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small mouth

Hi.  I'm new to the Blood Parrot forum but not new to fishkeeping.  Have an issue I am hoping you can help with.

I have 2 blood parrots in my 90 gal (with an ebjd, a gold sev, a juru, a royal pleco and 7 male congo tetras.  Heavily stocked I know but I have 2 cannisters, each rated for 175 gal and I do weekly 50% W/C's.  Nitrates never get above 15 - 20. 

My issue is that one of my BP's is a little younger than the other but both are around 2 years old.   One, however, is much smaller than the other one and I suspect it's because she's not eating as much.  The small BP has a very tiny mouth.  I've seen her attempt to locate floating flakes but she seems to be unable to line herself up successfully to take them in.

I attempt to feed the little one by hand every day now.  I pinch several large flakes between my fingers and lower them into the water.  She always comes right to me but even with this method, she has difficulty.  I also feed super soft sinking spirulina pellets, soft shrimp pellets daily with the flakes and one day a week they get frozen brine shrimp and another day each week they get frozen blood worms.

I've even though of trying to sequester her in a large breeding net at feeding time and feed her separately, hoping that if she didn't have to compete with the other piggies and could take her time, she might do better.  But I'm afraid I'd upset her too much so haven't tried that.  I do use a small net to 'herd' the sev and the other BP away from the flakes so she has more time to get to them but that's not alway successful.

Does anyone here have this particular problem and if so, do you have any tips on successful feeding?

Thanks so much




by the way - I don't know if she's a male or female but consider her female :o)


Gazoo used to have a very small mouth, so I would feed him by hand in a net just below the surface of the water. I used to feed him Tetra Cichlid Sticks, since they were long enough for me to get ahold of and push into his mouth. One or two would do it. He got used to the net and would swim in, most of the time.
Some links for you

I really appreciate your response.  I've never fed the cichlid sticks but will order some today.  Do they come in different sizes?  I'm worried about how thick they are.  And are they soft or do they harden up quickly in the water?  I found these on amazon (I get free shipping) and I THINK they are the same as the link you posted

I have a fairly large net so  I'm going to try to net her to at least give her the opportunity to eat her fill without the others crowding in or the food getting away from her.  Is there any trick to getting her comfortable with the net without stressing her?

Gazoo looks like a character.  Thanks for the videos.   I'll try to post a video of my tank so you can see my crew :o)

Again - really appreciate your response and will wait until I hear if I have the right food and if you have any tips about netting her.

It's hard to tell because there are some thin food-sticks and thick food sticks - probably for Oscars - but I believe these are the right ones.

With Gazoo it took a few times to get him used to the net. The real key was not bringing him up above the water at all. Just isolate him below the surface. After a while he got to associate the net with eating hearty and would swim in. If he didn't swim in, I wouldn't push it.

saddly, my little one died this morning.  I have no idea what happened. She wouldn't eat the cichlid sticks,she quit even trying to eat the flakes I attempted to hand feed her.  2 days ago, she lost most of her color and it went down hill from there.

I worry that my 2 attempts to feed her after netting her stressed her out.  She was very easy to net and I didn't hold her for long because she sort of panicked.  anyway, she's gone.

My large BP doesn't look very good either.  She's pink today instead of brilliant orange which is generally a sign that she's stressed - she used to do this whenever I change the water but hasn't paled like this in over a year.  I don't know if she's missing the little one or what's happening. Water parameters are perfect.  0 ammonia and nitrites.  5 nitrates.  6.6 pH, 3KH and 9 GH.

Both BP's were 2 + years old.

I've occasionally had fish die suddenly, when all the other fish were ok. It's hard to know why. Hopefully your other one is just missing their companion. Their color changes can be stress or anger related, as well as due to other things.

thanks.  Sadly I lost the other one the next day.  Still shocked by what happened.  All other fish are fine.  I really miss those guys.  they were so sweet.

I probably won't replace them with BP's.  As adorable as they are this experience has shown me that perhaps they are too fragile, given the genetic alteration to produce them.

Hope you have continued success with your BP's  they truely are a unique fish and so personable.