The Aquarium Guide

Blood Red Parrot Cichlid Care Guide

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.

Blood Red Parrot Cichlid

Tank requirements

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.

Diseases

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.

Behavior

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.

Tank mates

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.

15 thoughts on “Blood Red Parrot Cichlid Care Guide

  1. My parrots are a beautiful bright orange within hours of doing a water change but then turn an ugly pale color after that. All levels are correct. How can I get them back to bright orange?

  2. You need to make sure that your fish is eating. the same happens to me when my parrot fish doesn’t like a certain food

  3. I have been raring fish for last 9 months my fishes both parrrot and Oscar have grown well and died shudden, I have canister filter also
    Please advise

  4. I just got 2 juvenile blood parrots they won’t eat the pellets I try and feed them and one just sits in the corner by the heater due to the fact the other one buluies him into the corner how can I fix this they are 3days in

    1. They do better in groups of 3 or more or as singular fish. A pair will usually not work as they are always trying to bully each other or the more aggressive one will torment the other one. When in groups of three or more this seems to stop. But you must have at least a 55gal or preferably larger tank for 3. Hope this helps and good luck!

    2. Most fish require a minimum of three. It reduces the aggression. Two males or two females will try to assert dominance, one Male and one female will mean the Male will bully her to try to reproduce. Keep one or a minimum of three.

  5. I’ve had my blood red parrot for 8 yrs now. She is turning a lighter color & has some black on her back fins. I dont know what it is. Can anyone help?

    1. Blood parrots will develope black markings on the body or fins when stressed. They will subside on their own when the stress is eliminated. I thought they were sick when i first experienced this, but after years of dealing with them ive learned to avoid it.

  6. I have a 37 gall tank and I have only 1 pair of BP, 1 pair of African Chidlit and 1 pair of Tin foil barb. is it ok to keep only one pair of BP or should i add another pair of BP

    1. You already have too many fish for a 37 gallon tank. My female parrot is 4 years old and she is 7 inches.

  7. I had a 80L tank filled with tetra, gourami, angel fish and a few cleaners (shrimp & suckers) I was sold an Blood Parrot at my local pet shop Without knowing the size of tank he would need. He grew to kill all of my fish by literally beating them to death and swallowing the smaller ones whole. I bought him a bigger tank at 160L and added bigger/tougher fish before adding him but he killed those too. I’m now looking to give him a 300L tank as he’s still growing after 4yrs but I would like to have more than one fish in that size of tank. I can’t even put live plants in as he likes to redecorate and eat them. I’ve always been so proud of my community tanks and growing my own plants from cuttings is there anything I can do to get my beautiful tank back? I’ve read they are very friendly fish, am I doing something wrong? He has a small ish cave, tall plastic pants to swim through and A collection of plastic plants that I’ve organised to act as a cave/cover. I had a mixture of sand, small stones and slightly bigger stone for the base in the first tank he liked to pick up the larger stones and move them about so I used them as the ground covering in the current tank. Also I’m finding it hard to get hiding places big enough for him, any ideas? Thanks for reading, hope someone can help?

  8. I have a very healthy active Parrot Cichlid who eats everything from flakes, shrimp.pellets, fresh spinach, canned peas, even bottom feeder pellets. He is a bit territorial but not to the point of being overly aggressive. He also has a great personality and would definitely recommend them.

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