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My experience with FFF.

I did 9 months or more of research before starting my tank.  I scored a 15, 
a 10, and a 20, with equipment cheap at yard sales. I also got my first fish 
that way.  i pulled into these peoples' yard thinking that they were having 
a yard sale, but it turns out thayt they were just moving.  And they were 
planning to flush the kids' christmass fish and start over.  So I ended up 
driving home with a 9 in pleco, 2 black skirts, 1 red eye tet, 2 zebra 
danios, and an albino cory.  This from a 10 gal that had been running for a 
year and a half with no problems according to the mom.  So I end up crash 
cycleing the 20.  I used ammo-lock to ride out the ammonia spike and floated 
a hyacinth in the hopes of moderating the nitrite spike. the hyatith lasted 
long enough indoors to do the job and I got off lucky with no losses.

i put in drift wood for the plec ans a lady at home depo gave me some free 

4 weeks later I got my flagfish.  the local lfs had just gone though a 
management change, and all of the left over fish had been put in the 
clearance tank.  Mostly blackskirts and tinfoil and rosey barbs.  But i did 
take the single white cloud, lf lepord danio, juvenile ornate rainbow, as 
well as the juvinle cichlid I thought I was getting a good deal on.  I 
tossed it into the 10 with a lava rock substrate and some anatharas, 
intending on seeing what it would grow into.  I was sure it was a cichlid 
due to the shape and the fact that it seemed more intellegent than the 
radomly moving tetras and barbs in the store tank.  It stayed near the 
bottom and seemed to have its own space, though it was't aggressivly 
defending it, more just ingnoring the others.  Of course this was the flag 
fish.  I had read that cichlids like to have algea on the sides of their 
tanks, So for my 'cichlid' i put in a ton of the free anatharas and left the 
light when I wasn't sleeping.  I suceeded in growing algea.  I got the green 
spot kind that began to form a mat.  then the flag fish started eating it.   
it would fold back its lips and unfurled some "teeth".  cool.

2 weeks later I had a cold, so I went to publix for some oj.  while I was in 
the area, I decided to go in the lfs, and look at the pretty fish to make 
the feel better.  next thing I know I was up to my armpits doing an 
emergency 30% water change on 1000 gal cental FW system to take care of a 
major ich problem.  2 days later I was the fish dept manager, trying to 
learn cichlids, discus, SW, figure out the store water system, which no one 
knew, and basiclly clean up the misdeeds of my predicessor, who hadn't 
isolated a pair of Gourami who came in with ich from the main cental system. 
  and then there was the 150 gal reeff tank with the 2 ft colt coral....

one tank was labled "S.A. Cichlids."    In it were more as yet un-id flag 
fish, mixed with other "south american Cichlids". over the next couple of 
weeks I managed to sort out this tank.  in it with the flags were convicts, 
juvinle jack dempsys, a pike cichild, jewels (S.A.), and juvenil livingstoni 
(afican).  The flags were holding their own in this war zone.  I moved the 
livingstones to their own tank.  I still couldn't find the flag in the 
cichlid books.  none of the picks matched.  some were close but none had a 
spot on the corner of the caudal fin, a spot on the side, and the right body 
shape.  Form time to time "cichlid" people would come through.  one told me 
they were juvinal texas cichlids.  another thought they were "egyption mouth 
brooders."  I didn't find out what they were until my second buying trip to 
Finn's.  There I found a tank full of them labled "florida flag fish".  And 
that is want they were.  the nes at the store got their own tank the next 

the next week I scored a 35 at a yard sale, and combined my 20 and 10  into 
it, setting up a scantly planted tank.  I decided to test the flag with my 
others to see how she would do.  No problems.

I started buying fish at online auctions (www.fishgeeks.com , aquabid)

I found a 55 at a yardsale.

I went to the AAAA Fall Auction.  I got a bunch of plants cheap.  It wasn't  
very active event and bags of fish were going for a dallor onthe first bid.  
for a buck I got a bag of wild caught half grown flags.  I also got wild 
cought green sailfin mollies, collie loached (really half banded, but who 
cares), and pair of velvet swords (2 wks later 2 males).

I went home, set of the 55, put all the fish in the 35, and devided the fish 
between them.  the flags schooled with the mollies.  the adult joined them. 
still no aggression problem on anyones part.

I added another white cloude.
I got a colony of boesmani for the 55, moved the ornate in with them.

got some endlers online, put in 35
got a school of tiny fales neon tetra online, put in 35
got a pair of orange australie killiesonline, (excuse me while I put on my 
asbestose suit) put them in the 35 (i know, i was just too busy to breed 
got some pygmy cories, put them in the 35 (hello, my name is kidt, and i am 
an online-fish-auctionaholic)

got some pencilfish form bhodgkiss, and he sent some male blue delta guppies 
as a bonus.  into the 35 they went.

rescued a tank with a 4 inch angle and a mix of wt skirts and serpeas and 
danios.  put them in the 55 with the rainbows.
moved the other danios from the 35 to the 55.  added some corries and otos 
to the 55.

the males in the batch of flags reddened up (wild coughts don't seem to get 
as big as captive bread in this species).  they seemed to picked their own 
nooks in the thank, but didn't turn aggessive, stilled schooled with the 
slowly growing sailfins with the females during feeding time.

SO, in one corner I have flags (males in breeding coler and females), 
blackskirts, and male swords, in the other, male guppies, endlers,flase 
neons, coolies, and pygmy cories.

and with this mix of possible tormentors and easy targets in the 35, I have 
no aggression problem.  no torn fins.  no algea (but with a 9 inch pleco why 
should I?)  with mostly jave moss, java fern, hornwortn, water sprite, 
combia, and anarchis, I wouldn't notice plant damage if there were any.

I have hard water, and I keep the tanks at ph 6.5.  this seems to work.
as this is about the flags I wont go into the rest fo my set up. temp ~79F.  
fish active and feeding well.

bottom line form my experience.  at work, holding thier own with 3 inch 
jacks and livingstonei.  at home, perfect citizens, playing nice with false 
neons and maybe eating algea.

Sorry for the lenth of this.  consider it my introduction.

one side note.  due to a forced move, i havent seen my tanks in 2 months.  I 
will be retriving them soon and will let you know if any aggression develops 
after the move.  I am now back on the family farm with penny wort growing in 
the farm pond in the fornt yard, as well as other emergent aqautics in the 4 
pond system.  if anyone wnats some, let me know.  virtually guarrenteed to 
have pigglybacking snails.

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