Blood Parrot Fish

Bloody Parrot ~ Blood Parrotfish ~ Jellybean Parrot

The Blood Parrot is just about the most curious result of cichlids interbreeding, and has created quite a stir in the aquarium hobby!

Photo © Animal-World: Courtesy Giannis
It is not uncommon for cichlids to interbreed in a hobbyists aquarium. When they are in spawning mode, they will often respond to a fish of the opposite sex whether it is the same species or another fish of a closely related species. The Blood Parrot, also called the Bloody Parrot or Blood Parrotfish, are a unique hybrid fish. They do not occur in nature.

The Blood Parrots have a very small mouth and a roundish "balloon" shaped body. Perhaps they are called Parrotfish because their nose looks like a 'parrots' beak. They can be solid or have a "calico" patterning or blotching., are available in a variety of colors. They range from basic pale or bright yellows, to oranges and reds. Dyed fish sport purples, pinks, blues, and more colors. These are generally sold as the 'Jellybean Parrot' and 'Bumble Gum Parrot' though there are also names that describe them by their color such as 'Purple Parrot'. Then there are Blood Parrots described by their physical appearance such as the 'Love Heart Parrot' which has no tail fin.

Photo © Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough 
The Blood Parrots are a peaceful, shy fish that should not be kept with real aggressive tank mates. However, if you keep them in a community aquarium with similar sized fish, be aware that they can be territorial. They like an aquarium with lots of rock formations and caves for retreating and hiding. Plants are not essential though they do not harm them.

These fish should not be confused with the Parrot Cichlid Hoplarchus psittacus which is another freshwater cichlid from South American that is quite aggressive. There is also no relation to the saltwater Parrot Fish Callyodon fasciatus

The Blood Parrot, also called the Bloody Parrot and Blood Parrotfish, and another variety known as the Jellybean Parrot are fish developed by breeders and hobbyists. Since they are a hybrid, they are domestic and only found in aquariums. The Blood Parrot is said to have been bred in Taiwan and the suggested parents are Central and South American cichlids.

There are no wild populations of this species.

The Blood Parrot has a roundish 'balloon' shaped body. They have a very small mouth and are perhaps they are called Parrotfish because their nose looks like a 'parrots' beak. They also have some other distinctions, their spines are deformed which gives them their unique shape, the iris of their eyes is overly large, and they are awkward swimmers.

   They can be solid or have a 'calico' patterning or blotching and they are available in a variety of colors from basic pale or bright yellows, to oranges and reds. There are also color varieties, which are dyed albinos or dyed light colored Blood Parrots. These are generally referred to as the 'Jellybean Parrot' and 'Bumble Gum Parrot', though their names can describe them by color such as the 'Purple Parrot'. Then there are Blood Parrots described by their physical appearance such as the 'Love Heart Parrot', which has no tail fin.

   A further developed variety is the Convict Parrot Cichlid, which is also called the 'Jellybean' Parrot or 'Bubble Gum' Parrot'. This is actually a 'double hybrid' fish. It is a cross between a female hybrid Blood Parrot and a pink male Convict Cichlid Archocentrus (Cichlasoma) nigrofasciatus. Blood Parrots have reportedly been crossed with other cichlid species such as the Severum and the Texas Cichlid. So there may be other new varieties showing up down the road.

   All cichlids share a common feature that some saltwater fish such as wrasses and parrotfish have and that is a well-developed pharyngeal set of teeth that are in the throat, along with their regular teeth. Cichlids have spiny rays in the back parts of the anal, dorsal, pectoral, and pelvic fins to help discourage predators. The front part of these fins are soft and perfect for precise positions and effortless movements in the water as opposed to fast swimming.

   Cichlids have one nostril on each side while other fish have 2 sets. To sense "smells" in the water, they suck water in and expel the water right back out after being "sampled" for a short or longer time, depending on how much the cichlid needs to "smell" the water. This feature is shared by saltwater damselfish and cichlids are thought to be closely related.

Size - Weight:
These fish generally get up to 6 - 7" (15-17.5 cm), though some will reach 8" (20 cm).

Care and feeding:
Since they are omnivorous the Blood Parrot, Bloody Parrot, or Blood Parrotfish will generally eat all kinds of live, fresh, and flake foods. To keep a good balance give them a high quality flake food or pellet everyday. Feed brine shrimp (either live or frozen) or blood worms as a treat. Live guppies and goldfish will suffice when they get bigger. Proteins high in B-carotene will promote good coloring.

  A 30 gallon tank will be fine for juveniles for the first couple of years, but for adults 55 gallons is suggested. They prefer slow to moderate moving water along with good efficient filtration. The aquarium should have low to moderate lighting. Provide a substrate of fine dark sand along with rocks and roots for places to hide along with open areas for swimming. Plants can also be included as they will not bother them.

   They can be easy to care for if water changes are performed frequently. Do water changes of 20 - 25% weekly, more or less depending on stocking numbers. If water quality is ignored, as with all cichlids, disease and death can occur. One common problem is Ich. It can be treated with the elevation of the tank temperature to 86° F (30° C) for 3 days.

Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom:
These fish will swim in all areas of the aquarium.

Acceptable Water Conditions:
   Hardness: 2-25° dGH
   Ph: 6.5 to 8.0
   Temp: 70-82° F 21-28° C. Their colors will pale in the lower temperatures.

Social Behaviors:    
As a cichlid with aggressive parents, they would not be considered a community fish, but their shy peaceful nature has allowed them to be kept in aquariums with other fair sized fish. If kept with other cichlids, make sure their tank mates are not overly aggressive. They can be kept with Angelfish, peaceful catfish such as Corydoras and Glass Catfish, Kuhli Loaches, Swordtails, Tetras, Plecostomus, and Silver Dollars.

Sexual Differences:
Sexing them is difficult. Males will show a pink around their gills and on the throat when they are in spawning colors.

The Blood Parrot has been known to breed, but most often their eggs are infertile unless they are paired with a non-hybrid fish.

The Blood Parrot or Jellybean Parrot, has become commonly available. They can often be found in fish stores and sometimes online. The Convict Parrot Cichlid (which is also called the 'Jellybean' Parrot or 'Bubble Gum' Parrot') is also sometimes available. They can often be found in fish stores and sometimes online ranging from about $8.00 USD and up for the Blood Parrot, and about $12.00 USD and up for the Convict Parrot Cichlid. Price is dependent on size, color, and type.

Author: Clarice Brough, CFS

source : Animal-World