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. They are easy to keep provided you have enough space in your tank and the right 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. Many theories have arisen about their exact lineage, but some guesses include:
– Midas cichlid (Amphilophus citrinellus) – Redhead cichlid (Vieja melanurus) – Red devil cichlid (Amphilophus labiatus)
Blood parrots can grow up to 8 inches (20 cm) long, a little bigger than a softball, and they enjoy swimming in the mid-levels of the water. The common name comes from their rounded heads and small, deformed mouths that look similar to a parrot’s beak.
What kinds of blood parrots exist? They are available in many colors, including red and white, yellow and purple (i.e. deep red). The super-sized King Kong parrot, the platinum or snow white parrot, the polar blue parrot and the kirin (or Flowerhorn) parrot cichlid have been created by further mixing blood parrots with other cichlids.
Although blood parrots are usually reddish to yellow in color they can be crossed with other cichlids to produce more variety.
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 are two of the most popular pet shops that sell 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? They can live together, but they will not be able to share a tank with them. This is similar to the tank size requirements for a fancy goldfish, such that each fish needs at least 20-30 gallons of water. We recommend getting one, three, or more than three blood parrots because if you just get a pair, one of them will likely dominate the other.
In spawning seasons, bloodparrots can be more aggressive than usual.
Is it possible for blood parrot cichlids to be aggressive? They can act like a tank boss and climb up on the glass to ask for food. They are more likely to eat or damage tank mates who can’t fit in their mouths, but they have smaller mouths. 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 with finding the right kinds of foods to feed blood parrots. Because their tiny mouths are not very open or closed, they need to line up the food with their bodies and then “scoop” it in. They may become overwhelmed during mealtimes and need food that is easy to swallow. You might consider giving baby-sized pellets for the juveniles and small pellets for the adults. They prefer floating pellets as the cichlids can rise from under the food, and gravity allows the granules inside to fall in. Foods specifically made for blood parrots, like Hikari Blood Red Parrot+, have the added benefit of containing color-enhancing ingredients to boost their redness.
Their small, triangular mouths make it easier to scoop in food than to eat.
How do Blood Parrot Cichlids Reproduce?
Hobbyists cannot reliably raise blood parrots because males are often 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. Although females can be crossed to other Central American cichlids of similar size, the offspring are not likely to look or display the same beautiful colors as 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.