Fish slowly suck/bite on blood parrots?

fishpersona

Hello everyone

I have a 50 gallon tank that's been running for a few years. I do water changes, check water quality with the API test kit and I have lots of live plants.

I have 2 keyhole cichlids that seemed peaceful and 2 polar blue/zebra parrots and they all get along.

I decided to add 1 bigger fish that is related to my other small parrots - blood parrot.

I picked 1 up from petsmart, it looked healthy, was one of the smallest. When I put it in the tank keyholes looked stressed and seemed very interested in the fish, as if getting to know it. But I noticed they SLOWLY touch it with their mouth, like pecking, but so slowly almost looks like kissing. They didn't aggressively chase it, they slowly swam around and touched the fish with their mouth. Overnight blood parrots look changed. It looked sick , ripped fins with some unhealthy body patches, it started hiding and looking unhappy. I thought it was bullying related but also considered ok maybe he was sick to start with, but he looked completely healthy when bought. 2 nights after being in my tank it died!

My fish never showed any health problems after that and after some time I decided I still wanted to own a blood parrot and picked 1 up from a different store, hoping this would no way happen again. This guy is healthy, active, as big as keyholes.

EXACTLY same thing is happening to this one! I purposely picked a bigger fish this time and the one that didn't look shy at all at the store, in fact it was dominating another fish. As soon as I put it in, keyholes got interested, seems in a friendly way at first and then I noticed same body kissing, no aggressive, and It is from all the fish, 2 keyholes and 2 zebra parrots (even the zebra parrot that seemed shy was doing it).

Hours later the new fish is starting to look like the other fish, shredded fins, etc.
I separated all the fish from the parrot now, gave the blood parrot more space and left the other jailed behind a non see through divider.

What is going on?????? Why are my fish treating blood parrots like they are yummy lollipops? Has anyone seen this behavior in fish before (non aggressive gentle pecking from all the fish)?

I am not sure what to do with them at this point, very disappointing.
 

Ouse

Hello everyone

I have a 50 gallon tank that's been running for a few years. I do water changes, check water quality with the API test kit and I have lots of live plants.

I have 2 keyhole cichlids that seemed peaceful and 2 polar blue/zebra parrots and they all get along.

I decided to add 1 bigger fish that is related to my other small parrots - blood parrot.

I picked 1 up from petsmart, it looked healthy, was one of the smallest. When I put it in the tank keyholes looked stressed and seemed very interested in the fish, as if getting to know it. But I noticed they SLOWLY touch it with their mouth, like pecking, but so slowly almost looks like kissing. They didn't aggressively chase it, they slowly swam around and touched the fish with their mouth. Overnight blood parrots look changed. It looked sick , ripped fins with some unhealthy body patches, it started hiding and looking unhappy. I thought it was bullying related but also considered ok maybe he was sick to start with, but he looked completely healthy when bought. 2 nights after being in my tank it died!

My fish never showed any health problems after that and after some time I decided I still wanted to own a blood parrot and picked 1 up from a different store, hoping this would no way happen again. This guy is healthy, active, as big as keyholes.

EXACTLY same thing is happening to this one! I purposely picked a bigger fish this time and the one that didn't look shy at all at the store, in fact it was dominating another fish. As soon as I put it in, keyholes got interested, seems in a friendly way at first and then I noticed same body kissing, no aggressive, and It is from all the fish, 2 keyholes and 2 zebra parrots (even the zebra parrot that seemed shy was doing it).

Hours later the new fish is starting to look like the other fish, shredded fins, etc.
I separated all the fish from the parrot now, gave the blood parrot more space and left the other jailed behind a non see through divider.

What is going on?????? Why are my fish treating blood parrots like they are yummy lollipops? Has anyone seen this behavior in fish before (non aggressive gentle pecking from all the fish)?

I am not sure what to do with them at this point, very disappointing.
Let me reassure you now, this isn’t unheard of in cichlids.

A similar occurrence happened to me before. One of my red hump geophagus was fine one night, but the following morning and he was lying on the bottom, completely black and beaten up. His left eye was blacked out, his pectoral fins weren’t moving and his scales had been shredded. I ended up netting him out (to which he showed no resistance) and euthanising him using the hit and stab method (I would have put him in a tub of water and used clove oil but I didn’t have any). My green terrors were pecking at him despite them usually getting along. This is a bit more upscale than your situation but it’s similar in nature.

Cichlids will look for weaknesses in each other and if one happens to be weaker, placid, ill or injured it will become a target for bullying, though I’m not sure what weakened my geo, or for definite why your keyholes are being bullies. Using the divider is a good idea because it will break up tensions and protect the blood parrot from the keyholes.

I suspect they are picking on him for his species. Because blood parrots are a manmade species they do have some handicaps which are unnatural in other fish. A cichlid’s weapon of choice is it’s mouth, and because blood parrots have a small, V-shaped mouth they have trouble fighting back. The keyholes could possibly choose to bully him because he can’t stand his ground.
 
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fishpersona

Thank you for your reply.
Blue zebra parrots are manmade too and keyholes don't bother them?
I am going to re arrange things in the tank and maybe after a while start letting them out of jail. If they continue that behavior I guess the best thing would be is to return the blood parrot fish to the store?
 
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Kribensis27

Keyholes rarely bother anything. They're very peaceful. I wouldn't recommend keeping them with a blood parrot, or polar blue parrot, for that matter, because of how likely to be bullied they are. My keyholes would sometimes do that "mouth touch" thing to new fish, it's never ended badly for me.

I would say it's likely that the polar blue parrots are to blame. I've never seen a keyhole attempt to attack anything other than a neon tetra.

Polar blue parrots, however, are (I believe) the product of a cross between parrots and convict cichlids. Convicts can be aggressive and parrots are usually semi-aggressive. A cross between these two would likely not lead to a very peaceful fish.

Blood parrots have a similar body shape to that of polar blues. This means that they would be more of a target of bullying than the keyholes. Add that to the fact that the parrot is new & stressed, and it seems like a perfect target to the polar blues.

It may have been the keyholes, but it's far more likely to have been the polar blues.
 
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fishpersona

Kribensis27
They all do it. I've been watching. Looks like they are eating it's slime coat off, as if this fish is different than any of them.
 
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Kribensis27

Kribensis27
They all do it. I've been watching. Looks like they are eating it's slime coat off, as if this fish is different than any of them.
That's just what some cichlids do to new arrivals. I don't know why, but most of the CA and some of the SA cichlids I've kept do this. I don't think they're eating slime. Could you add a video? The "kissing" would not be responsible for torn fins. If the fish is showing any signs of damage, it is likely an actual attack.
 
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fishpersona

I have them separated right now. I will eventually re arrange the tank, and start putting them back in, if they do it again I will take a video. The blood parrot is looking much better this morning, I know it would had been probably dead otherwise.
 
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AggressiveAquatics

Polar blue parrots really don’t like new things in the tank. I have a pair and they don’t take well to anything new even if it’s just a snail. Looks like I had to end my stocking there lol
 
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Kribensis27

Polar blue parrots really don’t like new things in the tank. I have a pair and they don’t take well to anything new even if it’s just a snail. Looks like I had to end my stocking there lol
Lol, pray for my new snails later (if they arrive safely). I'm going to add them to my bluegill tank, and he has essentially the same personality as a BP or a convict.
 
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