Blood Parrot Cichlid: Ultimate Guide (Care, Diet, Breeding & More)

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Written By Matt Stevens

Hi, I'm Matt! I've been obsessed with fishkeeping for over 15 years now and created this site to share my knowledge with others.

Blood Parrot Cichlids are a gorgeous hybrid species that have attracted plenty of attention for a rather strange reason. You would think they should be popular for their bright orange coloration, but that’s far from it.

In reality, the most divisive topic as far as Blood Parrot Cichlid care goes is the fish’s origin. Everybody agrees they are an artificial species.

However, there can’t seem to be a point of agreement among fish lovers regarding the actual species involved in manufacturing Blood Parrot Cichlids. Is it really a Midas-Redhead Cichlid combo? Or maybe a Midas-Gold Severum Cichlid crossbreed, as some sources claim?

Our detailed guide will be an eye-opener to Blood Parrot Cichlid lovers or anyone keen to experiment with a beautiful Cichlid variety. Specifically, we will discuss the fish’s origin, lifespan, appearance and average size, tank size, diet, tank mates, breeding, and more.

Species Overview

Blood Parrot Cichlids are probably the most controversial freshwater Cichlids of our time, and it’s easy to see why.

They are one of the most beautiful Cichlid fish of Taiwanese origin, but being a hybrid species, much has been said about breeding them in captivity. Or to be precise, the parent fishes remain unclear.

Just like us, many aquarists believe Blood Parrot Cichlids result from a Midas-Redhead Cichlid combo.

Regardless of where you belong in this highly contested issue, nobody can doubt the beauty of the Blood Parrot Cichlids.

The only disadvantage of keeping these species at home is that they are quite rare in the fish market. Perhaps many pet stores are hesitant to sell them owing to the endless controversy around them.

But this shouldn’t stop you from owning a beautiful Blood Parrot Cichlid, especially seeing many people change their opinions about these fish in recent years.

LifespanUp to 15 years
Care LevelIntermediate
Behavior & TemperamentSemi-aggressive
CompatibilitySpecies only tank or peaceful community
Food and DietOmnivores
SizeUp to 7 inches
Tank SetupFreshwater with open space and hiding spots
Tank Size (Minimum)30 gallons


But how long do Parrot Cichlids live? Perhaps you may ask.

Blood Parrots enjoy a solid lifespan of 10-15 years. However, being a hybrid species, the accurate life expectancy largely hinges on how well you care for these fish at home.

But in general, they should easily hit the 10-year mark with healthy practices and in a spotless environment. The safest way to approach the topic of Blood Parrot Cichlid lifespan is to get your species from trusted sellers and pet stores around the world.


Blood Parrot Cichlids are just as distinctive as their name suggests. Their popularity in the aquatic scene is partly attributed to the exceptional appearance that makes them a strong candidate for creating an electrifying community tank.

To begin with, these fish may have a myriad of genetic modifications, which can be expected from any hybrid species, after all.

They have large, round shapes with prominent nuchal humps. Also, Blood Parrots have round heads with large, brightly colored eyes.

What’s more, Blood Parrot Cichlids have small mouths that almost resemble a bird’s beaks. With their uniquely-shaped mouths, these fish depend entirely on their strong teeth for everyday feeding in captivity

As far as the general body coloration goes, you will agree Blood Parrot Cichlids are also one of the most vibrant-looking species.

Most species will spot beautiful bright orange coloration. However, some varieties can have solid red, gray, or yellow colors. It’s not uncommon to see other multi-colored species, either.

Aside from the prominent, orange base coloration in many species, these fish will also have attractive yellow or white patches that seamlessly complement the primary color in most species.

Now, here’s a secret to purchasing healthy Blood Red Parrot Cichlid. While the standard base coloration in most species will be orange, you may be tempted to acquire other exotic breeds with distinct color patterns.

Even though this is not an entirely bad decision, you always risk getting the wrong species that are only injected with dyes to intensify their appearance.

That alone is enough to cut short the fish’s life and could easily wreck a well-planned fishkeeping adventure. So, we encourage aquarists to opt for the normal fish with the standard orange base coloration if they need the right species.


So, how big do parrot fish get? An average male Blood Parrot Cichlid will grow to approximately 8 inches in captivity. On the other hand, the female fish can reach about 6-7 inches full length.

Some Blood Parrot species can reach up to 10 inches long, but that’s quite a rare occurrence in captivity.

Blood Parrot Cichlid Care

We recommend Blood Parrot Cichlids to intermediate-level aquarists. That means you will need some background experience in keeping other freshwater fish before turning to these Cichlids.

In general, most hybrid species like Blood Parrots are less demanding, and once you understand what they love in the natural environment, you will be ready to set up the perfect habitat.

With that in mind, the next section will highlight everything involved in Blood Parrot Cichlid care;

Tank Size

Thankfully, Blood Parrot Cichlids are not the largest freshwater fish in the wild. Still, they prefer an ample swimming space and will thrive in a minimum of 30-gallon tank.

Later, you can increase the tank size by 10 gallons for every new fish in the same space.

Like with most fish, larger tanks are a welcome consideration for Blood Parrot Cichlids, especially if you intend to keep these fish in a small group. While doing so, you should target at least 60 gallons.

Water Parameters

Get a clear picture of the fish’s original habitat when setting up new territory for Blood Parrot Cichlids. This is always tied to the water temperature, pH, and hardness.

Unfortunately for you, Blood Parrots are man-made species, so you can’t modify their environment according to the habitual wild conditions.

With hybrid species, the general belief is that if it suits the parent fish, it certainly fits the crossbreed variety. And for Blood Parrots, you will want to study the environmental conditions for the Midas and Redhead Cichlids.

Midas Cichlids originate from Central America and prefer warm waters. Consequently, you can modify everything to suit the following standards;

  • Water Temperature: 76°F-80°F
  • Water Hardness: 6-18 dGH
  • pH Levels: 6.5-7.4

It’s essential to test the tank water status frequently to be sure it suits your Blood Parrot Cichlids. We recommend investing in an aquarium testing kit and adjusting the tank water when you realize it’s slightly below or beyond the recommended status.

What to Put in Their Tank?

Be it an artificial appearance or a more natural look, Blood Parrot Cichlids are comfortable in any environment. The most significant aspect of ideal tank décor is enough hiding spots.

So, you should introduce enough rocks, driftwood, and plant pots to create such spots. Artificial plants and caves are also efficient enough to complete the tank décor.

Next, you will need a sandy substrate at the bottom of the tank to guarantee your fish’s comfort. Rough gravel is not suitable for Blood Parrot Cichlids because the digging behavior could easily expose them to serious injuries.

If kept in an ideal environment, Blood Parrots will spend a lot of time swimming. So, you must understand how to set up multiple hiding places without blocking the fish’s path.

To maintain clean waters, purchase a reliable filtration system to cycle the tank water efficiently.

Common Diseases

Like many species, Blood Parrot Cichlids are vulnerable to common freshwater diseases.

They are particularly susceptible to the highly contagious Ich, a common parasitic infection that affects freshwater fish in substandard environments. Ich causes visible spots on the fish’s body and gills, and you can treat it with simple antibiotics.

The general treatment guideline involves isolating the sick fish to break the chain of infection and save your fish from its damaging effects. Sometimes, aquarists opt for conventional methods like increasing the water temperature even though this won’t give the best results in all circumstances.

Like many infections, the safest way to avoid Ich is to maintain ideal tank water conditions. And that also means measuring the tank water status regularly. Always cycle at least 50% of the tank water biweekly to eliminate the harmful waste that could derail your fish’s growth and development.

Another condition that will be quite common with Blood Parrot Cichlids is the swim bladder. As the name suggests, this condition affects Blood Parrot’s swim bladder and will present with a characteristic buoyancy.

If it doesn’t lead to a long-term deformity, you can manage the swim bladder disease with common medications.

What Do Blood Parrot Cichlids Eat?

Blood Parrot Cichlids are omnivorous species, so you don’t expect them to be selective in captivity. Literally, they accept a wide range of fish foods, starting with sinking pellets as their favorite choice.

Other high-protein foods like bloodworms and brine shrimp can also provide additional nutrients in captivity.

Try to adapt your fish to a twice a day feeding routine while only giving them small amounts of food every time. That way, you will be limiting the risks of overfeeding and potential tank water contamination.

Behavior & Temperament

Blood Parrot Cichlids are best described as a semi-aggressive species. However, such behavior is only consistent with the actual tank setup and water conditions.

Typically, their aggressive behavior is more common in the presence of wrong tank mates (equally aggressive species) or a cramped environment. So, you can avoid it by keeping them in the right environment.

One thing about Blood Parrots is that they enjoy their space in captivity, and sometimes, this is taken as outright inactivity or aggression. If you don’t spot them swimming towards the middle of the tank, you will see them digging relentlessly around your substrate, searching for food.

Blood Parrot Cichlid Tank Mates

The most suitable tank mates for Blood Parrot Cichlids are similar species. However, they are a schooling species, and you can keep them in small groups for the best experience.

If you opt to introduce new tank mates, consider other peaceful species that won’t get into trouble with your semi-aggressive Cichlids.

Most importantly, Blood Parrots don’t do well with smaller species because they see them as normal food. In summary, some of the best tank mates for Blood Parrot Cichlids include the following;


Unfortunately, Blood Parrot Cichlid breeding is not as straightforward as many people think, and that’s all down to the infertile males. As much as the female species would love to breed and can lay many eggs in captivity, the males never fertilize them.

In recent years, aquarists have turned to hormones to promote parrot fish breeding by making the males somehow fertile. Of course, this is nothing but a case of trial and error and might only work for a few lucky aquarists.

If breeding were to occur in captivity, it would almost certainly follow the same pattern as many Cichlid species. In that case, it would start with the females laying their eggs on rocks and other suitable surfaces.

Generally, the adult fish will be happy to guard the eggs until a suspected fungus attacks. In that case, they will feed on them.

And by the way, what would you make of your beloved female Blood Red Parrot breeding with another Cichlid species? Well, that’s quite possible with these fish, but we strongly discourage it, because…well, it would create another man-made species.

Final Thoughts

Blood Parrot Cichlids are somewhat controversial species yet quite captivating. They have a huge following in the aquarium community, and we think their popularity could even increase threefold in the coming years.

The good news is, now you understand most of the important things about Blood-Red Parrot Cichlid care. If you want a beautiful hybrid Cichlid but lack any preferences at the moment, we would love to introduce you to the absorbing world of Blood Parrot Cichlids.