Parrot fish scientific name is hoplarchus psittacus, which is also the scientific name for the parrot cichlid. However, these are green colored patterned saltwater fish that are found in relatively shallow tropical and subtropical oceans of the Indo-Pacific regions. These fish can be kept in big reef aquariums. So, it is important that you don't confuse these ocean water fish with the red parrot fish which are maintained in tanks as pets.
The blood-red parrot are believed to be a crossbreed between the male midas cichlid and a female red-head cichlid. One can distinguish the blood-red parrot fish easily, due to its unique characteristics. The characteristic features of a red parrot are its beak, head, mouth, round body and large eyes. The mouth of this fish always stays open, and its teeth are far down the throat, so even if they keep bumping into each other they can't bite each other. Also, they are no match to other aggressive fish due to this deformity which was produced due to their breeding.
Freshwater Parrot Fish Care
Many expert hobbyists discourage having these fish as pets, and many pet stores refuse to sell these fish. So, it is discouraged from having these fish as pets, because they have deformed mouths and sometimes stunted growth too. If you are thinking of setting up a new tank consider other beautiful tropical fish instead of blood-red parrots. However, if you have already made up your mind then here important care instructions for these fish.
Tank Set-up & Maintenance
The size of an adult fish can be 10 inches, but on an average the size of male fish is 8 inches, and females 6-7 inches. You need to set-up a tank, keeping in mind the size of the fish, so that you can provide ample hiding space for these fish like clay pots or caves. To complete the set up add rocks and driftwood, to offer more hiding spaces for these fish.
The water temperature of the tank should be maintained between 76-80° F. The pH level of the water should be between 6.5 to 7.4. You can add smooth small-sized gravel or sand at the bottom of the tank. Also, you need to install a good aquarium filter. These fish are quite easy to take care of, and being hardy fish they don't need much attention, but one has to provide them with a tank environment where they can swim around easily.
To keep your fish happy, you can provide them with tank mates, which they can play with. The compatible fish with parrot fish are giant danios, cory cats, plecos, kribs and severums. Try to provide fish which do not have aggressive behavior, as a possibility of spawn between these two species of fish can occur.
You can feed your parrot aquarium fish a variety of food, which can include brine shrimp and blood worms. Apart from these two, you can also feed them a good quality pellet food, and quality flake food. To maintain their vibrant color you can also feed them foods containing b-carotene. You might experience some difficulty while feeding these fish, as many blood-red parrots have deformed mouths. They tend to use their throat muscles to crush their food. So, you can buy special food for them which are easy to eat and digest.
Though these fish mate and sometimes one can see the fish's eggs being laid, these fish are generally infertile. Most eggs of this fish are infertile, unless they are paired with a hybrid fish.
These fish can have deformed swim bladder and deformed irises. Hence, they might display an unusual swim pattern. The swim bladder disorder might also occur due to a poor diet. Another problem with these fish is the black spot disease, which is caused due to stress. You need to also look out for ick, white spots infection. If you observe these health problems then contact a fish vet immediately.
It is important that you buy healthy blood-red parrot fish. These fish are not found in sea, because they are a result of captivity. Hence, their body structure is not as great as compared to many other pet fish. So, buy blood-red parrots which are healthy and do not look stunted.