Can Blood Parrot Cichlid Live Alone?
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Blood Parrots are popular among aquarists for multiple reasons, including hardiness, exquisite look, and cichlid-specific temperament, but that’s not all.
Blood Parrots are also incredibly versatile in terms of tank mates which you don’t see that often among cichlids.
If you’ve decided to invest in a Blood Parrot, but cannot afford a large tank, the question will present itself immediately – Can Blood Parrot cichlids live alone?
The answer is yes, these cichlids can live alone, provided you take several things into account. We’ll discuss these in detail in the following section.
Do Blood Parrot Cichlids Get Lonely?
If Blood Parrot cichlids get lonely, we have no way of telling it. Or do we? You may sometimes notice that your cichlid displays low levels of energy as if it looks bored or lethargic.
This generally happens due to poor water conditions, improper diet, parasites, or stress related to aggressive tank mates. But what if there’s no indication that any of these factors are to blame?
At that point, you could conclude that your Blood Parrot is feeling lonely and bored. The problem with fish getting lonely is that they become stressed, and their immune system will drop.
This will make them vulnerable to parasites, bacteria, and other pathogens swimming in their tank water.
To prevent such a situation, I recommend 2 primary strategies:
- Ensure optimal tank space – An adult Blood Parrot requires a minimum of 30 gallons to feel comfortable and happy. However, you will probably need more space to accommodate various tank decorations, plants, and tank equipment on top of everything. Knowing that Blood Parrots can live up to 15 years with proper care, I recommend investing in a 50-gallon aquarium. This will provide your cichlid with enough space to keep it active and entertained, as Blood Parrots enjoy patrolling their territory constantly.
- Create a diverse tank layout – Cichlids cannot live in a barebones tank. Sure, they can survive in one, but they can’t live properly or enjoy their time in one. That’s because cichlids, which includes Blood Parrots, prefer mixed environments. Your Blood Parrot needs a rocky substrate with various caves and hiding spots and even some driftwood thrown into the mix. But it will also need large and open swimming areas since the cichlid likes to remain active throughout the day.
These 2 strategies are enough to keep your cichlid busy and entertained since the Blood Parrot will have a diverse habitat layout to investigate and patrol.
As you can see, you will probably need a 50-gallon tank to achieve all this.
But take my advice with a grain of salt. You can make a 30-gallon setup work as well with a bit of ingenuity and commitment.
Do Blood Parrot Need Tank Mates?
Blood Parrots don’t need tank mates so long as they have the ideal living conditions. That being said, it won’t hurt to throw in 1 or 2 tank mates, provided you choose the species wisely.
Fortunately, Blood Parrots are generally peaceful and calm cichlids and prefer like-minded tank companions.
The ideal tank mate for Blood Parrots should be peaceful, not overly territorial, and preferably keep to itself as much as possible.
We will discuss the potential tank mates for your Blood Parrot a bit later on.
Should Blood Parrots Be Kept in Pairs?
You don’t need to keep Blood Parrots in pairs, but you can if you want to.
If you’ve decided that 2 Blood Parrots look better than 1, consider the following:
- Upgrade the tank – One Blood Parrot requires 30 gallons of water volume. Two Blood Parrots require at least 40. Don’t get cheap with the tank size since your Blood Parrots hate being overcrowded. Stuffing them in a small space will cause them to become aggressive and begin fighting among one another.
- Don’t keep 2 males – Blood Parrot males are territorial creatures, and 40 gallons won’t suffice for both of them. If you insist of keeping 2 males in the same tank, you probably need more than 40 gallons to accommodate both of them. The way I see it, the investment is simply not worth it because the males will remain aggressive towards one another anyway. It’s just that they will have a lot more space available to run from each other.
- Don’t expect fry – If the reason why you’re getting a Blood Parrot pair is for them to reproduce, I have some unfortunate news for you. Blood Parrot males are generally sterile. This is due to them being relatively recent hybrids, resulting from selective breeding that has caused some genetic issues among Parrot males. Most won’t be able to breed because of that. Females, on the other hand, display no such problems. In fact, it’s common for aquarists to have Blood Parrot females breed with other cichlids to produce different hybrids.
Regarding the latter point, you might want to avoid breeding your Blood Parrots even with other cichlids.
The fry are at high risk of experiencing genetic faults that will either kill them or make their lives miserable.
Aside from that, keeping Blood Parrots in pairs (male and female) is a good idea, so long as you have the space and setup for it.
The cichlids will feel more comfortable knowing they have someone else to interact with.
What Fish Can Live with Blood Parrots?
If you can and want to bring in some tank mates for your Blood Parrot, there are certain characteristics and aspects to consider.
When choosing the ideal tank mates for your Blood Parrots, make sure the fish:
- Match Blood Parrots in size – They don’t need to be the exact size as the Blood Parrots. But they shouldn’t be too small either. The ideal tank mates should be at least 2.5-3 inches in size. Any smaller than that will paint a target on their back since Blood Parrots are known to hunt and eat small fish. Fortunately, a 3-inch fish is safe since Blood Parrots have small mouths and won’t be able to eat them.
- Display a calm demeanor – You’re looking for peaceful and friendly fish species. Aggressive, territorial, or even overly energetic and curious fish species make for poor choices since they will stress out your Blood Parrots. You’re ideally looking for shoaling or schooling species that won’t mind the Blood Parrot’s presence and don’t care enough to bother the cichlid with their inquisitive nature.
- Prefer a different living area – You want a fish species that doesn’t share the same living space as the Blood Parrot. I know this may sound like an impossible task, given that both species live in the same aquarium, but hear me out. You want a fish species with different preferences in terms of swimming space. Look for bottom-dwelling species since Blood Parrots won’t spend much time near the substrate. Or choose a mid-to-top dweller for the same reasons.
With these factors in mind, some compatible fish species that can coexist with your Blood Parrots in peace include:
- Danios (preferably larger species)
- Bristlenose Plecos
- Larger tetras
- Swordtails, etc.
Feel free to test the waters and experiment with different fish species, provided you keep my recommendations in mind.
If you notice any excessive aggression either from Blood Parrots or their tank mates, consider intervening before the situation aggravates.
Can Parrot Cichlids Live in Community Tank?
Yes, Blood Parrot cichlids can live in a community tank. That being said, the situation is more volatile than this simple sentence makes it out to be.
Blood Parrots aren’t really born to live in a community setup, so you’ll need to undergo some preparation to accommodate them.
Some of the logistics points to cover include:
- Increasing the tank’s size – With one Blood Parrot-only requiring around 30 gallons or more, you’ll need some serious brainstorming to accommodate all fish species in the same tank. Do some math and make sure there’s enough room for everyone. The available space should accommodate all fish species, the tank equipment, and any decorations necessary to ensure hiding spots and recreational areas.
- Consider compatible fish species – Make sure that the Blood Parrot’s tank mates are not aggressive, too small, or too curious to annoy the cichlids. Otherwise, Blood Parrots can become aggressive or stressed, looking to go into hiding.
- Enough hiding areas – Set up an adequate rocky system to keep your cichlids feel at home. Blood Parrots prefer having some caves or crevices to explore occasionally, and these will also turn into safe spaces in case they feel stressed for whatever reason. Plants are also a good option, provided you find some plant species that can withstand cichlids’ aggression.
You should also make sure all fish species share similar water and tank requirements. And that their feeding habits are somewhat different.
For instance, surface feeding fish work great with Blood Parrots since the latter almost never feed to the water’s surface.
Blood Parrots do well solo, in pairs, and even in community setups. It all comes down to providing your cichlids with the ideal environmental setup and some compatible tank mates.
As a pro tip, watch your fish’s social dynamics regularly. If you notice your Blood Parrots displaying repeated aggression, you might want to intervene to prevent the situation from escalating.
In such a situation, you can:
- Increase the tank’s size, even more, to provide the fish with more space
- Increase the number of hiding areas and rely on aquarium plants to break the line of sight between the fish
Consider removing the aggressor(s) if nothing else works.