The Flag Cichlid Mesonauta festivus, also commonly known as the Festivum Cichlid, Barred Cichlid, or Festive Cichlid, is a beautiful and interesting cichlid. Not only its common names, but its scientific name as well describe it as a striking and attractive fish. The genus term Mesonauta means "middle sailor", "distinguished, and "remarkable" while the species term festivus means "merry" or "handsome." One of the longest held aquarium fish, it has been a perennial favorite in the hobby for over 100 years. It was first introduced into the hobby in about 1908 and first bred in captivity in West Germany at the Weinhausen Aquarium of Brunswick in 1911.
The most distinguishing characteristic of this cichlid is a black stripe running from its mouth across the top of its back. There are at least 6 or more color varieties and patternings to choose from, but they all have this distinguishing black mark. The variations found in this fish stem from the locations where the parent species were originally captured.