Max Size: 20cm

Parrot Cichlid (Amphilophus citrinellus + Vieja melanurus)

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.


Parrot Cichlid
Parrot Cichlid
Parrot Cichlid
Parrot Cichlid
Parrot Cichlid
Parrot Cichlid
Parrot Cichlid
Parrot Cichlid
Parrot Cichlid
Parrot Cichlid
Parrot Cichlid
Quick Facts
Scientific NameAmphilophus citrinellus + Vieja melanurus
Year Described1986
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℃


In the home aquarium, the Parrot Cichlid will readily accept most good quality dried foods such as granules, flakes and sinking pellets. These modern food products have been developed to provide all adequate nutrition to maintain your fish's health and dietary requirements.

Providing additional foodstuffs such as live, frozen, and freeze-dried meals such as bloodworm, daphnia, and tubifex once or twice a week will provide additional benefits to your fish's health and well-being but is not a must for this fish.

It should be noted that bloodworms should only be given as an occasional treat and should not be used as the staple diet as they are difficult for fish to digest and can potentially cause blockages.

This fish is an omnivore in the wild, meaning it will consume some vegetable matter. Although most modern fish foods take this into account and include them in their products, you can still supplement your fish's diet with blanched vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and zucchini. Ensure you do not overfeed your fish and remove any leftovers the following day.

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.

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: 31/08/2022 13:56:06