Bloody Parrot Advice


Good morning and Welcome to Fish Lore!

First of all, are you aware of the Aquarium nitrogen cycle? <--LINK underlined in blue. It is crucial to fish keeping. Check it out and if you have questions, don't hesitate to ask.

A few of links for you:

Blood Red Parrot Cichlid Fish Care - Size, Lifespan, TankMates, Breeding, Diet and Behavior

Note: Some Info states up to 8" as an adult, my largest at the moment is 10" x 8")

These fish are very shy for quiet some time. It took mine two weeks to come out while I sat in front of the tank for feeding. Even after 1 year, they hide when I walk into the room, but they come right back out.

My elders, I couldn't get them to hide if I wanted them to. Give them a long time to adapt to their environment.

Terracotta pots and ornaments make great hiding places for Bloody Parrots. Too, terracotta is porous and will house beneficial bacteria needed to sustain the tanks cycle. I never clean my terracotta once placed in the tank. Personally I think it looks better with some age and even some algae.

NOTE: Terracotta pots should not be painted or glazed in any way as these may be toxic to the fish.

They can be very shy for the first month or so. It took me two weeks to get mine to come out to feed with me watching them. I used Tropical Crisps to start with, holding a pinch under the water a few seconds then letting them go, as close to the fish as possible.

I sit in front of my tanks a lot especially when I have new fish. Coaxing them out, sitting still and just watching them. Once them come out and start feeding from the surface, then I switch to the pellets below as a staple food:

The pellets come in 3 sizes, I start with the small and work my way up. Too, I feed a variety of foods, Freeze Dried Presoaked, earthworms, krill red shrimp as treats a couple of times per week.

Fish Foods I'm currently using along with the staple Blood Red Parrot Pellet:
New Fish Food

Too, don't be surprised if the fish starts showing black blotches for the first year or so. It's completely normal. They will go away on their own without any medications or special treatment. They just get black on them from time to time throughout the first year. Not sure why but it is nothing to worry about. Just part of them growing up.

Temperature and pH:

I keep my tank at 80 degrees with a pH level of 8.0

Tank footprint:

I suggest a longer tank with a larger footprint compared to a taller tank. These fish need room to swim horizontally compared to swimming vertically.

You have to be careful choosing tank mates for Bloody Parrots. They cannot defend themselves by biting as other fish do. However, they are not totally defenseless. They will act together or as a group with the aggression they do have. They will push fish out of the way anytime they want. Do not house them with aggressive species.


Sometimes (but rarely in my experience) Bloody Parrots may bully one another. Getting into lip locks, pushing each other back and forth to the point their lips may turn white, but it heals on its own. Some may be territorial and may not appreciate another member of its own kind invading its space. I have seen a couple of my Bloody Parrots actually cause severe damage to another but in 13 years, and 15 Bloody Parrots this has only happened twice and each time it was fatal. Normally, everyone gets along very well, but spawning time may be another issue. Some aggression should be expected. Give the fish time to adapt to each other in their new environment. Give them plenty of homes inside the tank to choose from.

Tank Mates:

Bloody Parrots should only be housed with other non-aggressive species due to the deformity of their mouths. They cannot protect themselves by biting as other fish do.

All new Bloody Parrots that I've added to ones I already have, have been treated as one of the family and no aggression issues.


Most males of this species are sterile, but not all. Finding a fertile male can prove to be very difficult. Out of 13 Bloody Parrots I've had many spawns but no fertile eggs. The eggs usually turn white after a couple of days and they are eaten by the parents.

It would be a rare event for you to have a fertile male. There is nothing you can do to stop the female from laying the eggs. I highly recommend that you let Mother Nature take her course. If the male is not fertile, the eggs will turn white and be eaten by the parents or other tank mates. They will guard them just as any other fish and go through the entire mating process. There is no need for intervention.

Have fun and enjoy your new fish. Many of mine are 13 years old now!

As another member has asked, what size tank do you have for these fish? I suggest at least 55 gallon for 2 Bloody Parrots as a permanent home. I do suggest that these fish be kept in pairs if not more. They do appreciate buddies of their own kind.

Sleeping Habits:
Blood Parrot Cichlid Found Laying On Its Side
Bloody Parrots and Java Moss/UPDATE w/photos

My Bloody Parrot Tank, stocking list below in my signature. I'm glad that you've stopped using salt. Sometimes it can do more harm than good, and too, it simply isn't necessary in a freshwater tank:


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Completing your Aquarium Profile will aid others with any responses they may have. Thanks!

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