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Readers Respond: Blood Parrots - Great Pet or Abomination?

Responses: 55


From the article: Caring for a Blood Parrot
Few fish topics are more heated than the debate over the man made fish known as the Blood Parrot. Love them or hate them, everyone has an opinion. What's yours?

love parrots

I have 16 blood parrots right now. I have started keeping them like 10 years back. I would say these are one of the most beautiful fish of freshwater. Since they belong to chiclids family, they are semi aggressive, they fight but with no or nominal physical harm, they are territorial so they need space, never keep them in small tank. A thumb rule, 30 gallon tank for one n in addition 10 gallon each. None of my bp have any problem, they need your care, they recognize atleast the one who feed them and after an year or so whole family, when they saw any stranger near tank they hide, i use to feed them by hand, they love it, i havn't lost any one of them since last 10 years, you guys know they love everything what you feed them, but once in a week, give them shelled peas, that will keep them healthy. Keep your tank full of hiding places, they are shy, they hide bcoz they didnt feel secure, they need time to adjust. Never change your tank setup or most important never remove hiding spot.
—Guest ashish

Love them!

Very cool fish, hilarious and full of life! I can't see any of the illnesses or deformities that people always talk about. I'd dare say that I recommend them to any novice hobbyists out there, if you don't mind cleaning the tank with 25% weekly. I've got 2 Blood Parrots with a Pleco and a Catfish in a 30 gal tank and my Blood Parrots actually "spoon" with the Catfish, they're very sweet.

So misinformed

My first two lived over 8 years and I now have 5 more. This fish do not have a problem eating nor swimming no matter what is reported here. If you don't want hybrids, then Flowerhorns, goldfish, ballon-shaped fish and high fins would also not be on the market. These are general fish that like to live in a family unit, not with aggressive fish. They do better with community fish than other cichlids more aggressive than themselves. Jellybeans or Bubblegums are also not dyed parrots. Those are a cross between a female blood parrot and a male convict. Misinformation is rampart on these fish!
—Guest Carolo


It is a nice looking fish,agile ,SMART and does not fight with pleco.I have one blood parrot(orange-red) and one dwarf pleco in the aquarium.They are absolutely OK with each other.Regarding appetite and overeating I can remark that I treat my parrot as good parents treat obese child:give the right doses.Everything is dose related and your parrot fish will not be able to serve itself while you are away or home.

Wonderful fish but a bit messy

I have had blood parots for approx 2 years. I started out with 38 small parrots in a 72 gallon tank and now have 24 (I have 2 smaller ones in a 26 gallon community tank and they get along fine with the other inhabitants). I have to clean all tanks (3) each week and the pure parrot tank is the dirtiest, but the python cleaner does nicely. They are very comical fish and they have outgrown their fear of human kind. They know when its feed time and have taken to splashing water out of the tank in anticipation of feeding. I would recommend these as a beginner's fish (as I was when I first started raising them).
—Guest fish fish fish

Fishy For First Time

Hi, Although this is my first time getting them, I highly recommend these smiling fish, because they are VERY therapeutic and the fact they ALWAYS SMILE back at you. I am putting them temporarily in a 30gallon tank for now, because of the economy,and its cheaper for our family. I read up online its good for the first couple of years until they will grow and need the 55 gallon tank.. wich is good for me. =P These fish are such an easy care, but cleaning the tank and the upkeep is pretty easy, thats if your the type of person who enjoys cleaning and all that..=)
—Guest Guest Fishy for first timee

I love my blood parrots!

I finally broke down and bought 4 small BP's from Walmart for $8 each. I am a longtime (50+ years) aquarist who has bred many of the popular and not so popular fish. These ad a lot of active, interesting color to a heavily plastic planted 75G . They live well with large silver dollars and angels as well as a 20+ school of Buenos aires tetras. Truly a joy to watch.
—Guest ArtyG

tank full of fry

Just noticed I have a tank full of parrot fish fry. Has anyone out there had any experience with them. Any suggestions as to upkeep of fry would be appreciated..
—Guest katnell

I wouldn't trade mine for the world

My parrot fish big o has a personality and thinks he is human. People come over to see him because they have seen first hand that this fish is different. I would say he is the most intelligent fish ever! About keeping them as pets because they are man made definitely, they have to go somewhere I would not like to think that these very smart fish are being put down because humans decided to experiment.
—Guest BigOmybuddy

Livestock and pets genetically altered

Most of our livestock and cats and dogs have been genetically altered. No one comments on how cruel it is that bulldogs have been physically modified to look a certain way despite that they suffer from many health problems. We accept them because we are used to them and accept their issues if we get one. The same with bp's.
—Guest big mojo

My Experience with BP

My buddy gave me two of his. At first, my response was NO because of all the things I had read on the internet. After telling me he was going to freeze them I immediately changed my mind. At first, they were all I had. After realizing what a fascinating and incredible fish they were, I started making a hobby out of keeping my aquarium. Now, a year and a half later, I still have Athena and Neptune, my two AWESOME blood parrots, plus a whole armada of other cichlids a various fish. Long story short, Blood parrots are good fish, whether or not anyone agrees with the "lab-made" part. If you're unsure whether or not you want to buy, just buy it and worst casae scenario sell it back for more than you bought it for! But be warned if you plan on buying one, they do eat VERY well. Mine can eat almost a whole bag of Hikari Cichlid Gold in a week.
—Guest Cichlid_Bau5

Shouldn't happen

People shouldn't reproduce them. First of all they aren't really a cichlid and second the stupid things kill anything you put in the tank. And third [yes I owned a few and spawned them but they never hatched] they are stupid. When I had mine a few years back it didn't even know how to eat. All it did is fight my convicts until finally the convicts tore the bastards head off and there was peace once again. That is my story in conclusion I would rather own a REAL cichlid than one of these lab made fools. Reason I hate them by the way is they killed over 1000 dollars of my fish until finally I threw a breeding pair of convicts his way and off with his head.
—Guest Dman

Fish love

I got my first parrot fish a month ago been so happy with it watching it do random stuff in it tank I only have one but either way I stool remember the day I went to walmart and saw that fish. I though to myself that if I get it I would wake up every morning with a smile. And you know I do :)
—Guest Maria

Not all bad

While I do not believe in hybridizing rare or endangered species, I can't say I oppose the breeding of blood parrots. The species involved in their production are readily captive bred and common, unlike some others. The blood parrot is pretty docile. That's great, for people who want a big fish with personality but can't afford to dedicate a 75g tank just to one fish. Smaller, younger blood parrots are often very shy and take a while to grow into confidence- and also into their bodies. We have a pair at the shop I work in and they're lovely. Very active, very friendly, and while they aren't often bothered by the peacock cichlids they're kept with, they are capable of biting back. They enjoy crickets but due to the shape of their mouths have a hard time taking them off the surface- so hold them under. They'll eat right out of your hand. For the same reason, sinking food is best. That's the only special care they need, unlike what some people say. They are not heavily deformed.
—Guest H. Jones

As long as they are healthy...

As long as the BPs are healthy and not dyed or mutilated (as is the case with the heart-shaped, tailless ones), I see no problem with blood parrots. There are concerns about their deformities, but I have noticed lately a trend in the fish that Petco has been getting in towards a BP that can close its mouth fully and swims without any hindrance. The one I acquired from them in January 2010 is like this, and I enjoy him all the more because he looks much more like a "normal" fish than the more bulbous-looking, average blood parrot. If this is the result of selective breeding, then I hope it continues. I prefer these less-deformed fish, and I think other aquarists agree. I think anyone could easily fall in love with the blood parrot's personality - I know I have, despite Bubbles' tendency to eat his friends. The longfin danios were great tankmates... until he grew large enough that they could fit in his mouth! Good thing they're cheap, huh?
—Guest Janna

Shirlie Sharpe
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