Blood Parrot Cichlid Care: Easy Tips for a Happy Aquarium

Blood Parrot Cichlids are a striking freshwater fish known for their bright colors and unique body shape. As a hybrid species, they have garnered attention from both experienced and novice aquarists alike. In this article, we’ll provide you with essential information on how to properly care for your Blood Parrot Cichlid to ensure it thrives in your aquarium.

Getting the right tank setup is crucial for your Blood Parrot Cichlid’s well-being. A well-maintained tank with a stable environment will help keep your fish healthy and happy. To achieve this, it’s essential to provide an optimal water temperature ranging between 76 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, a pH level of 6.5 to 7.4, and a hardness rating of 6 to 18 dGH.

One of the keys to successful Blood Parrot Cichlid care is understanding their behavior and providing suitable tank mates. It’s essential to create a harmonious environment by choosing the right companions for your fish. By taking these steps and following the advice in this article, you’ll create a thriving and peaceful aquatic world for your Blood Parrot Cichlid to enjoy.

Species Overview Table

In this section, you’ll find a table containing important information about the blood parrot cichlid. It’s designed to give you a quick overview of their characteristics, which will aid in providing proper care for these unique fish.

Property Information
Scientific name Amphilophus citrinellus
Common names Blood parrot cichlid, blood-red parrot cichlid, bloody parrot cichlid
Distribution Hybrid species; originated in Taiwan, 1986
Size 7 to 10 inches
Lifespan 10-15 years in captivity
Diet Omnivorous; pellets, flakes, live or frozen foods
Temperament Semi-aggressive, territorial
Minimum tank size 30 gallons per fish
Temperature 76-80°F
pH 6.5-7.5
Water hardness 6-15 dGH
Care level Moderate
Filtration/Water Flow Moderate to high
Water type Freshwater
Breeding Egg layer
Breeding difficulty Challenging
Compatibility Similar-sized, semi-aggressive tank mates

Remember to tailor your tank environment to these guidelines when caring for your blood parrot cichlid. Providing the right conditions contributes to their well-being and allows them to thrive.

Origins and Natural Habitat

Blood Parrot Cichlids, fascinating freshwater fish, have an intriguing history that you might be interested in. These unique fish first made their appearance in Taiwan around 1986. They are a human-made hybrid, and due to this, they are not found in the wild. You should be aware that their exact parentage remains unknown, though most believe they were bred from a mix of the Redhead Cichlid (Paraneetroplus synspilus) and the Midas Cichlid (Amphilophus citrinellus).

As for their natural habitat, it’s important for you to know that Blood Parrot Cichlids don’t have one since they are entirely a product of human intervention. In contrast, their parent species are often found in rivers and other freshwater environments in the wild. So, when you create an environment for your Blood Parrot Cichlids, mimicking natural riverine habitats is the way to go. Make sure to include plenty of rocks, substrate, and plants to make your fish feel at home.

Keep in mind that these fish can be quite controversial due to their hybrid origin, which has caused some deformities that may impact their quality of life. However, if you choose to adopt and care for Blood Parrot Cichlids, providing them with the best possible environment will help ensure their wellbeing and overall happiness.

Physical Characteristics

In this section, we’ll discuss the unique physical characteristics of the Blood Parrot Cichlid. This beautifully ornate fish is an eye-catching addition to any aquarium, but understanding its size, shape, and natural coloration can help you better care for your aquatic friend.

Size and Shape

Blood Parrot Cichlids have a round body with a distinctively beak-like head, giving them their name. They feature a small mouth and large eyes, which often give them a cartoonish appearance. Additionally, they possess a nuchal hump on top of their head, which is more pronounced in adult males.

When it comes to size, these fish can grow up to 8-10 inches in length, but the average size is usually around 7-7.5 inches. It’s important for you to provide them with a spacious tank to accommodate their eventual adult size.

Color and Markings

Blood Parrot Cichlids are known for their unique coloration, which can vary depending on factors such as age, diet, and water quality. They typically display different shades of orange, yellow, and red. Some specimens may appear more grayish in color, but this is less common.

The fish’s markings can also be quite striking, with many individuals showcasing black spots or other variations. However, the most prominent feature remains their overall bright coloration, which makes them a popular choice for home aquariums.

In summary, the Blood Parrot Cichlid is characterized by its round body, beak-like head, small mouth, and nuchal hump. They have a vibrant color palette and unique markings, making them the perfect addition to your aquarium. Remember to provide them with a spacious environment, proper diet, and clean water to ensure they thrive and maintain their stunning appearance.

Lifespan and Growth Rate

Caring for your Blood Parrot Cichlid involves understanding their lifespan and growth rate. A Blood Parrot Cichlid can live for 10 to 15 years in captivity, with the proper care and a healthy environment. The quality of care you provide, including a balanced and nutritious diet, clean water, high-volume filtration, and adequate swimming space, will greatly impact their lifespan.

When it comes to growth, Blood Parrot Cichlids typically reach a size of around 10-12 cm long. However, adult Blood Parrot Cichlids can grow up to 20 cm long, with males being slightly larger than females. The growth rate of these beautiful fish depends on various factors, such as their genetic makeup, diet, and general health.

To support your Blood Parrot Cichlid’s growth and help maximize their lifespan, keep the following points in mind:

  • Provide a well-balanced diet, including high-quality pellets and occasional freeze-dried or frozen foods like brine shrimp and bloodworms.
  • Maintain a clean and appropriately-sized tank. Blood Parrot Cichlids should have at least a 30-gallon tank for a single fish or a 50-gallon tank for a pair.
  • Regularly clean the tank and ensure efficient filtration to maintain optimal water parameters.
  • Monitor water temperature, which should be kept between 76 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and pH levels, which should be between 6.5 and 7.5.

By following these tips and giving your Blood Parrot Cichlid proper care, you’ll be able to enjoy their vibrant colors and unique personality for many years to come. Remember, a healthy and happy Blood Parrot Cichlid will reach its full growth potential and have a longer lifespan.

Diet and Feeding

Caring for your Blood Parrot Cichlid involves providing them with a proper diet to keep them healthy and vibrant. Your fish will thrive on a balanced diet that includes a variety of high-quality foods.

Make sure to feed your Blood Parrot Cichlid twice a day, but in small amounts. Overfeeding can lead to health problems and obesity. A good rule of thumb is to feed them an amount that they can consume in 2-3 minutes. Remember to remove any uneaten food after feeding to prevent water quality issues.

One of the main components of their diet should be high-quality cichlid pellets. These pellets are designed to provide the essential nutrients your fish needs and should make up the base of their diet. You can supplement the pellets with other types of food for variety.

Adding live or frozen foods to your Blood Parrot Cichlid’s diet is another way to provide essential nutrients and to keep them engaged during feeding. Some options include:

  • Brine shrimp: A great source of protein that can help improve your fish’s coloration.
  • Bloodworms: These are particularly loved by cichlids and can provide essential nutrients.
  • Mysis shrimp: Another good source of protein, which can also help enhance their colors.

Besides pellets and live/frozen foods, you can also provide your fish with some vegetable-based foods. These can be in the form of veggie pellets, spirulina flakes or even blanched vegetables, like zucchini and spinach, to give them the fiber they need to maintain proper digestion.

To sum it up, a varied diet consisting of pellets, live or frozen foods, and occasional vegetables is key to keeping your Blood Parrot Cichlid healthy and thriving. Keep the feeding schedule consistent and monitor their intake to prevent overfeeding or dietary imbalances.

Behavior and Temperament

Blood Parrot Cichlids are unique and interesting freshwater fish with a friendly and social temperament. They are generally peaceful and get along well with other tank mates, but they can occasionally display some semi-aggressive behaviors, especially during feeding times or when they feel threatened.

As a fish keeper, it’s important to provide enough hiding spots and plenty of swimming space for your Blood Parrot Cichlid. This will help to alleviate stress and minimize aggressive behaviors. To further reduce stress for your fish, maintaining stable water parameters and a clean environment is essential.

Caring for Blood Parrot Cichlids requires a moderate level of experience as they can be sensitive to water quality and stress. Keeping a close eye on both the tank conditions and the behavior of your fish will help you to gauge their overall health and well-being.

When it comes to aggressive behavior, Blood Parrot Cichlids are not the most territorial of fish, but they may still display some chasing or nipping towards tank mates if they feel overwhelmed or crowded. Providing adequate personal space, as well as selecting appropriate tank mates, will help to keep aggression levels low.

Blood Parrot Cichlids can be a fun and social addition to your aquarium, offering vibrant color and personality. By understanding this fish’s behavior and temperament, as well as providing proper care, you can help your Blood Parrot Cichlid to thrive and bring many years of enjoyment to your aquarium experience.

Care and Tank Requirements

Caring for Blood Parrot Cichlids involves maintaining proper tank conditions and setup. In this section, we will discuss tank size, water parameters, tank setup and decorations, and filtration and aeration.

Tank Size

A single Blood Parrot Cichlid thrives in a minimum tank size of 30 gallons. If you plan to keep multiple Blood Parrot Cichlids, consider a larger tank, such as a 55-gallon tank for three fish, or a 75-gallon tank for five to six fish. Providing ample swimming space is crucial for these active fish.

Water Parameters (Temperature and pH)

Maintaining proper water conditions is essential for the health of your Blood Parrot Cichlid. The optimal water temperature for these fish is between 76 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The pH level should range from 6.5 to 7.4. Keep the water hardness rating between 6 and 18 dGH. Regular monitoring of water temperature, pH, nitrate, and ammonia levels is crucial for your fish’s well-being.

Tank Setup and Decorations

Use a sandy substrate for your aquarium, which is gentler on the fish’s sensitive skin. Incorporating various decor items provides hiding spots and a sense of security for your Blood Parrot Cichlids. Consider including driftwood, clay pots, and live plants such as java fern, anubias, and hornwort for natural hiding places. Proper lighting is also important for maintaining a healthy environment for both your fish and live plants.

Filtration and Aeration

Blood Parrot Cichlids require good water quality, so invest in a strong filtration system that can handle the tank size. Regular water changes are necessary to maintain optimal water conditions. Ensure that your filtration system provides adequate aeration, which is necessary for these fish. A well-maintained and properly aerated tank helps keep your Blood Parrot Cichlids healthy and thriving.

Suitable Tank Mates

When setting up a community tank for your Blood Parrot Cichlid, you want to ensure that their tank mates are compatible and peaceful. Here are a few options to consider, which can live harmoniously with your Blood Parrot Cichlid:

  • Angelfish: Known for their graceful appearance, angelfish can be a great addition to your cichlid tank. Their peaceful temperament allows them to coexist well with Blood Parrot Cichlids.
  • Medium-sized Tetras: Fish like neon, lemon and glowlight tetras make excellent companions, as they are active swimmers and remain relatively small in size.
  • Danios: These active and colorful fish are suitable tank mates for your Blood Parrot Cichlid due to their peaceful nature and adaptability to various water conditions.
  • Clown Loaches: These strikingly patterned bottom-dwellers are known for their peaceful behavior, making them a fitting choice for your community tank.
  • Tiger Barbs: Adding some tiger barbs can add a pop of color and energy to your tank. While they may be active and nippy, they typically don’t cause any problems with non-aggressive fish like Blood Parrot Cichlids.
  • Firemouth Cichlids: This species is also mild-mannered and can share a tank with Blood Parrot Cichlids, giving some diversity to your cichlid collection.
  • Dwarf Gouramis and Honey Gouramis: These peaceful, vibrantly colored fish add beauty and variety to your tank and are known to live harmoniously with Blood Parrot Cichlids.

Keep in mind that Blood Parrot Cichlids are a hybrid species, and their breeding practices have been controversial. As a result, it’s important to avoid the introduction of fish that might encourage breeding. Additionally, just as your Blood Parrot Cichlid might be at risk with overly aggressive tank mates, you should also avoid housing them with smaller, timid species, which could become stressed by the presence of larger cichlids.

In conclusion, when selecting tank mates for your Blood Parrot Cichlid, focus on choosing peaceful, community-friendly fish like the ones listed above. With the right mix of compatible species, you can create a beautiful and harmonious environment for all your aquatic pets to enjoy.

Breeding Process

Breeding Blood Parrot Cichlids can be a bit challenging due to their hybrid nature, which often results in sterility. However, with the right knowledge and care, you can try to encourage the breeding process. Here’s a step-by-step guide to attempt breeding these fish:

  1. Set up a breeding tank: Prepare a separate tank with a minimum of 30 gallons for the breeding pair. Ensure that the water temperature is between 76°F and 80°F and maintain a pH level of approximately 6.5 to 7.5.
  2. Introduce a breeding pair: Choose a healthy and mature male and female Blood Parrot Cichlid and introduce them to the breeding tank. You can identify females by their rounder and more prominent abdomens.
  3. Create a conducive environment: Add smooth rocks, caves, or flower pots to the breeding tank to provide hiding spots and surfaces for the eggs to be laid. Make sure to have good water filtration and circulation to keep the water clean and well-oxygenated.
  4. Monitor their behavior: Keep an eye on the fish and observe their interactions. A courting male will usually perform mating dances near a chosen spawning site to attract the female. If they’re compatible, the female will respond positively and lay eggs on the chosen surface.
  5. Provide a high-quality diet: Feed the breeding pair a well-balanced and nutritious diet consisting of high-quality pellets, live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, and bloodworms. This will help to improve their overall health and increase the chances of successful breeding.
  6. Observe egg-laying and fertilization: Once the female lays her eggs, the male will attempt to fertilize them. However, due to their hybrid nature, male Blood Parrot Cichlids are often sterile, and fertilization might not occur. In this case, you can introduce a male of another Central American Cichlid species, such as a Convict Cichlid, to crossbreed and fertilize the eggs.
  7. Care for the eggs and fry: If the eggs are successfully fertilized, the parents will usually take care of them by cleaning and fanning them. Keep an eye on the parents, as sometimes they could harm the eggs. After 3 to 4 days, the eggs should hatch into fry. At this stage, you can start feeding them with newly hatched brine shrimp and crushed flake food. As they grow, you can gradually introduce them to a larger community tank.

Remember that success in breeding Blood Parrot Cichlids is not guaranteed due to their hybridization and sterility issues. However, by following this guide and providing proper care, you can maximize the chances of a successful breeding process.

Common Diseases and Treatments

Blood parrot cichlids are beautiful and unique freshwater fish, but they are prone to certain diseases, just like any other fish. In this section, we’ll cover some common diseases that may affect your blood parrot cichlids and their treatments. Remember to always monitor your fish for any signs of distress or illness.

Ich: Ich, also known as white spot disease, is a common issue among freshwater fish. If your blood parrot cichlid starts to show small white spots on its body, fins, or gills, it might be suffering from ich. To treat ich, you can raise the temperature in the tank to around 86°F (30°C) for about a week, and use over-the-counter ich treatments available at pet stores.

Swim Bladder Issues: Swim bladder issues can be common in blood parrot cichlid, making them appear unbalanced or unable to swim properly in the tank. This might be due to overfeeding, constipation, or a deformity. Make sure you’re feeding your fish a balanced diet and manage their food intake. If there is no improvement, consider consulting a veterinarian who specializes in aquatic animals.

Stress spots: Blood parrot cichlids may develop stress spots, which are dark patches appearing on their skin. These can be caused by poor water quality, sudden changes in water parameters, or aggression from tank mates. Make sure your tank is properly cycled and maintained with stable pH levels. If the spots persist, consider re-evaluating your tank setup and the compatibility of their tank mates.

Skin flukes, protozoa, worms, and bacterial infections: These rare diseases can sometimes affect blood parrot cichlids, and their symptoms can include lethargy, loss of appetite, fins clamped to their body, and more. To treat these diseases, you’ll want to first identify the specific pathogen involved and then consult your veterinarian to prescribe the appropriate medication.

It’s worth mentioning that some blood parrot cichlids have genetic defects or deformities due to their hybrid origin. Be cautious when purchasing these fish from pet stores, as unethical practices like injecting dye into fish to enhance their colors are still prevalent.

Maintaining a clean tank with stable water parameters and providing a balanced diet for your blood parrot cichlid will help to prevent most common diseases. Remember to monitor your fish regularly for any signs of disease and be prepared to act quickly if needed. Your care and attention will help ensure that your blood parrot cichlid thrives in your aquarium.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many parrot cichlids can be kept together?

You can keep one blood parrot cichlid in a 30-gallon tank. If you want to keep more, a 55-gallon tank can accommodate three of them, and a 75-gallon tank can hold five to six blood parrots. Ensure each fish has at least 20-30 gallons of space.

What are ideal tank conditions for blood parrot cichlids?

Blood parrot cichlids thrive in well-maintained water with a temperature range of 76-80°F and a pH level between 6.5 and 7.5. Keep the tank clean with good filtration and provide hiding places like rocks, caves, or plants. This will help your fish feel secure and reduce stress.

Is it easy to maintain blood parrot cichlids?

Yes, blood parrot cichlids are generally low-maintenance and easy to care for, making them suitable for novice aquarium keepers. Keep in mind, though, that they can have some difficulties feeding due to their hybrid nature, which affects the shape of their mouth.

What are some compatible tank mates for Blood Parrot Cichlids?

Blood parrot cichlids can coexist with other similarly sized, non-aggressive fish. Some suitable tank mates include angelfish, mollies, platies, and gouramis. However, avoid overly aggressive species that might bully or stress them.

How frequently should they be fed?

Feed your blood parrot cichlids two to three times daily, only offering them as much food as they can consume in two to three minutes. Overfeeding young fish can lead to rapid growth and health problems, while overfeeding adult fish can contribute to obesity.

What is the best diet for them?

Blood parrot cichlids require a balanced diet of high-quality pellets or flakes and occasional treats like fresh or frozen foods (e.g., bloodworms, daphnia, and brine shrimp) to keep them healthy. Make sure the food provided is suitable for their smaller mouth size, making it easier for them to consume.


Taking care of your blood parrot cichlid can be a rewarding experience, as these magnificent hybrid species add a vibrant touch to your aquarium. With origins in Central America, they are a result of crossbreeding between the midas cichlid (Amphilophus citrinellus) and the redhead cichlid (Paraneetroplus synspilus).

To ensure your blood parrot cichlid thrives, provide an adequately sized tank with clean and properly filtered water. Maintain a stable water temperature, pH level, and introduce suitable tank mates. Feed them with a well-balanced diet, including pellets and live or frozen foods to supplement their nutritional needs.

Remember to closely monitor your blood parrot cichlid for signs of common diseases and take preventative measures to promote a healthy environment. With proper care, your unique and beautiful blood parrot cichlids can become an exciting addition to your aquatic family, and they can live a long and happy life in your aquarium.