Hybrid Parrot Cichlid
Common Names: Hybrid Parrot Cichlid
Type Locality: N/A
Taxonomic Troubles: This is a hybrid that was created in Asia a couple of decades before the infamous flowerhorns. It is reported to be a cross between a severum Heros sp. and a red devil Amphilophus sp., created in vitro with gametes stripped from the parent fish, but this
Size: Up to 25 cm (10 inches).
Preferred Water Chemistry: Tropical freshwater.
Difficulty: A hardy fish in most cases. It may chase small fish but can do them little harm, and it can easily be overwhelmed by aggressive or fast-swimming tankmates, who may prevent it from feeding.
Tank Setup: Appreciates some hiding spaces, but will spend most of its time lumbering around the tank and interacting with the world beyond the glass. A large-bodied fish, it requires optimum filtration and plenty of regular, large water changes.
Feeding: Omnivorous. Will eat any food that can fit into its mouth, which is very small and cannot open or close properly. Fortunately, the fish has a cichlid’s pharyngeal mill that can chew the food. Foods high in carotenoids will help maintain red coloration. Se
Breeding: These fish do spawn often, but complete infertility is the norm. There are reports that the females may be fertile and that they can cross with other cichlids like convicts. We occasionally hear of parrot pairs successfully reproducing, but actual or photographic evidence is yet to be had. For the most part, consider them to be sterile.
Variability is great, both in form and in coloring. The fish share variations in coloration with Amphilophus Midas/red devil cichlids—juveniles are often gray barred, and adult morphs may be red, white, or a combination of both. Orange and red forms are most common, but lately white specimens have become popular for dyeing to produce a spectrum of painted-on colors. Further modifications such as tattooing and surgical removal of the tail for heart-shaped fish increase the variability even further.
Deformity or designer fish? One person’s monstrosity is another’s cute pet. This fish has been very popular since its introduction. Some people like being able to see cichlid behavior in a fish that doesn’t kill its tankmates and dig up all the plants. Of course, the reason it doesn’t is that the animal’s mouth is constricted and its body is barely able to swim.
In many ways the parrot is the fancy goldfish version of a cichlid. Its inability to breed true has kept its price consistently at high, new-to-the-market prices, but it is very popular among people who want a puppy-dog cichlid pet that is safe to keep in a community tank with tetras and barbs.
Controversy over these fish runs high, and ethical arguments about breeding “defective” animals are much of it, as in dog breeding, but we can draw the line at dyed, tattooed, and surgically crippled specimens. Whether or not it is okay to breed animals with extreme physical traits, it is cruel to subject them to painful and injurious procedures for cosmetic reasons.