Blood Parrot Cichlids – A Complete Guide (Care, Diet, Facts)

It’s very common to find a breed of Cichlids inside many hobbyist tanks. As there are so many exquisite breeds within the species of fish. Although few Cichlids can compare to the Blood Parrot Cichlid.

These fish are very durable when it comes to tank mates. They don’t mind whether they are alone, have mates of the same species, or are inside of a community tank. Although, these aren’t fish that are for beginners.

Due to being a medium-sized fish with a bit of a temperament problem if not handled correctly it’s best someone with some knowledge raises these fish. Although, it’s worth any extra work to have beauties like these in your tank.



These members of the Cichlidae family are not one to disappoint. While other members of the family have been around centuries these fish are a younger species.

Brought in by crossbreeding. There is talk that these fish are a mixture of Midas Cichlids (scientific name of Amphilophus Citrinellus) and Redhead Cichlids (scientific name of Paraneetroplys Synspilus)

After cross-breeding and due to studies, it’s said that these fish can live over 15 years in an environment suited to their needs. Although, people tend to confuse these fish with the unrelated Saltwater Parrot Fish; a member of the Scaridae family.

Due to the region both parenting fish can be found it’s best to refer to these fish as being Central American Fish. There is a growing popularity of these fish amongst hobbyist. Although they can be rather hard to get your hands on due to the mysteries behind the fish itself.

Like many other breeds of animals amongst the nation’s people find it inhumane and unethical to crossbreed. Causing an uproar and a down sale on the breed; due to local pet stores jumping bandwagons due to fear of losing customers.

Typical Behavior

As mentioned before these fish are rather laid back and easy when it comes to your choice in set-up. As these fish can tank up with many different types of fish; including fish of its own kind.

Being a rather gentle fish, they don’t have a problem getting along with. although being a rather skittish fish they do feel threatened by more aggressive fish easily. Once they feel threatened it’s very common for your Blood Parrot Cichlid to begin acting out.

Being a shy and skittish fish, you will often find these fish swimming around the plants or their favorite hiding spot within your tank. Just by adding plenty of hiding spots for your fish will give them a boost of courage and allow them to be more active and swim throughout the tank.

Being a mid-level fish, you will most commonly find them swimming or hiding in the middle region. Although it’s not uncommon to find your fish at the bottom of the tank digging. They use this as a hunting mechanism. They tend to be a messy fish that will require cleaner up due to feedings.


A fully-grown mature adult will often grow to be roughly 8 inches long. They have an oblong body with larger fins, larger eyes, and lips that mimic a mouth much like a girl doing “duck lips.”

This big friendly beauty will add vibrancy and color to any tank. As their bright orange can compete and win over attention to anyone admiring your tank.

While they may be found with one single color that goes all across their body. Although it’s not as common as white patched. Other colors can be found as often red or yellow. Although, unlike orange Blood Parrot Cichlids dyes are used to get the colorations. As a side effect to the dying process your fish will have a small life span.

Many hobbyists have a hard time differing males and females Blood Parrot Cichlids. Although the main difference is that the males have a slightly larger torso.

Some breeders take the young Blood Parrot Cichlids and cut the tail to make it mimic a heart. Once cut they classify these fish as Heart Cichlids. Which causes a huge controversy about unethical processes. As they are only cut for pleasure.

Due to the process of creating hybrids using parent fish it’s been known to create a generic defect in the fish. The defect makes it impossible for their mouth to fully close. Although because of that their teeth developed in their throat. Which works as a way to crush up food to ingest.

Habitat and Tank Conditions

Being a hybrid, the Blood Parrot Cichlid doesn’t have a natural habitat to base your tank off of. So, it’s best to go down to its generic roots and look at the parenting fish and go from there. As the genetic make-up of the parents make up the hybrid.

The parenting fish come from the regions of Central America. They swim in warm flowing waterways.

They live-in well-lit water, that has some sort of an acidic level. They swim around combination areas, with both sand and rocks. They have roots and plant life that provides both food and shelter.

While it’s not directly what this fish is used to due to be a hybrid, it is what they need you to mimic in order to grow to be healthy fish. This will allow them to not only feel safe but stay free of sickness and disease.

Tank Set-Up

It’s important to maintain a balance between the tank. To have plenty of open swimming space for them to feel free and not claustrophobic. Along with plenty of plants and decorations that provide a hiding place.

When provided with the correct number of hiding places they will feel more secure. Which allows them to open up and show their personalities.

One easy way to achieve this goal is to place rocks, decorations, and plants along the bottom and sides leaving the middle and top regions open for swimming.

Plants is an important factor because it keeps a high oxygen level throughout the tank. There are many types of plants to choose from that goes well with this breed of fish. Although, it’s important to ensure it mixes well with your whole community.

When choosing a substrate, it’s important to use a light sandy substrate. This will keep from catching your fish; therefore, lowering risk of disease. This is important because these fish do enjoy digging through the substrate on their free time.

It’s best that you purchase a filtration system that provides a strong current throughout your tank. Being a fish whose parents both come from fast flowing waters they will not do well in slow-moving water. Besides the filtration system the heating system is a heater. You must be able to keep your tank within 76°F and 80°F; and a Ph between 6.5 and 7.4 dGH.

Aquarium Size

For a single fully matured Blood Parrot Cichlid needs roughly 30 gallons of water. Along with 10 extra gallons for each additional Blood Parrot. Although they will not be anything but happy with extra space given to them.

You may place these fish in a smaller tank. Although, this will mean you will have to purchase a larger tank soon after as they need plenty of space to grow. Without the right amount of water and space your fish will not grow the way it’s supposed to.

Tank Mates

When searching for suitable tank mates it can be hard to find a tank mate that is suitable for a Blood Parrot Cichlids. Simply because they can be unpredictable at times; this is heightened when they are stressed or scared. It is even harder to find mates for these fish because they don’t have natural tank mates; since they are hybrids.

Although if you take a look at its parent species this may show you some insight on fish that can live within the same environment as the Blood Parrot. You may also talk to people who work around the breed as they know firsthand.

The ideal tank mate must have a peaceful temperament. Although they must be quick, simply because they may do to escape your Blood Parrot during one of their mood swings.

Amongst other things to keep in mind is the size of the fish and tank conditions. Having a fish that is too small may cause it to be a meal. Not due to any sort of aggression simply to do with the food chain.

Avoid having any invertebrates because they will likely be eaten by your fish. Although some forms of snails may be able to survive due to their hard shells.

Can Multiple Blood Parrot Cichlids Together?

These fish do well together as long as they have the right tank conditions. As mentioned before there is a scale of gallons per fish. One major thing to keep in mind is the more Blood Parrots the more hiding places need in order to keep these fish comfortable.


These fish have a rather broad spectrum of food choices; due to them being omnivores. This allows them to eat both plants and animals.

Although every fish is different a majority are not picky. You may find a picky Blood Parrot here and there.

Most of their fish will eat dried, frozen, or live food. This makes it easier to prep food for your fish rather than having to freshly cut food at each mealtime.

One major thing to keep in mind is that these fish have a rather hard time eating from the top of the tank due to their deformation. So, you should only feed them foods that sink rather than float. So always go for pallets over flakes.

Although you can buy dried food specifically for Cichlids frozen and live foods are by far the most nutritious and healthy option. This is important to keep your fish from forming a sickness or disease.

Limiting your fish’s food intake is very important because these fish will eat themselves to death. So, feed them 2 times a day; allowing them 2 minutes to eat. Then take out the extra food to keep them from eating it when you aren’t around.

Care Guide

Blood Parrot Cichlid are a very hardy species, that allows them to live in most conditions. The only thing to keep your eye on is the water levels and temperature.

As for sudden changes may cause your fish to become sick or die. Water temperatures that drop quickly causing them to have a lowered immune system.

If the filtration system is acting up or allowing your nutrient level to be too high you will begin to see blueish-green algae. Regular changes should keep this from happening.

It’s important to keep all new fish isolated from your tank for at least two weeks this will allow you to closely watch them to watch for signs of disease or sickness. One sick fish can cause a whole tank to go down. If you see a fish acting strange inside the tank you should be safe and quarantine it until it’s acting normal for at least 24 hours.


If you plan on breeding these fish keep in mind, they are a very difficult fish to breed. Although there are ways to increase the odds, by upping the tank temperature to 80°F, ensure your fish is in a very clean tank, and keep their diet plan as nutrient rich as possible.

The reason it’s so hard to breed a male and female Blood Parrot Cichlid is simply because males are often infertile. Although the females can carry and breed. The only thing with this means your female will often have to breed with another form of Cichlid to successfully fry, causing another crossbreed of fish.

Crossbreeding with another type of Cichlid may result in a fish that is very unfamiliar to you. So, try and find a fish as close in appearance as the Blood Parrot. Just keep in mind that while they may look similar doesn’t mean they will have the same personality.

Once you have a successfully female (whether your male successfully produced or you choose to further cross breed) the female will nurture their eggs. Making it easy to see how many embryos you have. Any infertile egg will produce a fungus on the outside of the egg; then will be ate by the mother. They do this to stops the fungus from contaminating the live eggs.

Once you see your fry hatching be sure to do a daily 25% tank cleaning. Fry can get sick and die off very easily. Feed your fry brine shrimp until they gain mass. You will know when they are big enough to add other foods into their diet.


You need to understand the breed as a whole before deciding to add Blood Parrots into it. These hardy fish have a rather calm temperament; although they need appropriate tank mates to keep from fighting.

When you first set up a new tank it’s important to watch your fish eat for a period of time to ensure they are all eating properly. Improper eating can lead to starvation and aggression.

This fish is a great fish, with a vibrant and unique look. It can be hard to find this fish so it should be well taken care of.

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