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Parrot Fish Coloring

I know there are a bunch of previous posts about blood parrot color changes in these guys but of the ones I saw I couldnt find one that quite matched my situation. So when we first brought our little buddy home he still appeared relatively the same in color to what he was when we first got him. But then over the next few days we noticed he had considerably faded in color. We figured this was normal since he was simply still adjusting to his new home so we waited thinking it might take a day or two for him to warm up to the new place. It has now been two months since we first got the blood parrot and hes done really well other than a slight case of ich which was resolved within a week. However, his color has still yet to fully return 

Any ways I was hoping someone might be able to tell me whats going on with him. I don't know if it could be that he is simply lonely or if its something serious. (However he has been like this for a considerable period of time so I doubt this is the case). In any case any suggestions would help. My water parameters are always pretty well maintained. I do 50% each week and I gravel vac as needed since this guys sure knows the whole place is his bathroom. I keep his tank at 80 degrees farhenniet. Any help would be appreicated just want my buddy to color up and be pretty, however he does seem like a very happy fish regardless of his color.



Parrot Cichlids have a fair bit of control over their own color. I've seen them change color within a second when they are threatened. I am not sure what is going on with your little fish but it can be an emotional reaction, not always illness or physical related. I'm pretty sure they do get depressed sometimes, so perhaps it will just take time. Is there room in the tank for another? They are fairly social creatures, although it would be safer to get a smaller one, not a bigger one. 

My thoughts were the same maybe that hes simply lonley, he does seem like he gets better at times when I am around him more frequently, he loves to look at me and follow my finger and even nip at it if i put my hand in the tank to interact with him. Its almost like he plays tag where he will nip me real quick run away really fast and then come back and do it all over again a few seconds later its very funny. But currently hes roughly 4 or 5 inches in a 37 gallon tank. But i also have a 65 I am in the process of setting up for him so room shouldnt be that much of an issue.

If his behavior is normal, it may be the lightning of the tank playing a big part in your fish colors. You can try getting a warmer lightbulb and seeing if that helps.

Having had examples of this species from different sources, and having seen them under different types of lighting... and through many levels of growth... I can tell you: such coloration differences aren't unusual. The reason for it can vary, but it usually amounts to the same as you have with yours. 

In short: Don't worry... Simple, harmless things like lighting and diet can have it's effect, but it's nothing to stress over. How ever, if you're really that bent on improving it's color, start with a change of lighting. A local LFS says the reason his Parrot Cichlids appear to have such a deeply red color is because of the lighting he uses: Special, costly stuff... as opposed to anything offfered by a local superstore.

If that's not enough, try something I tried briefly: Hakari's Red Flowerhorn & Parrot/Blood Cichlid Pellets. It's said to give noted improvement of color in as little as 2-months use, but from what I've seen, that's not guaranteed. Plus, having seen the way bits tend to blow out of their gilplates while attempting to eat pellets of such size, it's just as likely--if not more so--it'll increase the redness seen in your filter... which might increase the amount of "red" you see.

Just wanted to say thank you to all the helpful suggestions, I decided to approach the problem by getting an additional blood parrot as a roommate for my little guy. Almost immediately between upgrading him to the 65 gallon tank and adding a buddy he colored up the very next day. His color continued to improve over a few days until it returned to its original orange pigment from when I first got him. The only thing now is both of my parrots have taken it upon themselves to hide from me in their new unfamiliar territory. I guess its back to waiting to see my buddy again.

Up until late, I've been dismayed by my pair's tendency to hide unless it's feeding-time... especially the female. 

Watching their behavior after their morning feeding--a usual diet of pellets, big and small--I noticed the male still searching for food. Figuring this was due the the reduced portion given this time, I felt simpathy for him, and gave him a pinch of the Omega-1 Super Color flakes I had on-hand for some time. Once he took notice of the flakes, a surprising thing happened: the female came out of her seclusion, and began "pecking" at the flakes as they floated upon the water's surface. She even stayed out for awhile, searching alongside her mate for whatever pieces of food they could find--big or small!

So now, whenever I go to fed the tank--which includes Longfin Tetra Glo-Fish, and Iridescent Sharks--and wish to see all my beauties in plain-view... I drop-in the large Cichlid pellets for the Sharks, and a pinch of flakes for the rest. And I never worry about wasted food, because Sherbet & Zipper take care of it all. 

Plus I get to see them swimming about in a "casual" fashion, instead of hiding.