The blood parrot cichlid is a hybrid aquarium fish species. Produced by crossing the midas cichlid (Amphilophus citrinellus)and the synspilum cichlid (Paraneetroplus synspilus), the blood parrot cichlid’s genetic mixture has left the fish with a combination of unique physical traits.
The unusual appearance—round body and beak-like head with large eyes—along with the fish’s ability to coexist with other species in a community environment, has made it very popular among some enthusiasts.
The blood parrot cichlid is a hybrid fish that was first created in Taiwan around 1986. Although they’ve been on the market for some time, blood parrot cichlids were not readily available before the year 2000. Usually sold under the name blood parrot or red parrots, they should not be confused with freshwater parrot cichlids (Hoplarchus Psittacus) or the saltwater parrot fish ( Callyodon fasciatus).
The controversy even exists over the genetic parentage of this fish. Although the most likely pairing is between the midas cichlid (Cichlasoma citrinellum) and the synspilum cichlid (Cichlasoma synspilum), some forms (often known as “calico” blood parrots) are likely the result of crosses between a green or gold severum (Heros severus or Cichlasoma severum) with the red devil (Cichlasoma erythraeum).
It is also possible that Amphilophus labiatus or even Archocentrus species are used in creating blood parrots. Regardless of their heritage, one thing is certain—these fish do not exist in nature but only as the result of human interference in natural breeding.
Blood parrots are usually bright orange, although red, yellow, or gray fish are also possible. Adult fish grow to a length of about 20 cm and may reach an age of 10 to 15 years. Males are slightly larger than females.
These hybrids are easily recognized by their unique features—a round body and a beak-like head with large eyes. The mouth typically remains open, and the teeth are deep down in the throat.
Blood parrots should not be kept with aggresive fish, as they are not well equipped to compete for food or turf in the aquarium. Owners have kept them successfully in community tanks with a variety of peaceful fish. Mid-sized tetras, danios, angelfish, and catfish are all good possible tankmates.
The habitat for the blood parrot should be roomy and provide plenty of hiding placesso they can set up their own territory. Rocks, driftwood, and clay pots on their sides are good options. Like other cichlids, these fish will dig in the substrate, so choose one that is not too rough. The temperature should be maintained at about 26°c. Lower temperatures will result in the loss of color and generally weaken their immune system, leaving the fish more susceptible to disease. The pH should be about 7 and the water soft.
These fish produce a lot of waste, so regular water changes and high-volume filtration is necessary.
Watch for high levels of nitrite and phosphate, which can contribute to blue-green algae that can kill your fish. Common diseases of blood parrots include ich parasites (treated by raising water temperature or by copper water treatments), swim bladder disease, and bacterial infections.
Blood parrots will eat a variety of foods including flake, live, frozen, and freeze-dried foods. Sinking pellet foods are easier for them to eat than floating foods. Most owners report frozen bloodworms and brine shrimp as a favorite treat. Foods high in b-carotene and canthaxanthin will help maintain their vibrant colors.
Males and females are identical in coloring and pattern, but males are slightly larger than females.
Although blood parrots have been known to mate and even lay eggs, generally they are infertile. There have been sporadic cases of successful spawnings, generally when females have been crossed with a non-hybrid fish. Like other cichlids, blood parrots will tend the eggs and resulting fry fastidiously. As with any eggs, those that are infertile will turn white and rapidly develop fungus. The parents will eat infertile eggs to prevent them from spreading the fungus to the fertile eggs. Once the eggs hatch, daily water changes of 25 percent are critical to ensuring the health of the fry.
- Species – Amphilophus citrinellus x Paraneetroplus synspilus
- Common Name – Blood Parrot
- Origin – Hybrid fish that was first created in Taiwan around 1986.
- Diet – Omnivores
- PH Range – 6.5 – 7.5
- Temperature – Tropical 26°c – 28°c
- Breed Type – Egg Layer
- Current Size – approximately 5cm (Grows to approximately 20cm)
- Sex – Un-sexed