Fish Profile: Parrot Cichlid

blood red parrot cichlid

Parrot Cichlid Fish Facts:

  • Adult size: Grow up to 10 inches
  • Average fish life span: up to 3 years with proper care
  • Origin: Crossbreeding between several different Central American Cichlids
  • Diet: Flake food, pellets, bloodworms or live brine shrimp.
  • Hardiness: Easy
  • Minimum tank size: 50 gallons
  • Water temperature: 75 to 82°F

Blood Parrot Cichlid Profile

The Parrot Cichlid, also known as the Blood Parrot or Red Parrot, is a hybrid species of fish. Given that it is a man-made fish, it is not found in the wild and does not have a given scientific name. However, some refer to this breed as the Cichlasoma Parrot. This fish is a product of crossbreeding between several different Central American Cichlids.

A controversy surrounding the Parrot Cichlid focuses primarily upon the multiple deformities present in the hybrid. These deformities include the spine, mouth, and swim bladder. The deformed mouth, which can cause difficulty in eating, may present a problem when it is placed in an aquarium with other fish, as its peculiarly shaped mouth makes it difficult for the fish to open its mouth as quickly and widely as other fish. For this reason, it may miss out at feeding time if other fishes are around. The malformed swim bladder also causes the fish to swim a bit awkwardly, placing it at a further disadvantage.

The medium breed of Blood Parrot Cichlid generally grows to between six and eight inches. The smaller breed is often only three to five inches in size. Some, however, may grow to be as much as ten inches or more. Its rounded shape and beak-like nose are only part of what sets this unique fish apart from other aquarium fish. The original Parrot Cichlid is a reddish-orange color of varying hues. However, a newer breed that is actually a crossing between a Parrot Cichlid and a Convict Cichlid can be found in a variety of interesting shades including blue, green, yellow, purple, and pink. Often, as the Parrot Cichlid matures, its coloring will lighten or darken, and the solid pattern will generally become somewhat blotchy. Younger Parrot Cichlids tend to be darker than the adults, becoming lighter in color with maturity. The newer colors of this popular aquarium fish have led to the additional nickname of Jellybean fish.

The Ideal Tank For Parrot Cichlids

The Blood Parrot Cichlid should be kept in a fairly large tank that can hold at least 50 gallons (200 liters) with good filtration. The water should be changed at least once a week. Include planted areas for the fish to hide and some rounded stones and sand. The pH should be kept between 6.5 and 7.5 with a temperature of 75 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit or 24 to 28 degrees Celsius. Lower temperatures may result in a loss of color. Blood Parrot Cichlids are not picky about the varieties of food they are given. Sinking foods such as bloodworms or live brine shrimp are easier for them to eat and seem to be a favorite food of this interesting fish. Because the oddly shaped mouth of the Parrot Cichlid makes surface feeding difficult, pellets or flakes should be pushed below the surface.

They should not be kept in an aquarium with more aggressive fish, as their deformities make it difficult to compete for food and territory. They may however, be successfully kept with more peaceful species such as angelfish, tetras, or danios. Parrot Cichlids will often mate, clear nesting sites, and lay eggs. However, these eggs are often either infertile or are abandoned by the fish after several days. Infertile or abandoned eggs should be removed from the tank as soon as possible as they will develop a fungus.


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