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FAQs on Parrot, Jelly-Bean... Cichlids, Identification

Related Articles: Blood Parrots & Flowerhorn Cichlids: maintenance and healthcare of two popular hybrid cichlids by Neale Monks, Neotropical Cichlids, African Cichlids, Dwarf South American Cichlids, Cichlid Fishes in General

Related FAQs: Parrot Cichlids 1, Parrot Cichlids 2, & Parrot Cichlid Behavior, Parrot Cichlid Compatibility, Parrot Cichlid Selection, Parrot Cichlid Systems, Parrot Cichlid Feeding, Parrot Cichlid Health, Parrot Cichlid Reproduction, & Neotropical Cichlids 1, Cichlids of the World, Cichlid Systems, Cichlid Identification, Cichlid Behavior, Cichlid Compatibility, Cichlid Selection, Cichlid Feeding, Cichlid DiseaseCichlid Reproduction,

Parrot cichlids community -- 10/30/2007 I've emailed you guys before about comp advice and I have finally made a decision that might be a lot more logical than my others. I have a particular interest in parrot cichlids (not blood parrots) and I was considering getting a tank ranging anywhere from 55 gallons to 75. <When you say "not Blood Parrots" I'm confused. The true Parrot Cichlid is Hoplarchus psittacus. But the bright orange hybrid thing that looks like a deformed goldfish is the Blood Parrot. I'm assuming you mean the hybrid thing, since Hoplarchus psittacus is a fish mostly kept by advanced hobbyists and not common in the trade.> I wanted my parrots to be the focus of the tank (about 3 to 5 of them) but I have noticed that African cichlids are very colorful and some or a lot that I have seen don't get as large as the parrots and stay pretty small anywhere from 3 to 5 inches. <With Mbuna, size has virtually nothing to do with aggression. There are plenty of small species that will terrorise fish twice their size. These are the freshwater equivalent of Damselfish: they punch WELL above their weight.> My question is would some or most African cichlids (like the ones that inhabit lake Malawi) be compatible with the parrots I would like to get. <No.> I am interested in this because I have been looking for tankmates for the parrots other than Plecos I plan to get but the ones that I have found get somewhat large ( convicts and silver dollars) or even larger than the parrots. <Plecos and silver dollars are popular companions for Blood Parrots because they work. You can mix this up a little if you want, replacing the Silver Dollars with Australian Rainbowfish or large, docile barbs like Spanner Barbs. The Pleco might be replaced with some other large, non-aggressive, docile catfish or loach. If you aren't an experienced hobbyist, it's a good idea to go with "tried and true" before experimenting. Once you have kept your cichlids for a year or two, you'll understand their behaviour and be better able to choose tankmates. Blood Parrot behaviour varies; some specimens are relatively mild, others psychopathic. Behaviour varies with age too; they might seem nice as pie when babies, but turn into brutal thugs as soon as they become sexually mature.> I am interested in color and the particular ones I like the "yellow lab", (Labidochromis caeruleus) electric blue haps, zebras and basically any smaller African cichlids that are very eye catching and colorful that would suite this community well in terms of having a happy community of fish with territory not becoming a huge issue and not overloading the tank even though I have purchased a canister filter. <Forget it. None of these fish really makes much sense. Labidochromis caeruleus might work, but that's about it. Sciaenochromis ahli is very territorial, though admittedly mostly towards blue fish. Still, it's a gamble. An aggressive male Pseudotropheus zebra will simply destroy Blood Parrots. Males will destroy one another given half a chance, and easily dominate any cichlid community they are place in. Your problem is that Blood Parrots are deformed and have bad swimming abilities and poor balance. Other cichlids can swim away from danger; Blood Parrots cannot. So stuck in a tank with aggressive cichlids, Blood Parrots get creamed. They are like fancy goldfish: best kept alone. If you don't like this, then don't keep Blood Parrots. It's really as simple as that.> Could you please send me something in return about this topic containing some info on the number of fish I should have, ideal tank size because I wouldn't mind exceeding 55 to 75 gallons but would prefer not to and any other helpful information. Thank you! <There's no "number of fish" per tank because it depends on the size of their fish, their behaviour and their activity level. A territorial male Pseudotropheus zebra will own a 55 gallon tank all by itself. While it will tolerate females of its own kind, any male Pseudotropheus zebra place in there will be systematically exterminated. Cichlids just aren't "mix and match" fish; building cichlid communities requires care and lots of research. There are PLENTY of cichlid books out there; buy or borrow one, and read it cover to cover. Then plan your tank. You'll have much more success that way. Cheers, Neale>

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