How do I tell the difference in a male and female blood red parrot fish?

Written by frank whittemore
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How do I tell the difference in a male and female blood red parrot fish?
Parrot fish have a spinal deformity that makes them look parrot-like in profile. (fish image by pearlguy from

Blood red parrot fish are members of the cichlid family of fish and possess an inbred deformity of the spine that gives them a distinctive, parrot-like profile. The blood red parrot fish was developed by breeders and hobbyists, according to the Animal-World website. Since they are a hybrid, they are domestic and only found in aquariums. The male and female of this species are often so similar that they are impossible to differentiate; however, there are clues that may help sex a parrot fish.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Examine the dorsal and anal fins. If the fins are rounded, the fish is a female, says If the parrot fish has pointed dorsal and anal fins, the fish could be either a male or a female.

  2. 2

    Look at the other body characteristics of the fish. The website says that blood red parrot fish males often have a more pronounced separation between the head and the body. Females may have smaller gill plates and any lip deformities may be less prominent than in male blood red parrot fish.

  3. 3

    Examine blood red parrot fish when spawning. The Animal-World website indicates that the male is more colourful during spawning, displaying more pink on the throat and behind the gills.

  4. 4

    Observe the behaviour of the fish. reports the male of a mated pair will dig a nest in a gravelly bottom, while the female patrols the perimeter of the nest. Once eggs are laid, the female will occupy the nest and the male will protect it from outside.

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