12 parrot fish types and species: Aquarium Setup, Care, Breeding

The article contains fascinating material about parrot fish types three-hybrid parrots fish – exotic and spectacular inhabitants of the aquarium. Bright and colorful funny fish are fond of beginners and experienced aquarists. Asian breeders made peace-loving parrots popular for the sake of commerce, deforming their bodies and depriving males of the ability to fertilize, but endowing them with an original appearance.

Full nameParrotfish.
Species● Cone-shaped;
● Cetoscara – 2;
● Chlororusov – 18;
● Hipposkarov – 2;
● Skarov – 52;
● Kalotomov – 5;
● Cryptotomus;
● Leptoscarov;
● Nikolsinov – 2;
● Sparisomov – 15 species.
ColourNatural coloration is yellow and red. Another color is artificially created and gradually fades.
Watert (temperature) 24-28 degrees;
ph (balance of acid and alkali) from 6.5 to 7.5.
kH (hardness level) 5 to 7.
FeedIn nature, they feed on coral polyps, molluscs, and benthic animals.
Aquarium fish are fed with dry and live food: bloodworms, tubifex, shrimps, frozen minced sea fish, and always fresh herbs.
CompatibilitySuitable neighbors: barbs, catfish, ostronotus, black knives, aquarium arowans, cichlids. You can not add fish 5 cm or less.
Life span7-10 years old

Parrot Fish habitat: Where do parrot fish live?

In the wild, parrots live on the shallow reefs of tropical zones in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. They are found in the Mediterranean, Caribbean, and Red Seas, but their favorite place is coral reefs.

parrot fish

Parrot fish have a specific structure of teeth, which are grinded with a special biomaterial. Therefore, a parrot will not be able to live at home.


Red Parrot grows up to 30 cm, aquarium species up to 12-20. The main differences between cichlids are the shape and color of the body. Because of the shape of the head, similar to a bird’s beak, the fish was called a parrot. And since the stable color of the fish is red, it turned out: Red parrot. If the fish does not eat properly, the color will turn orange.

The hybrid parrotfish, is different:

  • rounded, slightly flattened barrel-shaped body;
  • wrong spine;
  • small triangular mouth, making it difficult to take food;
  • small, even fins, in some fish similar to a train;
  • a variety of colors.

Features of behavior

Red parrots – fish are not aggressive, even friendly, do not touch a swimming person nearby.

But if a fish is touched or frightened, it will bite, and even hit with its tail fin.

In the aquarium, parrots are peaceful, they are allowed to be stroked by the owner. Only males become aggressive during the spawning period.

Types and colors of parrots

The three-hybrid parrot is considered an artificial species that was bred in Taiwan in the middle of the 20th century. By crossing representatives of three closely related species, we got a hybrid Red parrot, which is not able to live outside the aquarium and survive in the fight against natural competitors. It is not known who the progenitors of the hybrid are, but presumably – Lemon and Rainbow cichlazomas or Red-headed.

The classification is related to the body color of the parrot fish. Natural colors are red, orange, yellow and white.

Purple, green, blue and motley colors are made artificially, such a color fades early.

In the second classification, fins are noted, and the species are called:

  • marble;
  • parrots panda;
  • unicorns;
  • tailless parrots;
  • King Kong;
  • red ingot;
  • diamond or pearl parrot.

Aquarium fish parrots are represented by hundreds of species. Most Popular:

Red Parrot Fish

parrot fish types

Popular view. Prized for its bright red color, curved spine and dorsal hump. The body length is no more than 25 cm. The eyes are large with a wide iris.

Blue Parrot Fish

blue parrot fish

A bright blue fish with a translucent large veil fin. Wild species are large, aquarium – 15 cm.

Diamond or pearl

diamond or pearl

The body color is blue and bright red with all shades of these colors and always with spots. The length of wild fish is 3 cm, domestic fish is 15.

Yellow-bellied Parrot Fish

yellow bellied parrot fish

In another way, they are called Kribensis yellow-bellied or Yellow. It is friends with other species, but it is difficult to put up with relatives. The body length of these fish is no more than 13 cm. The body of males is with vertical stripes, females are distinguished by their pink abdomen.


golden headed 1

Parrot fish 10 cm long, golden in color, lives in Nigeria. Gill covers greenish. The dorsal fin has red stripes.

Cameroon Parrot Fish

cameroon parrot fish

This fish is a parrot also 10 cm long. The back is dark purple, the abdomen is blue and shimmery with green. There is a dark streak across the body.

Black spotted

Adult fish are 25 cm long. A large black spot is located in the center of a gray-brown body, other spots surround large eyes.

Rolloff Parrot Fish

The body is light purple, 8 cm long. The abdomen of the female is purple, the fins are orange. There is a black stripe on the body.


Fish up to 10 cm long.

The body of males is gray with yellow, the back is purple. Scales and fins with a red border. Females have golden fins and burgundy belly.


Lives in Guinean waters. Vertical stripes are visible on the body, 7 pieces. The fins have the darkest spots. The fish are difficult to keep, aggressive, digging the ground strongly.

Sylvia Parrot Fish

The body length of males is 8 cm, of females – 4-5 cm. The color is pale or yellow-brown, with two dark stripes along the body. The stripes disappear during courtship, and become vertical when fry emerge. The female is distinguished by its red or purple belly. The male has a red anal fin with blue dots.

Albino Parrot Fish

No coloration. The fry are the same pale: the gray body is marked only by a dark stripe. An albino male chooses a white female to breed.

An interesting fact: the red parrot, when going to sleep, secretes mucus with its mouth to form a protective cocoon against blood-sucking isopods.

parrot fish aquarium setup: Selection of equipments, water, plants and soil

The red parrot is a picky fish, adapting to the conditions that are offered to it. Therefore, it is not burdensome to look after, if you still use the secrets and subtleties.

parrot fish aquarium size

Parrots are mobile pets that are not small in size, they need a lot of space for games and free movement. The best option would be a 200-liter aquarium or 50 Gallons with a length of at least 70 cm, covered with a lid so that the fish do not jump out, playing out.

Aquarium Equipment (with example models)

For the normal maintenance of parrots, the aquarium must be supplied with:

  • a filter to remove waste, which the fish leave a lot;
  • a compressor or aerator for oxygenation of water;
  • a lamp for dim backlighting (0.3-0.5 watts per liter), so the color of the parrots will not fade, it is desirable that the red spectrum predominates in the lighting;
  • thermostat;

When buying a filter, take into account the size and capacity of the aquarium. A weak device will not cope with sufficient purification, and the installation of a powerful device threatens with a strong current, which the red parrot does not like.


  • rarely used bottom filters are designed to be placed under the ground;
  • in the presence of a compressor, use an inexpensive air-lift filter with a sponge;
  • some purify water using a hinged filter (“backpack”), hanging from the outside;
  • external filter, canister with filter filler, works silently, is installed under the aquarium in a cabinet.

In still water, where there is not enough oxygen, harmful substances and bacteria accumulate. The compressor supplies air to the inside of the aquarium, saturating it with oxygen and creating a continuous movement of water.

When choosing a device, it is worth asking about the noise it creates. It is also advisable to pay attention to the presence of power control.

If the aquarium is already equipped with a filter with aeration function, it is not necessary to purchase a compressor.

Compressor devices are available with pistons or diaphragms, differ in cost and noise emissions, as well as in the location inside or outside. Internal compressor pump with the rotating element.

To maintain the desired temperature, they use an aquarium heater or thermostat, which is chosen based on the volume of the container.

It is allowed to take a device with high power, then it will turn on less often. It is better if the device has a regulator to set the desired temperature.

In addition to devices, you will need other devices for caring for parrot fish in an aquarium. Therefore, it is still worth getting:

  • a socket with a timer;
  • thermometer for water;
  • sack;
  • siphon;
  • tweezers;
  • a special scraper;
  • a plastic bucket, preferably two.

You will have to spend money first to start the aquarium, then these items will serve for a long time.

Water requirements

Parrots, for a comfortable habitat, require certain indicators of water. These fish are thermophilic, therefore, the temperature is maintained from 22 to 27 degrees, with an acidity not higher than 7.5. The permissible level of hardness is from 2 to 25 units, but preferably in the range of 2-5.

Water is renewed, by 30-50%, once a week. Be sure to check for contamination with phosphates and nitrogenous compounds. This will require drip tests. To remove harmful impurities, it is advised to use neutralizers with the addition of vitamins and sweets for fish.

Plants, decorations and soil

Parrots are indifferent to plants and a large number of decorations, although everyone is trying to get their own home.

To do this, the aquarium is decorated with fragments of pots and artificial snags. From plants, hard-leaved species are suitable: Cryptocoryne, Echinodorus and Anubias, which must be firmly fixed. Instead of living plants, they often put copies of artificial algae.

For soil, with a layer of at least 5 cm, where parrots like to dig and dig nests, medium-sized smooth pebbles interspersed with sand are suitable.

Parrot fish care and maintenance at home

what to feed parrot cichlid?

Given the special structure of the mouth of parrots, the food should be chosen correctly and given in the crushed form. Such fish are fed with Gammarus, bloodworms, aulophus, Tetra granulated food for parrot fish. Homemade minced meat is made from live sea fish and frozen. The main thing is variety: alternate dry food with live baits.

It should be borne in mind that some fish like protein-based food, others choose plant foods.

It is allowed to feed:

  • peas;
  • zucchini;
  • corn;
  • bell pepper;
  • dandelion;
  • lettuce leaves.

In order not to overfeed, otherwise the pets will get fat, food is given fractionally in the morning and in the evening. The leftovers are removed.

take care of parrot fish color

The color of the fish changes over time. This is influenced by the age and conditions in which parrots are kept without artificial coloring. To keep the color bright longer, it is useful to add shrimp to the food, removing the shell, live greens, or purchase specialized food with natural dye.

When caring for parrotfish, you should know that the reason for the color fading is low temperature or bright lighting. And to highlight the brightness of the color will help the dark soil or background of the aquarium.

how long do parrot fish live?

Despite artificial changes in aquarium parrots, the fish can live up to eight years. Proper care extends the duration up to 10 years.

parrot fish compatibility

Parrots are considered peaceful fish, but like all cichlids they do not get along with strangers, not wanting to share their own territory. Therefore, they are lodged with fish of the same size that inhabits other water layers. This is how parrots get along:

  • with mossy and Sumatran barbs;
  • with cichlids of a different kind;
  • with swordsmen;
  • with mollies;
  • with the Congo.

Not against catfish, ostronotus, black knives and arowans. The main thing is that the aquarium is not crowded, and the parrots have their own territory and shelters. Cichlids do not like slow-swimming fish, and they just eat shrimps and small fish. Parrots do not get along with scalars, spotted crayfish and some cichlazomas.

Parrot fish Reproduction and breeding

It will not work to breed red parrots on your own, because hybrid males are not capable of fertilization.

If the eggs are fertilized by a male relative, then the fry will appear, but not like their mother.

parrot fish male vs female

Until 1.5 years old, it is not possible to distinguish between a boy and a girl of parrots. This can only be done when spawning begins. First, in the male, closer to the tail, a protrusion in the form of a cone appears, in the female, it looks like a pear. Then the male is distinguished by the appearance of a sharp and narrow vas deferens, the female – by the wide and short ovipositor.

Other signs for a male parrot are characteristic:

  • large body size;
  • pointed tail fin;
  • bright color;
  • activity during the construction of the nest.

Preparing parrot fish laying egg

Sexually mature red (Japanese) parrots, this can be seen from the color, which has become brighter, are combined in pairs and begin to prepare nests. The preparation lasts 3 days. The male widens the entrance to the shelter, cleans the floor and walls.

parrot fish spawning

Spawning begins in the evening. The future dad follows the female and tries to fertilize, without missing, each egg, of which 300 are sprinkled. If all else fails, the caviar dies after 2 days.

In nature, for spawning, parrots swim in flocks. It happens that there is not a single male.

In this case, the oldest female changes sex and, after a few weeks, produces male germ cells.

In marble species, hermaphroditism is not provided. Having decided on the sex, the females hide in secluded places and lay eggs, which, after fertilization, float away with the flow.

parrot fish fry care and feeding

Parents carefully guard the offspring: the female is inside the shelter, the male is outside.

After a day, the larvae emerge, after 6-7 days, at a temperature of 29 degrees – these are already fry. Their first meal is food that is ground in the mouth by their parents. In aquariums, juveniles are allowed to be fed with special liquid food or pureed adult food, which is given in the morning, at lunch and in the evening, 2 hours before the lights are turned off.

Sometimes parrots’ spouses quarrel about the head of the family, then the family will have to be seated. After a month, babies who have already grown to 1 cm are planted. Until that time, it is recommended to replace 40% of the water every other day.

Parrotfish Diseases, Treatment and prevention

The red parrotfish has strong immunity, but it still gets sick sometimes, which can be seen:

  • on blackened fins;

white lumps on top of scales (semolina disease) or fins (ichthyophthiriasis disease), treated with Sera costapur;

  • by lying on the ground for a long time;
  • spitting food;
  • on white stool;
  • in the morning.

Among the main causes of disease are contaminated water, overpopulation, or contamination from sick fish.

Black spots

The appearance of black spots on the body, which appear and disappear for no reason, is associated with the stress of the fish. Parrots do not like changes, and if the situation has changed, it is already stressful for them.

Another cause of stains is ammonia burn.

Other diseases

If the red parrot is covered with pale spots and its color has faded, it is worth checking the water for the presence of nitrates. Perhaps the fish was poisoned. It is required to replace the water and ignite the soil. The disease disappears in 3 days.

In the case of hexamitosis, the stool changes color and becomes tear-like. The fish loses its appetite, redness or spots appear on the fins. It floats in the upper layer of water, closer to the surface, because water is poor in oxygen. The situation will be corrected by a frequent change of water with the introduction of hydrogen peroxide, not concentrated potassium permanganate or a specially purchased product.

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