How to Take Care of a Baby Parrot Fish

Written by carrie terry
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How to Take Care of a Baby Parrot Fish
Parrot fish are shy, peaceful cichlids. (rift cichlid image by Lucid_Exposure from

Parrot fish are part of the cichlid family. They are hybrids of other cichlids, including midas, redhead and severum cichlids. Unlike many cichlids, parrot fish are peaceful and easy-going. Like any other young fish, though, baby parrot fish require some specific care.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Refugium/Secondary aquarium
  • Plants
  • Substrate
  • Rocks
  • Heater
  • Pump and filter
  • Brine shrimp
  • Cichlid food

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  1. 1

    Keep a baby parrot fish in a protected tank of its own or with other fish its size. Larger fish, and particularly larger cichlids, may eat the baby parrot fish. Keep it in a refugium with other small fish like younger Oscars and tetras.

  2. 2

    Supply your refugium with a substrate and rocks and plants for the parrot fish to live and hide in. Use soft or smooth gravel so the parrot fish can nose around in the substrate without getting scratched. Equip the tank with a working pump and filter, or use the pump and filter from your existing set-up.

  3. 3

    Keep the water fresh and clean for your baby parrot fish, and maintain a temperature of 26.7 degrees C. Parrot fish can suffer and grow pale at cooler temperatures.

  4. 4

    Feed the baby parrot fish daily with cichlid food. Supplement this food with brine shrimp once a week as a treat.

  5. 5

    Clean the baby parrot fish's tank once a month to supplement the action of the pump and filter. Do a 70 per cent water change, and make sure the water is properly dechlorinated before you put your baby parrot fish back in.

Tips and warnings

  • Parrot fish can grow to 8 to 10 inches and live for more than 10 years.
  • Baby parrot fish change colours when they reach maturity.
  • Parrot fish temperament differs depending on the fish.
  • When parrot fish mature they may try to eat smaller fish.
  • Older fish sometimes eat baby fish. Always raise baby fish alone until they're big enough to fend for themselves.

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