Max Size: 20cm

Parrot Cichlid (Amphilophus citrinellus × Heros Severus)

Parrot Cichlids are beautiful, though debatable, freshwater fish. You cannot find these fish in the wild as they are a hybrid fish species that someone first created in Taiwan in 1986. The specific species used to create the Blood Parrot Cichlid are unknown. However, many think that the Midas Cichlid and the Redhead Cichlid are the parent species.

Parrot Cichlids are not recommended for beginner aquarists, more so for aquarists with an intermediate level of experience. The reason for this is the fact that they have some unique requirements you shall need to follow if you want to keep them healthy and allow them to thrive.

Parrot Cichlids are not very demanding regarding the environment and water conditions, and with the correct knowledge, you will be able to help your Parrot Cichlids reach their full potential. These fish are relatively active and will need plenty of swimming space.

Parrot Cichlids are a semi-aggressive species that can act out and display aggressive behaviours. However, this only occurs when the fish are around other aggressive fish; other than that, they are generally relatively peaceful. Unfortunately, if you keep these fish in an overcrowded tank, they’ll tend to be a bit more territorial too.

Parrot Cichlids do well in groups and will often exhibit schooling behaviour. When kept in groups, these fish tend to be less affected by stress and more confident. Parrot Cichlids make excellent community fish. However, it would be better to avoid any tank mates that are small enough to be mistaken for food. Some suitable tankmates for these fish are loaches, larger Tetras, Gouramis, Plecos, Bala Sharks, larger Barbs, and other Cichlids.

Parrot Cichlids are a hybrid species; therefore, it shouldn’t surprise you that these fish have several genetic deformities. That said, these deformities do not take anything away from their beauty.

Parrot Cichlids have large, round bodies with prominent nuchal humps, compressed vertebrae and small round heads. Their eyes are large and vividly coloured, and their mouths are pretty interesting as they are very small and open vertically. Most aquarists compare the motions and shape of the mouth to that of a bird’s beak. However, this unique mouth shape does come with some downsides. For example, most of these fish cannot close their mouths. Fortunately, these fish have teeth deep in their throats to take care of the food they consume.

Parrot Cichlids are some of the most vibrantly coloured fish in the hobby when it comes to colour. A majority of these fish are solid orange. However, yellow, red or grey fish are colours you’ll see as well. You may come across some multi-coloured fish, too. These individuals typically have patches of white or yellow accompanying an orange base colour.

Parrot Cichlids are intelligent, curious fish that, over time, can become tame and recognise their owner in the same endearing way that Oscars and some other species do.

Quick Facts
Scientific NameAmphilophus citrinellus × Heros Severus
Other NamesBlood Parrot Cichlid, Red Parrot Cichlid, Purple Parrot Cichlid
Aquarium LevelMiddle
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan10 - 15 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.5 - 7.5
GH6 - 18
76 - 80℉
24.4 - 26.7℃


Parrot Cichlid
Parrot Cichlid
Parrot Cichlid
Parrot Cichlid
Parrot Cichlid
Parrot Cichlid
Parrot Cichlid
Parrot Cichlid
Parrot Cichlid
Parrot Cichlid
Parrot Cichlid

Natural Habitat

Parrot Cichlids do not have a natural habitat as they are artificial hybrids. However, its Parents are believed to be South American Cichlids.


It would be best if you offered your Parrot Cichlids a variety of dried foods, including granules and flakes, as well as a specifically formulated pellet for Parrot Cichlids alongside vegetable matter and frozen or live foods. These can include Mysis shrimp, chopped krill, vitamin-enriched brine shrimp, mosquito larvae and suchlike. However, you must carefully observe your fish at feeding times to ensure that they are not being out-competed for food by faster fish. Foods rich in carotenoids will also be helpful to your fish as it maintains their bright colours.

Sexual Dimorphism

It is somewhat challenging to differentiate male from female Parrot Cichlids; however, males are usually slightly larger than females. Therefore, in addition to being shorter, the females will also have a more rounded and plump body than the males.


Breeding Parrot Cichlids in captivity is very rare. While females can lay eggs, they’re usually not fertilised by males. That is because most male Parrot Cichlids are infertile. However, fish farms and some breeders have begun introducing male Parrot Cichlids injected with hormones to increase fertility.

If you are fortunate enough to have a healthy pair of these Cichlids, the female will usually lay the eggs on a smooth, hard surface, such as a flat rock, but sometimes they may lay in a cave or on the aquarium glass, which they clean before they lay the eggs. Both parents will then guard the eggs fiercely unless the brood develops a fungus. If this happens, the eggs will be consumed by the parents or other fish.

Should they hatch, the fry will stick close to the parents, who will guard them until they reach about 2.5cm in length.

Female Parrot Cichlids may sometimes breed with other Cichlid species from Jaguars to Convicts. But, again, many fish enthusiasts try to avoid this; otherwise, it will result in another hybrid species.

Other Cichlids of interest

African Butterfly Cichlid(Anomalochromis thomasi)
Banded Apistogramma(Apistogramma bitaeniata)
Blue Panda Apistogramma(Apistogramma panduro, Apistogramma pandurini)
Bolivian Ram Cichlid(Mikrogeophagus altispinosus)
Checkerboard Cichlid(Dicrossus filamentosus)
Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid(Apistogramma cacatuoides)
View all Cichlids
Date Added: 07/06/2021 15:04:32 - Updated: 07/12/2021 13:31:56