Fun Flagfish Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
May 11, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Deeti Gupta
Flagfish facts are interesting.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.3 Min

The American flagfish (Jordanella floridae), also identified as the Florida flagfish or commonly the flagfish, is a species of fish native to the United States. The genus of this fish is Jordanella. This is an odd fact given that this is a distinctive-looking fish with stripes and a color pattern that strongly resembles the American flag (blue dots, red and blue stripes). This species is native to Florida where it can be found in swamps, marshes, rivers, canals, and waterways that have slow-flowing, densely vegetated waters.

In a home aquarium, an American flagfish stays relatively small, reaching a maximum size of  2.4 in (6 cm) in most cases. The average life cycle of an American flagfish is two to three years, but, they will live up to five years if they are well cared for. It has also been recorded that they can live for up to eight years, but this is extremely unusual.

In the wild, American flagfish are omnivores that eat crustaceans, algae, insects, and plant matter. In-home or community aquariums, this diet needs to be replicated as similarly as possible. This can be achieved by feeding them with high-quality flake food and daily vegetable feedings. Their ability to eat algae in a good amount is an important factor why people like to keep them in their aquarium, or tank. This fish helps to maintain healthy aquatic life. If you like reading about animals, do check out Sturgeon and Loach.

Flagfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a flagfish?

A flagfish or an American flagfish (Jordanella floridae) is a type of fish.

What class of animal does a flagfish belong to?

An American flagfish (Jordanella floridae) belongs to the class Actinopterygii.

How many flagfish are there in the world?

The exact number of American flagfish (Family Cyprinodontidae) in the world is not known.

Where does a flagfish live?

A flagfish (Jordanella floridae) prefers to live in freshwaters such as backwaters, canals, marshes, and ditches. Occasionally, they are also seen in brackish water. This fish can survive in a wide range of conditions.

What is a flagfish's habitat?

The American flagfish ( Jordanella floridae) is a North American fish that is native to the state of Florida, therefore, it is also called the Florida flagfish. They are also common in the St. Johns River basins and south of the Ochlockonee.

Who do flagfish live with?

An American flagfish, or Florida flagfish, lives in small groups. However, the size of their group depends on the size of the tank. If the tank is bigger, there can be a group of six fish living together.

How long does a flagfish live?

An average American flagfish (Jordanella floridae) can survive for an average of two to three years. However, they can also survive for as long as five years if they are well taken care of.

How do they reproduce?

The American flagfish (Jordanella floridae) like most species of fish is a fractional spawner. Females lay eggs and a male defends the territory from rivals.

Males will create territories that they encourage females to join. They start their display after the female has been persuaded into the area. A female will swim away to plants or other surfaces if the display is effective, and the male will follow. The male will then bind himself to the female from below, and the eggs will be released. The eggs are either released one at a time or in small numbers and are attached to a surface with the help of small filaments. Once the egg is deposited, the parents do not take any additional care. The incubation period lasts for seven to 14 days, depending on the temperature of the water. As soon as the fry is born, it starts swimming.

What is their conservation status?

According to The International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species (IUCN Red List), the conservation status of American flagfish (Jordanella floridae) is Not Evaluated.

Flagfish Fun Facts

What do flagfish look like?

Flagfish (Jordanella floridae) are tiny, sturdy fish that measure 2.4 in (6 cm) long and have a truncated snout similar to that of a bulldog. The dorsal and anal fins are located posteriorly next to the caudal fin. Their fins are triangular. Females have an opaque white border on their flanks and a visible spot at the posterior end of the dorsal fin. Their fins may have a faint reddish tint to them, which comes and goes in many fish, but the cause is unknown. The female's body is mostly olive with turquoise scales. A dark area on the shoulder is thought to be similar to the blue and white stars in the corner of the American flag, and stripes run down the flanks, some red and others paler, but green instead of white. Their resemblance to the American flag (blue dot, red and blue stripes) is the reason why they are called the American flagfish. In the lower posterior portion of their dark area, males have a dark spot. Non-dominant males, females, and juveniles have an olive-gray coloration and pattern that hides the dominant males' more colorful pattern.

A freshwater canal where flag-fishes are usually found..

We've been unable to source an image of a flagfish and have used an image of its habitat. If you can provide us with a royalty-free image of a flagfish, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at

How cute are they?

This species of fish(Jordanella floridae) is very colorful and cute to look at. The unique color pattern of their body is similar to that of an American flag, hence the name American flagfish. They resemble pupfish in terms of their size and shape.

How do they communicate?

American flagfish, like most other fish, communicate using motions and gestures.

How big is a flagfish?

A flagfish is about  2.4 in (6 cm) long.  An average cat is about nine times the size of a flagfish.

How fast can a flagfish swim?

The exact speed of an American flagfish is not known. However, they are aggressive and nip off fins, therefore, fish living with them have to be fast.

How much does a flagfish weigh?

The weight of an American flagfish is not known.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male and female species of flagfish do not have separate names. However, they are also called Florida flagfish or American flagfish. The latter name is derived due to the color and pattern in the body of the male fish.

What would you call a baby flagfish?

A baby American flagfish will be called a fry.

What do they eat?

American flagfish are omnivores. These species are not selective eaters, but they can consume a wide variety of frozen, dry, and live foods of acceptable quality. This species needs a lot of meaty foods as well as foods with a lot of plant content, particularly if the aquarium doesn't have a lot of algae. They also take small bites of plants present inside the water. A lot of people prefer these fish as they remove the green layer of algae and find clean and algae-free water after a few days. Therefore, their service of managing algae is highly demanded.

Are they dangerous?

American flagfish do not harm human beings, however, males are aggressive at times. Therefore, they must not be kept in an aquarium with a lot of different fish.

Would they make a good pet?

The American flagfish is a species of fish that requires a large space to survive and needs space to move. They are known for their beautiful skin and their ability to eat hair algae. Their love for algae makes them very famous as they keep the water free from algae.

Did you know...

Male American flagfish (Jordanella floridae) are notoriously territorial, and they need a lot of space to establish a territory. The tank should have plenty of trees, driftwood, and rocks to diffuse the anger by breaking its line of sight. When setting up their tank, make sure to find enough space for swimming.

One of the reasons this common fish is so famous is that they are among a few species of fish that eat hair algae. Though they may not be the best solution for all aquariums with hair algae, they may be an effective way to manage it in others.

While the American flagfish prefers to stay at the top of the water column, it will explore all parts of the aquarium or tank (home or community) even more than other killifish species. Since it is not afraid to leap, it must be kept in an aquarium with a lid, hood, or cover, or at the very least a greatly reduced water depth.

An ideal aquarium or tank should have a temperature between 64-86 F (18-30 C).

Do flagfish eat shrimp?

Yes, American flagfish (Jordanella floridae) love frozen food, especially shrimp and blackworms. Brine shrimp is one of its favorite food items.

Are flagfish herbivores?

These common fish found in aquariums are not herbivores, but omnivores. They consume plants and algae.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fishes including toadfish or Pacific salmon.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our flagfish coloring pages.

Flagfish Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Aquatic crustaceans, insect larvae, and worms

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?

About 20

How Much Did They Weigh?


What habitat Do they Live In?

freshwater and brackish water

Where Do They Live?

north america (florida)

How Long Were They?

About 2.4 in (6 cm)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Jordanella floridae

What Do They Look Like?

Red, blue, yellow, olive, and black

Skin Type

Slimy scales

What Are Their Main Threats?


What is their Conservation Status?

Not Evaluated
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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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