Blood Parrot Cichlid – Care, Types, Tank Mates and Full Details!

First bred in Taiwan in 1986, Blood Parrot Cichlid scientifically known as Amphilophus citrinellus × Vieja melanurus is a hybrid species and are not naturally found in the wild.

Though their parent species aren’t conclusively known, the Redhead Cichlid and Midas Cichlid are widely believed to be their progenitors.

They’ve become a rare find in the fish trade due to ethical concerns about their creation, with many stores deciding not to sell them.

However, attitudes towards these fish have evolved in recent years. While there are still some dubious sellers, it’s now possible to source healthy Blood Parrot Cichlids, which can be a vibrant addition to any community aquarium, given the right care.

Blood Parrot Cichlids are enchanting freshwater fish that have stirred up significant debate over time. This controversy isn’t about the fish per se, but rather their breeding techniques.

Our guide aims to provide a detailed look into not only the care of Blood Parrot Cichlids but also the breeding practices behind these unique species, equipping you with the knowledge needed to make an informed decision about whether they are the right fit for your aquarium.

Blood Parrot Cichlids are captivating creatures that have stirred the aquarium community with their unique presence.

The essence of this article is to delve into the intricacies of their appearance, natural habitat, origin, and life expectancy, and how these elements intertwine to shape the life of this peculiar hybrid species.

Quick Stats About Blood Parrot Cichlid

Scientific Name Amphilophus citrinellus × Vieja melanurus
Family Cichlidae
Care level Intermediate
Temperament Peaceful to semi-aggressive
Color Bright orange
Lifespan 10-15 years
Size Up to 8 inches
Diet Omnivore
Minimum tank size 30 gallons
Temperature 76°F to 80°F
Water conditions Freshwater with open space
Tank mate compatability Peaceful

Appearance of Blood Parrot Cichlid

Blood Parrot Cichlids are noteworthy for their unusual appearance, setting them apart in the world of freshwater aquariums. Their round, plump bodies lend them a unique charm, while their lively coloration instantly draws attention.

Most commonly seen in a bright, solid orange, Blood Parrot Cichlids occasionally showcase variations in shades of red, yellow, and gray.

These charismatic fish may also display intriguing color combinations, with patches of white or yellow often seen blending harmoniously with their dominant orange hue.

However, it’s advisable to be cautious of unusually bright or unnatural colorations, as these may be a result of harmful dyeing practices that can shorten their lifespan.

One standout feature of Blood Parrot Cichlids is their distinct mouth, opening vertically and bearing an uncanny resemblance to a bird’s beak.

This unique mouth shape, coupled with their large, expressive eyes, adds to their overall visual appeal.

Natural Habitat of Blood Parrot Cichlid

Understanding the natural habitat of Blood Parrot Cichlids is quite an enigma. As a hybrid species (scientifically known as Amphilophus citrinellus × Vieja melanurus), they lack a native environment. They are a product of careful breeding, and no natural counterparts exist in the wild.

Nevertheless, aquarists have developed a feasible approach for replicating their natural habitat by drawing upon the environment preferences of their believed parent species — the Midas Cichlid, which thrives in the warm rivers of Central America.

As such, Blood Parrot Cichlids also prefer warm, slightly acidic water conditions, hinting at the influence of their parent species’ environmental preferences.

Origin and Distribution

The birthplace of the Blood Parrot Cichlids dates back to Taiwan around 1986. The exact parentage remains a mystery, but the consensus leans towards a cross between the Redhead Cichlid (Paraneetroplus synspilus) and the Midas Cichlid (Amphilophus citrinellus).

The hybrid creation of Blood Parrot Cichlids has sparked controversy, leading to mixed opinions among enthusiasts and even resulting in some stores refusing to sell them.

However, with changing attitudes over time, you can now find healthy Blood Parrot Cichlids in many pet stores, making a striking addition to freshwater community tanks.

Growth, Size, and Lifespan: A Peek into Their Life Journey

Blood Parrot Cichlids are no short-lived pets. With proper care and a conducive environment, they can accompany their caretakers for 10 to 15 years, painting an enduring aquatic canvas.

However, the lifespan of these fish can be influenced by their breeding and raising practices, with artificially colored or modified specimens having a shorter life expectancy.

In terms of growth and size, adult male Blood Parrot Cichlids typically reach about 8 inches, while females usually measure between 6 and 7 inches, showcasing a more rounded body compared to their male counterparts.

On rare occasions, they can attain lengths of up to 10 inches.

The Blood Parrot Cichlids present a unique amalgamation of intriguing attributes — their vibrant colors, controversial origin, and an enduring lifespan — all of which contribute to their growing popularity among aquarists.

Understanding these elements is crucial to providing an optimal environment that ensures their longevity and overall well-being.

Blood Parrot Cichlid Behavior and Temperament

Blood Parrot Cichlids are known for their lively yet peaceful demeanor. While they showcase an endearing curiosity about their surroundings, they rarely show aggression towards their tank mates.

This trait makes them an excellent choice for a community tank.

Nevertheless, as cichlids, they can be territorial, especially during spawning periods. During these times, they might exhibit protective behaviors to safeguard their eggs or young ones.

Therefore, it’s important to provide them with plenty of hiding spaces in their tank to reduce potential stress and conflict.

Tank Setup for Blood Parrot Cichlid

Creating the right environment for Blood Parrot Cichlids is a crucial part of ensuring their health and happiness.

Let’s examine the key components of their ideal tank setup.

Tank Size

Blood Parrot Cichlids are moderately-sized fish that can grow up to 10 inches in length. As active swimmers, they need ample space to explore and swim freely.

A tank of at least 30-40 gallons is recommended for a single fish, with an additional 10-20 gallons for each additional fish.


A soft, sandy substrate is preferable for Blood Parrot Cichlids, as it closely resembles their native riverbed habitats.

The sand not only provides a natural environment but also prevents potential injuries from rough or sharp-edged substrates.

Decorations and Hiding Spots

Consider introducing a variety of decorations like rocks, driftwood, and plants. These can serve as hiding spots and help create a sense of security for these fish.

Caves made from large stones or aquarium-safe ceramics also make ideal retreats for Blood Parrot Cichlids.

Water Parameters

Blood Parrot Cichlids thrive in warm, slightly acidic water. Maintain a temperature between 76°F and 80°F and a pH range of 6.5 to 7.4.

Regular water changes are essential to keep ammonia and nitrate levels low.

Filtration and Aeration

An efficient filtration system is vital to keep the tank clean and ensure the well-being of the fish. Given their size, Blood Parrot Cichlids produce a fair amount of waste, making a high-quality filter a necessity.

A gentle current is also beneficial to mimic their natural habitats and aid in proper aeration.


While these fish are not particularly sensitive to light, moderate lighting helps replicate a natural day-night cycle.

Too bright lighting can stress the fish, while dim light can inhibit their vibrant coloration.

Tank Mates

Blood Parrot Cichlids are generally peaceful but may not get along with overly aggressive or much smaller fish. Ideal tank mates include larger tetras, barbs, gouramis, and other medium-sized cichlids.

Always monitor interactions to prevent potential conflicts.


A balanced diet for Blood Parrot Cichlids includes a mix of commercial cichlid pellets, live or frozen foods like brine shrimp or bloodworms, and occasional plant-based snacks. Their unique mouth shape may require sinking pellets to facilitate easier eating.

Remember, Blood Parrot Cichlids are a captivating addition to any aquarium. Understanding their behavior, temperament, and specific needs are key to their survival and happiness in their aquatic home.

Tank Maintenance for Your Blood Parrot Cichlid

After setting up the perfect habitat for your Blood Parrot Cichlid, it’s vital to maintain that environment diligently. Regular maintenance is key to keep your fish healthy and the tank looking its best.

From water changes to cleaning routines and health monitoring, let’s walk through the essential steps in maintaining your Blood Parrot Cichlid’s tank.

Regular Water Changes

Consistent water changes are a fundamental part of tank maintenance. Over time, toxins can build up in the tank water, posing a risk to your fish. Therefore, it’s recommended to replace about 25% to 30% of the tank water every week.

During this process, ensure that the new water matches the existing tank water in temperature and pH.

Also, always dechlorinate the new water before adding it to the tank to protect your Blood Parrot Cichlids from harmful chemicals.

Cleaning the Tank and Decorations

Over time, leftover food, fish waste, and algae can accumulate in the tank and on decorations. This buildup can negatively impact water quality and create an unhealthy environment for your fish. Therefore, regular cleaning is crucial.

To clean the tank, use a siphon to vacuum the substrate, removing any waste or debris. For decorations, use a soft brush to gently scrub off any algae without damaging the items.

Always rinse cleaned items thoroughly before returning them to the tank.

Filter Maintenance

Your tank’s filter works hard to keep the water clean, but it also needs regular attention to stay effective. Typically, filter maintenance should be performed once a month, or as indicated by the manufacturer.

Remember to never clean the filter media with tap water, as this can kill the beneficial bacteria that help breakdown fish waste. Instead, rinse the filter media in a bucket of tank water.

Replace filter media as needed, but stagger replacements to avoid removing too much beneficial bacteria at once.

Monitor Fish Health

Keeping a close eye on your Blood Parrot Cichlids is a critical aspect of tank maintenance. Regular observation can help you catch any signs of illness or stress early, allowing for timely intervention.

Look out for changes in behavior, such as loss of appetite, lethargy, or unusual swimming patterns. Physical changes like fading colors, visible spots, or damaged fins are also cause for concern.

If you notice anything out of the ordinary, seek advice from a vet or aquarium professional.

Remember, a healthy tank leads to healthy fish. Regular maintenance is crucial to ensure that your Blood Parrot Cichlids thrive in their home.

By sticking to a maintenance routine and regularly monitoring your fish’s health, you can ensure a long, happy life for your aquatic pets.

Acclimating Your Blood Parrot Cichlid

Introducing your Blood Parrot Cichlid to its new home is an important process that should be handled with care.

It’s vital to slowly acclimate your fish to its new tank to avoid causing stress, which could lead to health problems.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Float the bag: When you first bring your Blood Parrot Cichlid home, it will likely be in a bag of water from the store. Place this bag directly into your tank without opening it. This allows the fish to adjust to the new water temperature gradually.

  2. Gradual water mix: After about 15-20 minutes, open the bag and add a cup of your tank water to it. Repeat this step every 10 minutes for about an hour. This process allows your fish to adjust to the water parameters of its new home.

  3. Release your fish: After acclimation, gently use a net to transfer your Blood Parrot Cichlid into the tank. Avoid pouring water from the bag into your aquarium as it might contain impurities from the store’s tank.

Blood Parrot Cichlid Diet and Feeding

Feeding your Blood Parrot Cichlid a balanced diet is crucial for its health and longevity. These fish are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plant-based and meaty foods.

Here’s a detailed look at the optimal diet and feeding practices for your fish:

Variety is Key

A varied diet is vital for your fish’s health.

Mix it up with:

  • Pellets and Flakes: High-quality pellets or flakes formulated for cichlids should form the base of your Blood Parrot Cichlid’s diet. These products are balanced to provide the nutrients that your fish needs.

  • Fresh and Frozen Foods: Supplement the pellets with fresh or frozen foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms. This will provide essential proteins.

  • Vegetables: Occasionally, you can offer blanched vegetables like peas, spinach, or zucchini for added vitamins and fiber.

Feeding Frequency and Portion Size

Feed your Blood Parrot Cichlid 1-2 times per day. Only provide as much food as your fish can eat in about 2-3 minutes.

Overfeeding can lead to poor water quality and health issues for your fish.

Consider Their Unique Mouths

Blood Parrot Cichlids have a unique mouth shape that can make feeding difficult. Choose small, easy-to-eat foods to prevent choking and ensure your fish gets enough nutrition.

Remember, a well-fed fish is a happy fish! By providing a varied diet and feeding your Blood Parrot Cichlid appropriately, you can contribute to their wellbeing and vibrant coloration.

Blood Parrot Cichlid Tank Mates

Knowing which fish species make suitable tank mates for your Blood Parrot Cichlid can ensure a peaceful aquatic environment.

Consider these peaceful and similarly-sized fish as companions for your Blood Parrot Cichlid:

  1. Angelfish: Known for their elegance and serene nature, Angelfish can share a tank with Blood Parrot Cichlids without any trouble.

  2. Plecostomus: These bottom-dwellers mostly keep to themselves, making them excellent tank mates.

  3. Gouramis: These peaceful fish can cohabit well with Blood Parrot Cichlids, adding diversity to your tank.

  4. Silver Dollars: Known for their calm nature, Silver Dollars can live harmoniously with your Blood Parrot Cichlids.

  5. Large Tetras: Species like Congo Tetras or Diamond Tetras can be great companions due to their peaceful temperament.

Tank Mates to Avoid

Avoid aggressive or fin-nipping species which may cause stress to your Blood Parrot Cichlid:

  1. Oscars: Known for their aggressive nature, Oscars can bully and stress out Blood Parrot Cichlids.

  2. Convict Cichlids: These can be aggressive, particularly during breeding, and may not get along well with Blood Parrot Cichlids.

  3. Tiger Barbs: These fish are notorious fin-nippers and can cause stress and injury to your Blood Parrot Cichlid.

  4. Red Tail Sharks: Their territorial behavior can cause conflicts in the tank.

  5. Small and timid fish: They can be bullied by Blood Parrot Cichlids. So, smaller fish like Guppies or Neon Tetras should be avoided.

Breeding Blood Parrot Cichlids and Fry Care

Breeding Blood Parrot Cichlids presents unique challenges due to their hybrid nature. Most males are sterile, making successful breeding rare.

However, in the event of successful breeding, here are some tips for managing the process and taking care of the fry:

Setting the Stage

If breeding occurs, ensure that your tank is equipped with flat stones or similar surfaces where females can lay their eggs. The parents will protect the eggs, displaying fascinating parental behaviors.

Egg Care

Once the eggs are laid, maintain optimal water conditions. You may notice the parents taking turns in fanning the eggs, keeping them clean and well-oxygenated.

Managing the Fry

Post-hatching, the fry can be fed with infusoria or specially designed fry foods. As they grow, introduce them to brine shrimp and finely crushed flakes or pellets.

Remember, breeding Blood Parrot Cichlids is not a straightforward task due to their hybrid status.

Yet, observing their parental behaviors can offer unique insights into the intriguing world of these fascinating fish.

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Signs of Stress in Blood Parrot Cichlids

Just like any other living creature, Blood Parrot Cichlids can experience stress. Stress can impact their health and wellbeing, so knowing the signs is crucial.

Here are some indicators:

  1. Erratic Swimming: This could suggest discomfort in their environment.

  2. Loss of Color: A stressed Blood Parrot Cichlid may lose its vibrant hues, appearing duller than usual.

  3. Loss of Appetite: Changes in eating habits, such as refusal to eat, can indicate stress.

  4. Hiding or Isolation: If your fish is avoiding other tank mates or hiding frequently, it may be feeling stressed.

Common Health Issues and Treatments for Blood Parrot Cichlids

Blood Parrot Cichlids, like any fish species, can encounter health issues.

Common ones include:

  1. Ich (White Spot Disease): Manifests as small white spots on the fish’s body. Treat by raising the tank’s temperature slightly and using an ich treatment medication.

  2. Fin Rot: Signs include frayed or discolored fins. It’s typically treated with antibacterial medications.

  3. Swim Bladder Disease: If your fish is having difficulty swimming, it may have a swim bladder issue. Adjusting the diet and using over-the-counter treatments can help.

Additional Tips for a Healthy Aquarium

  1. Consistent Maintenance: Regular water changes, tank cleaning, and filter maintenance are key to a healthy aquarium.

  2. Balanced Diet: Offer a varied diet to ensure your fish get all the nutrients they need.

  3. Monitor Water Parameters: Regularly test your water to ensure optimal conditions.

  4. Watch for Signs of Stress or Illness: Be observant. Catching problems early can be key to successful treatment.

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Should You Get a Blood Parrot Cichlid for Your Aquarium?

Adding a Blood Parrot Cichlid to your tank can be a rewarding experience. Their vibrant colors and unique shape make them a delightful centerpiece.

They are interactive and active swimmers, making them fun to watch. However, their specific care requirements and potential health issues mean they’re best suited to aquarists with some experience.

If you are ready for the responsibility, a Blood Parrot Cichlid could be the perfect addition to your aquarium!

Conservation Status

The Blood Parrot Cichlid, as a hybrid species, does not have a specific conservation status. They’re created through selective breeding within the aquarium industry.

Still, ethical considerations exist concerning their production due to potential health issues. It’s crucial to buy from responsible breeders who prioritize the wellbeing of their fish.

Availability & Pricing

As Blood Parrot Cichlids are popular in the aquarium trade, they’re quite easy to find in most pet stores and online fish suppliers. Pricing can vary based on the size and color of the fish.

On average, a small Blood Parrot Cichlid can cost around $10 to $15. Larger, more colorful specimens may cost upwards of $30 or more. Always remember, a higher initial cost might reflect better care and healthier fish.

Frequently Asked Questions About Blood Parrot Cichlid

Q – How long do Blood Parrot Cichlids live?

Ans – With good care and optimal conditions, Blood Parrot Cichlids can live up to 10 to 15 years.

Q – Are Blood Parrot Cichlids aggressive?

Ans – While they have a reputation for being semi-aggressive, much depends on their tank environment and tank mates. In a well-kept aquarium with suitable companions, they can be relatively peaceful.

Q – Can Blood Parrot Cichlids breed?

Ans – Blood Parrot Cichlids often have difficulty breeding due to their hybrid nature. While they may lay eggs, males are usually sterile.

Wrapping It Up: Conclusion

Blood Parrot Cichlids are beautiful, active, and unique fish. Their vibrant colors and engaging behavior can brighten up any aquarium. While they require some specific care, the rewards are well worth the effort.

If you’re considering adding a Blood Parrot Cichlid to your aquarium, ensure you’re prepared to meet their needs. With proper care, they will bring joy and beauty to your underwater world for many years to come.

Happy fish keeping!