Blood Parrot Cichlid Tank Size

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You must consider several aspects when it comes to accommodating your first Blood Parrot(s). The first and most important one is the tank’s size and shape.

The tank should be obviously large enough to keep the cichlid calm and happy and should also have the right shape.

Vertical aquariums, for instance, aren’t fit for Blood Parrots or other cichlids, since they prefer horizontal space and aren’t really concerned about reaching the water’s surface.

But it’s the tank’s size that makes all the difference. That’s because it doesn’t matter what diet you’re Blood Parrots are getting or how nice their habitat is.

If they don’t have enough space, they will stress out and live miserable lives because of it.

So, let’s see what Blood Parrots prefer in terms of tank size and water volume.

Minimum Tank Size for Blood Parrot Cichlids

The absolute bare minimum tank size for Blood Parrots would be 30 gallons. This is enough for one adult cichlid, measuring around 6-8-10 inches. However, I would recommend more than that.

Most experienced aquarists keep solo Blood Parrots in 50 or even 75-gallon aquariums for reasons like:

  • It offers more space for aquascaping – Aquascaping is an important aspect of preparing your cichlid’s setting. These fish rely on a mixed layout in their everyday lives, consisting of both rocks and large, open swimming spaces. So, having enough tank space to throw in some water decorations and create caves and bridges is essential. A 30-gallon tank doesn’t seem to cover it.
  • Keeps the cichlid busy – As pure-blood cichlids, Blood Parrots like to roam their environment and secure their territory. The more space they have, the busier they will be. And a busy cichlid is always a happy and calm one.
  • Offers upgrading potential – If you plan to upgrade your cichlid tank to a community setup, later on, starting off with a larger aquarium will surely help. Always plan ahead when it comes to cichlids, that’s what I always say.

As you can see, it never hurts to invest in a slightly larger-than-necessary aquarium, since you never know when it might come in handy. If you can’t afford it, 30 gallons should be fine.

Ideal Tank Size for Blood Parrot Cichlids

While there are several differing opinions on this topic, I would say that 50 gallons are ideal for one Blood Parrot cichlid.

You can then add 10 extra gallons for every other Blood Parrot coming into the habitat.

This is enough to accommodate a fully-grown Blood Parrot, especially a male, which tends to be more territorial overall.

Obviously, this is just another opinion, so feel free to experiment with different tank sizes to see what fits your Blood Parrot the best.

Why is Tank Size Important for Parrot Cichlids?

I would say there are 3 overarching principles that explain why Blood Parrots require a specific tank size:

  1. Logistics reasons – You can’t house Blood Parrots, or any other cichlids, in a barebones tank. You need to throw in some rocks, driftwood, tank equipment, and even plants, as well. All these elements are necessary to craft a stable, healthy, and optimized environment for your cichlids. This means you need more space to fit everything in without overcrowding the tank. Remember, Blood Parrots still need a lot of open space, since they are rather active swimmers, although not as flashy and energetic as other fish.
  2. Influence their size and growth rate – The larger the swimming space is, the faster and larger the cichlid will grow. Blood Parrots require adequate space to support their growth rate, otherwise, they will lag behind. They will grow slower and even remain smaller than their counterparts living in larger habitats.
  3. Support their territorial behaviorBlood Parrot males are territorial and will use their habitat’s landscape to determine their territory’s boundaries. Cichlids will typically use rocky reference points to determine where their territory begins and where it ends. So, you need to have a robust rocky structure for your cichlids to make sense of their environment.

In short, Blood Parrots require more space than other tank fish, so don’t fear providing your cichlids with more space than necessary. They will make use of it wisely.

Problems with Small Tank for Parrot Cichlid

You can try to fit your Parrot cichlid in a small tank, and many have, but you should also prepare to experience the consequences.

There are notable risks and problems with keeping Blood Parrot cichlids in a small environment, mainly:

  • Shorter lifespan due to health issues – Blood Parrots won’t develop properly when crowded into a tiny space. They might develop stunted growth, poor muscle development, and even heart conditions. These problems will hinder their quality of life and even lead to a shorter lifespan.
  • Higher territorial aggression – Blood Parrots are cichlids, so it’s normal for them to display territorial aggression. If you’re housing them in a small tank along with other fish, expect an increase in territorial aggression. All fish will be affected, but Blood Parrots especially since their territorial senses are generally higher than other species’. Territorial fights can have deadly consequences, either directly due to brutal fights or in time as a result of cumulative stress.
  • Degrading water quality – Water quality degrades with time in any fish tank, no matter how optimized the environment. The problem appears when the water quality degrades too fast, too brutally. This tends to happen in low tanks housing either too many fish to ones that are too large for that tiny habitat. Provide your Blood Parrots with sufficient space to avoid this problem and keep their aquarium clearer and healthier.
  • Increased overall stress – Your Blood Parrots will simply become more stressed in their claustrophobic space. They won’t have enough water volume to swim freely and will constantly bump into the tank’s walls, decorations, and other fish. With time, fish stress leads to weaker immune systems, sabotaging your cichlids’ natural defense against parasites, bacteria, and diseases.

As you can see, there are layers to the dangers and risks associated with improperly-sized fish tanks.

How Many Blood Parrots Can You Have in a Tank?

If you plan on setting up a Blood Parrot tank, here are some general space requirements you might consider:

Tank Size Number of Blood Parrots
30 gallons 1 – No more than 1 Blood Parrot. Anything more than that is asking for trouble for all the reasons we’ve already mentioned.
40 gallons 2 – No more than 2 Blood Parrots. As a golden rule, the first cichlid requires 30 gallons. Any additional Blood Parrot requires a tank size increase by up to 10 gallons.
55 gallons 3 – This makes for more than a 10-gallon boost, but it doesn’t really matter. The extra 5 gallons should rather go into extra swimming space than an additional Blood Parrot. There simply isn’t enough room for 4 cichlids in a 55-gallon aquarium.
65 gallons 4 – The 10-gallon rule stays in effect.
75 gallons 5 – Same here. However, at this point, your cichlids’ dynamics also come into play. If your cichlids display repeated aggression, you might want to either cut their number back to 4 or increase the tank’s size even more.
90 gallons 6 – Past this point, your cichlids’ hierarchical structure will become even more visible. The males will compete for food, space, and females which can lead to tension at times. Make sure your Blood Parrots have sufficient space to lower their aggression.
125 gallons Up to 8-9 – Don’t cram more than 9 Blood Parrots into a tank this size. You might have to stick to 8, however, despite the tank being fairly spacious. The reason for that is their territorial behavior. Try to limit the number of Blood Parrot males to 2-3 for a 125-gallon tank. This should be enough to satisfy their territorial needs.
150 gallons Up to 10 – No more than 10 for all the reasons we mentioned at the previous point.
180 gallons 12-14 – I would consider 12 to be the minimum accepted and 14 the maximum. Of course, this depends on the cichlid’s size, overall behavior, and environmental preferences. With a community of 12 to 14 Blood Parrots, you will want to monitor their social dynamics regularly. Fights are bound to happen, since these are cichlids, after all.

Keep in mind that this table isn’t the golden standard. It’s more of a general overview of the recommended setups that you should adapt to your unique situation.


Blood Parrot cichlids require adequate space to remain healthy and grow at normal rates.

Follow my guide, test the waters yourself, and provide your Blood Parrot with the optimal tank size that meets their requirements.

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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