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FAQs on Parrotfishes, Family Scaridae

Related Articles: Parrotfishes

Related FAQs: 

Scarus strongycephalus male in the Maldives

MisID on photo   9/8/13
Came across this shot on this page:
Image -
Page -
The caption suggests all three fish are Sparisoma atomarium.  Only the fish at lower left is. The other two fish which have two white horizontal stripes and the black spot behind the gill are juveniles of Sparisoma aurofrenatum.
<Thank you Matt. Will have a look/see if/when I wake up sufficiently. These corrections are MUCH appreciated. Cheers, BobF>

Bowers Parrotfish, Chlorurus bowersi, feeding mostly     7/8/12
Good evening my fellow aquarists:) I would like a little advice, please. I have a lightly stocked, (12" Vlamingi Tang, 2, 3" Yellow Tangs, 6" Porcupine Puffer, 8" Coral Rabbitfish, 5" Pink Tail Triggerfish, 3" Huma Huma Triggerfish) 500 gallon FOWLR system. It is 8x3x3 feet. It is 7 years old, and stocked with 400 pounds of live rock, with the entire perimeter of the tank available for swimming, unobstructed,
<Ah, good>
and a 4 inch sand bed. Parameters are Salinity 1.023, Ph: 8.2, Temperature: 75, Nitrates: 0 (I have vodka dosed for a couple of years now), no ammonia/nitrite, 20% monthly water changes. I have been wanting a smaller Parrotfish for years now, and came across a 5" Bowers Parrotfish online.
<Ah yes, Chlorurus bowersi>
 It arrived today looking spectacular.! I researched, before buying, and found it to reach a maximum length of 13 inches. I also researched and found my tank parameters, and age, would likely make a nice home for it. My main question is: what would you recommend I feed this fish?
 I feed spectrum Pellet,
<Exactly this; plus anything else you can offer it that it will accept>

Mysis Shrimp, Krill Shrimp, Squid, and Sushi Nori sheets to all my livestock. I noticed the Bowers began to scrape the live rock when I introduced him, taking algae I suppose. I also have a 2 inch strip of purple, red and green algae that runs along the bottom of my tank. I leave it there as my 3 tangs seem to like to eat it sometimes. Do you think the Parrotfish will also eat this?
<Possibly; but not likely substantively>
 I appreciate any advice from the 'experts" there at WetWebMedia, can give me here. Thank you very much.
George Link
<Thank you for sharing George. Bob Fenner>
Re: Bowers Parrotfish     7/9/12

Thank you for the quick response Mister Fenner. I forgot to mention earlier, that I also have an excellent Protein Skimmer, as well as a 100 gallon sump, with 50 pounds of Live Rock Rubble in one section. The Bowers Parrotfish has settled in nicely.! There is no aggression towards him, other than the standard meet and greet. He loves to graze on the Live Rock, and also loves to scrape the thick Algae from the bottom couple inches of the tank. He lives Mysis Shrimp, Frozen Omnivore, and Herbivore Preparations, and seems to like Octopus and Squid.
 I went to my local Chinese market and got some fresh Kelp, and 2 types of Dried Seaweed. He seems to enjoy nipping at the dried Seaweed. He has not taken any Spectrum Pellet as of yet, but he has only been in the tank 36 hours. His favorite food thus far, is fresh Clam from the Chinese market, placed between a pair of Forceps and lowered into the tank. As soon as I turn the lights off in the evening, he makes a hasty retreat to his area in the back, to begin spinning his Cocoon, I presume. He is indeed a Magnificent fish.! Thank you again for your advice, it is much appreciated.!
George Link
<Thank you for this follow-up George. BobF>
Re: Bowers Parrotfish    7/16/12

Here is another update on the Bowers Parrotfish. He now loves Spectrum Pellet, it is his favorite food.!

I am very thrilled at this, because all my fish that have eaten a lot of this food, have great color, and are very disease resistant as well.!. He has settled in nicely, and I try to feed lightly 4 times a day, so he can graze. The other fish also seem to enjoy this schedule. No Nitrate issues, due to the vodka dosing, so all is well. I am very pleased to be able to care for such a magnificent fish in my home:) He is truly the center of attention already, and is always out, swimming through the Live Rock, scraping it, and eating whatever I feed him now as well. Thank you again as always for all of your help:)
George Link
<Welcome. BobF>
FW: Bowers Parrotfish, now unilateral Popeye     7/25/12

Hello my fellow Aquarists. I noticed today when I went to feed, that my most social fish, the Bowers Parrotfish wasn't out front begging for food. I found Him in His night Cave and noticed his right eye was swollen.
<Only the one... a physical trauma>

 I noted he had Popeye. The eye itself did not appear damaged, and was relatively clear. when I put food in the Aquarium, He came out briefly, then scratched his injured eye against Live Rock. I then checked the parameters in my 40 Gallon Long Quarantine Tank, which is filled with the same water as my main display, and I keep running 24/7, and sent my wife to the LFS in search of medication,
 while I worked on catching the fish. I caught Him in about 15 minutes, and placed Him in the quarantine,
<I would not move this fish. Much more likely to further damage itself in a smaller setting>

 with 2 pieces of PVC Pipe to hide in. I treated the tank with 2 Teaspoons of PraziPro (oxybispropanole, Praziquantel) Liquid.
<Why? Do you suspect a "worm" pathogen?>

It says 1 dose should do the trick. I was wondering if you had any additional advice on what to do while I wait the 5-7 days for this medication to do it's job.
<Yes; per above. Put the fish back>
As you know, Parrotfish are hard to keep many times, and the fact this guy has been thriving, and is my biggest eater, really broke my heart to see Him down now. Should I keep trying to lightly feed Him Spectrum Pellet, and Vitamin soaked Mysis, or should I wait a day or 2. I have the Quarantine set up with a blind covering 3/4 of it, with natural sunlight hitting it all day. Would it also be a good idea to put a small amount daily, or my VitaChem, Selcon, Garlic mixture, that I soak the food in?
<Too likely to have issues, erratic water quality here>
I really want to save this fish and get Him back into the 500 Gallon Aquarium. Thank you as always for your advice and help.
George Link
<Return this fish to the main display. BobF>
Re: Bowers Parrotfish     7/25/12

I already had Him in the Quarantine before I got your reply Mister Fenner.
He seems relaxed in the Quarantine and is resting by the PVC Pipe. I was told by someone I trust a lot to use the medication I listed below, who has used it for eye trauma, and swelling, many times with 100% Success. Please advise me as to whether you still think I should remove Him now from the 40 Gallon long, and place Him back in the main display. I am greatly concerned about him continually rubbing his eye against the Live rock in the Display Tank. It appears something is bothering Him there. I will do whatever you advise. Thank you Mister Fenner.
<I have written my input already George. The choice of what to do is up to you. B>
George Link
Re: Bowers Parrotfish, unilateral Popeye  8/1/12

Greetings my fellow aquarists. Here is an update on my Bowers Parrotfish.
After placing it back in the Display Tank, the eye scratching on the Live Rock worsened and the size of the eye increased to where I don't know how it did not burst. The fish was listless, not interested in food, and appeared to be in very bad shape. I had to make a judgment call, and reluctantly, placed it back in the 40 Gallon Long Quarantine Tank. I purchased some Maracyn, and began the treatment. Within 2 days, the eye was half way down, after 4 days it was completely back to normal size, and I tested the vision by waving my hand against the Aquarium and the fish immediately reacted.! The 5 day course just completed today. The Parrotfish ate a bunch of Mysid Shrimp yesterday and is eating heartily today as well.! I did a 50% water change and placed fresh carbon in the filter, to remove the rest of the Maracyn. The Parrotfish is no longer laying in the shadows, but is swimming around in the front, in the natural sunlight.! My question now, is should I give this fish a couple days to recuperate after the Treatment, or introduce it back into the main display. I appreciate your help and advice as usual. Thank you.
George Link
<Likely time just going by, but thank you for this update and congratulations. BobF>
Re: Bowers Parrotfish  8/1/12

Thank you Mister Fenner for your quick response. In my update I asked if you recommend if I give the Parrotfish a couple of days to recuperate from the medication, or to place it back in the display Tank right away. Thank you as always for your advice and help.
George Link
<As usual, I'd shy on the side and be more conservative. Leave this fish where it is for a few days more. Cheers, B>
Re: Bowers Parrotfish  8/1/12

Thank you Mister Fenner as always.
George Link.
<Ah, welcome>
Re: Bowers Parrotfish, unilateral exophthalmia   8/19/20
Hi Mister Fenner. My Bowers Parrotfish same eye is now really swollen, and "clear" once again:( This time, however, he is out and about, eating well, and mixing with the other fish. The swelling returned 3 days ago, and as the last time, has been increasing daily. I have "not" removed him from the aquarium this time, and do not plan to, unless you suggest otherwise. I checked all Parameters and they are spot on. There is "no" aggression towards him, nor has there been from the other fish. He is also "not" scratching the eye this time, as he was before. He sleeps at night and rests in a large cave I built just for him, with plenty of clearance, and security. I am truly puzzled here, and would appreciate any advice. Thank you.
George Link
<Same as last time... leave in place, maintain good/stable cond.s. B>
Re: Bowers Parrotfish   8/19/20
Thank you Mister Fenner for the quick response. I will leave the fish in the Display Tank as you advised. This is the first time I have seen
recurring eye swelling in any fish I have kept over the past decade of being a Marine Aquarist. In your wealth of experience, is this something that happens more often than I believe it does?. Is it possible this could be a recurring event for the rest of this particular fishes life?. Thank you again, Mister Fenner.
George Link
<... please see WWM re Popeye and marine fishes. Some cases become very persistent. B>
Re: Bowers Parrotfish   8/19/20
Thank you Mister Fenner, I will do just that. I appreciate your time, as always.
George Link
Re: Bowers Parrotfish   8/20/20

Hi Mister Fenner. I read the link you provided and discovered Epson Salt. I had a 5 pound bag in my garage, so I went ahead and dosed 1 teaspoon per 10 gallons, in the 500 gallon display Tank.
<Worth trying>
 I will keep you informed of the fishes progress when it gets better. Thank you.
George Link
<Thanks George. B>

Re: Bowers Parrotfish, now Cetoscarus sel./comp.    8/9/12
Hello my fellow aquarists. I am feeling brave now, and have a new Parrotfish question for you. They have a 4" Bi-Color Parrotfish at my LFS that I have witnessed eating Mysid Shrimp heartily. Is there any chance I could purchase this Fish, and have it get along with, the Bowers Parrotfish, and have enough room to move, as it grows, within my 500 Gallon Main System?
<Will likely get along, but gets much bigger than you've written below...
Just the same, you could likely keep this fish (Pablo Tepoot had them for years in his larger system, fed just on Spectrum) for years>
I have researched this Fish and have seen it may get to 18" or even 2 Feet long, as an adult. I am not going to consider purchasing this Fish unless You tell me it will work. The Bowers parrotfish is looking better than ever and is even eating better than before his eye was swollen.! Thank you as always.
George Link
Re: Bowers Parrotfish     8/9/12

Thank you Mister Fenner as always for the timely advice. I am going to give this a try.! the Bowers Parrotfish LOVES Spectrum Pellet, as do all my fish, pre-soaked in Selcon, Vitachem and Garlic. I am hoping this new fish does as well. Take care Mister Fenner and crew.!
George Link
<Welcome Geo... do give WWM a search w/ the name Cetoscarus bicolor.
Cheers, B>

parrot fish... comp.    3/24/11
I have a 400g with soft/lps coral and was wondering if a parrot fish would eat them
<... Not directly, no. Best to study re Scarids... some species are more aquarium suitable than others... Get whichever ready-trained on Spectrum food... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/FishInd1.htm
the last tray. Bob Fenner>

new parrot fish, under sand? Scarid incomp., reading  5/27/10
I have a 180 gallon FOWLR. it has a Miniatus grouper, and a Arothron puffer.
I recently got a parrot fish and the grouper went crazy territorial, charged it and kept biting it. the parrot fish has since gone under sand. wait to see what happens in morning. Wil they work it out?
<Doesn't look like it... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/parrotfi.htm
and the linked file above. Bob Fenner>
Sam S.
new parrot fish
By the way, I have plenty of live rock in my tank...
<Not of any consequence here. B>
Sam S.

Re: Tank and stocking questions... Trigger/Parrotfish incomp.  -- 09/26/09
Hello again Mister Fenner. I hope this finds you and yours well. I have a few questions for you today. My princess parrot and my bluechin trigger do not like each other. They frequently joust locking mouths but do no other damage. They both have they're territory within inches of each other. The parrot is usually the instigator. He has been in the tank for 2 years and is colouring up marvelously. The bluechin has been a resident for 4 years. Do you think this behavior is ok, or should I change the liverock to rearrange territory or simply take one of them to the LFS?.
<If not damaging either "much" I wouldn't be concerned>
I added my queen angel today. A 5" beauty with adult coloration well underway. He is not intimidated by anyone and leans on the fish that seem to get too close. The raccoon butterfly seems to love to chase him but the queen wont run, he just leans on the raccoon or tail slaps it. My nitrates are still zero and there is no hair algae or bacteria bloom visible. I value your opinion more than anyone's as far as fish keeping goes and I wanted to re-visit my red Coris question. my tank is 8feet long by 3 feet wide by 3 feet tall. The fish I have now if growing to full size add up to about 90 inches (plus the 2 morays on the bottom). Do you think I should consider myself fully stocked here or would the extra foot of the red Coris when he grows still give these guys plenty of room?.
<Still should be enough room>
I am spreading the word on the new reef site about the problems keeping clown triggers and multiple angels. They are for the most part listening. I use your name sometimes regarding things you have taught me and you are very respected by those on the site. I thank you again as always for the advice.
<Welcome. BobF>

Wrasses? Hi Bob, An other unsolved fish from the Red Sea…. Do you know the name of these two? Thank you! Greetings Tineke <See fishbase.org re Parrotfishes of the area>

Re: wrasses? Parrotfishes...  6/25/08 Hi Bob I did read the article. <... is not an article... Fishbase.org... the database... search under Egypt, Saudi Arabia... Marine fishes, reef-associated> It is a juvenile Parrotfish but which one…this one comes from the Red Sea and the article on the Scarus taeniopterus didn't say that this fish exist in the Red Sea… >?... no, this fish is only found in the tropical Atlantic...< And are both fishes the same? <Appear to be so, so> Look quiet different in colour. Or are the male and female? >?... please... read re the Scarids... these are pre-initial stage juveniles...< Or is one already a little bit bigger than the other one because of the different colours? <A bit of the other way around> Hope to hear from you and thanks for answering all the questions your team is quiet a help for me! Keep up the good work. Greetings from Holland Tineke Ede <Please only write to me at Crew@WetWebMedia.com

Quoyi parrotfish 5/17/08 Hello I Have an aquarium saltwater fish store in Montreal, Canada and I bought a Quoyi parrotfish from one of my wholesaler that told me that this parrotfish is reef safe? <Mmmm, this species does consume a good deal of algae in the wild: http://fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=5554 but... I would not state that it is "very" reef safe...> I know that parrotfish normally are not reef safe and was wondering if you have any info about that fish . I also know that parrotfish are not easy to feed and keep since they normally scraped rock , corals for algae but he is eating everything that I put in he aquarium ( spirulina, nori, ocean nutrition , frozen food etc...) and swimming actively . Sorry If I made some error in the writing my primary language is French ! Than you again for all you`re info on your site very helpful . <Your English is near-perfect! I have not seen this Scarid species imported for the trade in the west... ever. I do encourage you to see if you might get it started eating Spectrum (a brand) pelleted food. I have witnessed other Parrots doing very well long-term on this food (Pablo Tepoot, the manufacturer has had some Cetoscarus bicolors on this alone for years... and I've seen it used to maintain parrotfishes in a few public aquarium settings). Merci, Bob Fenner>

Painted parrotfish  01/22/2008 I was at a fish store and fell in love with this fish. Being smart I decided to do some research before plopping down any money on the fish. Problem is I can not find any information on their compatibility and size of tank they need etc. I currently have a 175 FOWLR aggressive predator set up. Will it fit in? Will it live? Is there any good source of information on these fish? Thanks in advance for your help <Mmm, well... this is a sort of "medium" aggressive "species" (actually a cross-mutant)... the same animal/organism as other "Parrots" (neotropical cichlids)... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/parrotcichfaqs.htm W/o knowing what your other livestock are species-wise, I cannot give you my appraisal of their all likely getting along... Bob Fenner>

Re: painted parrotfish... SW!   01/22/2008 Thanks for the reply. I have a Niger trigger, Picasso Trigger, Porcupine puffer, lunar wrasse, and snowflake eel. I really appreciate your help <Yeeikes! Sorry re... please read here re Scarids: http://wetwebmedia.com/parrotfi.htm and the linked FAQs file above. Bob Fenner>

Re: painted parrotfish  01/22/2008 Ok after reading over the article, I think it would be best to not purchase the fish. <Ah yes... the family is hard to keep altogether... Though am given to mention that many public aquariums have had success in recent years... Feeding Spectrum pelleted foods> Thanks for the help and the saving me the cost and heartache this fish is bound to cost <Thank you! Bob Fenner>

Help ID this Fish  11/1/07 Greetings from Miami, I went snorkeling two weeks ago in the Florida Keys with a couple of buddies. I was looking for some snails, while my friends were looking for certain fish for their tanks. After getting home and reaching in the bucket to unload the 30 snails I brought home, I realized their was an extra fish in the bucket. Apparently my best friend caught an extra fish and I wasn't around. I kept him with the notions of getting and ID for this fish and either keeping it or taking it back to the ocean in 2 weeks when we go back. I have searched your site and Googled a bunch of ideas but I still can not put my finger on and ID. My friends guess its some type of Rabbitfish or puffer. My guess it's a type of wrasse. He is about 1 inch long and seems to only want to eat algae off the walls and rocks. He is also a very active swimmer. Please help ID it. Thanks, Rey "Chubby" <Rey... is there a pic? BobF>

Re: Help ID this Fish  11/1/07 My Apologies. Attached you will find 3 pictures :). Thanks, Rey "chubby" <Ahh! A juvenile Parrotfish. Please see here: http://wetwebmedia.com/fwgtwa8.htm Bob "Chubbier" Fenner>

Re: Help ID this Fish  11/2/07 Thank you Bob!! <Welcome Rey> You guys are truly a gift to us hobbyist. I guess this fish will be taking a trip back to the ocean in a week. <A good idea. Though have seen many public aquariums keeping Scarids fed on Spectrum pellets... amazingly palatable to many fish groups> Have a great holiday. Thanks, Rey "Chubby" Rodriguez
<Thank you mate, BobF>

Bicolor Parrot Fish Issues.  Sel. 4/26/07 Hello, <Hi.>      I recently and unfortunately bought a bi-color parrotfish at the LFS on a whim based on his looks.   <*Wags finger at Frank.*> My research didn't start until after I put him in my quarantine tank. I was already aware by there max size at adults, but was told by the LFS that they are hardy. <I would say yes and no. Yes because if you can get the animal to accept frozen and prepared foods then you might have a good shot. No because this animal gets most of it's nutrition by eating live hermatypic corals and consuming the polyps within or even eating dead (skeleton) corals and consuming the algae that has grown on them.  Sometimes new specimens will have issues adjusting to captive diets. And you did mention "max-size" so I won't lecture on that, you know what type of quarters this monster will eventually need.> After learning all of this distressing info, I spoke with the LFS and was able to return him for a credit after having him for 3 days. <I would leave him there.> It was then reiterated that this was an African Bi-Color Parrotfish which are hardy compared to the bi-colors from other locales. <If we are talking about Cetoscarus bicolor, then personally I've had better luck with individuals from the Red-Sea.>   I just wanted to know if this was a true statement. <Hard to say if something is true or false if based on anecdotal experience.> This LFS is a respectable, long established store in downtown Chicago.  I just wanted to have a better intake of information so that I may perhaps look to buy an African bi-color down the road. <The two biggest issues will be tank size and diet in that order.> Thanks. <Welcome.>    Frank <Adam J.>

Scarid comp.  1/29/07 Hi thanks for that info but I need to know wither the  parrotfish will attack stingrays or nurse sharks... Didn't see anything  about that in info on website. Thanks,   Morgan <What do Scarids eat? Not fishes... Bob Fenner>

Parrot Fish/Feeding 1/22/07 HI, <Hello.> I have a question about a Princess Parrot fish. Im wondering will it go after my sting ray and nurse shark. Im also need to know about their dite <diet>. <Parrot fish are not an easy fish to keep.  They require very large aquariums and acclimating them to prepared foods can be very difficult.  In the wild their diet consists of hard corals as a primary source of food.  Some aquarists have had success keeping these fish, but the percentage is very low.  Do read the FAQ's here for more info on this family.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parrotfa.htm> Thanks, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Mr. Garcia

Humu Aggression…Incompatibility with parrot fish (Scarus), Incredibly Poor Purchasing Choices 10/26/05 Hey, I have a 90 gallon FOWLR with about a 7in rainbow parrot.  <Wow, a Scarus guacamaia…talk about tank buster at a potential 50 inches!! Definitely not suited to private aquaria.> He was in there for about 3 weeks. I recently purchased a 7 inch Humu Humu.  <A risk…to say the least.> They seemed fine for two days. The third morning I was looking for the parrot, to my surprise I eventually find him floating behind rocks with an eye ripped out, and pieces of his body bitten into.  <Mmm, while I am sorry to hear of the passing of your specimen I am not surprised.>  I was told that parrot fish can live with a Humu Humu, is this wrong, or is this trigger crazy?  <Triggers have varying personalities, one trigger can be docile the next can be the Boston strangler…..its always a gamble, always a risk mixing triggers and anything else really…nest kept a single specimens.>  <<When speaking of the Humu, take Adam's admonitions seriously - I once cared for a juvenile Humu who literally stalked me around the tub (3K gallon holding tub) - I had to take very real care that he didn't sample me.  MH>> What fish do you recommend I consider for this guy? <In this size tank…and now that he is alone, this trigger will likely not tolerate any tank mates at all.> Thanks a lot. ~Sam <Adam J.> 

Recent death fish store blames me. Easy loss of a Parrotfish Hi all <Chris> Thanks for all the great info you folks supply. First off I have a 125gal w/30gal sump 2 skimmers 1 homemade, 3x150 metal halide lights 100w actinic lights, roughly 160lbs LR. This tank mainly fish, 1 small finger leather, 1 small hammer coral, Fish are 1 Coral beauty angel, 1 yellow stripe wrasse, 1 blue pacific tang, 2 "engineer gobies" rarely seen, 2 Ocellaris clowns, 7 Chromis, 4 or 5 hermits, 40 Nassarius snails, 12 large turbo snails. I recently purchased a "princess parrot" fish (absolutely beautiful) <Yes... though this tropical West Atlantic species rarely lives in captivity...> from a LFS in the buffalo area. It survived for 3 days. Now this is the first time I dealt with this particular place. After checking the water quality finding all is well with the water, except for a slight ammonia issue (slight as in barely visible color change with my test kit, the fish store test showed absolutely nothing). <Ammonia is transient... can be "lost" in moving the water sample...> They claim that the dead fish that was my fault due to salinity being OUT OF acceptable levels @ 1.025 and I shocked the fish seeing that I only acclimated it for 1.5hrs. According to the people @ the store my salinity should be @ 1.019 - 1.022 at the max. <Mmm, I disagree... but if the fish had been acclimated to this lower spg, some additional stress would occur in rapidly moving it to near seawater strength> I keep my water quality as high as possible due to a bamboo shark who is so far doing great after 3 months.( I already have started searching for larger quarters for him). I am new to the saltwater hobby being only 2 yrs experience(2nd fish I have lost except for those poor little goldfish my Oscars enjoyed so much), many years fresh water. Basically what do you think? Does my acclimation time need to be extended? <No> I already have made my conclusions, but I will take expert advice when I can. I have read through the pages and for a short 10 min. trip. well I float the bags for at least 20 min., then I slowly add water from the tank in to the bag over an hour.  Water Quality R.O. water 1.025 salinity Alk is a one tough as the new test I have gives a very broad range only showing low - normal - high, but falls close to normal  400ppm calcium 8.3ph <0 >0.25 ammonia <Should be zip as you know> 0 nitrites 0 nitrates 0 phosphates In the sump there is also more live rock, various macro algae. <Sounds good> Also unwanted freebies I received on the LR 1 chocolate chip star, 1 peacock mantis shrimp (very cool looking still don't want it after reading about them), hundreds of those little white stars, but the wrasse is talking care of them. Thank you for your time & keep up the much appreciated work Chris <I suspect this specimen was just too shaky from being collected, transported... Parrotfishes, Scarids often die mysteriously... You can see much more input re these issues on WWM. Bob Fenner> 

Parrotfish ID To Whom It May concern <Scott F. here today!>    I just purchased a red and blue parrot from a LFS. They said he was from Sri Lanka. He is red on the top half and almost white on the bottom half with the fluttering dorsal like a wrasse.  Looks very close to a long fin fairy wrasse. I was wondering if it could be a parrot fish that resembles a wrasse. I have searched various sites and was wondering for your expertise. Thanks in advance. Marvin <Do take a good look through the WWM site. Start with this link: http://wetwebmedia.com/parrotfi.htm Otherwise, a scan through fishbase.org might be of help. We'd need a pic to make an accurate identification. Good luck! Regards, Scott F> Sulking Parrotfish? Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. here today> No rush on the reply as I realize you guys must be very busy! A juvenile princess of parrot fish (99% sure) came into the LFS about 6 weeks ago.  I decided to bring it right home, they assured me it had come in by accident and they weren't going to order any. <I hope so- not really a great fish for aquariums, IMO> I have a 220 7' tank that's a couple years old that I thought might suit him (soft corals/fish) Anyways I quarantined him first in a 33 gallon and got him eating. Started with Spirulina stick on tablets stuck on dead corals, etc. By the end of 2 weeks he was eating Mysis, Spirulina, flake, krill, clam all from my hands!! I was thrilled. <That's good to hear...> I then moved him over to my 220.  He is in with compatible fish including a Moorish idol that I've had for almost a year.  (sorry, but I'm proud of that)  I feed him 4-6 times per day. It's now 6 weeks and he's looking wonderful.  The question that I have is that he isn't foraging for food on his own...at all?? He just swims out front where he can see me and basically waits to be fed.  Should I cut back on the feedings to force him to or is this a healthy enough situation? <Well, it's hard to say. These fishes do spend a lot of time foraging in the wild, but they tend to hang out on the bottom, acting sort of lethargic. This is not all that unusual for a captive parrotfish. They are really not good long-term aquarium inhabitants. Nonetheless- do what you can to provide him with enough food and plenty of space (a larger tank in your future?). Also, I'd like you to ID him for me. Thank you so much, Lynn McKinney (p.s. the French you  saved of mine last year is doing great!) <Lynn- I didn't get a pic- so do send us one and we can attempt an ID for you. Regards, Scott F.>

Sulking Parrotfish? (Cont'd.) Thanks for the reply, here hopefully are the pics.  I got the feeling that you think this fish is lethargic as I had said he wasn't foraging.  I just want you to know that he is not at all lethargic...he just doesn't forage...but swims lots and lots. <Unfortunately, I didn't get the pics. Glad to hear that he's active. Remember to provide plenty of space, good water conditions, and quality food. Hopefully, he can live a comfortable captive life with your continued good care. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Parrots Need XL Aquaria 10/28/03 I know... another fish ID? How do we get fish that we don't have an idea of how to care for? What it eats? Why -- Why? <agreed> I am sorry for the question but I have recently saved this fish <it is clearly a parrotfish... please do review this unfortunate fish for the aquarium in our archives> from someone who didn't know what it was and said it was a wrasse. After taking it out of his tank (after he lost 3 small angelfish. (one at a time) He bought one then couldn't find it, Then another etc. I since have checked water quality (o.k., meaning o.k. not perfect) But saw this fish with nice teeth and felt it may be his problem. I now have him in QT until <they are not always aggressive... your bigger problem is providing adequate variety in the diet of this corallivore (yikes... eats coral) and provide for its enormous adult size> I find out what he may be , What he needs to eat? And if I dare place in one of my tanks? <needing tanks of several hundred gallons in size to live fully/well> It looks like a parrot fish to me, but what Bi-colored after changing colors? See if you can help. <no prayer of a species ID from this pic> Thanks David <best of luck. Anthony>

Help with Homework Hello, thank you for taking the time to read this e-mail and answer my questions.  I'm going into 9th grade and I need help on my Biology project. <I should be able to help, I had to take it twice, dang bird project!> This year I have to do a project over the 7 classes of Phylum Chordata.  I need a animal for every class and I picked the parrotfish. <cool> I just need a couple of my questions answer and then I will be able to complete my project.  I need to know what kind of ecosystem, habitat, and their symbiotic relationship is.  You have no idea what it would mean to me if you could get the information to me as soon as possible. THANK YOU SO MUCH! <Hi, fishbase.org is good place to start, for the genus enter "Scarus", and change the species drop down to "contains", search, and whammo a plethora of parrots.  Fishbase has great information on their environment, distribution, and biology.  You may also want to look into their ability to much coral reefs, talk about getting sand up your shorts, ouch.  One of the best examples of their symbiotic relationships is between them and the cleaner wrasse.  Try the google search tool on our site and the rest of the web for more information.  Best Regards, Gage>

Parrotfish husbandry, feeding Dear Bob I was reading your article on parrotfish and I have some advice for anyone wanting to try one. I have had mine for about 3 months now and it is doing great. I feed it dried seaweed, Kent herbivore pellets, Spirulina tabs, and  "parrotballs". and it is doing quite well on this regimen. You may be wondering what parrotballs are. It is a mixture of plaster of Paris and vegetable matter (Spirulina flakes etc.) that you roll in a ball and drop in the water. It is quite effective at feeding them and keeps them quite happy. So anyone wanting a parrot should try it out.~Justin <Thank you for this valuable input. Will post for others edification. Bob Fenner>

What's In A (Common) Name? Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. with you tonight> I hope you are doing well tonight!! <Sure am! Hope  you're fine, too..> My LFS gets fish which they label as Red Parrots.  The fish don't at all look like parrots, they look quite a bit like a female Cirrhilabrus solorensis (different shades of bright red scales) .  At the LFS it had a whitish blue underbelly which has now turned red like the rest of the fish.  I bought the fish, not because it was labeled as a parrot, but, because after a bit of research on your site, I felt that it probably was a wrasse.  I have had the fish for approx. 5 months and it is doing great, looks, acts and swims like some sort of wrasse.  Also, it does not pick or chew on any live rock or coral, which, I would assume, would eliminate it from being a Parrotfish??? <In all likelihood, that would be a good thought! Ahh- the danger of common names for identifying fishes...I guess some Scarus species Parrotfishes do look a bit like Cirrhilabrus species...> Basically, I was just wondering if you have ever heard of a Red Parrot being offered in the general Marine fish trade? <I personally have not...The fish that I have seen called a "Red Parrotfish" is Scarus atropectoralis, which does not look all that red to me!> Also, if you would like, I can send along a photo. <A photo would be great...If I can't make a positive ID on the fish, I'm sure that Bob could...> Thanks for your time, continued, valued help in the hobby and in advance for your response. Cheri <And thanks for stopping by, Cheri! Glad that you enjoy the site! Regards, Scott F><<May be Sparisoma viride, RMF>>

Re: your website on coral mortality Hi Bob Thanks for your site - a job well done, very informative and I like the presentation. Just for your info re: Parrotfishes - there are currently 89 recognized species (Bellwood, 1994) and most of those species that scrape or excavate on coral reefs actually redistribute existing sediment, rather than producing it (Bruggeman, 1995). If you need more info on these references I can provide you with such. Also it is not necessary to say 'living coral polyps' as all coral polyps are alive, although I agree that this small redundancy is not so important. <Ah, merci. Want/ed to state that many Parrotfish species scrape "previously" live coral matrix as well.> Hope you are getting the input you had hoped for when you put this site together <More and more. Thank you again. Bob Fenner> Andrea Bullock Laboratoire de Biologie Marine Concarneau, France

Re: Parrot fish sexing Hello, I Have a pair of painted parrot fish.  They have laid eggs. I am not sure if I have a male and a female. Is there anyway i can tell them apart.  If you can help me with any information it would be great. <Parrotfishes, family Scaridae are almost always very differently colored, marked. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parrotfi.htm Do you see the species you have there? On the linked files (in blue, above)? Bob Fenner> Thank you very much for any information. Thanks you, Tom

Orange spot parrot fish Dear Bob, <Hello> I don't have any saltwater fish, I have Cichlids, from 7-Stripe Frontosas to Tropheus Moorii, but why I am writing to you is that I was thinking of maybe in the future I would like to try a saltwater tank, the more I read up on this the more I don't even want to try it. the Marine fish are so beautiful, well I have been checking out the fish that I think are really pretty and one is the Orange spot parrot fish, but I don't want one after reading all the questions and feed back on this fish, when I  went to the site Wet Web Media.com there are advertisements of fish suppliers <Stop! These are not "advertisements" (per se). Please look up (as in a dictionary) what this word means. These companies are sponsors of our site. They receive "promotional consideration" as payment in turn, with their names, links to their sites for sponsoring WWM> at the top of the web site and one is Foster and Smith , that is where I first saw the Orange spot parrot fish, and wanted to purchase it, if they are so hard to keep,  and you are so against it, then why are you sponsoring That Company? <We don't sponsor these companies... they sponsor us. We are not in control of their content, practices, neither are they in control of ours. Not to be disingenuous here, let me ask you a similar question. Are you against air-pollution? Do you still ride, drive a car? Bob Fenner> Michelle Wrathell

Re: Orange spot parrot fish Ok, so they sponsor you, whatever, all I can say about it is that:  It is pretty bad when you sell fish and know that they are going to suffer and die anyway, and not for a cheap price either!!    <Agreed entirely... the last 35 years of my life I've written and given "talks" (to business, hobby, scientific groups) on this basic topic/theme: Please consider the historical, practical longevity of what species, sizes, source locations you buy your livestock... YES, there is a huge difference in what is likely to live and not in captivity. I wish everyone involved in our hobby, industry felt as you do. How to better make this point? Books, articles, shows on television? Who is going to pay for such exposure, influence? Do the governments involved have to regulate the trade? Who will decide what is "right", "wrong" to do, use? To me, each individual is responsible, must "make up their own mind". Am glad to see you voicing your opinions. Bob Fenner> M.W.

Re: Orange spot parrot fish (inappropriate livestock period) I know their are a lot of bad, rotten things in this world that we see every day and I hate to see things suffer, Sorry I lashed out at you. <No offense taken> When you are just a new-be in the saltwater hobby, you look at the different sites that sale the saltwater fish and if you don't read up on the fish that you have an interest in (which apparently a lot of people don't) You think, if they sell it must be a hardy  fish that will thrive in your aquarium,    So I guess it is also  the consumers responsibility to find out more about the fish they want to purchase! <Yes! As you delve further into the hobby you will find many "positive, inspiring" ideas, people whose values you agree with. My thoughts are with you. Bob Fenner> Thank you again M.W.

Spots on a Parrotfish? My parrotfish has developed some dark black markings throughout it's body at first it was acting normal, but as more dark spots appeared he's not his normal frisky self.  Do you have any idea what this could be?  Any help would be appreciated.  Thanks, Annie <Well, Annie-there are lots of possibilities here. Could be some sort of parasitic infection. Do review the disease FAQs and other resources on the wetwebmedia.com site for descriptions and treatments for many diseases. Sorry I couldn't be more specific here, but I think that you'll find an answer elsewhere on the site. Good luck! Scott F.>    

Re: Hello (hard, soft corals, Parrotfishes in captivity) Dear Mr. Fenner, I recently asked you about my parrot fish and corals. You told me no corals would survive. <Can you find who actually responded to you with this information? It wasn't me> After doing a little more research I found out that soft corals could be kept.  <Makes sense... Scarids don't consumer alcyonaceans...> I found the info in a book called Marine Fishes by Scott W. Michael on pages 321-322. So I had to test this theory out. I went to my local fish store and bought a small fragmented cheap piece of soft coral for 5 dollars. After putting in the tank for over a week I realized that the parrot has no interest in it. From my conclusion I believe that it is possible to keep soft corals with parrot fish. I will try to keep you updated on future successes and failures (hopefully no failures). I just thought you might like to know. I love your book and web site. Thanks, Terry Rickman <Thank you for the clarification. Bob Fenner>

Parrotfish and corals. I have a Orange Spot Parrotfish aka (Bower's parrotfish) <this species gets fully one foot long. Small for a parrot but still too big for most tanks under 6 feet long (180+ gall)> and seems to do well in my tank. I have live rock and decent lighting about 300 watts worth on a 90 gallon tank. He was purchased on 05/10/2002. My question for you are their any corals or anemones that I could keep with him? <nope... thanks for asking :) Ha! In truth, my friend... we must obey the fact that form follows function and these parrots have beaks for a reason. No like sessile invertebrates are realistically safe. Best regards, Anthony>

Parrotfish To Mr. Fenner, I have reading your web for long time, but I have some question to ask you. I have purchase a Quoy's parrotfish [Scarus quoyi] and when I put it in my 60x30x30 tank, I didn't see it swimming. Instead of swimming, I saw it hide in a hole. What should I do with that? Please reply back me the mail. <Not atypical behavior for the family in captivity. What should you do? Hope the specimen comes out, learns to take food, lives. Please read through the Scarid coverage on WetWebMedia.com again my friend. These are not easy fishes to keep in aquariums. Bob Fenner> thank you very much, pavaphon

Parrotfish with cloudy fins Hello, <Hi there> I had a bicolor parrotfish in my tank for about six months. Four weeks ago I had to take him hostelling to my LFS for about four weeks.. All four weeks he was in copper.  <Oh oh... not good> I brought him back home today. He has cloudy fins, nothing major, but noticeable. I FW dipped him for 10 min, and put him in a 55 gal QT for now. After the FW dip his fins were still cloudy. What is the best approach here? Thank you for all your help. <Hope, prayer... just try your best to keep the fish stable, the environment optimized... only time can/will tell here... whether this animal was too toxified by the copper, too traumatized by the moving experiences. Bob Fenner>

Parrotfish help Bob, I come to you for help because I did something terrible and if anyone can help me, its you. I made the mistake of buying a bicolor parrotfish a few days ago on a whim. I knew parrotfish where difficult to keep in captivity, but I saw it eating in the store, so assumed if it was eating it was a healthy thriving specimen that had adapted to captivity. Having seen quite a few bicolor parrotfish offered at local fish stores as of late, I assumed, again incorrectly, that it was a species of parrotfish that was the exception to the rule. <This is a gorgeous, even cute species as a juvenile, and likely THE most commonly offered Parrotfish offered in our interest...> It was only after I got it home and went to your site that I realized that it was common not because it thrived well in captivity but sold well in captivity. Ugh, never again will I impulse buy a fish I have no prior knowledge of. <A hard lesson learned> However, now that I have it, its my duty to at least try to provide the best care for it I can, and that's what I'm hoping you can help me with. I see they get to three feet in length and love to roam. I'm guessing my 75 gallon aquarium isn't going to be adequate if I am able to keep it alive in the long term. <Umm, no... most don't live more than a few weeks in captivity. I have never seen a female or male in an aquarium> Fortunately, I want to upgrade to a 180 soon, and eventually, I plan on building a concrete shark pond in my basement. <Wow! Do keep notes, take photos... Quite an undertaking> If I am able to keep it alive and thriving, how long before it would outgrow the 75 gallon? The 180? <Months... if it lives. Most die "mysteriously", usually at night... likely due to "stress", imperfect nutrition> I know there is no way I could make its eventual home a big as it needs, but if I'm already planning on the shark pond eventually, do you think its possible to house my parrot fish in there? <Yes> What size would you say it would have to be as a minimum?  <Whatever size it is> Would it do okay with epaulette sharks (Hemiscyllium ocellatum) or possible speckled carpet sharks (Hemiscyllium trispeculare).  <Yes... if it is more than mouth size... Let's say eight or more inches at the time, and the shark specimens are small to start with... and there's adequate rock/spaces for the Parrot to sleep in at night, get away by day.> From what I understand, these two species are relatively peaceful, although I haven't done much research since my plans for the shark pond are a few years off. As for current care, I also have some questions. If I understand what I've read, it feeds mainly on algae that grows on coral skeletons. I've gone out and purchased some dead coral skeletons today (another sign that this whole parrotfish experience is a bad one as I never wanted to buy dead coral as a matter of principle). As suggested on your parrotfish page, I'm going to try to mash food into the skeletons to feed the parrotfish. Do you have any ideas of algae that would be better than others?  <The ones intended for human nutrition... as at the oriental food stores... and ones you can grow (Halimeda, Caulerpas...)> I'm also unclear about if coral polyps are necessary or not for the parrot fish to thrive. Would it be wise to try to at least occasionally supplement its diet with live coral? If so, do you then Xenia would be taken? How about other relatively fast growing soft corals? <Not likely a good idea or necessary. No on the coral> My final parrotfish question; I've been planning on making my own rocks and re-aquascaping the tank. Keeping in mind parrotfish habitat and their roaming habits, would it be better to keep the tank as open as possible, or to try to make lots of holes and rock out croppings to make a more maze like environment in hopes of giving it lots of stimulation that way. <Lots of nooks and crannies> And now for something completely unparrotfish. I read someone's suggestion and your subsequent response about formatting the faq's to be more readable in the seahorse faq. If you need a volunteer, I'd be more than happy to volunteer my time. I could probably only do a few pages a week, but I figure a few pages is better than none, and since I can probably do it more or less indefinitely, eventually, everything would get done. :) Let me know if you'd like the help. I figure its the least I can give back for all the wonderful information you're providing! <Ah, thank you for this... is it possible for you to "download" what is there, "fix it" and send it back to us as an attached file? Bob Fenner> Thanks so much for your time, Tami

Re: Help! I appreciate all of that help. You really don't know how much that helped. I have 2 more questions for you. What is the gestation period of parrot fish and how many young does it have at on time and how does it care for the young? <What? Parrotfishes are not internal breeders... spawners, with gametes released to the environment. Take a read through the references posted on WetWebMedia.com> Ok that was actually 3 question, but any information would help me. Thank You- Leigh Anne Coyle <To the library my friend. Bob Fenner>

Help! (... net "search") Hi! My name is Leigh Anne Coyle and I am doing a Marine Biology project where you have to find different organisms to research. I am having trouble with the parrot fish and I was wondering if you knew any of these answers. I would greatly appreciate it. What are the predators? <Sharks, marine mammals when many Scarids are near adult size... some are notably toxic (ciguatera)... to humans, other animals...> All about reproduction. <Please see here on our site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parrotfi.htm> How many mates does it have in a lifetime? <Some are haremic... one male, a few females... others more group spawners> The average lifespan. <A few years to a few decades... depending on species. Bob Fenner> Thank you for your time,
Leigh Anne Coyle

Do you know this fish? Robert, I recently went on a night dive in Cancun where I took the attached photo. I have looked in several books but have not been able to identify this fish. I saw your web page on Razorfish which a more experienced diver suggested might be the type of fish but I don't know. <Mmm, I must be studying too much... this is a male Sparisoma viride...a Stoplight Parrotfish... other pix on our site here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parrotfi.htm Looks a little different as it is "sleeping"... nighttime coloration. Typical. Bob Fenner> Your help would be greatly appreciated.
Ed Montalvo

color of parrot fish on average how many weeks do you think it will take for my 4 inch long saltwater parrot fish to change its color completely? <On any measure of "central tendency" (e.g. mean, median, mode...) it will be dead before changing color at all. If it were to live, about six months to a year. Bob Fenner>

parrot fish  Hi Bob I purchased a parrot fish. Its grey and white with blue around its  eyes. I believe its either a queen parrot or a princess parrot. I have only  had him for one day and he has started to eat. He's been eating little  pieces of clams. Yesterday when I bought him my friend was feeding him dry  fish food pellets. But I decided to feed him frozen food instead. He  doesn't eat very much at all very little bits of food he's been eating  so far is this normal? He's only 4 inches long. I mentioned he's got no  color on him he's just white and grey. Will he eventually change color ?  like maybe to green or blue? Let me know your response soon. Thank you  Sincerely , Chris Faiola <Though these are amongst the two better captive species of Scarids, what you describe is their typical behavior... little or no feeding. These species do "eventually" change color depending on... growth, condition, feeding, mood, pre-determined genetic development... if they live. Bob Fenner>

Parrotfish  I checked out your information on parrot fish and I'm still interested in  buying one. I have a friend who owns a pet shop so I know if I get one it  will for sure be eating before I buy it. Bob will it be okay in my 3 month old 120 gallon tank. my tank doesn't have very much algae growing in it. I understand you say its necessary to have algae growing in the tank for this fish.  <Most species, specimens, yes> If I get one that's eating in captivity will it be okay in my tank or  is it going to die in the first month like you say most of them do?  <As a group (Scarids), yes, most all will die within a month (maybe 90+%...) irregardless of the apparent suitability of their captive environment... some do live... Ones not too beat by the collection-transport process...> Are they aggressive towards puffers, lions ,damsels, clowns, tangs, triggers?  Please let me know. Thank you very much.  Sincerely, Chris Faiola <Not aggressive towards any of these... Shy fishes really... and easily lost as you will see. Bob Fenner>

I have two questions I hope you can help with.  First, I recently purchased a Midnight Parrotfish. Is there any special diet he needs? He doesn't seem to be eating all that much. Right now I try to feed the frozen cubes mix (Prime Reef, Formula 1, Formula 2, etc.) <A Scarus coelestinus? The Midnight Parrot is a real beauty... out of the tropical west Atlantic... and should have been left there... This species almost never eats anything but coral polyps and associated algae... while chewing on live corals... Take it back is my advice> Second. I tried to put 3 Yellow tangs in my 150 gallon tank. They continually fought. Finally, two of the three died from stressing the others out. Now the survivor has some sort of white bumps on both sides near his rear. This is somewhat like if I scraped my knee and scabs formed, but they are all white and bumpy. Anything to be concerned about or should I just let him heal? Should I medicate? I have LR in tank so that might be hard.  >> <Just leave this survivor alone... the bumps are probably tumorous... and will cure on their own... or not. Removing it, tossing in "medication" will do nothing beneficial. Bob Fenner>

New Fish I just received a very large livestock order from FFExpress and wanted your input on the optimum diet for two of the new arrivals. One is a Flame Dwarf Angel and the other is a Bicolor Parrot. Also, is the angel really reef safe? (I know the Parrot isn't - he's in a large fish-only tank). >> The Flame (Centropyge loricula) will eat most any dried, frozen/defrosted, freeze-dried, fresh food.... once it gets settled in... and really derives a great deal of its nutrition from materials in/on your live rock.... The Bicolor parrot (it is a juvenile of white, orange with black bordered bars I take it) are not of my favorite "top three of ratings" group of captive marines... it may consume some dried food, "algae stones" you can make... but do provide live rock, and peaceful tankmates for this fish... Bob Fenner

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