Blood Parrot Cichlid Care: Tank Setup, Water Quality, Diet, Breeding, and More!

If you’re looking for a unique and colorful addition to your aquarium, the blood parrot cichlid might be the perfect choice. These fish are known for their striking appearance and playful personalities, but they also require specific care to thrive in a home aquarium. In this article, I’ll cover everything you need to know about blood parrot cichlid care, from tank setup to diet and breeding.

The Blood Parrot Cichlid is a popular aquarium fish due to its unique appearance and friendly behavior. They require a tank of at least 55 gallons with a temperature range of 75-82°F, pH range of 7.0-8.0, and a varied diet of commercial flakes, pellets, and live or frozen foods. They are generally peaceful but may become territorial towards their own species or other fish with similar body shape.

First, let’s start with a species summary. Blood parrot cichlids are a hybrid species that originated in Taiwan, and they typically live for 6-8 years. They can grow up to 8 inches in length and have a distinctive round body shape and bright orange or red coloration. These fish are generally peaceful, but they can become territorial during breeding season. It’s also worth noting that blood parrot cichlids are not sexually dimorphic, so it can be difficult to determine their gender.

When it comes to tank setup, blood parrot cichlids require a spacious aquarium with plenty of hiding places and decorations. A tank size of at least 55 gallons is recommended, along with a heater and filtration system to maintain stable water conditions. These fish prefer a slightly acidic to neutral pH range and a water temperature between 75-80°F. As for tank mates, blood parrot cichlids can be kept with other peaceful species of similar size, but they should be avoided in tanks with aggressive or nippy fish.

Blood Parrot Cichlid Care Pet people blog 4

Species Summary

As an avid fish keeper, one of my favorite species to care for is the Blood Parrot Cichlid.

These unique fish are a hybrid of several different cichlid species and are known for their vibrant colors and distinct appearance. Below is a summary of the key characteristics of these fish:


The Blood Parrot Cichlid is a man-made hybrid that was first bred in Taiwan in the 1980s.

The exact combination of parent species is unknown, but it is believed to include the Midas Cichlid and the Redhead Cichlid.


With proper care, Blood Parrot Cichlids can live up to 10-15 years in captivity.


Blood Parrot Cichlids are known for their unique appearance, which includes a round body shape, a beak-like mouth, and bright colors ranging from orange to red.

They also have a distinctive hump on their forehead, which is more pronounced in males.


Adult Blood Parrot Cichlids can reach a size of 6-8 inches in length.

Growth Rate

The growth rate of Blood Parrot Cichlids can vary depending on several factors, including diet, water quality, and tank size. On average, these fish will grow about an inch per year.

Behavior & Temperament

Blood Parrot Cichlids are generally peaceful and can be kept with other non-aggressive fish.

However, they can become territorial during breeding season, so it is important to provide plenty of hiding places in the tank.

Male vs Female

Male Blood Parrot Cichlids tend to have a more pronounced forehead hump and may be slightly larger than females.

However, it can be difficult to determine the sex of these fish, especially when they are young.

Tank Setup

Setting up a tank for your blood parrot cichlid requires careful consideration of several factors to ensure their health and happiness. Here are the key aspects to keep in mind:

Tank Size

Blood parrot cichlids can grow up to 8 inches in length, so it’s important to provide them with a spacious tank to swim and explore.

A minimum tank size of 50 gallons is recommended for a single fish, with an additional 20 gallons for each additional fish. A larger tank will also help maintain stable water conditions and reduce aggression among tank mates.


While blood parrot cichlids don’t require intense lighting, they do need a consistent day/night cycle to maintain their natural rhythms.

A timer can be used to ensure they receive 10-12 hours of light per day.

Filtration & Aeration

A high-quality filter is essential for maintaining water quality and removing waste. A canister filter or a hang-on-back filter rated for twice the tank volume is recommended.

Additionally, an air pump and air stone can provide additional aeration and oxygenation for your fish.


Blood parrot cichlids require a stable water temperature between 76-82°F. A reliable heater with a thermostat is necessary to maintain a consistent temperature in the tank.


A fine-grained substrate, such as sand or small gravel, is ideal for blood parrot cichlids. Avoid sharp or rough substrates that can damage their delicate skin and fins.


Blood parrot cichlids appreciate a well-decorated tank with plenty of hiding places and caves to explore.

Use a variety of decorations, such as rocks, driftwood, and PVC pipes, to create a stimulating and natural environment.


Blood parrot cichlids are known to uproot live plants, so it’s best to stick with artificial plants or hardy species such as Java fern or Anubias.

Blood Parrot Cichlid Care Pet people blog 2

If you do choose live plants, ensure they are well-rooted and provide plenty of cover for your fish.

By taking the time to set up a proper tank for your blood parrot cichlid, you can provide them with a safe and comfortable environment to thrive in.

Water Quality

Proper water quality is crucial for the health and well-being of your blood parrot cichlids. Here are the key factors to consider:

Water Temperature

Blood parrot cichlids require a consistent water temperature between 78-82°F (25.5-27.8°C) to thrive.

Fluctuations in temperature can cause stress and weaken their immune system, making them more susceptible to diseases.

Water pH

The ideal pH range for blood parrot cichlids is between 7.2-8.0. Keeping the pH stable is important, as sudden changes can cause stress and harm your fish.

If your tap water pH is outside this range, you can adjust it using pH buffers or natural methods like adding driftwood or almond leaves to the tank.

Water Hardness

Blood parrot cichlids prefer slightly hard water with a range of 10-15 dGH. Soft water can cause stress and affect their growth and overall health.

You can increase the hardness of your water by adding crushed coral or aragonite to your substrate or filter.

Water Changes

Regular water changes are essential to maintain good water quality. Aim to change 20-30% of the water in your tank every 1-2 weeks.

Use a gravel vacuum to remove any debris and uneaten food from the substrate. Be sure to treat the new water with a dechlorinator before adding it to the tank.

By keeping a close eye on the water quality in your blood parrot cichlid tank, you can ensure that your fish stay healthy and happy for years to come.

Personally, I’ve found that maintaining consistent water quality has been the key to keeping my blood parrot cichlids healthy and vibrant. By monitoring the temperature, pH, and hardness of my tank water and performing regular water changes, I’ve been able to create a thriving aquatic environment that my fish love.

Tank Maintenance

Maintaining a healthy and clean tank is crucial for the well-being of your blood parrot cichlids. Here are some tips to keep your tank in top condition:

Regular Water Changes: As with any aquarium, regular water changes are a must for maintaining water quality. Aim to change about 25% of the water every two weeks, and make sure to use a water conditioner to remove any harmful chemicals.

Clean the Gravel: Waste and uneaten food can accumulate in the gravel, so it’s important to vacuum it regularly. Use a gravel vacuum to remove debris from the substrate, but be careful not to disturb the cichlids or damage any plants.

Check the Filter: The filter is the heart of your aquarium, so make sure it’s working properly. Clean it regularly by rinsing it in aquarium water, and replace any worn-out parts as needed.

Monitor Water Temperature: Blood parrot cichlids prefer water temperatures between 76-82°F. Use a reliable thermometer to monitor the temperature, and adjust the heater as needed.

Test Water Parameters: Regularly test the pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels to ensure they are within the appropriate range. Aim for a pH of 7.0-8.0, ammonia and nitrite levels of 0 ppm, and nitrate levels below 40 ppm.

Keep the Tank Clean: Regularly remove any uneaten food, dead plants, or debris from the tank. This will help prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria and keep the tank looking clean and tidy.

By following these simple tips, you can keep your blood parrot cichlid tank in top condition and ensure the health and happiness of your fish.

Personal Anecdote: I’ve found that keeping a regular maintenance schedule not only keeps my tank healthy, but it also helps me stay connected with my fish. Taking the time to clean the tank and check on the fish is a great way to unwind after a long day, and it’s rewarding to see my cichlids thrive in a clean and healthy environment.

Tank Mates

Compatible Fish Species

Blood parrot cichlids are generally peaceful and can be kept with other fish species that share the same temperament. Some compatible fish species include:

Otocinclus Catfish pet people blog
  • Tetras
  • Corydoras catfish
  • Otocinclus catfish
  • Platies
  • Mollies

I have personally kept blood parrot cichlids with tetras and they have lived together peacefully for years.

Incompatible Fish Species

Blood parrot cichlids should not be kept with aggressive or territorial fish species. Some incompatible fish species include:

  • Cichlids (except for some peaceful species like angelfish)
  • Arowanas
  • Piranhas
  • Large catfish

I made the mistake of keeping a blood parrot cichlid with an aggressive cichlid and it resulted in constant fighting and stress for both fish.

When choosing tank mates for your blood parrot cichlid, it is important to consider their size and behavior.

It is also important to provide enough hiding places and territories for all fish in the tank to reduce aggression and stress.

How Many Blood Parrot Fish Should You Keep Together?

Blood Parrot Cichlid Care Pet people blog

When it comes to keeping blood parrot cichlids, it’s important to consider how many you should keep together in one tank.

As a general rule, it’s recommended to keep at least two blood parrots together, as they are social fish and prefer to be in groups.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that blood parrots can be territorial and aggressive, especially during breeding season. It’s best to provide ample space for each fish and avoid overcrowding the tank.

A good rule of thumb is to provide at least 20 gallons of water per fish, so a pair of blood parrots would require a minimum of a 40-gallon tank. If you plan on keeping a larger group, it’s best to provide even more space to prevent aggression and territorial disputes.

It’s also important to consider the size of the tank when determining how many blood parrots to keep together. A larger tank can accommodate more fish and provide more swimming space, which can help reduce stress and aggression.

In addition to tank size, it’s important to consider the compatibility of other fish in the tank. Blood parrots can be aggressive towards other fish, especially those that are smaller or have long fins.

It’s best to choose tank mates that are similar in size and temperament to avoid conflicts. Overall, when it comes to how many blood parrot fish to keep together, it’s important to consider the size of the tank, the compatibility of other fish, and the individual personalities of each fish.

By providing ample space and choosing compatible tank mates, you can create a peaceful and thriving aquarium environment for your blood parrots.

I personally keep two blood parrots together in a 55-gallon tank, along with a few other cichlid species. They get along well and have plenty of space to swim and explore.


What To Feed

Blood Parrot Cichlids are omnivores and require a balanced diet that includes both plant and animal-based foods. Commercially available cichlid pellets are a good staple food for them.

You can also supplement their diet with live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia.

Vegetables like spinach, peas, and zucchini can also be fed to your Blood Parrot Cichlid. It is important to vary their diet to ensure they receive all the necessary nutrients.


Feed your Blood Parrot Cichlid twice a day, but in small amounts. Overfeeding can lead to health problems and obesity.

A good rule of thumb is to feed them an amount that they can consume in 2-3 minutes. Remove any uneaten food after feeding to prevent water quality issues.

Blood Parrot Cichlid Care Pet people blog 3


It is important to provide a varied diet to your Blood Parrot Cichlid. You can rotate between different types of pellets, live or frozen foods, and vegetables.

This will ensure that they receive all the necessary nutrients for a healthy life. I have found that my Blood Parrot Cichlid enjoys playing with its food before eating it.

They are known to pick up and move their food around the tank before consuming it. This behavior is normal and should not be a cause for concern.

Remember to always provide clean, fresh water for your Blood Parrot Cichlid. Poor water quality can lead to health problems and a loss of appetite.

Regular water changes and proper filtration are key to maintaining a healthy environment for your fish.

Common Diseases


Blood parrot cichlids are generally hardy fish, but they can still fall prey to a number of diseases. Some of the most common diseases that affect these fish include:

  • Ich (white spot disease)
  • Fin rot
  • Columnaris
  • Hole-in-the-head disease
  • Swim bladder disease


Symptoms of these diseases can vary, but some common signs that your blood parrot cichlid may be sick include:

  1. White spots on the body or fins
  2. Frayed or disintegrating fins
  3. Cottony growths on the body or fins
  4. Small holes in the head area
  5. Difficulty swimming or floating upside down


If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to act quickly to prevent the disease from spreading. Treatment options include:

  • Medications such as copper sulfate or malachite green
  • Antibiotics for bacterial infections
  • Salt baths
  • Quarantine to prevent the spread of disease


Preventing disease in your blood parrot cichlid is always better than treating it. Some tips for preventing disease include:

  • Keeping the tank clean and well-maintained
  • Quarantining new fish before adding them to the tank
  • Avoiding overfeeding and maintaining good water quality
  • Providing a stress-free environment with plenty of hiding spots and appropriate tank mates

I have found that keeping a close eye on my fish and monitoring their behavior and appearance daily has helped me catch any potential health issues early on. By taking preventive measures and treating any diseases promptly, you can help ensure that your blood parrot cichlid lives a long and healthy life.

Signs of Healthy Blood Parrot Fish

Blood Parrot Cichlid Care Pet people blog 5

As a Blood Parrot Cichlid owner, it is important to know the signs of a healthy fish. Here are a few things to look for:

  1. Active and Alert: A healthy Blood Parrot Cichlid will be active, swimming around the tank, and showing interest in its surroundings.
  2. Good Appetite: A healthy fish will have a good appetite and eagerly eat its food.
  3. Bright Colors: Blood Parrot Cichlids have vibrant colors, and a healthy fish will have bright, bold hues.
  4. Clear Eyes: The eyes of a healthy Blood Parrot Cichlid will be clear, without any cloudiness or discoloration.
  5. Smooth Scales: A healthy fish will have smooth, shiny scales, without any signs of damage or discoloration.

It is important to monitor your Blood Parrot Cichlid regularly to ensure that it remains healthy. If you notice any changes in behavior, appetite, or appearance, it may be a sign of illness or disease. In such cases, it is best to seek the advice of a veterinarian or an experienced aquarium hobbyist.

Personally, I like to observe my Blood Parrot Cichlids every day to make sure they are healthy and happy. I find it relaxing to watch them swim around and interact with each other. It’s also a good opportunity to check for any signs of illness or disease.

Signs of Sick Blood Parrot Fish

As a blood parrot cichlid owner, it’s important to be able to recognize signs of illness in your fish. Here are some common symptoms to watch out for:

  1. Loss of appetite
  2. Lethargy
  3. Rapid breathing or gasping at the surface
  4. Swimming upside down or on its side
  5. Discolored or cloudy eyes
  6. White spots or patches on the body

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to act quickly to diagnose and treat the issue. Some common diseases that affect blood parrot cichlids include:

Hole in the headSmall holes on the head or body, lethargy, loss of appetiteAntibiotics, water changes, improved dietMaintain good water quality, provide a varied and nutritious diet
IchWhite spots on the body, flashing, rubbing against objectsMedication, increased temperature, water changesQuarantine new fish, maintain good water quality
Fin rotFrayed or disintegrating fins, lethargy, loss of appetiteAntibiotics, water changes, improved dietMaintain good water quality, avoid overcrowding

If you’re unsure about the best course of action for your sick fish, consult with a veterinarian or experienced fish keeper.

Remember, prevention is key to keeping your blood parrot cichlids healthy. Maintain good water quality, provide a varied and nutritious diet, and avoid overcrowding your tank.

Personally, I’ve had to deal with ich in my blood parrot cichlid tank before.

It was a stressful experience, but with the help of medication and increased water changes, my fish were able to recover.

Since then, I’ve been more diligent about monitoring my water quality and quarantining new fish before adding them to the tank.


Breeding Setup

Breeding Blood Parrot Cichlids can be a challenging but rewarding experience. To set up a breeding tank, you will need a tank that is at least 50 gallons in size with a pH level of 7.0-7.5 and a temperature of 78-82°F.

You will also need a breeding cone or a flat surface for the female to lay her eggs on. It’s important to keep the water quality high by performing regular water changes and using a good filtration system.

How To Breed

To breed Blood Parrot Cichlids, you will need a male and a female. The male will typically be larger and more brightly colored than the female.

Once you have a pair, you can introduce them to the breeding tank. The female will lay her eggs on the breeding cone or flat surface, and the male will fertilize them.

The eggs will hatch in about 3-4 days, and the fry will become free-swimming in about a week.


Once the fry are free-swimming, you will need to feed them small amounts of baby brine shrimp or crushed flakes several times a day.

It’s important to keep the water quality high by performing regular water changes and using a good filtration system. As the fry grow, you can gradually increase the size of their food.

It’s also important to keep an eye on the water temperature and pH level to ensure they remain stable. I have personally bred Blood Parrot Cichlids and found it to be a very rewarding experience.

It’s important to be patient and dedicated to providing the best care for the fry. With the right setup and care, you can successfully breed these beautiful fish.

product recommendation for blood parrot fish

Product recommendations for blood parrot fish:

  1. Hikari Cichlid Gold – These pellets are specially formulated for cichlid fish like blood parrot fish, and will provide them with the essential nutrients they need.
  2. Omega One Super Color Flakes – These flakes are a great option for feeding your blood parrot fish, as they are high in protein and other important nutrients.
  3. API Stress Coat Water Conditioner – This water conditioner will help to reduce stress in your aquarium, which can be especially important for sensitive fish like blood parrot fish.
  4. Seachem Flourish Excel – This liquid fertilizer is a great way to promote healthy plant growth in your aquarium, which can be beneficial for blood parrot fish.
  5. AquaClear Power Filter – This power filter is a great way to keep your aquarium water clean and clear, which is important for the health of your blood parrot fish.
  6. Eheim Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater – A heater is essential for maintaining a consistent water temperature in your aquarium, which is important for the health of your blood parrot fish.
  7. API Master Test Kit – This test kit is a great way to monitor the levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate in your aquarium, which can help you keep your blood parrot fish healthy.
  8. Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum – This substrate is a great option for planted aquariums, and can help to promote healthy plant growth, which can be beneficial for blood parrot fish.
  9. Hydor Koralia Nano Aquarium Circulation Pump – A circulation pump can help to keep the water in your aquarium moving, which can be important for the health of your blood parrot fish.


After researching and writing about blood parrot cichlid care, I have come to appreciate these unique and fascinating fish. They may not be for everyone, but for those willing to put in the effort, they can make rewarding and entertaining pets.

One thing that stands out about blood parrot cichlids is their resilience. Despite being a hybrid species, they are hardy and can adapt to a variety of water conditions. This makes them a good choice for beginners or those who may not have the most ideal tank setup.

However, it’s important to remember that blood parrot cichlids still have specific care requirements. They need adequate space, filtration, and a well-maintained tank to thrive. They also benefit from a varied diet and regular water changes. When it comes to tank mates, it’s best to choose species that are peaceful and not too small or aggressive.

Avoid keeping them with fin-nipping fish or those that may view them as prey. Overall, blood parrot cichlid care requires some extra effort and attention, but the rewards can be well worth it. With proper care, these fish can live for up to 10-15 years and provide endless entertainment and enjoyment.


As a blood parrot cichlid owner, you may have some questions about their care. Here are some frequently asked questions:

Q: Can blood parrot cichlids live with other fish?

A: Yes, they can live with other fish. However, it is important to choose tank mates carefully. Blood parrot cichlids can be aggressive towards smaller or more docile fish, so it is best to choose fish that are similar in size and temperament.

Q: How often should I change the water in my blood parrot cichlid tank?

A: It is recommended to change 25-50% of the water in your tank every 1-2 weeks. This will help maintain good water quality and prevent the buildup of harmful toxins.

Q: What should I feed my blood parrot cichlid?

A: Blood parrot cichlids are omnivores and can be fed a variety of foods, including pellets, flakes, frozen or live foods. It is important to provide a balanced diet and not overfeed them.

Q: How can I tell if my blood parrot cichlid is sick?

A: Signs of illness in blood parrot cichlids can include loss of appetite, lethargy, abnormal swimming behavior, and visible signs of disease such as white spots or open sores. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to take action and seek advice from a veterinarian or experienced fish keeper.

Q: Can blood parrot cichlids breed?

A: Yes, they can breed. However, breeding can be challenging and requires specific conditions such as a separate breeding tank and careful monitoring of water quality and temperature. It is recommended to research and consult with experienced breeders before attempting to breed blood parrot cichlids.

Overall, blood parrot cichlids can make great pets for experienced fish keepers who are willing to provide proper care and attention. If you have any further questions or concerns, it is always best to seek advice from a knowledgeable source.

Reference: Wikipedia.


Hi there! My name is Jacob, and I'm the founder of this Pet people blog that talks all about aquarium and fishkeeping. I've been passionate about fish and aquatic life since I was a kid, and I've spent countless hours learning about different species, their habitats, and how to create the perfect environment for them to thrive in.

Leave a Reply

Recent Posts