty easy to look after on the whole, ideal for beginners or those fish keepers who are just upgrading their tanks to something a little fancier!

Of course, the American Flagfish does have its own specific needs and demands, so make sure you know the temperature, pH and hardness of water that they are most likely to enjoy. Why not take a look at our guides to other brackish fish that are likely to get on well with this species, too?

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