Care Guide for Blood Parrot Cichlids: The Hybrid with A Tiny Mouth
Blood parrot cichlids are super cool, derpy fish that we have previously kept in an 800-gallon aquarium. They are a great choice over other animals that could be kept in the aquarium. They possess an interesting mix of features – larger size, bright color, and yet a smaller mouth that makes them less likely to damage or eat other fish. It is easy to keep them, provided that you have adequate tank space and the right type of food.
What are Blood Parrot Cichlids, and how do they work?
This is not the saltwater parrotfish, but rather a freshwater hybrid fish developed in Taiwan from a mix of mostly Central American cichlids. There are many theories about their lineage. Some guesses include:
– Midas cichlid (Amphilophus citrinellus) – Redhead cichlid (Vieja melanurus) – Red devil cichlid (Amphilophus labiatus)
Blood parrots grow to a maximum of 8 inches (20cm) in length. This is slightly more than a softball and they love swimming in the middle levels of the water. The parrot’s common name derives its round heads and small, curved mouths. It looks similar to a parrot’s head.
What are the different types of blood parrots? They come in many color variations, such as blood red, red and white, yellow, and purple (i.e., deep red). In order to create the large King Kong parrot or platinum parrot or snow white cichlid and the kirin parrot (or flowerhorn), blood parrots have been hybridized with other species of cichlids.
While blood parrots can range in color from red to yellow, there are many varieties of them.
How much do blood parrot cichlids cost? They are more expensive than your average freshwater fish and can range from $15-20 or higher, depending on the variety. Petco and PetSmart often carry red blood parrots.
Why does my blood parrot or cichlid turn black? Juveniles are usually paler than adult fish and can have black markings at the beginning. These black spots may appear and disappear throughout their lifetime, but they usually fade as the fish gets bigger and more colorful with age. Try different ways to decrease stress in your fish, such as increasing water quality and reducing aggression.
How to Set Up an Aquarium for Blood Parrots
Unlike many man-made fish, blood parrots are surprisingly robust and can tolerate a wide variety of temperatures from 72-82degF (22-28degC) and pH between 6.5-8.0. We often keep them in planted aquariums because they don’t dig a lot and their mouths are too small to destroy plants.
How many blood parrots are allowed to be kept together? You can’t keep them all together. This is similar to the tank size requirements for a fancy goldfish, such that each fish needs at least 20-30 gallons of water. Because of the dominance of one or two blood parrots over another, we recommend that you get at least three.
In spawning seasons, bloodparrots can be more aggressive than usual.
Can blood parrot-cichlids be aggressive? Absolutely. They can show a bossy attitude and go up to the glass asking for food. Because of their small mouths, they are less likely than other tank mates to be hurt or eaten. If you notice your blood parrots are being bullies (or are constantly hiding from the main bully), reduce the aggression by placing tall decorations that block line of sight, providing more shelters, adding dither fish, or upgrading the tank size.
What fish can you put with blood parrots? Keep them with other peaceful or semi-aggressive fish that are similar-sized and can live in the same environmental conditions. That means no to guppies, betta fish, or goldfish. Common tank mates for blood parrot cichlids include oscars, angelfish, larger tetras, and of course more blood parrots. We personally have kept them with clown loaches, a Mbu puffer, giraffe catfish, and clouded archerfish.
What do Blood Red Parrots eat?
Many people struggle to find the right foods to feed their blood parrots. Their tiny mouths don’t open and close well so they must carefully align their bodies with the food before swimming forward to “scoop it in”. This extra step can make them feel overwhelmed at mealtimes. They need something they can easily swallow. It is a good idea to feed the young ones small pellets and then give the larger adults mini pellets. We find they do best with floating pellets because then the cichlids can come up from underneath the food and then gravity helps the granules to fall inside. Hikari’s Blood Red Parrot+ has the added benefit that it contains color-enhancing substances to increase blood parrots’ redness.
They have small mouths that are more suited to eating whole foods, than just taking bites.
How do Blood Parrot Cichlids Reproduce?
Hobbyists have not been successful in producing blood parrots as a result of the males being infertile. However, they will still try. You may be able to see the female lay her eggs on flat surfaces. The parents will then guard them against predators. Females can be crossed with other similar-sized Central American cichlids, but the offspring rarely look like or have the beautiful colors of blood red parrots.
We realize that man-made hybrids are not everyone’s cup of tea, but they are an attractive choice if you want to make a larger community tank with aquarium plants. While we do not ship fish, you can visit our preferred online vendors to find the perfect parrot cichlid for you.