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New Blood Parrot Enthusiast

Hi! I'm new to this and planning on setting up a tank with 2 or 3 Blood Parrot Cichlids only. A 55 gallon tank will contain a thin layer of gravel and three pots of mangroves in aquarium sand. Will these provide enough hiding spaces? I've been doing reading in preparation and would like some reactions to my ideas. Thank you!  ~  nlb




I think that sounds fantastic, and if the root systems are advanced enough, I cannot imagine there being too few places to hide. Please post pictures once the system is established and please post nitrate readings and phosphate if you're able.


That's a good observation. I will have to start out slowly, look into how to plant the mangroves to have a good root system for hiding,and let the mangroves mature somewhat before I can introduce the parrots. I'll let you know how this goes. ~ nlb

I look forward to you sharing your project. Will this be an open water system you're building? Do you envision it closer to a vivarium or an aquarium? I've been considering experimenting with philodendrons in one of my aquariums, but only the roots would be submerged, and they might only be in the reservoir of a filter and not in the tank. The rest of the plant would hang close by near a window. My expectation is that nitrate and phosphate would be nearly nonexistent with the setup I have in mind. This would in no way benefit me because with large-bodied cichlids we still have to do water changes weekly due to their secretions. The fish should benefit greatly though, and algae proliferation should come to a screeching halt.It would give me a model for more fragile, smaller species in the future.

I'm not sure what you mean by open water system. I'm imagining this as an aquarium, not vivarium, with no top that allows the plants to grow upwards. Initially I was going to have the plants in pots but with further investigation realized that would eliminate the wonderful roots. Instead the plant will be supported (somehow) so the top of the plant will be in the air and the roots will grow down to eventually be support. I did read about mangroves grown in the filter.

I'm still in the planning stage and new to this. The mangroves will take several months to grow in the tank. Thank you for your comments. They are pushing my plans further along and make changes. I wasn't sure if I'd need to continue water changes but, according to you, will need them.

Again, thank you for your input and ideas.



Vivarium example
Open water just means no top. The top of the aquarium is exposed to air. The method maximizes lighting possibilities. I have a few open water tanks. They don't require top-offs any more frequently than the tanks with tops and HO lighting because the heat escapes easily. They have grounded light fixtures with splash guards over the lamps.

Open water example

Good images! The idea with the philodendrons is an interesting one. I'm looking at more images of aquariums and will share some. I want this to be a healthy tank as well.

Bamboo, Umbrella papyrus, and Dracaena will also grow in aquariums, and bamboo can be fully submerged.

Thank you for the article. I've saved it for further reference.

The umbrella papyrus is a good possibility. Very pretty. What is the bamboo that can be fully submerged? I've looked for it but cannot find any information. 

I've had bad luck with floating plants ~ they turn to mush. The only plant that I have now in my fishless aquarium is the marimo ball. They only need to be turned and I'm sure the parrot ciclid will do that.


I think those are just cuttings of yellow groove bamboo. I would imagine they are anchored from the bottom in that vivarium, possibly to slate or the like.

OK! I'm loving the umbrella papyrus more and more.  ~  Nancy

yay a new fish nerd! welcome again to the site. what are your current tanks and experience?


Thank you for the welcome! I'm definitely a new fish nerd!

In the past I've had goldfish and aquatic frogs, not together. They did well and live long lives but I'm thinking that was partially luck. I did some research but not as much as I'm doing now.

Someone left a bag of guppies on my lawn about a year ago and I bought a tank for them. The guppies didn't survive long. I didn't know what I was doing. Now I'm interested in setting up a tank that will be both beautiful and healthy, reading, and looking for information. Bichirs, catfish, blood parrot cichlids.

I only have a tiny tank with marimo balls right now.

Yay for the parrot cichlid club and members! 


After looking further into mangroves I'm starting to have my doubts. The plant grows slowly but eventually becomes a tree which is too large for an aquarium. I don't know how long that would take but still............. Hmmm.......... One source said the roots would starve the other plants in the aquarium.

The papyrus is looking like the better choice.

I"ve never thought about doing something like that- I've always had a 'traditional' tank, but I really like it. Keep us posted- I am planning on getting a 90 gallon and might try this!
Good Luck

Thank you! I'm getting good feedback from other people. It's funny ~ my initial interest was in the ancient polypterus fish, moved to the subtley beautiful catfish, and settled on the modern, gorgeous blood parrot cichlid. I want a healthy, interesting aquarium for the parrot.

I've had fish for 40 years but only got introduced to the Blood Parrots 10 years ago. Very smart and beautiful fish. My 'Mr. Fishy' is 10 years old and doesn't like strangers. I hand fed Mr. Fishy for 10 years. Lost my other parrot over the summer after a bizarre illness. I know it sounds odd to some of my friends that I was so attached to my fish, all I can say is that you have to have raised a blood parrot for 10 years to understand. I am thinking about getting a 90 gallon tank this year. I just worry about transferring the fish over. I try not to do very large water changes. I had a similar experience to the member who did a large water change and lost several fish- I would feel really bad if it didn't go well and I lost my fish.


As long as the change water is treated and temperature-matched, there is no reason to worry. None. When you set up an upgrade tank, you can move the existing water and put the fish in, then slowly top the tank off with new water to avoid any sudden pH shifts. That is a very safe way to upgrade.

I actually did almost a full tank water replacement last week. I saved only 10 gallons from the 55 to move my tank. I had a 10 gallon tank and just moved media to it and HOB on it as well. DID NOT replace filters. JUST treated water and let new water get to level temperature. I moved my fish back by placing them in ziplocks in the water until they adjusted. worked well. no stress or anything. TREAT WATER TREAT WATER... thats all I can say! I learned the HARD way... RIP my Angel named Tony lol. I was soooo sad to mess up my first full water change out... :(