Blood Red Parrot Cichlid Fish, a Hybrid Cichlid

The Blood Red Parrot cichlid is an odd ball man made Hybrid that has stirred quite a bit of controversy in the fish world but has gained a huge popularity with many. Whether you approve of hybrid fish or not, these wonderful Blood Red Parrot Cichlids are here to stay. They are very compatable for a community tank as they are peaceful, curious and they interact well with their fish keepers once they get to know you. Blood Red Parrot fish should not be confused with the true Parrot Cichlid (Hoplarchus Psittacus) or the Salt Water Parrot (Callyodon Fasciatus).

When choosing Blood Red Parrot fish you will notice that the baby Parrots are very dark with stripes. As they start to grow they change color quickly from dark to a mottled black and orange to a true solid Orange. This happens very quickly within the first four months.

Parrot Cichlid History

First created in Tiawan in the 1980's the Blood Red Parrot Cichlid was believed to be a cross between a male midas cichlid and a female red head cichlid but since then there have been many variations to include, Red Devil and Gold and Green Severums and lately to include the convict cichlid pairing as well.

Blood Red Parrot Cichlid

You can recognise the blood red parrot at first sight due to the unique traits this fish possesses. Its beak like head and mouth and round body with large eyes are characteristic of this fish. Their mouths do not close but stay open in a perpetual "O" shape. Their teeth are far down their throats so they pretty much bump into each other but cannot bite and are no match for an aggressive fish due to this deformity produced during breeding.


BR Parrots are a shy fish that is timid but will acclimate to a community tank very nicely. They learn to recognise their owners and will come to the front of the tank to greet them. They do love to have their own clay pots or caves to hide in and I would recommend caves in their tanks. They seem to have so much fun swimming in and out of the caves. I find these fish to be very playful and they interact very well with each other and with dither fish as they swim around the tank. I would recommend them for anyone with a tank large enough who would like a peaceful set up with active fish.

Baby Parrot Cichlid

Breeding Parrot Cichlids

Although Parrots will pair off and spawn the male Parrot is usually infertile and the eggs will die off. Successful spawning has resulted when the females have cross bred with non hybrid fish such as the convicts and other cichlids such as the Severums and Midas. Female BR Parrots have been bred with male Convicts to create the Jelly Bean and Bubblegum Parrot. These are usually dyed Red, Green, Blue, Purple or Pink. These fish should be avoided so not to contribute to the horrific procedure these dyed fish are put through. Newly developed though are specimans that are a true pink, due to the cross breeding between the Pink Convict male and a BR Parrot female and are not dyed. They have been called Jelly Bean as well. There have been cases of Jelly Bean and Bubblegum breeding but do not mistake them for true Blood Red Parrot fish.

The Purple Blood Parrot is another popular Parrot that is not actually purple but a bright red and is not dyed. Another is the Love Heart BR Parrot, a tailess varity that has a heart shape body.


Feed your Parrots a varity of food, such as blood worms and brine shrimp as these seem to be their favorite foods. You can also feed them a quality pellet as well as a quality flake. Food high in b-carotene will help maintain their vibrant colors.


BR Parrots are compatible with many fish such as mid size Tetras, Giant Danios, Cory cats or any catfish, Plecos, Kribs, Severums and Angelfish. Convicts are a good choice as well, but be careful of any aggressive issues and the possiblity of a spawn between these two species.

Tank requirements

Adult Parrot fish can reach 10 inches. Most males though will average 7-8 inches and females a bit smaller averaging around 6-7 inches. You should make sure they have ample swimming areas with clay pots or caves. Rocks and driftwood would complete a comfortable tank set up as they love to have places to hide. Water temperature should be maintained between 76-80°F. PH should be around 6.5-7.4. A smooth small sized gravel or sand is ideal. They are a hardy, undemanding fish that only require room to swim, compatible tank mates and good healthy foods in order to be happy. With the heavy bio load of Parrots, it is essential that you have good aquarium filteration.

I have 5 juvenile BR Parrots in my 55 gallon community tank that will move to a 120 gallon tank this spring. I cannot say enough of the joy these special fish have brought to me and when you look into those big beautiful eyes, you will find them hard to resist as well.

Parrot Cichlids Parrot Cichlid Hybrid

Cichlid Care

Scientific Name : none, a Hybrid Cichlid

Common Names : Blood Red Parrot, Bloody Parrot

Care Level : Moderate

Size : 8" (20 cm)

pH : 6.5 - 7.0

Temperature :72-82F (22-28C)

Lifespan : about 10 years

Origin / Habitat : Man-made, not present in Nature, but Parents are South American Cichlids

Temperament / Behavior : Peaceful

Breeding : Males are usually infertile. Can be bred with Midas, Severum and Convict Cichlids.Egg layer, open Breeder.

Aquarium Size : Minimum 42 gallons, additional 10 gallons for each thereafter.

Tank Mates : non aggressive fish species.

Fish Disease : Freshwater Fish Disease

Diet / Fish Food : omnivore, see above for more details.

Tank Region : Bottom- mid dweller

Gender : Even for experts, it is nearly impossible to sex them. Usually the only way is by dissection, or if they happen to lay eggs (an unlikely occurrence).

Similar Species : Cichlids

Photo Courtesy CapeKate

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