Species of Blood Parrot Cichlid Fish

Blood parrot showing small mouth

A hybrid aquarium fish species that is the subject of considerable dispute is the blood parrot cichlid. The blood parrot cichlid, which may have been created by mating the midas cichlid (Amphilophus citrinellus) and the Gold Severum cichlid (Heros severus), possesses a number of morphological characteristics that hinder its capacity to survive. For instance, it has a relatively tiny mouth, which makes it challenging for the fish to appropriately feed itself. Some aquarium hobbyists go so far as to boycott pet stores that sell it because they feel this hybrid shouldn't be produced.

The fish's capacity to cohabit with different species in a communal habitat, along with its odd look of a spherical body and a beak-like head with huge eyes, has made it popular among certain enthusiasts.


Scientific name Amphilophus citrinellus x Heros severus
Synonym NA
Common name Blood parrot cichlid, bloody parrot cichlid, blood-red parrot cichlid
Family NA (hybrid)
Origin Artificial hybrid cross between cichlid species
Adult size 7 to 8 inches; 10 inches possible
Social Typically not a community fish, but may cohabit with other blood parrots or similar peaceful community fish
Lifespan 10 to 15 years in captivity
Tank level Mid- and bottom-level
Minimum tank size 30 gallons for single fish; 10 additional gallons for each additional fish
Diet As a base diet, prefers high-quality flakes or pellets formulated for cichlids
Breeding Males are sterile, but females sometimes breed with other cichlids
Care Requires hiding places as well as large open swimming areas. Good filtration is essential.
pH 6.5 to 7.4
Hardness Soft
Temperature 76 F to 80 F

Origin and Distribution

The midas and redhead cichlids were crossed to create the hybrid known as the blood parrot cichlid. Around 1986, the fish was first produced in Taiwan. Blood parrot cichlids were not often found in pet stores prior to the year 2000, despite the fact that they have been available on the market for some time. They should not be confused with saltwater parrot fish or freshwater parrot cichlids, which are typically sold under the names blood parrot or bloody parrots ( Callyodon fasciatus ).

This fish is the subject of debate, particularly the morality of breeding it. The various anatomical defects, some of which border on deformities, that pose difficulties for the fish are of most concern. For instance, the mouth may be difficult for the fish to feed since it is so tiny and awkwardly formed. Blood parrot cichlids may struggle to compete at feeding time with tank mates who are more aggressive and have larger mouths. Additionally, blood parrot cichlids' inability to swim is hampered by spinal and abnormalities. Many people believe that breeding a fish with such flaws is immoral and even cruel, and some fans even go so far as to boycott stores that sell this hybrid.

Colors and Markings

Red, yellow, or gray fish are also conceivable, while blood parrots are often a vivid orange color. Additionally, unethical breeders could colour the fish to give them various hues. Fish may live for 10 to 15 years and develop to a length of around 7 to 8 inches (20 cm). Compared to females, men are somewhat bigger.

These hybrids may be identified by their distinctive characteristics, which include a circular body and a beak-like head with big eyes. The teeth are buried deep in the neck and the mouth usually stays open, making it difficult for the fish to defend itself and to feed.


Blood parrots shouldn't be housed in aquariums with violent fish since they lack the tools necessary to fight for territory or food. They have been successfully maintained by owners in communal aquariums with a variety of calm fish. Angelfish, catfish, danios, and mid-sized tetras make excellent potential tank mates.

Habitat and Care

The crimson parrot needs a large environment with lots of hiding spots so they may establish their own territory. Good possibilities include rocks, driftwood, and clay pots turned on their sides. These fish will dig in the gravel like other cichlids, so pick a substrate that is not too harsh. Around 80 degrees Fahrenheit should be the target temperature. Lower temperatures cause fish to lose color and typically have weakened immune systems, making them more prone to illness. The water should be gentle and the pH should be around 7.

A red-spectrum light should be used to dim the lighting. Twice every month, replace the water. Due to the quantity of waste these fish create, frequent water changes and intensive filtering are required.

Watch out for excessive nitrite and phosphate concentrations, which can cause blue-green algae that can harm your fish. Ich parasites (treated by increasing water temperature or by copper water treatments), swim bladder illness, and bacterial infections are common ailments in blood parrots.


Foods in the form of flake, live, frozen, and freeze-dried foods are all acceptable to blood parrots. They can consume items that sink more readily than those that float. Most owners cite live brine shrimp and bloodworms as their pets' preferred treats. B-carotene and canthaxanthin-rich foods will help preserve their brilliant hues.

Sexual Differences

Males and females are identical in coloring and pattern, but males are slightly larger than females.


Blood parrots are often sterile, yet they have been seen to mate and even deposit eggs. Successful spawnings have occasionally occurred, usually when females have mated with non-hybrid fish. Blood parrots will take meticulous care of the eggs and developing fry, much as other cichlids. Infertile eggs will become white and quickly grow fungus, just like any other eggs. To avoid passing the fungus to the viable eggs, the parents would consume the infertile eggs.

Daily water changes of 25% are essential once the eggs hatch to maintain the health of the fry. The best meal for the first several weeks is fresh baby brine shrimp. You may also use frozen newborn brine shrimp, which are frequently sold at pet stores. The fry can be weaned to high-quality fry diet as they mature.

More Pet Fish Breeds and Further Research

The morality of keeping blood parrot cichlids is debatable, therefore you might want to think about or instead.