one or three blood parrots in 125gal?

mcordelia

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Hi Guys,

we are working on figuring out our stocking list for the 125 gallon tank, and are trying to figure out the "right" number of blood parrots to get. On the one hand, one blood parrot will likely cause less trouble, but on the other hand, they are "peaceful" for a cichlid, so I'm wondering if I'd be able to get away with three?

Plan is to get all the other fish on the stocking list first, and then introduce the parrot(s).

water is ~12d GH, pH ~8-9 out of the tap. planning on a lot of driftwood but I've been negligent so far in actually testing what the pH has dropped to in my driftwood soaking barrel. These numbers are from our local report, once I get my under sink filter (not RO filter) set up I will actually test what water going into the tank will be. As you can see, still somewhat in the planning stages.

tentative stocking list:
- 6x corydoras sterbai
- 10x black phantom tetras
- 10x bloodfin tetras
- possibly panda garra
- possibly firemouth cichlid (will add after parrot(s) if we do)

I realize that once the parrot(s) are full grown, the tetras may become enticing to eat. I have a 20gal tank that they can migrate to if necessary, and can also upgrade that tank up to a 40gal as necessary. My thinking is that the tetras should be ok for at least the first couple of years, and may possibly reach their lifespan before the parrots are big enough to eat them.

I want to do a planted tank, so that is another aspect to consider in all of this as well.

So tell me, would you do 1 BP or 3 BP's in this kind of setup, and why?
 

Fish4dawin

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Thats sounds like an awesome tank! Maybe you could swap some of the tetras for a school of congo tetras? Whilst they get to 8cm they are unlikely to get bothered by the parrots. I think I'd go with 1 for now since you could see how one does with the fish that are in there. If you are to go with the idea of congo tetras I'd go with 6-8 of them.
 

Ladykelly

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Plants...I think I should add that part to my journal with my blood parrot. I have live plants in my aquarium the blood parrot leaves all but my star lily alone... almost every day I find it uprooted and floating. I am blaming flame for it but haven't yet caught him/her in the act. Just let me put it this way if blood is doesn't like where you planted the plant they will remove it! Sigh time to replant mine but this time hoping to try another spot see if it solve the issue.
 

Metalhead88

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I've found blood parrots to have varying levels of aggression.

I have a 10 inch blood parrot who is the boss of the tank...pushing some tankmates that are known to be overly aggressive. He would murder everyone if it wasn't for his weird shaped mouth.

The cory may work although I wouldn't recommend it.

I'd also say the panda garra and bloodfin tetras are just too small for a semi aggressive cichlid tank. I've found that cichlids tend not to care about non cichlid tankmates. They will eat the little guys though. I'd opt for some bigger species.
 

mjfromga

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My Blood Parrot is like his - he decided he didn't like his tankmates once a Texas Cichlid male begun to approach him in size. He begun to bully EVERYONE. He's only about 5 inches or so but he's always been the BOSS. All was peaceful until that male Texas begun to get as large as the Blood Parrot. Then hell broke loose. I caught them "mouth locking" and that was the end of that - I booted everyone from the tank except the Parrot. I don't believe in hostile violent tanks with fighting. Can't be a pleasant place to live. I think I may try again but with fish that won't get nearly as large as him because the tank was peaceful with Tiger Barbs and the two Texas dudes for over a year.
 
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mcordelia

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Thanks for all your guys' feedback :) that is basically my concern with this.

The idea behind this tank is to have something that our 2 year old will like, since he is super into nature, so I'm trying to choose fish that he will find interesting. BP's are an obvious choice since they are so derpy looking and "smile" and are very personable from what I understand. Our other thought was doing BP's with silver dollars and leaving it at that, but I think with a toddler, variety is going to be key and from what I understand the more you go in the silver dollar / purely cichlids direction the less likely you are going to be able to succeed with plants.

Everyone who I have known with BP's love the fish, but all the youtube channels of tanks that I have followed with them, over time the tanks have transitioned from a planted community to a hardscape-only cichlid tank and I don't think that's the direction we want to go in.

So all that being said, @Metalhead88 what would you do instead? Would a single firemouth be a better "showcase" fish in this setup (or would he just eat the little guys)? Should I focus on rams or kribs instead? My concern with the smaller fish is that where it's a 125 gallon, we would want a "showcase" fish since otherwise visually you just have a lot of little specs when you're looking at it from across the room.

I realize that I'm probably sounding like I want to have my cake and eat it too, but I figure now in the planning stages is the best time to pose the tough questions, since the goal here is really to make a gorgeous aesthetically pleasing tank that is pleasant for both the adults but also enjoyable to the toddler.
 

Metalhead88

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You can keep a similar plan, but switch out some of the schooling fish for larger ones. Rainbows would be most ideal. Giant danios, and most barbs would be cool so rosey barbs, black ruby barbs, and so on would be better since they are taller will be far less likely to be targeted as food.

Totally up to you... I've been keeping cichlids mostly for a long time so my thought process goes straight to something like blood parrots, severum, electric blue acara, firemouth Geos, and so on with a nice school of Dither fish like rainbows.
 
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mcordelia

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It seems like you are basically the perfect person to help me out with this then :)

Our original thought was tiger barbs, parrots, and cories with maybe another mid-level fish thrown in, but then we got worried that the tigers would be too "nippy", and in general I was under the impression for some reason that barbs wouldn't be a good fit, so we switched to tetras since they were less aggressive.

I think the part I'm having a tough time figuring out in my head is where on the spectrum of "aggressive" do we need to be. I would really like to keep the BP's, and for cichlids they're classified as 'peaceful', but then there is the notion of 'peaceful community fish' which still sound like they wouldn't be able to hold their own against parrots, so I think in my research I'm running into conflicting terms. I've never kept cichlids before, so I don't want to set myself up for failure, but I also want to get at the potential of the 125 since if I just wanted to keep neon tetras or something I would have just stuck with a kit 55 instead.

Hubby really wants a couple different types of cichlids together, but then I get concerned if they will completely tear up the tank since I want to do a low tech planted tank as well. I also don't want to overstock since I am going into this knowing that weekly water changes are not likely going to happen, the goal is to understock a little, heavily plant, and do every other week water changes.

I know that's kind of a big list of requirements, but I want to do this right, so I want to make sure that I'm overturning every stone before I buy a single fish.

I really appreciate you taking the time to discuss this with me.
 

Fish4dawin

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Maybe you could do angels or something? You could have a decent shoal in there since it’s a 125 but I’m not sure you want that. You could do some Bolivian rams or electric blue rams or you could do kribensis. I know you like the blood parrots but if you are concerned about them being peaceful fish go with something that you know is peaceful.
 

Metalhead88

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Let me know if I miss any of your questions here.

I've seen corries mixed in with some bigger cichlids before, but I have not tried it. I can't see such a small fish in the tank with a big semi aggressive fish like a blood parrot working. It will certainly work while the BP is small.

I would not consider BP to be peaceful, at least by my fish's standards. They are big messy fish with lots of personality. Mine chases around everyone and head butts them, occasionally lip locking with a similar sized red severum.

I think you can pretty much cross plants off the list if you want cichlids. You might be able to get away with anubias, but any of the more brittle plants will be eaten or uprooted.

Tiger barbs are vicious little guys. They'll be fine with the cichlids, but last time I kept a large group they pretty much tore each other apart until I had only a few left over 2 years or so. Other barbs are not nearly as nippy as tiger barbs.

Is the blood parrot the fish that you want to base your tank around?
 
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mcordelia

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Originally that was the plan, but as we discuss the project further, plants are a really big item for us. We're not targeting going high tech for plants, but the aquariums that are hard scape only or plastic plants really don't seem to make the effort of setting up a fish tank worth it to us. Which is really funny to say, because we originally started talking about getting back into the hobby because of the fish, but it turns out that the plants are turning into a big thing for us. I have a 20gal quarantine tank set up as of yesterday, and the plants for that are supposed to arrive this afternoon, and the idea is that as the plants begin to establish themselves we can use some of them to transfer over to the 125gal as well as getting a dedicated set of plants for that tank as well. Again, nothing fancy, but definitely thinking stuff like amazon swords, hornwort, anubias, crypts, probably java moss or similar to put on some driftwood, etc.

When I originally posted this question last week, and still at the top of our list as we were discussing it this morning, is a south american "biotope inspired" tank. Our water is too hard and high pH to go full SA biotope, but in an ideal world we would have a ton of driftwood, lots of plants, with the idea that we'd have a school of tetras dipping in and out of the plants and driftwood roots (we are heavily contemplating having a huge beautiful sunken tree shipped to us, it's got a 3x3 root ball and the trunk is composed of many smaller "stalks" so to speak, we would trim it and put it into the tank tipped in a way that it would look like a tree growing on the shore fell into the water so the trunk is pointing down and the roots are tipped over - that would create a very cool habitat for the tetras to go in and out of, and would protect them from being eaten by the parrot...?)

I've been showing some youtube videos of fish to my son to kind of get an idea if this is something worth going for or not, and he's got very different reactions to different fish lol. He really seems to like cherry barbs, and he seemed interested in parrots, and he enjoyed watching videos that @NCaquatics posted of her hoplo catfish and orange plecos. He seems kind of indifferent to cories (but I really like them lol), and I showed him discus this morning for funsies and he thought they were boring haha

The goal from a practical perspective is relatively low maintenance, so fish that are super demanding or not very hardy or otherwise difficult we are trying to keep off the list. We figured blood parrots as a "showcase" fish since it seems that everyone raves about their personality and they're relatively hardy, and since they have that goldfish-esque character to them they might be kid-friendly. I honestly think my son might be most interested in the larger catfish (maybe because they are at his face level on a standard aquarium stand lol), but this tank is going into a room which is built as a separate addition to the house and is a step down from the main floor level, it is going right on the threshold and the wall has a hole in it so it can be seen from both sides, so it really opens up the visibility to short kiddos since they get a height boost from looking through the back side through the hole.

I know I'm blabbing at the moment, but my experience in fishkeeping is limited to very run-of-the-mill community fish, so I'm trying to broaden my horizons and try something new, but the downside of that is that I have no practical experience with cichlids and it's turning out that what the internet says on one hand doesn't always jive with actual experiences of many fishkeepers. the last thing I want to do is for my son to get attached to the parrots, and then us have to rehome them because they got too agressive, etc. Our tank repertoire is solidly fixed at the 20gal QT and the 125 gal, so there's no option like "if they don't work out we will just move them to the 75gallon" etc.

I really appreciate you taking the time to consider my questions, this is a really helpful conversation for me to be having because as I mentioned, it's hard deciphering from all my research what it actually is going to mean in practice
 
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mcordelia

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So Hubby and I had a long conversation about this tonight and searched a bunch of forums for BP compatible stocking ideas etc. Our list as of right now looks like:

10 Black skirt tetras (went with these instead of the black phantom since they're bigger)
6-10 of some other schooling fish TBD (possibly diamond tetras)
3 blood parrots
7 corydoras Sterbai
1 suckerfish (maybe BN pleco? TBD)

We talked through the plant thing and figured if the parrots come in last the plants have the best chance, and if the plants aren't working out we do potted plants and floating plants etc.

The main concern is whether the 3 BP's will start to become aggressive, and whether the aggression will be contained amongst them or directed towards the other fish.

I m hoping that in a 125 gallon there would be enough room and hiding places for all the parrots and cories and tetras etc, and with the BP's being the biggest and most aggressive in the tank there will hopefully not be drama...

What are your thoughts?
 
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