Your New Red Parrot Cichlid
Info from Aqualand Pets Plus on Cichlid Crosses
Pet World Visit
Red parrot swimming amongst a mixture of South American cichlids and other large fishes.
Once again we have to credit those Oriental fish farmers with
creating a commercial piscatorial success. They
created blood red parrot cichlids from other cichlid species.
Several species crosses have been theorized. The jelly bean strain looks
like it contains pink convict genes. Others have more of a “parrot mouth.”
Most likely? Several
different strains (crosses) exist in the trade.
Purists call them Frankenstein creations.
Parrot fans call them a positive addition to our underwater worlds. A: Could be. I'll add your info to my parrot page.
A: Could be. I'll add your info to my parrot page. Thanks. LA
Appeal: Most cichlids mix poorly with non-cichlid fishes. They either eat their tank mates or beat the snot out of them. Blood red parrot cichlids usually ignore their tank mates. (They’re too awkward to chase them.) But best of all, they’re actually red – mostly an orange-red, but some really red, with variations between individuals, of course. Babies start out grey in some strains, white or pink in others. Plus, you often find variations in their fin types -- the purple parrots (often called valentines) have no tails. This makes them heart shaped -- thus the valentine name.
Size: Not a tank buster like oscars, these weird shaped cichlids stay reasonably sized. In a big tank, you can grow them up to six or eight inches. In a 30-gallon or less your red parrot cichlids usually top out under four inches – still with excellent colors.
Foods: Like most cichlids, you won’t find these guys holding out for imported live foods from Lower Bulgartania. No fancy French sauces needed. They eat what you give them. This does not mean give them table scraps or dog food. Give them a good variety of flakes and pellets. They don’t need live or frozen foods, but they really like them -- if they can catch them. Penn Plax even offers a pelleted food made specifically for red parrot cichlids. Their pellets contain the carotenoids (in their case, astazanthin from micro-algae). Other red fishes could also benefit from these red pellets. Feed yours a variety.
Housing: Blood red parrot cichlids like as large a house as you can give them. They prefer non-bare tanks. They need the security of wood, rocks, and plants to hide behind when they feel threatened. When secure, they come out front and patrol their tank.
Décor: Give them lots of plants. Not live plants. They shred live greens like a salad shooter. (Could be the gold severum genes in there?) Use plastic plants. Weight them down unless you feel like replanting daily. All cichlids like to re-arrange their living rooms.
Tank Mates: You can keep blood parrot cichlids with a variety of smaller community fishes. They can’t catch most of them. And their weird mouths keep them from threatening most fishes. We kept them with African cichlids in a 55, until the Africans started beating on them.
Temperature: Keep nearly all your cichlids at tropical temperatures – 75o to 80o. Red parrot cichlids look and act awful in cool water. Cool water also makes them susceptible to disease. If you want to spawn any cichlids, bump their temp up 5o.
Breeding: If you keep the two sexes together, you’ll likely see typical cichlid spawning behavior. They’ll clean a rock or piece of wood or dig a pit. Some prefer caves. We’ve had eggs on the driftwood but no fry yet. Some feel they are mules (sterile). Others report successful spawnings. (Probably, much depends upon the actual species crossed. If any convict cichlid blood exists in your strain, they will spawn and survive in a bait bucket.).
Another Color Note: Make sure you use Penn Plax Aquarilux fluorescent tubes. These color-enhancing bulbs bring out the reds in your red parrot cichlids.
Last Word: So what’s their bad points? Price. Fish farmers make this cross by hand -- fish squeezers just like the Iowa walleye factory workers and Russian caviar crews. Red parrot cichlids are a labor-intensive strain. LA
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