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 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. Although there are many theories regarding their lineage, some speculate that they may be:
– 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. Their round heads and small, deformed faces give them their common name. They look much like a parrot’s beak.
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). To create the large King Kong parrot or platinum parrot or snow white cichlid, blood parrots were further mated with other 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 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 can I keep 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. We recommend you get one, three, or more blood parrots. If you only get one, the dominant one will be the one that dominates the other.
During spawning seasons, blood parrots can display more aggressive behavior 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?
It is often difficult to find the right foods for 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. This extra step can cause them to become outcompeted during mealtimes, so they need something that can be easily swallowed. You might consider giving baby-sized pellets for the juveniles and small pellets for the adults. 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 Red Parrot+ is a food specifically designed for blood parrots. It contains color-enhancing ingredients that increase their redness.
Their tiny, triangle-shaped mouths are more conducive for scooping in food, rather than taking bites.
How do Blood Parrot Cichlids Reproduce?
Because the males are usually infertile, hobbyists have not been able to reliably produce blood parrots at home. This does not stop them from trying though, so you may see the female lay her eggs on a flat surface and then both parents will guard them from would-be 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.