Care Guide for the 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 is a Blood Parrot Cichlid?
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 reach up to 20 cm (20 inches) in length and enjoy swimming in the middle of the water. Their round heads and small, deformed faces give them their common name. They look much like 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). Blood parrots have been further hybridized with other cichlids to develop the super-sized King Kong parrot, platinum or snow white parrot, polar blue parrot, and kirin (or flowerhorn) parrot cichlid.
Blood parrots tend to range from red to yellow in color, but more varieties have been produced by crossing them with other cichlids.
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? 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.
During spawning season, blood parrots may display more aggressive behavior than normal.
Are blood-parrot cichlids aggressive or friendly? Their small mouths mean they are less likely to harm or eat other tank mates. 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 have difficulty finding the right food for their blood parrots. Because their little mouths do not open or close very much, they have to carefully line up their bodies with the food and then swim forward to “scoop” it in. They might become distracted and outcompeted at mealtimes. Therefore, they will need something that is easy to swallow. Therefore, consider feeding baby-sized pellets to the juveniles and feeding mini pellets to larger adults. We believe they prefer floating pellets, as the cichlids will be able to reach the food from beneath it and gravity will allow the granules of the food to fall into the container. 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 tiny, triangle-shaped mouths are more conducive for scooping in food, rather than taking bites.
How do Blood Parrot Cichlids Reproduce?
Hobbyists have never been able produce reliable blood parrots at their home because the males are 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.