|Name||Parrot cichlid (Pelvicachromis pulcher)|
|Length||Males and females – up to 10 cm|
|Content Difficulty||For beginners|
Description of parrot fish
It is generally accepted that one of the most unpretentious and beautiful fish for the first steps of a future aquarist is guppies, but not everyone knows that there are other fish that are no less beautiful and hardy. For example, pelvicachromis (1), often referred to as parrots (Pelvicachromis pulcher). These representatives of the Cichlid family are from the rivers of Central and North Africa, and they have long won the hearts of many lovers of aquarium fish. Small size (length about 10 cm), bright color, unpretentiousness to the conditions of detention and peaceful disposition make parrots one of the most suitable fish for the average aquarium.
They got their name “parrots” for two reasons: firstly, it is a bright color that combines specks of yellow, black, blue and purple, and secondly, a peculiar hook-nosed shape of the muzzle, reminiscent of the beak of a budgerigar.
Sometimes they are confused with an aquarium fish that has a similar name – a red parrot, which has only a name in common with pelvicachromis. Outwardly, there is nothing in common between them: red parrots, which are an artificial hybrid of several species of fish and are very large in size.
Unlike guppies and many other fish, females in pelvicachromis are colored brighter than males, and it is precisely in terms of color options that different breeds are distinguished today.
Types and breeds of parrot fish
All aquarium parrotfish are united by an elongated body shape, a slightly lowered mouth, which allows them to easily collect food from the bottom, and a dark stripe along the body. But with coloring there are options.
Pelvicachromis reticulum. As the name implies, the pattern of their body is a mesh – it seems as if someone has drawn the fish with an oblique cage. A red or purple border runs along the edge of the fins and each scale. This type of pelvicachromis prefers lightly salted water.
Pelvicachromis yellow-bellied. Their coloration is not as contrasting as the previous ones, but they look very elegant, thanks to bright yellow spots on the belly and the tips of the gill covers, as well as crimson stripes along the edge of the fins and on the tail. The black stripe along the body is not as pronounced as in other species, but there are dark gray transverse stripes and a black spot on the gills – the so-called “false eye”.
Pelvicachromis striped (variable). Perhaps the most popular among aquarists, due to its bright coloration, in which there are as many as five color combinations of the back, fins and abdomen. Purple, red, yellow, purple, turquoise with stripes and spots – this palette makes these fish really look like bright tropical birds. The dark stripe along the body is well defined.
Pelvicachromis gold-headed. No less bright than the striped one, but differs in slightly larger sizes and golden yellow color of the front of the body, in particular, the head. At the same time, blue and green tones may also be present in the color, and a distinctive feature of females is a red spot on the abdomen.
Pelvicachromis Rollofa. More modestly painted than its counterparts. A bright yellow head stands out, the body can be steel-colored with a purple tint, in females, as well as in other species, there is a purple spot on the tummy.
Pelvicachromis Cameroonian. From the name it becomes clear that the rivers of Cameroon are the birthplace of this species. Fish with a purple back and a yellow belly, moreover, during spawning, males usually color more brightly. Also, males are distinguished by blue edging on dark red fins.
Albino pelvicachromis. They cannot be attributed to a separate species, the lack of color can appear in any pelvicachromis, however, pale-colored fish are very popular with aquarists. Most often found among Cameroon parrots
Compatibility of pelvicachromis fish with other fish
It is not for nothing that pelvicachromis are considered one of the most trouble-free fish, because they get along with almost any neighbors in the aquarium. Well, unless they themselves attack.
However, the idyll continues until the start of spawning – at this time the fish can become quite aggressive, so if you notice that a pair of pelvicachromis is ready to have offspring, it is better to put them in a spawning aquarium
Keeping pelvicachromis fish in an aquarium
As has been said more than once above, pelvicachromis are one of the easiest fish to keep. Of course, this does not mean that they do not need such things as aeration and regular feeding, which are necessary for the life of most fish. On the contrary, pelvicachromis are very fond of a well-ventilated aquarium, so be sure to install a compressor when planting these floating flowers.
It is best not to put an aquarium with parrots where direct rays fall on it – they do not like bright light. The aquarium itself should be covered with something, because fish sometimes like to jump out of the water.
Pelvicachromis fish care
Lack of bright light, good aeration, shelters in the form of plants or bottom decorations, shallow rather shallow soil, regular feeding and cleaning of the aquarium – that’s all you can do to make pelvicachromis feel happy. The main thing is to understand that without your attention and care, parrots, like any other fish, will not survive, therefore, when starting an aquarium, be prepared to devote some time to it. However, for true lovers of aquatic fauna, this is only a joy.
Ideally, to keep a couple of pelvicachromis, you will need an aquarium with a capacity of at least 40 liters.
Of course, this does not mean that in a smaller volume the fish will die, especially if you change a third of the water at least once a week, and the aquarium itself is not too crowded. But still, like people, parrots will feel better in a more spacious “apartment”. So, if possible, it is better to take a larger aquarium.
The homeland of pelvikachromis fish is the rivers of Central Africa, where eternal hot summer reigns, so it is easy to conclude that these fish will feel better in warm water with a temperature of 26 – 28 ° C. However, being unpretentious, parrots may well survive in colder water, but the fish will become lethargic and inactive, thus they will save vital energy. So, if you are serious and dream of an ideal aquarium, it is better to get a thermostat.
What to feed
In food, as in everything else, pelvikachromis are very unpretentious. They are absolutely omnivorous, but the best for them is a balanced dry food in the form of flakes, which need to be crushed in your fingers to make it easier for the fish to eat.
You can, of course, combine live and vegetable food, but this is technically difficult, while ready-made flakes are sold at any pet store and contain everything you need for a full-fledged life of the fish.
Reproduction of pelvicachromis fish at home
Pelvicachromis reproduce very easily – they do not even need to create any special conditions for this (unless an increase in water temperature can prompt them to think about procreation). The main thing is that the aquarium should have nooks and crannies where the females can lay their eggs.
Parrots, like their namesakes from the bird world, are faithful spouses. They form a pair for life, so if you notice that the male and female stay close all the time, you can safely put them in a separate aquarium for spawning. Fortunately, it is not difficult to distinguish one from the other.
The eggs of these fish are quite large for their size – each egg is about 2 mm in diameter, and has a reddish color. Future parents take turns caring for caviar, but sometimes it happens that they suddenly “go crazy” and start eating their own offspring. In this case, they must be urgently transferred to another aquarium.
The fry hatch a few days after spawning. Unlike bright parents, they are colored monochrome: dark spots are scattered over the white background of the body. Babies start swimming on their own within a week.
Popular questions and answers
We talked about the maintenance and care of pelvicachromis with veterinarian, livestock specialist Anastasia Kalinina.
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