Blood Parrot Cichlid Lifespan
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Blood Parrots can live exceptionally long lives, considering their background. These cichlids are hybrids which means they are the result of the selective breeding process.
As is natural with fish hybrids, Blood Parrots have inherited some genetic faults that prevent them from adapting to life in the wild.
Their mouths are the perfect example. The Blood Parrot’s mouth never closes, remaining in a constant O shape.
Aside from being funny-looking, the cichlid’s mouth is also too small for the fish’s size (8-10 inches), preventing the cichlid from feeding properly.
That aside, Blood Parrots also have unusually-shaped heads with bulky eyes and thick bodies.
Unlike other cichlids, their dorsal and anal fins are also somewhat weirdly shaped and placed, preventing the Parrot from becoming an adept swimmer.
All these aside, Blood Parrots can live quite long lives, depending on the level of care and nutrition they’re getting.
Let’s dive deeper into the subject!
How Long do Blood Parrot Cichlids Live?
Blood Parrot cichlids live around 10 to 15 years, depending on a variety of factors. These include diet, water parameters, overall care, proper swimming space, stress-free environment, etc.
Although they are quite resilient and adaptable, Blood Parrots still need a stable and clean habitat to thrive.
One of the key factors influencing their well-being is the timely treatment in case of parasites or diseases. Blood Parrots don’t show any genetic predisposition toward specific disorders despite being hybrids.
Instead, they will fall victim to the same health problems that plague most aquarium fish. The most notorious ones include Ich, swim bladder disease, bacterial infections, and a variety of internal and external parasitic infestations.
It turns out that if Blood Parrots are to die before their time, that’s always due to untreated conditions that aggravate past the point-of-no-return.
This is a generalized issue among tank fish since many disorders will aggravate fast and won’t display any symptoms in the initial phases.
Combine this with people not taking their fish’s symptoms seriously enough, and you can see where the problem lies.
We will discuss this noteworthy aspect in the following section.
How to Make Blood Parrots Live Longer?
Everybody wants their fish to live long and healthy lives. But merely wanting that for them isn’t enough. You also need to learn how to make that happen.
To increase your Blood Parrot’s lifespan, you need to consider the following steps:
Feed Quality Food
This could seem like a no-brainer, but the concept is more complex than you’d think.
It’s not enough to feed your Blood Parrot a varied diet, as there are other aspects to consider along the way, such as:
- Properly-sized chunks – Blood Parrots have small mouths, so they can’t eat larger chunks. If the pellets or flakes are too big, your cichlid will either avoid them, poke at them for a bit, or even spit them out. This can make you think there’s something wrong with your fish when, in fact, the food is too big for them. If your cichlid looks like it cannot eat the flakes, break them down into smaller pieces.
- Expired or improper food – If the food is expired or contains ingredients that your cichlid doesn’t like, it will reject it. Always check the product’s label for the expiry date and ingredients. Avoid too many artificial colorants or unusual flavors that your cichlid might not appreciate.
- Contaminated food – Many aquarists feed their cichlids some wild-sourced live food, thinking that natural must equal healthy. However, this is rarely the case. In reality, shrimp, fish, or worms caught in the wild have a high chance of containing parasites and bacteria that could kill your cichlid. They may also contain environmental chemicals resulting from the pollution that doesn’t affect them directly but will affect your Blood Parrot.
To prevent all these issues, I recommend:
- Feeding your Blood Parrot a varied, omnivorous diet with rich protein treats 2-3 times per week
- Breaking up the food for them to make sure they can eat it
- Getting your live food from trustworthy sources or growing it yourself in specialized breeding tanks
- Check the products’ labels and only feed your cichlids nutritious, premium food that’s healthy, nutritious, and palatable
Right Tank Size
One Blood Parrot requires around 30 gallons of water to feel safe and comfortable. This amount of space should also account for the decorative elements necessary for any Blood Parrot setting.
These include driftwood, rocks, and even plants if you’re feeling courageous enough. Remember, cichlids are notorious for unearthing and eating live aquarium plants.
Make sure to choose plant species that can withstand the cichlids’ attack and are generally unpalatable.
If you wish to own more than one Blood Parrot in the same tank, you should add 10 extra gallons for each new cichlid coming into the picture.
The same goes if you’re creating a community setting with several different fish species. Your tank’s size should reflect the needs of all species, including the necessary tank equipment.
Keeping your Blood Parrots in a small environment will stress them out unnecessarily, causing them to experience weaker immune systems.
And we all know where this will lead in time. It’s not worth gambling with their health if your goal is to increase their lifespan and overall quality of life.
Right Water Parameters
Blood Parrots aren’t too demanding in terms of water parameters. Their ideal temperature revolves around 75 to 80 F with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5.
This is pretty much standard for tropical fish and cichlids in general.
The main issue here is that Blood Parrots are quite sensitive to drastic or abrupt fluctuations in their water parameters.
Ammonia and nitrites should remain at 0, and water parameters need to stay stable with minimum fluctuations.
To protect your cichlid from unexpected or even deadly changes in their water parameters, consider the following:
- Watch out for chlorine – Many people perform water changes or clean their tank equipment with tap water. The issue is that tap water contains chlorine which can kill your fish. Even smaller concentrations will cause health problems for your cichlids. Either use a dechlorinator to eliminate the substance from the water or boil it before use. You can also avoid tap water altogether and use RO/DI water or other safer options.
- Avoid artificially-colored decorations – Some tank decorations are colored to make them more appealing and exotic. The problem is that most colorants contain toxic components that can dissolve into the tank’s water. You would be amazed how many aquarists, especially beginners, poison their fish because of this.
- Perform regular tank cleaning – Don’t rely on your filter to do all the work. A cichlid tank requires regular cleaning to prevent parameter fluctuations. This includes vacuuming the substrate, removing algae deposits, and cleaning the filter whenever necessary. The frequency of the maintenance work depends based on how many Blood Parrots you have and how messy they are.
These 3 strategies should keep your Blood Parrots’ habitat fairly clean and healthy in the long run.
You should also consider weekly partial water changes, especially if you have several fish sharing the same space.
As a side note, don’t overclean the filter. I know this is a no-brainer for more experienced aquarists, but overcleaning the filter will kill the biofilm inhabiting it.
This will cause ammonia and nitrites to spike, potentially poisoning the fish.
Blood Parrots aren’t aggressive fish. They will become violent at times, since they’re cichlids after all, but will remain calm and easy-going provided you do your job.
- Ensuring optimal tank size – Provide your Blood Parrots with sufficient space to swim freely in their environment. This will keep them happy and calm in the long run.
- Avoid territorial tank mates – Excessively aggressive or territorial tank mates will stress your cichlids and bring out the worst in them. Blood Parrots are more aggressive when paired with aggressive fish than calmer and friendlier ones. Just make sure they’re large enough (above 3 inches preferably) so that your Blood Parrots won’t see them as food.
- Decorate the tank properly – Blood Parrots require both rocky hiding spots and large open spaces to swim freely. So long as they have sufficient swimming space, they will remain healthy and calm in the long run.
- Embrace an adequate feeding routine – Blood Parrots require a balanced diet and a feeding schedule based on their developmental phase. Adult cichlids will probably need to eat 2-3 times per day and have small portions that they can consume within several minutes. They may get aggressive if they’re hungry, causing their predatorial instincts to resurface.
- Keep water parameters stable – We’ve already discussed this aspect in a previous section. If water parameters are improper or they fluctuate too much, your cichlid may become stressed or even aggressive.
These measures should be enough to prevent your Blood Parrots from acting naught towards you or their tank companions.
If your Blood Parrot is excessively aggressive without any visible reason and you can’t mitigate its behavior, you might want to remove it from the tank.
However, these cichlids are almost always well-behaved, so it’s unlikely that you will ever have this issue.
Blood Parrots aren’t particularly vulnerable to any specific conditions. It’s the same old fish diseases that you should be worried about like Ich, various parasitic infections, swim bladder syndrome, skin parasites, etc.
The problem is that many of these disorders are fairly innocuous, so they won’t display any meaningful symptoms in the early phases.
That being said, you can detect them in time if you know what you’re looking for.
The most common signs that your cichlid may be struggling with a health issue include:
- Resting near the substrate or staying in hiding for extended periods of time
- Displaying an unusually low appetite
- Having an inflated belly that’s unrelated to pregnancy
- Experiencing buoyancy issues, causing the cichlid to turn upside down or float on its side
- Displaying color changes
- Showcasing skin rashes or lesions, etc.
If your Blood Parrot shows any of these signs, you need to act fast. I recommend quarantining the fish into a hospital tank and addressing the problem according to its profile.
Each disorder requires a specific approach, although the essentials remain the same:
- Keep the cichlid’s water in optimal conditions
- Ensure a healthy and nutritious diet
- Remove fish waste and excess food residues immediately from the tank
- Use medication and antibiotics to eliminate bacteria and fight off external parasites
- Use tank salt and water conditioner to stimulate the fish’s healing mechanism and eradicate dangerous pathogens
If you don’t know how to tackle your cichlid’s condition, you should consult with your vet. In severe cases where your Blood Parrot doesn’t seem to recover, euthanasia may be necessary.
Blood Parrots can live long and healthy lives given proper care, love, and adequate maintenance.
Provide them with all these things, and Mother Nature will do the rest.