parrot fish care guide

How to Take Care of Parrot Fish? Complete Care Guide

Beginning with some interesting facts about this fish, Parrot Fish has smallmouth and they cannot close it, yeah, their mouths are always slightly open. As their mouth shape is similar to parrots’ mouth that’s why they are named so.

Some Important Facts

Scientific nameNo bionomical name
SizeMore than 8 inches
Tank spaceMin 30 gallons
Diet styleOmnivores
Life span15 years

This is one of the most popular fish around the globe. Parrot Fish belong to cichlids family, they were discovered for the first time around 1980 in Taiwan. Although, their origin is still on the debate but according to most fish experts they belong to redheads and Midas cichlids.

Freshwater Parrot Fish is most commonly confused with seawater parrotfish. The most favorite one specie of Parrot Fish is blood parrot cichlids. They arebeautiful and peaceful creatures. With their mesmerizing beauty, they are hard to resist.

As a member of the cichlid family, they are renowned for their colors and appearance. Adult Parrot Fish can reach a maximum of 8 inches in size and if kept with appropriate care and love, Parrot Fish can survive up to 15 years or more. Parrot Fish is seen in both solid vibrant colors as well as blotches of other colors.

Metallic red, yellow, green white and every other color imaginable. Red, gold and green Severus are most heavily bred. Although, Parrot Fish is one of the hardest one to breed. As non-hybrid males are necessary to reproduce thus obtaining a well-nourished species of Parrot Fish is quite hard.

With proper care and appropriate water conditions available, these fish can flourish and survive a long time and with better health. Let’s get started with care tips regarding Parrot Fish.

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How to Take Care of Your Parrot Fish?

Basically, start with developing a proper tank and by achieving ideal water conditions.

Tank Size for parrot fish

A large swimming space is necessary for their healthy survival. A 30 gallons tank is a lot of space for hiding, playing, digging and enjoying. If you intend on adding another Parrot Fish in aquarium increase the tank space to minimum 10 gallons more.

The more the living space, the better it is.

Parrot Fish Tank

Begin with setting up a tank with lots of space to swim together with spaces to hide as well. As the Parrot Fish loves to play around so some spaces to hide are as well needed. Try fitting some rocks and caves too.

Fresh plants are an awesome addition to your fish aquarium. Java moss, Anubis and many other varieties are best for your Parrot Fish. These plants are the best place to hide for them as well as they provide your fish with appropriate oxygen concentration.

Choosing a proper substrate is the ultimate choice to make. As per my recommendation, a sandy substrate is suitable. A sand-based aquarium is essential for their digging and scratching activities.

Tank Water Parameters

Water temperature75-2-degree Fahrenheit
Oxygen levelsHigh
Water hardness2-25 dGH

Establishing ideal water conditions is necessary as well as problematic. A higher concentration of oxygen can be provided by live plants. Algae, mosses and ferns are good options for meeting your oxygen needs.

Moreover, the perfect temperature of the water is essential, for this purpose an efficient water heater is required. Try using a heater guard as well, because parrots love to move around so they may get injured.  A lower temperature has a negative effect on the immune system of your fish. This ultimately leads to poor growth and susceptibility to diseases.

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Use ph meters to detect any change in water ph. Neutral water is a basic requirement, changes in water pH can affect your fish’s health in a negative sense.

Blood Parrot origin and Care guide

Condition the Tank

Effective conditioning is the key to healthy living. Try conditioning the water at least two weeks before adding the tank. Try cleaning the tank once in a week and use water testing kits every week.

Filtration System

Using an efficient filtration system is an utmost necessity. As these fish are fond of eating thus more the nitrogenous waste it is. In order to clear the tank of these harmful waste use an effective water filtration system.

Removing almost 25-35% of the water every week and using a good filtration system is imperative. A high-power water pump is a valuable addition to your tank. Water currents help the fish in gliding and swimming well. Furthermore, they are contributing factors to the rapid growth of your fish.


Although, Parrot Fish is remarkably hardy so they are slightly prone to diseases. A healthy diet and appropriate water conditions are favorable for their survival.

Here is a list of diseases that the Parrot Fish are prone to.

  • Itch Disease
  • Swim bladder

Stress is the main factor contributing to the sickness of your fish. Mal-nourished fish is more prone to infection and diseases.

Itch Disease

The most common disease that Parrot Fish encounters. Itch Disease or white spot disease is quite common in which white spots of 1mm or more is seen. The spots gradually grow and become blisters and then lesions are formed.

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In order to recover your fish from these itchy spots increase the water temperature to almost 80 degrees. Furthermore, add a teaspoon of salt at a rate of every 2 gallons. Add your fish in and water. Separate the fish from the rest of the tank mates. If the fish does not recover within 24-48 hours then sought a doctor for proper medications.

Swim Bladder Disease in parrot fish

Cichlids usually face swim bladder disease due to over-feeding. There is a gas-filled organ that is responsible for buoyancy. If the fish undergoes over-eating their bladder gets filled up and the fish starts to float on the surface of the water.

Such a condition can make it difficult for the fish to respirate and digest anything. A fish suffering from swim bladder disease can hardly survive a day or two.


To relieve your fish from such fatal conditions stop feeding the fish immediately for a minimum of 3 days and start by giving homemade food and avoid processed food. After one or two days feed them with nutritious frozen or dried food.

One of my recommendations will be to separate the fish in a smaller tank and avoid using a water pump to lower the water currents. Moreover, slightly massage your fish but try to scare your fish. Massage after every 30 minutes.


Despite being hardy and good survivors parrot cichlids can still encounter many diseases. Thus, appropriate care and treatment in case of the disease are essential.

I hope I helped in guiding you regarding your favourite Parrot Fish care. In case of something serious approach a veterinary doctor for best results.

Click here to learn more about other fish and their care guides here.

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