Freshwater Fish

Polar Blue Parrot Cichlid Care: Ultimate Guide For Beginners

If you’re a beginner fishkeeping hobbyist, consider adding the polar blue parrot cichlid into your aquarium. They’re not just aesthetically pleasing and beautiful but also easy to keep and breed. These lovely fishes can also fill your place with positive energy because they’re lively and energetic.

This parrot cichlid, also called hybrid parrot cichlids, are a hybrid of the convict cichlids and parrot cichlids. The perfect combination of these two species makes our featured fish attractive with their multiple qualities and personalities.

An Overview Of The Polar Blue Parrot Cichlid

They’re a hybrid fish that was created by crossbreeding the male convict cichlids and female blood parrot cichlids. However, there’s no exact and recorded date from when they were introduced in the fishkeeping world. Even so, the parrot cichlid was first found in the early 2000s in Taiwan, China.

There is another theory that they’re a cross between convict cichlids and Honduran red points because of the massive egg tube in them similar to that of the red points. Anyway, the man-made hybrids with muddy origins are nevertheless absolutely beautiful.

They’re not found in the wild, and one can easily buy them online or in local fishkeeping shops.

This fish is also called by nicknames, such as short-body convicts and zebra parrots, with an easy care difficulty level, making them ideal for newbie hobbyists.  They have an omnivorous diet and are quite easy to breed.

Appearance

Polar parrots are stunning and are a nice choice to have in your aquarium if you’re looking to keep a variety of fish. They have a convict color of white with black stripes throughout its rounded body. Their head looks similar to that of blood parrots. They have a protruding mouth, which they also inherited from blood parrots.

For their size, they can grow up to eight inches in length, and in their entire lifespan, they can maintain their attractive although odd appearance. 

Again, this fish has a round and compact body shape, not broad, while adding to their beautiful appearance are the blue dots, making them look as if they’re glittered. Nevertheless, they have the appearance that compliments and combine both the looks of their parents.

Lifespan

If you’re looking to keep pet fish with a long life span, then you should consider the polar blue parrot cichlid. They’re not just fun and soothing to the eyes to look at but also have a relatively long lifespan when compared to other species like the blood parrot cichlids.

These species can live from seven to eight years provided you treat and care for them well with an adequate diet and high quality tank water. In the aquarium, they can survive and live for up to six years and in really good conditions up to 10 years.

Diet

To keep your fish healthy, you should feed them with the right food, while considering their body, mouth, and size. At the very least, you must give them easily digestible food, not heavy food.  The reason for this is they have a round and compact body, so they cannot swallow food easily.

Their compact size also gives them an overly small digestive tract that is squeezed in together tightly.

Do not feed them heavily because it will make them feel uneasy with a troubled digestive system. As they also have a relatively small mouth, they can’t open it wide enough to accommodate large chunks of food.

While this is the case, these fishes have a sizable appetite. But again, feed them only with highly and easily digestible food, such as pellets. If you’re choosing pellets for your parrot cichlids, buy those made specifically for them because they have small mouths.

Once in a while, you can also give them live food treats. It is also recommended to feed them with beta carotene rich foods to enhance their color and make it brighter. Here are some foods to feed your parrot cichlids with –

  • Flakes
  • Pellets
  • Brine shrimp
  • Bloodworms
  • Blanched vegetables
  • Feeder fish
  • Crustaceans

Behavior And Tank Mates

Unlike what you might assume, these parrot cichlids are calm species, maintaining good relationships in the tank. But then, they can also have a bad temper when tank mates try to hit them. They can defend themselves and hit back at tank mates that start a fight with them.

It is also a different situation when the parrot cichlids are breeding because they don’t want to be disturbed. To prevent aggression, you should separate and put them in another tank when they’re breeding to keep them calm, content, and happy in this period.

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A few ideal tank mates to consider housing with these fishes include Jack Dempsey, Severum, angelfish, and other parrot cichlids. They’ll also live compatibly with danios, tetras, and barbs as well as with bristle nose plecos and catfish, which can maintain the cleanliness in your tank because they can scavenge leftover food.

However, do not combine them with aggressive fish or nippy fish that may cause trouble and bother them.

But as they are semi-aggressive fishes, they’ll live well with their own species. You can consider keeping them with similar parrot cichlids in as many as possible that your tank can accommodate.

If you’re planning to add smaller and calmer fish into your tank, set it up with more hiding places to prevent them from being prey to your larger fish pets.

Care Difficulty

These fishes are resilient and they’re easy to keep, making them the ideal choice of beginner aquarists. They have quite a long lifespan, so they are really commendable if you’re assembling your tank.

They are hard fishes, which can live even with difficult water conditions. But then, it will be wiser to keep them in a tank with quality water and a large enough space if you want them to live long.

When it comes to care and maintenance, these fishes are not demanding unlike other pet fishes. They also don’t need you to attend to them strictly and most of the time content provided you feed them with good food and house them in a properly sized tank depending on the number of fishes you keep. 

Newbie aquarists don’t have to worry about hard upbringing at all. Again, they’re resilient and hardy fishes that can survive even in bad water conditions, provided you feed them well and keep them in a properly sized tank that we’ll discuss in the next section.

polar blue parrot cichlid

Tank Size

While these fishes are easy to keep and take care of, they need enough space to thrive, grow, and live happily. That’s why you should consider the size of the tank if you’re thinking of having them in your tank.

While they’re compatible with some types of fish and their own species, they still need enough room to swim and move around.  

If you have a budget for your fishkeeping hobby, you must buy an aquarium that will house the number of fish you’re looking to keep in your tank. This will allow them to eat and move easily without feeling crowded and stressed.

Selecting a properly sized tank would keep them happy and healthy and prevent them from feeling overwhelmed and stressed.  As without enough space in the tank, their movement will be hampered and it will give them emotional trouble. 

It can also hamper their growth and negatively affect their lifespan. As just like other types of fishes, the polar blue parrot cichlid loves swimming and roaming around in their tank. Give them ample space so that they live in comfort and convenience.

To easily house a pair of these fish, you can consider a 30-gallon aquarium. But if you’re looking to add a fish, this gallon size should be increased by up to 10 gallons.

Availability

Due to the increasing demand of breeders and aquarists, they’re widely available online and in local fishkeeping shops. Undoubtedly, a factor contributing to this is their easy care difficulty level, easy breeding, long lifespan, and astounding appearance.

Breeders have also started breeding more parrot cichlids to meet the demand of fish lovers. To add to their supply, they’ve also begun importing more of them. On the other hand, both newbie and experienced aquarists have also started breeding for them in large numbers.

So if you’re interested in adding these fishes into your aquarium, you wouldn’t have a hard time at all because they’re widely available. 

For their care and maintenance, you don’t have to worry as well because expert fish keepers in your local store should be able to guide you, including suggesting ways to care for them as well as discussing with you what these fishes prefer, including on their diet.

Decoration And Setup

One of the most important considerations is the substrate because it covers the tank, while also giving it a lovely appearance. The substrate will also give your tank a livelier and fuller appearance that will make your fish happier and the aquarium more aesthetically soothing to the eyes.

But besides the substrates’ physical attributes, like color, you should give an equal importance to its quality, which can make or break the entire setup.  It is recommended to get a fine substrate for these fishes that dig and play a lot with the substrate.

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You must consider buying and using darker color substrates compared to lighter colored ones, which can easily get and look dirty even after cleaning your tank, especially if cleaning it regularly would be impossible.

You should also carefully plan the substrate’s placement. Otherwise, an improperly placed substrate could mess the overall appearance of your tank and give it a monotonous and boring look.

Speaking of substrate quality, avoid sharp-edged substrates because they can injure and harm your pet fishes that love swimming at the bottom to forage food and sometimes organize the substrate. We recommend opting for small and fine substrates, which are less likely to harm your pets.

For the decoration, attract the fishes using colorful coral reefs and adding greens in your tank. It would also be ideal to put some hiding places like caves to keep them happy and content.  

Aside from caves, they’ll also love some hiding areas made out of driftwood, rocks, and plant pots. If you opt for artificial decors, you’ll easily find artificial plants and caves online.  For plants, a few choices are the hornwort, java fern, and anubias.

Should you use artificial or natural decoration? Either will work well for these fishes.

Tip: Aim to create a balance in your tank setup. While parrot cichlids love hiding places like caves, they’ll also be happy to have an open swimming space. As they’re getting used to their new habitat, you’ll notice them swimming more out in the open with other fishes.

For the lighting, use red spectrum or standard lighting that many fish keepers prefer.

To keep water quality, use a high-volume filtration system because parrot cichlids tend to create so much waste in the tank, causing water stress-related diseases due to sour and dirty water.

This point leads us to the next section.

polar blue parrot cichlid gender

Water Quality

It’s not only blue parrot cichlids that need clean water but all pet fishes kept in an aquarium so that they can live happily and healthily. You should ensure that your tank’s water quality is standard for keeping the parrot cichlids. 

For one, you must clean the water regularly to keep the proper sanitation and hygiene levels in the tank especially if you have at least two fishes in your tank.

It is also equally important to maintain proper water temperature, or your fish will feel uncomfortable and cold. 

That’s why it’s a good idea to invest in a water heater for placement inside your tank to maintain proper water temperature and make your pets comfortable. It will also help keep your fish healthy, extending their lifespan and preventing them from getting sick.

The parrot cichlids require heated water to make them resistant to the weather and keep them warm even in the cold season. They don’t like it when water temperature keeps changing, too, as this can cause them sickness, too.

Constantly changing water temperatures can weaken their immune system and cause them too much stress, as their bodies need to adjust frequently to the changing environmental temperatures. 

So without even saying, you must see to it that you’re maintaining the right water temperature for your parrot cichlids.

At the very least, the temperature range for these fishes must be between 76 degrees Fahrenheit to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. But if you’re keeping other types of fish in the tank, you can aim at achieving a water temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Water pH

All tanks need a balanced pH level to keep the water pH stable and healthy for fish. Otherwise, fish may become susceptible to stress and sickness due to an unhealthy, unstable, and fluctuating chemistry levels. This will also weaken and compromise their immune system.

Blue parrot cichlids require water pH levels ranging from 6.4 to 7.5, but a neutral pH level of 7.0 is also ideal because this can be easily achieved.

Water Hardness

Fish like guppies, platies, swordtails, and mollies can be comfortable living in hard water. Others like the paradise fish, brackish fish, and some Central American and African cichlids may also not have a problem with it.

However, it is not the case with blue parrot cichlids. They love it in soft water primarily because they have a tender and compact body structure.   Soft water also gives them a comfortable and happy life. To maintain ideal water hardness, aim for a rating between 2 to 25 dGH.

Water Filtration

Harsh water conditions can cause injury to the compact, small, and tender body structure of these fishes.  It can also damage their soft fins and give them trouble swimming.

That’s why you should consider installing a water filter in your tank. It will help maintain the cleanliness of the water in the tank and improve its quality. Installing a water filtration system can also contribute to the happiness, health, and wellbeing of your fish pets. It will lower their stress level and give them peace of mind.

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But a note – do not install high pressure water filter in your tank because it can be too much to handle for these fishes. It will give them discomfort and stress while swimming. 

For the blue parrot cichlids, install a hang-on back filter, which can manage the water’s flow rate that’s just suitable for them.  It can also give off a gentle water flow, making it the ideal choice for your tank.

Water Maintenance

You must also consider maintaining the water’s cleanliness by changing 30% of the water weekly.  However, don’t change the water temperature, but keep the same one you’ve used for consistency.  This is to ensure that it will remain suitable for the fish’s body temperature.

For the filtration system, be sure to clean or replace the filtering medium at least twice a month or depending on how dirty it gets.

Sexual Difference

In their juvenile stage, both the male and female cichlids look identical, making it hard to differentiate the two. But once they become adults, you’ll notice the difference. The female ones have a rounder and fatter body, while the male polar parrots have a broader and thinner body.

Breeding

The polar parrot cichlid breeds easily every three months once they become comfortable in the tank. Being their parents, you should ensure that you help them during the breeding process by feeding them with a balanced diet and keep them in a suitable breeding environment. For instance, provide a plate in the tank in which they can lay their eggs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Is Polar Blue Parrot Fish?

When they were first introduced in the market, their price was quite expensive. But later on, more breeders have discovered that the parrot cichlids are quite easy to breed. Therefore, their number has been increasing due to high production.

Because of this, the parrot cichlids are widely available at very affordable prices. You’ll find them at a price ranging from $15 to $25/pair. You’ll be able to find them in local pet shops and fish supplies stores as well as online.

Are Blue Parrot Fish Rare?

No, they’re not rare.  The blue parrotfish are common and are not in the wild.  They are becoming more common to find in many local stores. Its status overall is stable, with the International Union for Conservation of Nature listing them as species of “Least Concern.

Do Cichlids Like Sand Or Gravel?

Many aquarists consider the sand substrate for these parrot cichlids because they love moving the sand around and digging it.

On the other hand, you might also be wondering why cichlids eat sand and gravel. 

When scouring for food, you’ll notice that they’re foraging through the substrate. With sand substrate in particular, they tend to eat it because it contains small particles that help in digestion.  

Thus, you might be able to find substrate in their mouth, especially when they’re trying to organize it as well. You’ll notice that they’re eating it but then later spitting it out.

Can I Buy A Blue Parrot Fish?

Yes, you can buy a blue parrot fish. They’re usually sold in pairs at a price ranging from $15 to $25. You’ll find them in local stores or on the internet. When buying online, you’ll receive them in a packet sealed with pure oxygen. This ensures that your pet fish will be safe traveling long distances.

Do Blue Parrotfish Have Teeth?

Yes, blue parrotfish cichlids have teeth and a distinct mouth shape. Their teeth are deep in their throats and they cannot close their mouths. Aquarists compare the movement and shape of the parrot fishes’ mouth to that of a beak.

Conclusion

Some of the cutest freshwater fishes you can get for your tank are the polar blue parrot cichlid. They look beautiful and can make your tank come alive. They are easy to care for, breed, and keep because they are resilient and hardy fishes.

These polar blue parrots are also calm when not triggered by other fishes and if not breeding.  They may look odd for their interesting appearance, being a cross of two fishes, but they are very friendly, are not demanding, and can rarely contract a disease.

Finally, they’re perfect for beginner hobbyists! However, you don’t need to pressure yourself to get started with setting your tank up or buying all the items mentioned above at once. You can take your time and plan carefully before setting up your polar parrot cichlid tank.

Edwin

Passionate fishkeeper. Nature lover. Creative thinker. Music junkie. Adventurer.

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