Blood Parrot Cichlid Size – The Complete Guide

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Creating the perfect environment for your Blood Parrot cichlid requires brainstorming several aspects like tank size, setup, necessary equipment, lighting, temperature, etc. All these will influence your cichlid’s lifestyle dramatically.

Today, we will discuss one aspect in particular that determines how your cichlid’s setup should look like: Blood Parrot’s size.

How big do these fish get, and can you boost their growth in the long run? Let’s have a look!

How Big do Blood Parrot Cichlids Get?

Blood Parrot cichlids will grow up to 8-10 inches in optimal habitat conditions. Some may even grow slightly larger than that, but it’s rather rare.

Knowing that your Blood Parrot cichlid can reach this size will help you determine:

  • The fish’s space requirements – Blood Parrot cichlids require around 30 gallons of water. This is the necessary water volume for one fish only. Every other extra Blood Parrot coming into the mix requires additional 10 gallons, so you better have a large enough aquarium to accommodate all your fish. Overcrowding your Blood Parrots or keeping them in a tight space will awaken their aggressive tendencies.
  • The tank’s layout – Blood Parrots, need a mixed environment, comprising of both rocks, caves, and crevices, and open space for free swimming. They aren’t overly active fish, but they like roaming around their habitat at a moderate pace. Knowing how large your cichlid will get will help you understand which type of decorations to use, their size, and how to create the layout.
  • The ideal tank mates – You can keep one Blood Parrot in a 30-gallon tank and a Blood Parrot pair in 40-50 gallons. This tank volume includes the necessary space for various aquatic decorations. With this data in mind, you can now consider the ideal tank mates based on size.

In reality, maybe your Blood Parrot will only grow up to 5-6 inches. It can happen based on the fish’s diet, environmental conditions, and even its genetic makeup.

But you should be prepared for a larger Blood Parrot; otherwise, you will either have to upgrade your tank along the way or keep the cichlid in an inadequately small setting.

How Fast do Blood Parrot Cichlids Grow?

Unfortunately, there isn’t any official data on this topic. What we do know is that the Blood Parrot’s growth rate varies dramatically based on numerous factors, some of which we’ve already mentioned.

These include diet, water conditions, genes, the impact of various disorders, etc.

But there’s one more aspect that’s worth mentioning here, and that’s the tank’s size. You may have heard that some fish (cough, goldfish, cough) only grow as much as the size of their habitat allows them to.

This is not a myth, and it stays true with Blood Parrots and numerous other fish as well.

Keeping your Blood Parrot in a 20-gallon tank or smaller will keep your cichlid smaller. Some people have had their Blood Parrots live up to 10 years and never grow any larger than 4 inches.

The tank’s size was the clearest indicator of the fish’s mature size.

How to Make Blood Parrot Cichlids Grow Faster?

Your Blood Parrot cichlids will grow larger and faster with proper care and support.

To boost their growth rate, you must:

  • Increase the tank size – The minimum recommended tank size for a Blood Parrot is 30 gallons. But this is only the minimum. Some people have housed their Blood Parrot in a 50 or even 75-gallon tank with some serious swimming space available. The extra volume will always come in handy when looking to provide Blood Parrots with the best lives they can live.
  • Ideal water conditions – Blood Parrots aren’t too pretentious when it comes to water parameters, but they aren’t the hardiest cichlids either. They require temperatures around 75 to 80 F and thrive in stable conditions. I suggest monitoring their habitat’s parameters regularly to make sure ammonia, nitrites, and other dangerous elements remain at 0. Maintenance work is also necessary to keep their habitat clean and healthy. And never skip the water-change day once a week.
  • A nutritious diet – Most aquarists tend to disregard this topic with time and eventually fall back on flakes and pellets. The problem is that cichlids, and Blood Parrot especially, require a diverse and nutritious diet, incorporating several food options. These include plant nutrients and live food like bloodworms, fish meat, or brine shrimp. You can even provide your Blood Parrots with feeder fish, provided they are small enough for the cichlids to eat them. And make sure your Parrots are getting enough carotenoids from their meals to sustain their vibrant coloring.
  • A stress-free setting – Make sure your Blood Parrots live in a stress-free environment. This means eliminating whatever can stress your cichlids, including improper water conditions, inadequate diets, aggressive tank mates, claustrophobic spaces, etc. The calmer and happier your cichlids are, the faster and larger they will grow.
  • Prevent and treat diseases early – Blood Parrots struggle with the same health conditions that plague most tank fish. Your job should be to identify and address these conditions early before they aggravate. Quarantine your cichlid at the first sign of distress, diagnose its condition as best you can, and ensure optimal treatment soon. The fish has the highest chance of recovery in the initial onset of the disease.

These strategies should be enough to optimize your Blood Parrot’s growth rate and boost their lifespan considerably over the years.

When do Blood Parrot Cichlids Reach Full Size?

The timeframe necessary for the Blood Parrot cichlids to reach full size revolves around several years.

As a general reference, expect your Blood Parrot to grow up to 5-6 inches within the first year of life, which is quite a decent growth rate. The problem is that, after the first year, their growth rate will slow down dramatically.

The cichlid will most likely reach its maximum size (8-10 inches) within 6 to 8 years on average. So, the cichlid will pretty much grow at a nearly indistinguishable rate past its first 1-2 years of life.

Why Has Blood Parrot Cichlid Stopped Growing?

There is no such thing as a cichlid, or even a fish, that stops growing. The only 2 exceptions I can think of include the fish reaching its maximum size or experiencing some genetic faults.

Other than that, the cichlid will keep growing, no matter its environmental conditions.

I believe that this question pops up so much because of some misconceptions that people are unaware of. If it looks like your Blood Parrot has stopped growing, that’s exactly what that is – it just looks like it.

The fish hasn’t really stopped growing, it just grows slower for some reason.

Some of the reasons for that include:

  • Aggressive food competition causing some cichlids to eat more and hinder the growth rate of others
  • Fish stress leading to the Blood Parrot eating less
  • Lack of sufficient space which will prevent the Blood Parrot from reaching its optimal size
  • Normal hierarchical dominance, causing low-ranked Blood Parrot males to lag behind in terms of growth rate

So, there’s essentially nothing that will stop your cichlid from growing completely, but there are several things that will delay its growth.

Also, cichlids may undergo some growth spurs occasionally, during which they will grow faster compared to their normal growth rates.


Blood Parrots grow to quite decent sizes, but they will take years to get there.

Fortunately, you can help their growth rate by providing the cichlids with optimal living conditions and a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

Keep them in a clean environment, provide a nutritious diet, and keep them stress-free and happy. Everything else will follow naturally.

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.
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