Convict x Blood Parrot Hybrid at Petsmart? (W/ Pictures)

  1. Kentaaa Initiate Member

    I went to my local Petsmart today to pick up a few supplies. While I was there, I decided to take a quick peek at their fish wall. I have purchased a few fish from here in the past, however they usually don't carry anything too exciting. I usually stock my tanks from either our LFS or the local Pet Supermarket (which, believe it or not, is independently owned and specializes in exotic fish). Anyways, Petsmart just so happened to be running a sale on all of their livebearers (mollies, guppies, platies, etc.). They were all only $1 each, so I picked up a handful of Platies for my 46g planted community. Like I said, their variety of fish is very minimal and the fish that they do carry are almost always sold out, but their selection of Cichlids is even smaller. Today, all the South American Cichlids they had in stock were a tankful of Black Convicts as well as another tank with a single Tiger Oscar floating on its side dead. I had already planned on purchasing a Convict to add to my 75g S. American community. Since my LFS is about 30-45 minutes away, I figured I might as well buy one here considering how common and basic Black Convicts are. Of course for something rare and/or expensive I would rather make the drive, but for a $4 fish it really doesn't matter where you purchase it from. I began looking at the tank close up in order to find which specific fish I wanted. In the back I saw 2-3 VERY young fish (less than half an inch). Although they all had the exact same body shape, a few of them had vertical stripes similar to the convict and the other only had a single horizontal stripe. I wanted to find out what type of Cichlid this was, so I referred to the pricing card below the tank. It indicated that the fish in this particular tank were Black Convicts and Blood Parrots. I know that they have been sold out of Blood Parrots for months now because I would frequently check in to see if they had received any. I really wanted two female Blood Parrots to add to my 75g S. American community. After two months of waiting, I ended up having to purchase them on eBay. At first I thought that these small fish were juvenile Blood Parrots. I know that when these particular fish are young they are gray and colorless. Also, they all have the unmistakable unique body shape of a Parrot. I googled pictures of Black Convict juveniles and the only visible similarities between these two were their coloration and markings. I then Googled pictures of juvenile Blood Parrots and the similarities were the exact opposite. They shared the same body shape, but not coloration. After extensive research and photo comparisons, I would guess that this fish is most likely a Convict x Blood Parrot hybrid. I knew that most South American Cichlids could interbreed, but I would have NEVER guessed that a Parrot and a Convict would be compatible. While combing through Google, I did happen to stumble onto a forum post with the same exact situation as mine. This individual was at Petsmart and saw a few tiny fish in the Convict/Blood Parrot tank that had the body of a Parrot with the coloration of a Convict. However, since he or she did not include a photo, most replies said it was probably either a baby Convict or baby Blood Parrot (since they are gray and can sometimes have stripes and spots when young) . My question is, how did this hybridization occur? I know from experience that female Blood Parrots won't spawn unless they feel safe and comfortable with their surroundings. Obviously the cross had to be with a female Parrot and a male Convict since male Parrots are sterile. Then of course the eggs would have to gestate, hatch, and then the fry would have had to survive for a month or so in order to reach this size. I just don't see how it would be possible for a litter of fry to survive this long in a 15 gallon tank with 20+ (underfed) Convicts. I guess it could be possible that out of hundreds of fry only these three survived long enough to become juveniles. It just seems highly unlikely considering how EVERY fish (including the three questionable juvi's) in that tank has varying degrees of frayed fins. I suppose they could also just be extremely young Blood Parrots that coincidently have stripes. I guess we will just have to wait and see what they develop into as they grow older.

    I currently have the mystery fish along with the "true" Convict I purchased at the same time in my 27g quarantine tank. Since the Convict is so small (only about 1.5") and the mystery fish is even smaller (less than .5"), I will have to wait until they grow larger before I can move them to the 75g. Like I said, there is currently two female Blood Parrots (~2.5") as well as a male Kirin Parrot (Blood Parrot x Flowerhorn Hybrid, just under 4" in size) in the tank, and I know for a fact that the little guy would be torn to shreds. I don't know if they would bother the Convict, since he is very reclusive, but I do not want to take that risk.


    Anyways, if anyone could provide any input or opinions on what this particular fish could be I would GREATLY appreciate it. Like I said, I am assuming it is either a very young Convict, Blood Parrot, or a hybrid of the two. Also, I would love to know if anyone else has encountered these at their local Petsmart. Below I have inserted a few pictures that I was able to take after it was released into the tank.


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    Once again thank you SO much,


    Kentaaa
     
  2. chromedome52 Well Known Member Member

    Hybrids between Bloody Parrots and Convicts are quite common, actually. Usually it is Pink Convicts that are used, and these are "turned into" Jellybean Parrots. They tend to stay smaller. Not all Jellybeans are hybrids, but it is believed that is how they were initially produced.