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Blood Parrot Afraid of Light?

I raised my BP from a 1" baby to what is now a 4" beauty. Yesterday she started acting wierd like she was sick. An hour later I notice ALL the fish acting that way and determined while it was making noise the filter had stopped filtering the water. Luckily I had a spare unit (2x the capacity too) and I quickly made the switch along with a partial water change. Afterwards all the fish started to act  better, except she was still on the bottom left corner looking bad. I called my favorite fish store and spoke to the manager. She suggested perhaps the fish was stressed from the whole incident and that I should turn out the light. Sure enough as soon as I turned off the light she came to the top of the tank. Today I went downstairs and turned on the light for the morning feeding. She immediately darted back down to the corner and folded back her dorsal fin. I turned it out and she came to back the top and started eating. Can it be possible she developed a fear of the light? Or is this a reaction to stress? Or heaven forbid she is sick?


PS - I did move some ornaments around during the cleaning.


i think she is fine, the stress prolly caught up to her. Mine tend to have their moods about the lights also. Do you leave the light on alot or alternate having it on and off equally? If she is not used to the dark and liked it, then she prolly was stunned by the bright light coming on. It is prolly brighter for their eyes than ours. i usually turn on 1 light at a time for them rather than both, but my tank has 2 lights.

Niekomaster, you're right she is fine. Today she is her normal self swiming around happily. I turn on the light only when I'm home ... for feeding, so she usually comes up to the top when I turn it on. Thanks for the response, I'd just hate to loose my first baby!

I had a water issue this week and lost 5 smaller fish. Tangie has been standing on her 'nose' in the corner and refuses to eat! Praying she survives...

What water issue? What steps have you taken to correct it? You can always replace all of the water...

I believe the water issue was caused by some cichlid pellets I found hiding in a bin. I tossed some in and the didn't eat any of them. They settled on the bottom and I guess started to rot. I think perhaps that is why I had them tucked away, not sure why I didn't just throw them out!

The result was high nitrates and low ph. I did a 30% water change/gravel vacuum, and changed the charcoal filter. I added dechlorinator, ph UP, Jack's bio-boost, a bit of aquarium salt, a touch of stress coat, and some ph buffering powder. It was the next day that two more fish died (I lost a clown loach and a panda cory) and the others were all resting on the bottom.

As of this morning, Tangie was still on her nose in the corner, but when I turned on the light and tossed in a bit of food (their usual cichlid crisps) she came right up to eat. Most of the other fish are looking ok, I have one albino cichlid who is still on the bottom looking sick, as are 3 bronze cory catfish. I hope they don't die as they are the rainbow colored ones and so very pretty. The only other fish in the tank are a small convict cichlid and a red top cobalt zebra, neither of which appears sick at all through this. I am not buying any more fish - until I get a bigger tank anyway. My BF and I want different things, I want a bigger tank - he wants only one tank (I have a second 46 gal cichlid tank in the den - he bought it for me too).

Since this incident I purchased a Mardel Live NH3 and PH meter. I think it will help as I can see the readings all the time, not just when I test.

What was the nitrate reading? I'm skeptical that the pH and nitrate levels would have been directly impacted by the pellets. Did you test for ammonia and nitrite? Each of those would have been present prior to a sudden rise in nitrate, and are far more likely to have resulted from uneaten food. They are also far more likely to have cause sickness and death. Ammonia and nitrite would then have been converted to nitrate. At this point the process is over. A few drops of prime would have helped tremendously with ammonia and nitrite.

What was the pH reading? Your African cichlid has very different pH requirements than your Central Americans. They belong in different aquariums with different biotopes.

Next time you have an apparent contamination crisis just replace nearly all of your water. I replace half of mine weekly as a matter of course. Water is cheap and so are water conditioners. You only replaced 30% and you suspect contaminated water.

I have the paperwork at home from the tests done at Jack's Aquarium. The said NOT to replace all the water as that will interrupt the biocycle, in fact he said I should not have even rinsed the biofilter out either. The Ph was around 6.5 I can recall. He did all the tests imaginable so I will tell you later the readings. As for the other cichilds in the tank, they were first in the African cichlid tank in the den but were getting eaten alive, I had to do something! It was a choice between dead fish or fish in the wrong kind of environment. I can tell you they appear to be thriving even if the ph is a tad low for them. 


If you rinse your filter media with aquarium water and not tap water then nothing is lost. I rinse my media twice per year.

NEARLY all of the water. As far as a near-total water change goes; there's virtually no impact on the bio filter of any sort. Water is just water. The bacteria are colonized on your glass, substrate, plants and ornaments, and filter media, not in the water. The only thing in the water is food for the bacteria, and your fish are cranking that out all day every day. I respectfully disagree that a near-total water change would be detrimental. Unless you allow the tank to actually dry out, it is a non - issue.

I was just making sure you knew about the African.

That makes sense - now that you say it I do know the 'good' bacteria live in the tank not the water. I don't put 100% trust in the 'kids' that work in the aquarium store. Anyway here are the last stats on the tank:

Ammonia .50
Nitrate .40
Nitrite 0
Hardness 250
Ph 6.8

Are these readings before or after the water change? That is a fairly high ammonia reading and is, as I suspected, the reason for the deaths. The decaying food generated ammonia. Please change 50% of your water asap and add 2 drops of prime per gallon. Don't add any other chemicals.

Oxidizing bacteria are ever on the prowl  for oxygen in our aquariums. In a couple of days they will have stripped oxygen atoms from your ammonia molecules and converted them into nitrite. Other bacteria will then do the same thing with the nitrite molecules. You will have a bit more nitrate as the end result but no ammonia or nitrite will remain.

Don't adjust your pH until no ammonia or nitrite register. Ammonia is much more toxic at higher pH ranges than at lower. Do salt your water as you have been (assuming you are salting in the proper dosage and using the proper salt) as this will detoxify some of the nitrite you are about to encounter.

Your nitrate level is at the upper threshold. I wouldn't worry about anything 40PPM or less. It will be 20PPM when you replace half your water. It will rise a bit as the ammonia is converted and you will want to change enough water at that point to get it below 40PPM again.

BEFORE the water change!

I would be freaking if they were after. All the fish today look fine, darting around and appear healthy. Tangie is STILL standing on her nose in the corner, but when I approach the tank as far as 3 feet away she swims towards me. She is the only fish I have that does this. I had a hard time taking this photo because of it. Do you see why I am worried? This is new behavior? Is stuff like this normal in BP?

Such a pretty face, such a pretty smile...


as for your bp, tangy, give her some peas. maybe all this stress got her stopped up and the peas will be helpful for her swimbladder anyway. She is pretty!


the first thing I did was try to feed her peas, she was not eating anything at the time, I will try again... so you think my fish is constipated? hmmm, I don't stand on my head when I'm constipated. Maybe I should try it tho...

LMBO! thats funny

Pretty fish. Is that a bowfront aquarium? What size is it?

You still need to do a 50% water change. The ammonia level is still dangerous.

I have two of them, one just under 30 gal. and the other just under 50 gal. I want to upgrade the 30 to either 55 or 70 as I have 48" wide space perfect for it!!

Yes, u will need to upgrade soon, since BP's should have 30 gallons for just 1 fish. 2 really need about 55 if you plan to have any additional smaller species fish in there. :)

75 gallon tanks are 48" wide and soooo much deeper than a 55. They are really well worth the additional cost, where volume and aquascape options are concerned, if you can afford the difference in the cost of accessories. My unsolicited advice is to go that way if you have the resources.

I agree with Nieko (as I so often do) and would add that the reason for a larger tank is not just about physical boundaries and everyone having their own space. We really need the extra water and extra filtration to combat the secretions and excretions that larger cichlids generate.

I have a small yo yo botia loach, I have not even seen it since this started!!

I know I don't like a lot of light when I don't feel good.  I have lowered the light in both of my tanks by putting a little aluminum foil between the light and cover. They seem happier.


I keep the light off except when I feed. They are all fine now, the ones that survived that is!