What's new

Blood parrot mystery.....

The FOTM Contest Poll is open!
FishForums.net Fish of the Month
🏆 Click to vote! 🏆


New Member
Sep 17, 2023
Reaction score
Hello All,

My blood parrot cichlid has me bamboozled. I've had her for nearly 2 years, got her from a local family owned exotic store along with an angelfish (debatable tank mate, I know) and a baby common plec. She was a surrender from an old people's home as a pair, the other died some time before I took her on. She was an adult of unknown age.
The tank is 85litres, kept at between 26-27°C and parameters were perfect when I took a sample to be dipped a week ago. I use an aquael fan 2 filter and have gravel, driftwood and some small artificial plant decorations.
I clean the substrate and change the water weekly, anywhere from 20-50% depending on the mess, I'd never owned fish before and I was overfeeding to begin with, as many newbies tend to do. I use tap safe of course, a fast filter start bacteria balancing liquid according to manufacturers instructions etc, plus top up with sodium chloride according to the volume I have replaced.
My woe started 3 weeks ago. She was bouncing off hard surfaces of the tank and there was some tiny cotton wool bits in the water and substrate, the angelfish's fins were a little tatty and the weather was warm, though not exceeding 28C in the tank, so I treated with a fin and fungus rot formula for 7 days. Angel fish improved, conditions improved, cichlid went pale and started hiding, out if character for her, she only usually goes pale temporarily on tank cleaning days.
Sought advice from the store I got her from, they recommended a malachite formula, which I dosed correctly for one week. She was eating sparingly, which was unusual, but not alarming at this time. After the dosing period was over, usual water change etc, I sought advice again after she had stopped eating altogether for 3 or 4 days. I was directed to an internal parasite treatment, which seemed to be helping as she ate bloodworms twice over 2 days, then stopped again. That week has gone, water change etc and now an internal antibacterial treatment is in play. She has regained her colour and has been busy for the last 2 days picking up and rearranging the gravel as she would normally and super active, not a blemish or Mark on her, just odd behaviour at feeding time. She outright rejects the Hikari Cichlid Gold and Staple I alternate and then takes a blood worm or two, moves her mouth in an alarmed way and refuses more. When she did that tonight, she was enthusiastic, took a worm and spat it out irritably, and then spat out two small limescale looking pieces, much smaller and different colour to her food, substrate or anything else in the tank. Refusing anything else, she's back to digging and perfectly normal behaviour. I am at my wit's end, as the fish are in my disabled partner's bedroom, he loves them and I want to do all I can to keep these beautiful living creatures happy and healthy. The angelfish and plec have been fine throughout this turmoil and eating/behaving normally, energetic and lively.
Forgive the length of this huge post and thank you for reading. I hope I have included all of the information required and someone can PLEASE, PLEASE help me get this fish what she needs.
Thank you in advance.
Pictures and video of the fish?
You can upload video to YouTube, then copy & paste the link here.
If you use a mobile phone to film the fish, hold the phone horizontally (landscape mode) so the footage fills the entire screen and doesn't leave black bars on either side.

What are the tank dimensions (length x width x height)?
What is the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH of the aquarium water (in numbers please)?
How often and how do you clean the filter?

Why are you adding salt (sodium chloride) to the tank?


When fish try to eat food but spit it out, they usually have an infection in the mouth or throat. Clean water and salt might have helped but antibacterial medications are usually required.
Firstly, let me thank you for answering my post. Secondly, may I apologise for the delayed reply.
I am extremely happy to say that I have got the blood parrot back to full health and strength. She is back to her old self, energetic, clear and even vivid orange colour and devouring any food offered to her, plus doing all she can to steal food from the angel fish, she does not succeed BTW, I am very careful to make sure the angel gets optimum amounts.
I was extremely stressed when I wrote the post and was fully prepared for her to die, which I knew would greatly upset my disabled partner who has his fish tank in his bedroom as constant companions. All other avenues explored, I spoke to the fish expert at the exotic pet shop she was purchased from. She said she felt she was in unchartered territory as she believed the blood parrot to be at least 8-10 years old and she'd never come across one so old, though they're her favourite species. After much reassurance that I'd done absolutely everything possible to help the fish, she said I should try not to worry so much. It was so odd that perhaps a day or two after the call, the blood parrot started improving and scavenging for small food morsels and I felt better about the whole situation.
It is a joy to hear her spitting the gravel against the glass as she 'repairs' her domain after I've siphoned through and evened it out, not to mention her biting and attacking the syphon tube to defend her territory!
I have learned from this episode that I now respect and admire her strong character, though I'm sure she'll irritate me again before too long!
I'm not sure I can upload any pictures or videos of her from YouTube, but rest assured, she is now the healthiest old girl living her best life.
In answer to the salt question, I add it as it was recommended for stress, though the glass surfing by either fish is minimal and I'd read it was helpful to support ill fish and to increase slime production on their bodies to bolster against infection. I use minimal amounts and only dose according to water I've removed. The biggest casualty is the glass on the outside getting white streaks from the lid opening.
Thank you for your concern and at very least allowing me to vent my frustrations, we're all in a better place now and the welfare of the fish is now at optimum standard, which was my main concern.
Goodness knows I've got every lotion and potion for any further sick fish episode and can now get back to enjoying them.
Thank you for being a safe place to bring my worries for these beautiful creatures and though I no longer need any help, I thought you might appreciate an update.
Much gratitude and best wishes to you. 😊

Most reactions


Staff online