American Flagfish can be aggressive when threatened or scared, but in general they have a reputation for being mild-mannered and peaceful. Like most freshwater fish in ideal living conditions, where the food is plentiful, and the space is adequate, this species is perfectly peaceful to be around. However, what you may find is that during mating time and when there are eggs around, your flagfish can become prone to nip or even warn off other fish when they don’t deserve it.
If other fish in the tank or pond become agitated or give them unwelcome attention, your American Flagfish may nip! In general, the males can appear to be more aggressive during these periods – and in fact, it’s easy to confuse amorous female flagfish as being aggressive. Females of the species are known to tease the males and chase them, sometimes even giving them an odd nip!
American Flagfish can be hypersensitive following mating, too. They are protective parents and keep an eye on their eggs in captivity – parental protection isn’t always a given in the wild, but if they spend more time with their fry in a close tank, it’s likely they will be more vigilant. Therefore, if you notice your flagfish giving other species a hard time – they may simply be trying to protect their kids!
Yes, in fact, American flagfish and goldfish often make good companions – that’s because both species are usually peace-loving and if they do not need to compete aggressively for food. However, if you want to bring both flagfish and goldfish into the same tank, it’s worth noting that the latter can grow much larger than the former!
If you decide to mix species, it is a good idea to start off with fish the same size or with goldfish smaller than the flagfish. But, can American flagfish live with goldfish, given that both are known to nip very occasionally? Yes – it’s normally not a big concern – both species have teeth, but they likely won’t use them on each other. The goldfish, like the flagfish, enjoys saving its teeth for tasty morsels – just make sure your goldfish don’t get in the way of their tank mates if there are eggs around.
As with most tank species, it is best to ensure your goldfish and flagfish have sufficient space – both species will need places to hide under and out of the way if they need to. Rocks and plants provide this, as well as make their lives more interesting. One of the best things about keeping flagfish and goldfish together is the fact that they should both live for many years to come – it’s a partnership you can watch for the months and years ahead.
American flagfish tend to do great in bigger groups – around four or five, even more, can be healthy providing you keep a close eye on your community. However, do remember that you are always going to need a larger tank the more fish you bring together. Therefore, many tank owners choose to set up at least two flagfish at a time – one male, one female, so that there is unlikely to be any infighting.
If you’d like to add more flagfish to your tank, a single male can happily live with one or two females. What’s more, if you start with opposing gender pairs, you can consider breeding them in captivity and work your way up towards a larger community. Keep in mind, of course, that in order to avoid fry being eaten by other fish, once born, owners are advised to remove them from the tank.
A 20 gallon tank can comfortably house a pair of American flagfish. They prefer a slow moving water system and a varied diet – they are omnivores and as such eat crustaceans as well as plant/vegetable matter. With the correct living conditions, in pairs or otherwise (and including a nutritious diet), they can live for up to 3 years and often longer.
Do also remember that the American flagfish will happily live alone. It’s one of few fish in freshwater tanks that doesn’t depend on the company of others. Therefore, if you have a smaller tank or only want to start with a single swimmer, you can do so without detriment.
Are flagfish nippers?
Yes – flagfish can and will nip, though their reasons for doing so may vary depending on their mood and their living situations. That said, the teeth of American flagfish are a little like human molars, and are used for chomping on vegetation. Flagfish will, of course, eat a mix of meat and vegetation, meaning their teeth need to be adaptable.
Flagfish are nippers only when they feel threatened, if they are mating, or if they feel their eggs are at risk of being eaten in captivity. They will nip their cohabitants if provoked – though not usually if their tank mates are much larger, and are therefore more likely to eat them!
As mentioned, American flagfish (particularly the females) can be provocateurs, too – and nip their mates to attract attention. However, with time, it becomes easier to tell when a flagfish is nipping for sport, and when they are doing so out of sheer angst or fear. As such, flagfish can be some of the most rewarding species to watch in your home tank!
The nipping behaviour of American flagfish is particularly interested in captivity. In the wild, they are not likely to be as protective over their children, and what’s more, they may not always come across different species of fish and sea creature so often. Therefore, in some cases, nipping behavior and slight aggression can occur thanks to their strange environments!
To help make your tank as calm and as peaceful as possible for flagfish, make sure to house them with other docile species such as goldfish. It’s also a good idea to ensure they have their own spaces where they can hide if they want to.