Does anyone have experience with Mesonauta X

Linda1234

I'm planning on buying a few of these and i wanted to check if anyone have first hand experience keeping these fish. What makes a good shoal size and how do they change in shoaling behavior was they become adults. The current tank i would put these is around 100 gallon (4 feet long 2 feet wide); but in a year i would move them to a 400 gallon tank (10 feet long 3 feet wide). My thought was somewhere between 5 and 8. My experience with angels is as they become adults they do not do well in a group and are best in pairs (as kids they are best as a large shoal) but not sure about these guys and therefore how many to purchase. Vaguely I think TClare had kept them but not sure.

Also is there much difference between the different species? It sounds like i can get some m.f tank raised or m.m wild but won't know for sure for a bit.
 

TClare

So I had 5 but one failed to thrive and grow and eventually died. I would like to get a couple more. Mine are in an approx 220 gallon tank with other cichlids. I have had them about 14 months but no sign of breeding behaviour as yet. They were more fussy with food than my angelfish at first, and have grown much more slowly. They often go round in a group, but not always. They are very peaceful, occasionally bickering a little but nowhere near as much as angelfish. They don’t bother any of the other fish, neither are they bullied by them. They don’t eat Vallisneria or water lettuce, or peas but love lettuce leaves. I think mine are M. mirificus which I believe is one of the smaller species. I have read reports of them being very aggressive and eating plants but I have not found either to be true of mine. They are among my favourite fish.
 

Linda1234

So I had 5 but one failed to thrive and grow and eventually died. I would like to get a couple more. Mine are in an approx 220 gallon tank with other cichlids. I have had them about 14 months but no sign of breeding behaviour as yet. They were more fussy with food than my angelfish at first, and have grown much more slowly. They often go round in a group, but not always. They are very peaceful, occasionally bickering a little but nowhere near as much as angelfish. They don’t bother any of the other fish, neither are they bullied by them. They don’t eat Vallisneria or water lettuce, or peas but love lettuce leaves. I think mine are M. mirificus which I believe is one of the smaller species. I have read reports of them being very aggressive and eating plants but I have not found either to be true of mine. They are among my favourite fish.
Ok. Are yours sexually mature? The reason I ask is that at least with angels behavior change a lot once they become adults. Sounds like I should go with around 8 M. Mirificus. I can't really find much on the difference between them. I found one link that showed the difference between the 6 species but even that was extremely minor. Hum... from searches it sounds like they were once extremely popular but now are less common.
 

TClare

I don't know if mine are mature, but two of them are quite big and chunky looking now, the other two are still fairly small, but they are all better at feeding lately. They were very tiny when I got them and quite slow to grow, but I would have thought they should be mature by this time. I read one article in which they started breeding when still apparently juvenile, I will try to find it again. I have also read that they can be quite difficult to pair up, that is why for breeding it is better to start with a bigger group, and I would like to get more. It is very difficult to tell the sexes apart, though some people maybe be able to do this by venting.

There is a diagram that shows the difference between the species, you can only tell the difference when they show their stress patterns though. They show these when excited as well as stressed (eg when given live food), so the best way is to take a quick photo that you can compare with the diagram.

You are right they used to be common when I kept cichlids many years ago, but now can be quite hard to find and don't seem to be very popular, I found that there are very few recent forum posts about them. So many people prefer electric blue acaras or deformed parrot cichlids it seems. I was looking for them for months before some eventually turned up for sale. They are tank bred.

Most of the reports I have read on aggressive festivums seem to be when one is kept individually with other cichlids, like dive bombing severums or Uarus for instance. Perhaps they are calmer when kept in a group, or perhaps they become more aggressive in a smaller tank? Or maybe the wild ones are more aggressive. Mine have never done anything of the sort even when I introduced new small Uarus to their tank. The biggest one did nip at them a little at first, but only on the first day then settled down. The Mesonauta, Severum and Uarus will all feed calmly together on a big lettuce leaf. To be honest in a 400 gallon tank I doubt if you would have much problem even with a mixed sex group, as there would be plenty of space for chased individuals to get away.
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Linda1234

Your smaller ones might be female; from what i've read they are a bit like angels in that the males are substantially larger than the females.
 

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