The parrot cichlid is a hybrid cichlid that does not naturally occur in the wild. The fish was created in Taiwan in the 1980s, breeding several different species of cichlids to create a unique fish with a parrot-like beak. The parrot cichlid is commonly found in a deep orange coloring, but tan, yellow and other variations can occur.
Reaching an Old Age
The parrot cichlid has an average life span between 5 and 15 years, depending on the overall care. When housing a parrot cichlid, make sure there is plenty of space for each fish; a minimum of a 42 gallon aquarium for two to three fish will be sufficient space for plenty of hiding places to reduce stress. You want to maintain the water temperature between 76 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit with pH between 7.0 and 8.0, and make sure that you have a strong biological and mechanical filtration system. A parrot cichlid will wreak havoc on any filter, he will dig up substrate, rearrange decorations and make a mess in the tank so you want to ensure that your filtration system can handle the wear.
Keep the Menu Varied
When feeding a parrot cichlid, a varied diet will ensure good health and a long life. You want to stick with small-sized foods because of the parrot fish's small mouth. Offer small pelleted foods as a staple, but mix it up with blood worms and brine shrimp. Fish flakes are easy for fish with a super small mouth, and sinking pellets are ideal for fish who have trouble feeding on the surface. But the key is variety.