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Blood Parrot Care Sheet

Blood Parrots Facts and Care

Common Names: Blood Parrot Cichlid, Red Blood Parrot, Red Parrot Cichlid, Red Parrot Fish, Parrot Fish.

The Blood Parrot Cichlid is a hybrid fish that was first created in Taiwan in the mid to late 1980's. Its parentage has been highly disputed, but the most commonly speculated pairings are Midas Cichlid (Amphilophus Citrinellus) with the Redhead Cichlid (Paratheraps Synspilum). One of the more wild theories is the Severum (Heros Severus) with the Red Devil Cichlid (Amphilophus Labiatus). Blood Parrots have a round body, a beak shaped head with an upside down triangle mouth. They are often seen in bright orange in coloration, but seen in other colors such as red, yellow, brown, and tan. Other colors have been produced such as green, blue, and purple by dyeing the fish, which shortens life expectancy.


Tank Size Required

30 Gallons Minimum A good rule of thumb is 30 gallon for one and 10 more gallons for each additional Blood Parrot. As with any fish, the bigger the tank the better.

Size and Growth

6 - 9" (15 - 24cm) Blood Parrots grow slow when compared to other Central American Cichlids or Flowerhorn. Once they hit 4-5" their growth slows further. They typically can live anywhere from 5 - 15 years depending on the care given to them and other genetic factors. When Blood Parrots are small they may show a tan/brown body color with black spots near the tail. These are simply juveniles that should change to orange/yellow as they grow.

Some may never change to orange/yellow and stay tan/brown. Lots of Parrots like this are usually sold cheaper than the normal orange ones at places like Petsmart.

Water Conditions
Temperature: 76 - 86F (24 - 30C) pH: 6.0 - 8.5 Temperatures should be between 76 - 86F (24 - 30C) but the ideal temperature should be between 82 - 84F (26 - 29C). Temperatures lower than 80F (24C) seems to cause them to be more reclusive and cause the color to be more pale. The ideal pH should be between 7.0 - 8.0.

Blood Parrots enjoy pelleted foods with occasional Blood Worm and Shrimp treats. A smaller pellet size should be used due to their mouths. Recommended pellet brands are Hikari Cichlid or New Life Spectrum Cichlid/Cichlasoma Formula 1 - 3mm depending on the size of the fish. Feeding can sometimes be tricky as some have more deformed mouths than others or gill curl or other gill deformities. If the Parrot has trouble feeding from the surface then it is recommended to switch to a sinking pellet. Thawed shelled peas should be fed once a week to add roughage to the diet to help prevent Swim Bladder problems.

Social Behavior
Blood Parrots, especially when young, can be very shy and reclusive. Its typical for them to hide when you first bring them home to hide and/or be very skittish and can take a few weeks for them to adjust to their new surroundings. Some ways for you to help them adjust is to make sure they have several hiding spots and adding some dither fish. Removing hiding spots will only make them more shy and could take longer for them to adjust. Blood Parrots like all Central American Cichlids are territorial and not typically suitable for small community fish. If it fits in their mouth or close then they will try to eat it. Given the proper tank Blood Parrots typically get along fine with most Central and Southern American Cichlids although large overly aggressive cichlids should be avoided as tankmates or house with caution. Due to Blood Parrots deformed mouths they cannot cause much damage to other fish although recently low quality Blood Parrots are being produced to sell at cheaper prices that do not have the deformed mouth and they can do damage.

Health Issues
Stress Spots: This is usually mistaken for Neascus (Black spot disease). Blood Parrots sometimes get Stress Spots which are black splotches on the body or fins and this is caused by stress. This is typically present you bring them home but can also show up when in cases of shyness, bullying, breeding, illness, or sometimes nothing at all. The splotches will usually disappear after awhile once the problem is taken care of.

Swim Bladder Issues: They show an abnormal swimming pattern, may even float upside down or appear to be stuck at the surface of the water, being unable to swim down, or they may lie on the bottom, unable to rise. Fish with a swim bladder disorder will continue to try and feed, showing a normal appetite. This is usually caused by a poor diet. To prevent this from happening it is recommended to feed shelled peas once a week for that days meals. This can also help with mild cases. For severe cases add 1 Tbsp per gallon of Epsom Salt into a container of water. Place the fish in the Epsom Salt bath for 20 - 30 minutes. This can be done twice a day but should only be done as a last resort. Ick/Ich/White Spot: is a common disease of freshwater fish. It is caused by the protozoa Ichtyopthirius. Ick is one of the most common and persistent diseases. Your fish will be covered with white cysts on the skin, fins and gills. Heavily infected fish looks as if they have been sprinkled with sugar and pepper grains. They may scratch themselves against gravel or decorations in the aquarium. Ick is usually deadly if left untreated. To treat ick it is best to first raise to the temperature in the aquarium to 86 - 89F. Then treat the tank with 2 tsp of salt per gallon of water or treat the water with Mardel CopperSafe. Any other treatment can potentially damage the Biofilter so other treatments are not recommended. During treatment it is not recommended that you change the water so before you treat the tank a 25 - 50% water change is recommended. Treatment should take 1 - 2 weeks depending on severity.

Sexual Differences
Blood Parrots are not sexually dimorphic which means you can not look at one and be able to sex it. The only proper why to tell the gender is to vent them.

Blood Parrots will start to pair off and breed around 2 - 3" (5 - 7.5cm). Nearly all male Blood Parrots are sterile which means they can not fertilize the eggs. Female Blood Parrots however can cross with any male Central American Cichlid or Flowerhorn Cichlid and the eggs be viable. South American Cichlid (except Cichlasoma Festae) and African Cichlid can not cross with female Blood Parrots. If the eggs turn white then they are no good and should be removed to prevent dirtying the water. Good eggs should turn tan with a black dot and hatch after 2-4 depending on water temperature.

Dyed and Mutilated Parrots

Blood Parrots and many other fish have been the victims of cruel cosmetic surgery where the fish is dyed or mutilated in order to "enhance" its beauty at the cost of greatly shortening its life span. These type of fish should never be purchased. Dyeing: Dyeing (also known as artificial coloring or juicing), is achieved by a number of methods, such as tattooing, injecting the fish with a hypodermic syringe containing bright fluorescent color dye and dipping the fish into a dye solution among others. This process is usually done to make the fish a brighter color and more attractive to consumers. The coloring of the fish is not permanent, and usually fades away in six to nine months.
  These fish are usually referred to as Green/Blue/Purple Parrots, Jellybean Parrots and Bubblegum Parrots. Amputation: Amputation is perhaps the worst and most inhumane method of cosmetic fish surgery. Its victims are usually Blood Parrots and Flowerhorn. The fish's tail is cut off with scissors while at a young age so as it grows the body produces a sort of "heart" shape as it grows.
  These fish are usually referred to as Heart Parrots and Love Parrots.
  Parrot Identification
  Blood Parrots: Blood Parrots have a round body, a protruding beak like head, and an odd shaped mouth that does not close. They are seen in orange, yellow-orange, and red-orange.
Low Quality Blood Parrots: Recently there has been lots of low quality Blood Parrots showing up in the market at stores like Petco, Petsmart, Walmart, and some local stores at significantly lower prices than they are typically seen. These Parrots are low quality in the way the ideal Blood Parrot should look like. These low quality parrots are being mistaken as King Kong Parrots because they posses normal closing mouths rather than the upside down triangle mouth and they do not posses the hump like body.
  King Kong Parrots: King Kong Parrots are a different breed of Blood Parrots. They typically have a more oval shaped body, less protruding head, and they have normal closing mouth. They grow larger than Blood Parrots, usually 7 - 12", and are typically more aggressive. They are seen in orange and red-orange.
  Dyed Blood Parrots: These are often called Jellybean or Bubblegum Parrots, but are just dyed Blood Parrots. They are also confused as being a hybrid of Blood Parrot and Pink Convict which is not the case. These fish should be not be purchased.
  Dyed/Undyed Shortbody Pink Convicts: These are usually called Jellybean Parrots but they do not have any Blood Parrot DNA in them. They are just shortbody or sometimes normal bodied Pink Convicts. They are usually dyed but can be found undyed.
  Kilin Parrots: Sometimes called Kilin Parrot, Kirin Parrot, or Flowerhorn Parrot are a hybrid between Blood Parrots and Flowerhorn. They have the body shape and mouth of a Blood Parrot and the body color and markings of a Flowerhorn.



The Heart Parrots are the cruelest thing, I have ever seen. Tattooing is crap too. I am so happy that I searched out the natural BP, I am glad to have this website to educate me on the options for these fish!

Interesting read Chrisplosion I never knew they cut off their tails as well to form the heart parrots the poor things.

Added a section of the different types of Parrots.

ya even i feel soo bad as y v dominate nature beauty soo much...
thanks for the article ill never go for the artificial types :)

i didnt know convict parrots or jelly beaned had no parrot cichlid dna thanks for article and how big do kilin parrot cichlids get

People have modified animals since humanity existed, what is the big fuzz about, dogs,cats, cattle and fish have been modified for centuries that is how we have domestic pets in the first place, also salmon and tuna with extra high protein are modified to our benefit . Now for the surgically modified parrots i agree 100% that is wrong.

I have had 2 of the brown/tan parrots with black dots. One was about 3 inches, his name was Elton and he never changed colors. I thought they they were a production of the red devil and another cichlid. as opposed to the orange/red varieties being from the midas and another cichlid. I was wrong clearly. Now I have Igor who is also darkly colored. I wonder if he will peel and change. I actually work at PetsMart and we have both varieties. Some of our dark colored parrots are peeling, which is very cool.
otherwise I have Sissypants who is a beautiful specimin of traditional red blood parrot. a bright orange, clearly defined beak, and upside down triangle mouth. Oddly enough I rescued him from an Oscar tank in walmart.

usually when they are small and bright orange, it means they were injected with hormones to push the colors through.. its very unhealthy. I have dodged them since learning it. so cruel.

Thanks Chris for the helpful information about these parrots!

Two days back i bought a pair of yellow parrot fish. In size of 2 inches. Both the fish r same colour. I would lik to know the sexual difference. And to know when they breed.

hai i had bought one pair of parrot fish before one week both of them are not eating the food so what to do???

are you try to feel them a gold fish food? I do it look like they like it.

Hi I currently have two blood parrot in 55 gal one is bit quite larger than other i have had them for about 3 years and would like to add a kilin Parrot and was wondering how aggressive they are and if they will breed with blood parrot and what size they grow .
I love the look of the blue flower horn but heard they are quite aggressive .

Hi are your blood parrots active fish? Or are they usually on the gravel?

My fish (Ignatius) is always moving after he eats.  But, as the day goes on he seems to just meander throughout his tank!  He is very healthy and happy.

I find Blood parrots are over very mellow except when laying eggs.  I find the other to aggressive .  It depends on your fish.  I would not do it as I consider Blood Parrots a little pushy yet peaceful.

Hi, so I purchased my 1st red blood parrot from Petsmart along with 3 silver dollars, 1 blue ram, and a rainbow shark on July 26th. Everyone is fine except my blood red parrot fish she/he hides all day. When I walk to the tank she plays dead and lays on her side startled. My water temp is 81-82. The only time she was lively was 2 weeks ago I bought a new heater and it never shut off so over night my water got up to 90 degrees which caused my Silver dollars to go into shock. But my parrot fish was swimming all around & very happy. I bought a new heater after that. I have a 30 gallon tank. She hides behind all my decorations and is just lazy. Sleeps on her side or upright on the gravel. My question is if this is normal? Are they usually active fish? Will she/he always hide? Today I scooped her in my large net and threw in some ciclid pellets and she gobbled them down. I don't want her to starve. Is 81-82 degrees ok for this type of fish? help!

It could easily be your water conditions as they love clean water and it is so important.


Just a thought as they are generally actived unless conditions are bad, not enough hiding spots or they are being bullied.


Watch closely and you will see.

i have ?.if i have a female blood parrot and one male green texas fish and i breed them then i have red texas fish?heart

 I have been feeding my parrots 2 times a day. The fish keeper i bought them from had recomended that schedule. Is that the norm for blood parrots? i give them high quality pellets and krill twice a week. The rest of the time i feed them flakes, and shelled peas. Any one care to comment on this schedule?

Sounds like they are being fed very well, they should be happy!

Just once a day. Sometime in the afternoon is all they need. the will also keep the tank cleaner

I feed twice a day and skip one day for good digestion.  I feed chichlid sticks ( mainly by hand).  I also give shelled peas which they love as it aids digestion.  When feeding twice a day with two blood parrots in a 46 gallon tank I take out 20% water weekly as they are messy for optimal water conditions.  I have dual bio wheel filter.


They are great fish.  

Hi! My blood parrot is 3inches long . I have had it for 3 months. He has grown half an inch in that time.The problem is thath he only eats cichlid crisps and flakes I have tried hikari and NLS pellets. Will he grow normally eating cichlid crisps and flakes. Thanks in advance.

I have a female parrot cichlid that I have had for going on 6 years now. She has always been pretty healthy-eating normally and hardly ever losing her bright orange color. Just recently I have noticed that she is not eating like she would, with the majority of her food remaining untouched. She is also beginning to lose her color. Other than that her behavior is normal. I am worried that she might be getting sick and want to get her better before any damage is done. She is kept in a 40 gal. tank with another small parrot cichlid that I keep around 80-82 degrees with water changes taking place every 7-10 days. If it is of any importance, my other fish is pale in color as well but was never a bright orange to begin with. I also treated the tank for ich about a month or two back after noticing some spots on my larger fish, with the ich no longer present. If any more info is needed do not heasitate to ask. I only want to get my fish better! Any advice is greatly appreciated!