The Blood Red Parrot cichlids, also known as Bloody Parrots or Blood Red Parrots, are a relatively new hybrid species developed in Taiwan in the 1980s. Despite being a controversial species, they quickly became appreciated because of their peaceful temperament and ability to live in a community tank.
Breeding Convict cichlids, Red Devils, Midas, Red Heads, or Gold and Green Severus created this species. The hybrids can easily be recognized through their unique features—round body and beak-like head with large eyes.
Their mouths stay open in a continuous “O,” and their teeth are deep down in their throats, so they are unable to fight and would rather bump into each other.
Females usually grow up to 6-7 inches and males are a bit larger, around 7-8 inches. In very large tanks, some Bloody Parrots have reached up to 10 inches, but this is pretty rare.
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The minimum tank recommended for a Red Parrot is 30-gallons with an additional 10-gallons for every other one. Of course, no tank can be overly large, as they need plenty of swimming space.
Hiding places are a must for these fish, so make sure there are a lot of caves, clay pots, pieces of driftwood, or rocks, but allow for large open swimming spaces as well. Water pH should be between 6.5-7.4 and the temperature should be between 76-80° Fahrenheit.
Providing good filtration is imperative, as these cichlids produce a lot of waste.
Feeding your Blood Red Parrots
A well-balanced diet is the key to having healthy fish, besides keeping water in good condition. These fish usually eat anything they can fit in their mouths, as they are omnivorous feeders.
They especially love freeze-dried, frozen, and live food, but brine shrimp should only be given as an occasional snack. As a base diet, you can feed them high-quality flakes or pellets formulated for cichlids.
Live feeder fish can also be fed, with guppies being a suitable feeder fish, and avoid goldfish at all costs. Still, it may not be such a good idea to constantly bring in new fish, as they may bear infections or illnesses that may affect your established tank.
Given their misshapen mouths, owners must make sure they are indeed fed, as this makes it hard for them to compete for food.
Lack of properly ample hiding places, together with poor water quality, exposes the Blood Red Parrots to great stress, which will affect their immune system. The first illness they are exposed to is Ich, which thrives on vulnerable fish, helping it spread.
If you notice any signs of Ich, higher the aquarium temperature gradually until reaching 86° Fahrenheit, and keep it at this point for three days. If this does not work, you can treat the Ich with copper-based chemicals, but make sure there are no water conditioners left.
They are also prone to Swim Bladder issues due to a poor diet and can develop Stress Spots when sudden changes take place in the tank or the fish are being bullied, stressed, or ill.
Other common health issues are parasitic or bacterial infections or skin flukes.
Blood Red Parrots like privacy, thus a lot of clay pots and caves are a must in their tank. They are very peaceful and playful fish that have a nice interaction between them, as well as with other fish swimming around.
They recognize their owners and come to greet them at the front of the tank. Many aquarists recommend the Blood Red Parrots for large community tanks with peaceful, yet active, set-ups.
Suitable tank mates for the Red Parrot Cichlids are usually younger Oscars, Severus or other peaceful cichlids of the same size, like Flag cichlids or Fire mouths.
Other companions include angelfish, silver dollars, or bala sharks, with some catfish, plecostomus and loaches also accepted and even ignored.
See that the community tank is large enough or the Blood Red Parrots become territorial and seek to harass other fish.
Keep an eye on your community tank from time to time, as the Red Parrots are descendants of aggressive parents. Despite this, they are usually shy and peaceful fish, but may develop a mean streak.
Breeding your Blood Red Parrots
As they are hybrid fish, they mate with other non-hybrid fish such as Convicts, Severus, and Midas, but do not produce any offspring when bred within the species.
The female is able to lay eggs, but they cannot be fertilized by the male, so this is why non-hybrid fish males are necessary to help perpetuate the species.
Having this curious hybrid fish in your tank animates the aquarium and creates a beautiful view. Keep them alone or with other peaceful fish in open set-ups and you will have a nice and quiet companion to watch.