Your New Red Parrot Cichlid                 

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Blood Red Parrot Cichlid Factoids

Origin

Probably Singapore or Taiwan

Sexual Differences

None discernible. Females probably chubbier.

Temperature

75 to 80

Attitude

Peaceful (for a cichlid)

Security

Not a hider in tanks with lots of cover

Size

Six to eight inches – smaller in small tanks

Foods

Not at all picky

Water

Demands clean water

Breeding Comments

Unlikely -- but not impossible


LA
Red parrot swimming amongst a mixture of South American cichlids and other large fishes.

LA Pic
Not all red parrots are red.

LA Pic
Supposedly a "violet" parrot.

Origins:  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.
 

Scott C., March 27, 2007
On your parrot (cichlid) page, you say that a parrot is a red devil x severum. It is actually V. Synspillum (redhead) x A. Citrinellus (Midas).

A:  Could be.  I'll add your info to my parrot page.  Thanks.  LA

LA Pic
Red parrot cichlids mix well with other cichlids.  Half brothers to that severum below them.

 

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.

LA
One-inchers.  That's a two-inch net.                                        One-inch dyed "jelly beans."

LA
Couple more one-inchers.

LA Pix
These two-inch red parrots give you an idea of the color variations as they grow.

LA Pic
White three-incher.

LA Pic
Two-inch dyed parrots -- often called "jelly beans."  (They think it's feeding time.)

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.

LA Pic
Penn Plax makes a food specifically for red parrot cichlids.

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.

LA Pic
Add some decorations to red parrot cichlid tanks.

LA Pic
All cichlids turn into "pets."  Ditto red parrot cichlids.

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.

LA Pic
Red parrot cichlids get along with other fish -- especially the faster ones.

 

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.

LA
Their weird shaped mouth gives them their parrot name.

LA
Red parrot cichlids get along with each other unless kept in small tanks.  (Feeding time again.)

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.

LA Pic
Some red parrot cichlids are just a little goofy looking.

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.

LA Pic
Parrot cichlids ignoring that rainbowfish to the right.  Note the color variations.

LA Pic
Not the "reddest" red parrots in the world, this pair spawned and had viable fry.

LA Pix
Breeding can be hard on noses.

LA Pic
Like all cichlids, red parrots enjoy sparring.

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.).

LA Pic
After we had this blue jellybean four months,       Older "jelly bean" lost his dye color and 
she developed female convict colors.                   developed typical convict bars.

These two spawned together.  Go to convicts to see their spawning sequence and care of their fry.

LA Pic
Red parrot cichlids have a strange mouth.

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.

LA Pic
Most red parrots are not real red.

LA Pic
Even a black "red parrot cichlid" on the bottom right.

LA
Some unhappy parrots.

  LA
Some bigger than your hand red parrots. 

LA
When we threw them in the same tank, we saw breeding tubes and breeding behavior.

LA
A couple of hand-size parrots.

LA
Slightly smaller parrot in same tank.

LA
Another parrot in same tank.

LA Pic
Red parrots look good in a group.  And they're friendly (at feeding time).

LA Pix
Some are redder ...

LA Pic
... but the ones that are red are really red.  Now we're talking red parrot cichlids.

LA
Here's a couple red parrots larger than your hand.

LA
There were three.  They all had the same breeding tube.

LA
Here's one red parrot without the strange "beak."

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

Red Parrots Spawn
Red Parrot Spawn II
Red Parrot Pictorial

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