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Parrot Cichlid Turning White

I've had my Blood Parrot Russell for almost two years now. He lives alone, and I moved him to a new tank in October and I believe he stressed and shed his slime coat. I fixed him all up so he's not shedding anymore, and hasn't been for a while, but he's stayed white. He used to turn white if I left him for a few days, but then turn orange about the day after I got back. He hasn't returned to his normal color, though. He's a Blood Parrot, not a dyed variety, so I don't know if this is a normal part of him growing up, if there's something I can give him to make him turn back orange (he looks so sickly, but his behavior is very healthy!), or if there is an underlying issue. All water parameters are fine, so what could be the issue?

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mine change colors depending on heat of tank and size of tank and stress level... can you tell us the size and heat and food that you have him set up with?

my parrott is starting to get black spots on it on the nose and on the sides and by the tail. i have a 29 gallon tank the temp is approx.76 -78 and i feed them flake food and blood worms rotating

 I hope that you are reading the responses and looking at the other posts and reading about your fish. you are over stocked. they are poisoning themselves. ONLY 1 blood parrot SHOULD BE IN A 29 gallon tank and you have a long list. Please research the needs of each fish and take notes from what is advised on here.

it is possible that he is to big for his tank now, how often and how much of a water change do you do? how often do you feed? how often do you vacuum and change filter. What are the tank readings as far as ammonia and nitrates? and by "them" do you have other fish in the tank with him? if so, what kind?

he is approx 2 1/2 inches long there is one other parrot in with him the same size as him i have 2 quarmies and two long fin blue rams  also in the tank that are only approx  one and a half inches long everyone in the tank get along  all my nitrate levels are good hardess is a little high and i have done a 1/4 water change for the ammonia level it was a little high

Any detectable ammonia is a LOT high. There should never be any once a tank cycles.

That being said, I seriously doubt water parameters are involved since you have rams in the tank. They would be the first to go.

Plan to up-size the aquarium; you will need a 45 or 55.

He's really tiny, probably 2.5 inches, and I moved him from a 10 into a 20 gallon. I know that you generally need a much bigger tank, but he's so small and I live on a college budget so we aren't going bigger. He was in a 10 gallon for over a year, and did fantastic in that. I'd think if anything, he'd turn white in that tank because it was smaller than his new one, and I don't think he's grown at all. I change his water about every couple weeks. He does not live with any other fish, just him. His ammonia is 0 ppm, and his nitrates are 5 ppm. Nitrites are 0 ppm. He eats Spectrum Community Pellets. I had started to give him a variety (pellets, blood worms, "veggies," shrimp, fly larvae) but then he got sick and I just put him back on pellets. I don't believe that's why he started to shed, but I didn't want to have too many variables in the tank because I didn't know what caused the problem. Do these guys change color as they age at all?

"He's really tiny, probably 2.5 inches, and I moved him from a 10... He was in a 10 gallon for over a year...and I don't think he's grown at all."

http://parrotcichlid.com/node/15672

"As such, they require oversize filters and large amounts of water to
dilute the growth-stunting
, life-shortening secretions and toxins that
build up between weekly water changes. With insufficient dilution, these
chemicals and compounds quickly and adversely impact the health of the
animal."

I know that 30 gallon is recommended for him, but 20 is as big as I can keep in my place and afford right now. To be quite honest, if tank size was the reason behind his turning white, he should have turned white a long time ago, when he was in a 10 gallon. There is a 30 gallon filter (Marineland Penguin 150) on his tank, and I used to have a 20 gallon (Aquaclear) as well on there. The whiteness happened long before I removed the Aquaclear (we needed to set up an emergency tank for one of our other fish), so I don't think filtration is the issue, either. He also gets about 3 gallons of new water added to the tank per week, because of water lost during training (taking his stuff in and out) and evaporation, so he should be getting any toxins diluted pretty well. He is a healthy eater, and he's been white for at least two months, so I don't feel like there is some sort of toxin in his water. He is his usual perky, spunky self. I train him, and he performs with the same energy he always has. He receives his food during training, one pellet at a time, so I watch him eat each one. There is no food hanging out, decomposing at the bottom of the tank. Do they change colors as juveniles? He's so small, so I'm curious as to whether that's the issue? I've heard rumors, but I thought I'd come here for some definitive answers.

"He also gets about 3 gallons of new water added to the tank per week..."

You're supposed to be REPLACING ten gallons weekly
, and since your tank is undersized you should be doing more than that.


"...because of water lost during training (taking his stuff in and out) and
evaporation, so he should be getting any toxins diluted pretty well."

That's called a top-off, and it has no value outside of aesthetics. Top-offs don't dilute the secretions and excretions. Only changewater can do that.

Please post an image of the fish. He may just be a pale parrot; the kind I call a "plasma parrot". Either way your husbandry is inadequate.

I'll post one as soon as I can. Here's a link to a picture of him before, if that's any clue to you. I'll post a new one as soon as I get one. http://fc05.deviantart.net/fs71/i/2010/272/f/1/tada_by_roxmad-d2zrnt1.jpg He's showing a little bit of being paler on his body than his head, but he's always had that. Maybe that can you help you out a little, though.

You don't think over a 50% water change PER WEEK is too much? I feel like that would stress him out even more. Every professional I've talked to has said 25-30% every 2 weeks. I've never heard anything like that, even for goldfish. All of his water parameters are fine, no ammonia, no nitrites, low nitrates. I test his water myself, but I've taken it several different places to make sure I'm not missing anything, and every place says the water quality is great. He also has salt in his water, Stress Zyme, and Stress Coat. I use Prime and Neutral Regulator when I add new water as well. What secretions are you talking about? Is it something I can test for? If water quality was an issue, shouldn't I be seeing other symptoms besides paleness? Is there anything I should look for? I'll post a picture for you. Perhaps he's just pale. Do parrots go through a color change or anything as a juvenile?

My main concern is that you live on a college budget and can't fit a bigger tank in. This fish is going to exceed your tank and be left either dead due to poison or homeless. I understand that you like him, they are awesome fish, but if you have the wrong size of tank for him. the average water change for the right size tank is 50%. It is unhealthy for just the 50% change weekly for his tank, it needs to be more, to provide the water for him. I hope his water levels are good, but if you are doing testing right after the change they prolly do show as good. you need to test each day up to change to see the true test outcomes. You need to save for a larger tank. I would say change it now, but since you are on a budget, you should ask parents and family to give you gift cards for christmas maybe so you can get it together. His growth is being stunted. NOT GOOD> if not, just rehome him and get some tetras or some smaller species that you can have in there instead, a couple of angels would be good for that size of tank.

From everything I've heard from these posts, the problem is not actually the SIZE of the tank, it is the toxin concentration. So, then, it should be possible to change his water frequently enough to keep the concentration low. I don't mind doing it every day if that's necessary. From what you all have said, it seems the only benefit of a larger tank is buying you time between water changes? (Aside of, of course, providing space for a larger fish, but my boy is small, he doesn't need that much space yet) I PLAN to get him a bigger tank. I test his water in the middle of water changes, (midway between water changes), not right after them.

Angels are cichlids as well, and they get quite large; I don't think a 20 would be adequate for them. I don't love my fish because "he's awesome." Hobbyists consider these guys "awesome" just for being what they are. My fish is not my hobby, he is my pet. I didn't pick a BP because I thought he was neat and I wanted a cool fish. He is my companion, my friend, and likely more loyal than a dog. It doesn't make sense to many aquarium hobbyists, but I care for him as much as my other pets. He's not simply a lovely piece of furniture. I've had him and trained him for 2 years...we're a little inseparable. I'm game for doing anything I can to make his life better, and I don't think rehoming him, even with a bigger tank, would be good for him. Here's a little taste of what we do:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiuGkOCOTTI&feature=youtu.be

I love your video, but I wanted to add these sites for educational purposes. although your fish loves you, he needs a bigger tank for his hapiness. you should have a bigger tank that can hold his play toy area and a planted housing area for his down time. they dont like being all out in the open all the time.. my hide in their caves and cups for periods of down time. I can tell you love your fish, but the smaller tank is stunting his growth and it can result in a shorter life span.

Thanks for posting the sites! Like I said to the person above, I just don't want to alter his environment without some education. I didn't want to change just because "someone online said to!" I'll check out those sites, keep saving up, and see how much I should be changing his water. Do you have any idea as to what might be a good schedule (% and frequency) for his current tank?

His equipment actually is his cue to begin training, so it can't be in the water all the time. I did buy him a plant when I first got him, but when I put it in the tank, he sat in the corner on the bottom and started "hyperventilating" (all fins raised, pupils contracted, and breathing really fast). He was really sensitive to change outside the tank, so I thought the plant would give him security (I read that here!). I thought he'd get over it but didn't move for 4 hours, so I decided to take it out. Training has made him more confident, and he's not so afraid anymore, and likes to investigate things outside the tank. So, rather than put stuff in the tank, I change things outside the tank. He actually really enjoys watching TV! I thought about getting him a toy, but since he stressed over the tank change so much, I thought internal change may still be too much for him, so I'd just keep things different on the outside.

since it is a small tank, you may want to set a calm time to do a 50 percent change 2 times a week, this of course would be up to your discretion. You know when your fish is more calm. I bought a pool pump and attached a LONG hose to it for easy changes. This prevents splashing and scaring your fish, they are 20 bucks at homedepot in the garden section. you can remove water from your tank with it and then you can fill your sink with prime (chemicals for clean water) and clean water at the correct temp and the pump will pump it right into the tank, no probs or stress. look at the parrot pedia at top of page and go through for tips and help.. and again, please save for a bigger tank, even a 30 would be small for a full grown fish.

I gave him a total water change on January 8th (moved back to college from winter break), so I didn't do any water changes over that time to let the bacteria acclimate. His filter, a Marineland 150, broke, so I bought him an AquaClear 70 (that way when I upsize his tank I don't have to buy a new filter). So, he's got this major filter on the tank and my question is whether I should still do twice weekly water changes? He got a 50% change yesterday.

I have also started to vary his diet to keep him healthier. I wanted to incorporate veggies in there to prevent constipation and swim bladder. Right now, he gets them once a week. Does he need them more often for them to do their job?

Twice weekly in a tank that size is good advice. The size of the filter doesn't negate the amount of waste and secreted/excreted substances that have to be diluted. The filter will collect but it will not dilute.


"You don't think over a 50% water change PER WEEK is too much? "

No, that's the prevailing standard for large-bodied cichlids. Anything less can lead to stunting. Truthfully, it would be best to change some daily. If you raised and/or bred discus, you would be changing water daily to equal 50% weekly.

"I feel like that would stress him out even more."

My fish appear not to notice when I change their water. They do perk up quite a bit once I am finished though, as if they are invigorated by it. I use pumps; quick and easy. No buckets or pouring.

"Every professional I've talked to has said 25-30% every 2 weeks"

Which you admit you have not done, merely topping off lost water, which concentrated minerals and excretions/secretions. They probably don't recommend doubling the filtration, either...

"All of his water parameters are fine, no ammonia, no nitrites, low
nitrates. I test his water myself, but I've taken it several different
places to make sure I'm not missing anything, and every place says the
water quality is great."

Good job on the water quality testing. Your attention is well above par.

"What secretions are you talking about? Is it something I can test for?"

No, there is no otc test for them. Dilution is our only recourse. Likely your fish is stunted and it has effected his health, which is now becoming evident. Stunted fish live shorter, less healthy lives.
Read here for a discussion of the aforementioned substances, first identified in the mid 70's. The nomenclature has changed much since then but they were on the right track:

http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/GrwLmtChems.htm

There are many on-topic external links at the end.

I would like to thank you for finally linking me to some info aside of this website. The health of my fish (and all of my animals) is extremely important to me, and I take extensive (and expensive!) measures to ensure their safety and overall well-being. I thoroughly research everything having to do with my animals, so you can understand my concern about the ONLY information regarding these toxins being this website and the posts of people whose knowledge and professionalism I know nothing about. I definitely want to research this further, and you should understand that the only reason that I am resistant to change my fish's current situation is that this is the first and only place I have heard this information, and I don't want to alter his environment simply because I found one website with something that is contradictory to everything I've learned about aquarium health up until now (the water changes mainly). I have a few more questions for you:

"My fish appear not to notice when I change their water. They do perk up quite a bit once I am finished though, as if they are invigorated by it. I use pumps; quick and easy. No buckets or pouring. "

I'm not really talking about actual stress during the water change, but the reaction of the fish to so much "new" water. Many people say that total water changes are so bad for fish, since the beneficial bacteria in the water are completely removed, so wouldn't they be extremely diluted and cause stress to my fish because of the frequency of the water changes? My fish does actually happen to stress out during water changes, but he didn't used to when he was in the 10 gallon (this is just since I moved him into the 20 gallon). He goes to the heater and tilts sideways, but I believe this is a ploy because once I leave the room, he begins swimming around normally again, and when he sees me watching, he swims over and starts "being dramatic" again. I think he was concerned at first, but because of the attention I gave him, he likes to pretend now. :) He'll get over stress during water changes, and he's totally fine when I fill up the rest of his tank. I think he just wants all his water back. :)

"Which you admit you have not done, merely topping off lost water, which concentrated minerals and excretions/secretions. They probably don't recommend doubling the filtration, either..."

I never said I didn't do biweekly water changes, I just did said that I topped off every day. I do biweekly water changes in addition. He also has a 30 gallon filter on his tank and had a 20 gallon in addition, so his filtration was more than double. The only reason he doesn't have both is because the 20 gallon filter was needed for a hospital tank.

Are there any other sites I can check out? Or any other good BP care references I can check out? Like I said before, I want to learn more about this, but I want to have a lot to back it up before I do something. The website you gave me was in a lot of chat speak, so I'd like to find something a little more "legit" to look at.

Thank you for all of your help!

my PC is almost ten inches long and bigger than my hand. he started to turn
white about two yrs ago. hes pretty big and shares the tank with anothet PC.
myb 7". he is pure orange tho. there are a couple of other cichlid fish sharing.
the tank and some bottom feeders adult size and a eel. they all get along and
seem happy. i was reading ur story about tank size being an issue. my tank
is a 250 gal with 2FX5 canistet filters, 2AQUACLEAR 110's, 1 AQUACLEAR 70,
and two marineland 600 powerheads for air and good flow plus about four 100
airfilters for plenty of aireation. i give the a mixed variety of stable cichlid
food and do a 25%water change every three days or so. i often wonderd myslf
why he changed to white but i figure its myb his specific species. i stay on top
of the condition of the tank and thier diet. they have plenty of space. im not
sure as to what causes this to happen but his growth doesnt stop. he just keeps
getting biggr n biggr. as far as i can tell hes healthy so i wouldnt worry too much
about it. its been two years since his color change but as i said he seems happy.