10 Blood Parrot Cichlid Tank Mates
Disclosure: I may earn a commission when you purchase through my affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. – read more
Blood Parrot cichlids have become increasingly popular over the past several years, although not everybody is on board. Since these cichlids are hybrids resulting from years of selective breeding, their genetic profile isn’t exactly pristine.
So, it’s not uncommon for Blood Parrots to experience health issues due to their inadequate genetic makeup.
That doesn’t stop the love these cichlids are getting, thanks to their unique looks, personality, and behavior.
These cichlids can live alone, in pairs, or even in smaller groups, provided you ensure an optimal tank layout to prevent aggression. But can you pair Blood Parrots with other fish species?
Yes, you can, so long as you remember the golden rule of the fish world: the bigger fish will always eat the smaller one. So, one of the key aspects to remember is the fish’s size.
With that in mind, here are 10 of the most compatible fish species that could coexist with your Blood Parrots:
The Angelfish is a staple species in the aquarium world. This is a South American cichlid that will grow up to 4 inches, which already disqualifies it as potential prey for the Blood Parrot.
Since this is a tropical fish species, expect to ensure comfortable temperatures between 75 to 82 F.
You have plenty of color and pattern varieties to choose from, although all Angelfish will showcase the trademark vertical black bands.
This species requires around 20 gallons for one fish to remain calm, comfortable, and healthy. You only need to add around 10 gallons of space for each Angelfish you throw in.
Medium – Angelfish rank as semi-aggressive. They will mostly keep to themselves but will become violent when overcrowded, in improper water conditions, or when lacking adequate food.
Since this is a cichlid, it’s best to minimize its interactions with the Blood Parrot as much as possible, primarily for territorial concerns.
I recommend decorating the tank with a variety of plants and rocks to provide everyone with plenty of hiding spots.
I already know what you’re thinking. There’s no way I just suggested tetras as a compatible tank mate for the fierce Blood Parrots.
The main concern here is the size difference. Blood Parrots will grow up to 8 inches, whereas tetras won’t go anywhere near this size.
Neon tetras, for instance, will only grow up to 1.5 inches, which disqualifies them as compatible tank mates for your Parrots.
So, how do you solve this problem? I recommend 2 solutions: go for larger tetra species and keep them in larger schools. Tetras display shoaling behavior, and they need to live in larger groups to thrive.
You will probably need around a dozen to ensure their social stability. Staying in a larger group will keep your tetras calm and safe since they can resort to schooling behavior to intimidate potential bullies.
- Some compatible tetra species include:
- Buenos Aires Tetra – 2.8-3 inches
- Blind Cave Mexican Tetra – 3 inches
- Red Blue Colombian Tetra – 2.5-3 inches
- Bucktooth Tetra – 3 inches or more
There are other species to consider, so long as you remember that the size is what matters the most.
Low-Medium – It all depends on which tetra species you’re going for. If the fish are too small and too few, they may fall victim to the Blood Parrot’s killer instincts.
Make sure your tetras are at least 3 inches long and keep them in larger groups to discourage your cichlid’s predatorial tendencies.
And, most importantly, add some rocks and caves to your aquarium for extra hiding spots. Tetras will use them wisely.
3. Zebra Danios
This species fits the same profile as the tetras. These fish are smaller than you may be comfortable with, spanning up to 2-2.5 inches.
However, they might revolve more than 2 inches on average. This could cause problems in a Blood Parrot tank, especially if your cichlid has already grown to impressive proportions.
Fortunately, these fish require to live in larger schools with at least 7-8 members. I recommend a dozen, especially if you have the space for it.
The school’s size will intimidate the Blood Parrot, discouraging any potential predatorial outbursts.
Other than that, zebra danios don’t need any specialized care. Just provide them with warm waters, stable parameters, and a nutritious diet, and they will thrive.
Low-Medium – This is a risky option, given the fish’s small size, but you can make it work. Keep them in a larger school, and they will take care of themselves. However, I recommend monitoring your fish’s interactions regularly to prevent any aggression.
Corydoras will make for one of the better alternatives for your Blood Parrot tank primarily due to their bottom-dwelling behavior.
These are gentle and shy fish that will spend most of their lives near the substrate, hiding behind rocks and inside caves. They will typically avoid all interactions with other fish unless forced by circumstances to greet them.
The main problem here would be that Corydoras vary in size between 1 to 4 inches.
You obviously want larger fish to prevent any unfortunate interactions, so I suggest adding the Corydoras to the tank first and then the Parrots.
This will allow Corydoras to become accustomed to their environment and grow to more decent sizes before the Blood Parrots arrive.
At that point, they will already be large enough for the Parrots not to view them as prey anymore.
Medium-High – This species works great with Blood Parrots. Corydoras will remain camouflaged near the substrate and will occasionally move around in search of food.
Ensure you provide them with some caves, rocks, and tunnels, so they have some safe spaces available if things go south.
5. Bristlenose Pleco
The bristlenose pleco is a popular option for community tanks due to this species’ easy-going personality and lifestyle.
Bristlenose pleco is a bottom-dweller that thrives on algae and other plant-based organic matter. The pleco will rarely interact with other fish species outside of its living area as a cleaning fish.
For this reason, many aquarists have even paired the pleco with aggressive species like African cichlids with great success.
Just make sure you control the number of male plecos since they will grow extremely territorial towards each other.
High – This is definitely the top choice for your Blood Parrots. Bristlenose plecos will spend their lives near the substrate and rarely interact with your cichlids.
Just make sure to provide them with optimal living conditions and some rocks and caves to hide, and they’ll thrive.
Gouramis are another compatible species thanks to their peaceful demeanor and rather impressive sizes. Depending on the species, your Gourami can grow between 3.5 and 25 inches or more.
This is enough to intimidate any cichlid, including the Blood Parrot.
Regarding the environmental setting, provide your Gouramis with stable tropical temperatures, between 72 and 82 F, an omnivorous diet, and enough space to keep them calm and happy.
A Gourami requires at least 10 gallons of water, but this vastly depends on how large it will grow. Larger species may need a 50-70-gallon tank or larger.
Medium – Whether your Gourami will be compatible with your Blood Parrot will depend on several factors. These include the space available, how large the Gourami is, and the species it belongs to.
Gold and Kissing Gouramis, for instance, are more aggressive than other species. On the other hand, Samurai Gouramis will spend most of their time near the substrate and are more timid.
So, choose your species carefully to ensure calmer interactions between the Gourami and your Blood Parrot.
7. Clown Loaches
Clown loaches are pretty much bristlenose plecos on steroids. These are also peaceful fish, displaying bottom-dwelling behavior and living up to 25 years in optimal conditions.
The main difference between clown loaches and plecos is that the former can grow 3 times the size of an adult pleco. So, expect your clown loaches to reach 12 inches with proper care and a nutritious diet.
The only issue you’ll have here is that loaches tend to form social groups. They don’t like living alone.
So, you should have at least 4 clown loaches in your tank, which requires you to upgrade your tank’s size considerably.
Especially since you’ll be having one or more Blood Parrots in the same environment.
Medium-High – The only reason why I can’t rank loaches as ‘high’ is due to their high space requirements.
Clown loaches are schooling fish, so they need to live in groups. A group of 4 8-10-inch fish will take up a lot of space, especially since loaches are pretty active swimmers.
So, prepare to invest in a larger tank if you’ve planned on pairing Blood Parrots and loaches.
8. Ram Cichlids
Ram cichlid, or the German blue ram, is an unconventional cichlid in the sense that it doesn’t display the typical cichlid aggression.
This is a more peaceful species that loves sharing its living space with others of its kind.
It doesn’t mind other fish species either, so long as they’re not aggressive and don’t interfere with them too much.
The only thing to remember is that ram cichlids are rock dwellers for the most part. So, they require a rocky setting with caves and crevices for them to swim under.
This will also help them avoid Blood Parrots if they don’t feel comfortable in their presence.
Medium – You would expect me to rank ram cichlids at Low, especially seeing how these cichlids can only grow up to 3 inches.
Many of them will even remain in the 2-inch area, which already places them in the high-risk category. The reason why I’m not doing that is because of the ram’s spiky fins. These act as deterrent elements against Blood Parrots or any other larger fish that would try to eat the ram.
A good defense mechanism that, along with the ram’s predilection for hiding among rocks, will keep the cichlid safe in any environment.
9. Rainbow Kribs
This is a species of dwarf cichlids that displays bottom and rock-dwelling behavior. The rainbow krib can grow up to 4 inches and will thrive in larger groups and rocky environments.
The rainbow krib (kribensis) also loves to dig itself in the substrate and rest there occasionally, so make sure the aquarium substrate is thick enough.
Fortunately, this is a peaceful species that prefer to avoid conflicts as much as possible.
That being said, it is a cichlid, so kribensis does have a tendency of nipping at other fish’s fins occasionally.
As a major plus, this cichlid is highly adaptable and can thrive even when water conditions are suboptimal. This is the primary reason for its growing popularity over the years.
Medium-High – Kribensis and Blood Parrots should get along just fine, provided you have enough space for all of them.
The only issue I’m seeing here is that kribensis and Parrots all display the same substrate-digging tendency.
This means they could step on each other’s toes once in a while. This shouldn’t be a serious problem, so long as you ensure enough swimming space with larger open areas.
Blood Parrots prefer more open swimming spaces than kribensis, which will remain near the substrate and around rocks more.
Barb fish come in many shapes, sizes, and colors, and many of them make for ideal tank partners for your Blood Parrots.
There are multiple species to choose from, like Denison barbs, gold barbs, tiger barbs, rosy barbs, etc. Some will grow up to 13 inches, while others will remain closer to 3 inches, with many other size differences in between.
These are relatively peaceful fish that require larger tank mates. Otherwise, they might display some predatorial tendencies with dire consequences for the smaller fish.
Blood Parrots are great tank mates, provided both species have sufficient space to roam around.
Medium – They can get along with Blood Parrots just fine, although some minor spicy interactions can occur at times.
This is mostly due to the barbs’ energetic aura, causing the fish to be more boisterous than Blood Parrots would like. It’s okay, Blood Parrots will put them in their place fast.
As you can see, almost no fish species ranks as high in terms of compatibility.
After all, Blood Parrots are cichlids, so it would be unrealistic to expect a serene and 100% peaceful environment, no matter their tank mates.
Your goal should be to provide all fish species with their desired environmental layout and water conditions.
These factors alone will regulate their behavior and dynamics with minimal intervention from your part.