Polar Parrot Cichlids: Tank Requirement, Lifespan, Breeding, Tank Mates

The hybrid parrot cichlids are truly amazing fish to watch in your aquarium. Polar parrot cichlids have a lot of personalities combined with their compact shape and form. It makes them one of the cutest fish in the fishkeeping hobby.

The Polar Parrot Cichlids, or the hybrid Parrot cichlids, are one of the most unusual-looking yet attractive fish. These fish are manmade and are considered to be a hybrid of Convict and parrot cichlids. They have the main characteristic features of Parrot Cichlids and Convict cichlids.

If you want to know further about these unique cichlids, do study further:

Polar Parrot Cichlids Origin

The Polar Parrot cichlids are not found in the wild. They are manmade fish and are obtained by cross-breeding two different fish.

It was first made by cross-breeding Male Convict Cichlids with Female Blood Parrot cichlids, which explains a lot about the appearance of the Polar Parrot. There are no exact traces of when the polar parrots were produced, but it can be estimated that they were bred around the early 2000s.

Polar Parrot Cichlid Appearance

The Polar Parrots are a pretty interesting-looking fish. If you have ever wondered what a Parrot body with Convict color would look like. The answer would be Polar Parrot Cichlids. The two distinct characteristics of both fish are seen in the Polar Parrot.


The body of this fish is rounded with a protruding mouth, just like the Blood Parrot cichlids, while the color of this fish is white with black stripes throughout its body, similar to the convict cichlids.


These fish can grow to about 8 inches in length and will usually retain their oddly attractive look throughout their life span.


They have a very compact body shape. The bodies of the Polar Parrots have a fine shiny blue dot that appears like they’ve been sprinkled with blue glitter. In my opinion, The Polar Parrot Cichlids are some of the cutest-looking fish.

Polar Parrot Cichlid Availability

Since the Polar Parrot Cichlids were introduced to the fish-keeping hobby, people have loved this fish. And the demand is only going up every day.

To fulfill the ever-increasing demand for fish, local fish stores have been importing these fish in large numbers and breeding them in masses. You can easily find a pair of Polar Parrot Cichlids in your local fish stores.

They are not as common as other fish like the Oscar Cichlids and Parrot cichlids, so if you don’t find one in your local fish store, you can buy the fish from the internet, where it is always available. Your local fish breeder also may have these fish, as they are very easy to breed.

Polar Parrot Cichlid Price

With the increasing popularity of the Polar Parrots among aquarium hobbyists, breeders have started to breed the fish in mass numbers. They were pretty expensive when it first came to the hobby and would cost as much as 150$ for a pair.

Since they are very easy to breed, fish stores have been able to bring down the price to 15$ to 20$ for a pair. You can even get some cheaper rates if your source is the internet. If you want a high-quality pair for a reasonable price, you should seek a local fish breeder. They usually tend to have high-quality fish at fair prices.

Polar Parrot Cichlid Lifespan

The Polar Parrot Cichlids have a fairly long lifespan.  If you can provide your fish with proper care, including high-quality fish food and good water parameters, your fish can survive for up to 8 years. Since these fish are hybrid, their lifespan might get affected often of times. And on average, the fish will easily survive for about six years in your aquarium.

Polar Parrot Cichlid Sexual Difference

You can easily differentiate the male Polar Parrot from the Female Polar parrot cichlid. However, they should reach sexual maturity. In their juvenile stage, they look almost the same, and it is almost impossible to differentiate the male fish from the female. Once the fish are old enough, you can easily see the fish.

Body And Size

The male Polar Parrot is usually thinner and has a broader body. And the females have fatter bodies and are usually smaller bodies. The female Polar parrots are rounder and smaller in size.

Color Of The Polar Parrot

The tail of the male fish is reddish, while the female has a light bluish-colored fin. Once the female fish is full of eggs, it will have a larger stomach, and the color around its stomach may turn bright yellow or orange. These signs can help sex the fish but do not have 100% accuracy.

Maturity/ Pregnancy

If you want to ensure whether your fish is male or female, you’ll have to wait until your fish matures. You can wait until the female fish lays eggs to ensure that the fish is female, and you can also vent the fish tube.

Anal Pore

The Male Polar parrot will have a V-shaped anal pore, while the female Polar parrot will have an O-shaped anal pore.

Social Behavior

The Polar Parrot Cichlids are very calm and gentle fish.

Are Polar Parrot Cichlids Aggressive/ Territorial?

Polar Parrot Cichlid does not get aggressive towards other fish unless the other fish starts things up. Although these fish are small, they can hold up for themselves relatively well. They won’t get territorial very often and are very friendly with other fish. But they will get very aggressive when they breed. So it is best for you to remove the other fish when the Polar Parrots start breeding.

Tank Mates For Polar Parrot Cichlid

Some of the best tank mates for the Polar Parrots are similar-sized Central American Cichlids like

Bottom-dwelling fishes like

And these fish helps to give a fuller look to your aquarium by occupying and swimming in the bottom portion of your aquarium.

Fishkeeping Difficulty/ Are Polar Parrot Cichlids Hardy?

The Polar Parrot Cichlids are very hardy fish. They can withstand a wide variety of water parameters and can even survive in the worst of water conditions.

If you are able to provide a spacious aquarium with good filtration and good fish food, your fish will do fine in your aquarium. These fish are less demanding and require very little attention and care, so I highly recommend this fish to any beginner fish keeper.  As it is very easy to keep and you can learn a lot from the fish about the fish.

Tank Size for Polar Parrot Cichlid

The size of the tank is an important factor in the well-being of your fish. You should never cramp up fish in a small aquarium. The inability to move freely will stress the fish and decrease their lifespan of the fish significantly.

As much as we love to roam around free spaces, the fish does too. You should at least get a 30-gallon aquarium for a pair of polar parrots. The aquarium will have enough space for the fish to swim around. With the addition of each fish, you should increase the size of the aquarium by 10 gallons.

I suggest you get a larger aquarium than your fish requires. This way, you can add more fish if you want to without having trouble setting up a new aquarium.


Aquarium light is responsible for bringing out the best colors of your fish. It also makes your aquarium look brighter and more beautiful. Bright white color and blue colors will really bring out the colors of Polar Parrot Cichlids.

You can use any store-bought aquarium light. But you don’t need high-end aquarium lights like Fluval Spectrums, and these lights are a good addition to your aquarium however, they are not necessary.

Substrate and Decoration

A substrate is a crucial part of an aquarium. It covers the entire base of an aquarium and gives it a fuller look. The substrate can make or break the look of your aquarium. A carefully placed substrate will give a completely different look to your aquarium.

Since polar parrots are known to be substrate diggers, you should not use any substrate having sharp edges. You can use a fine-grain aquarium of any color. I would recommend you not to go with a lighter shade of substrate as they look dirty quicker, and you will have a harder time cleaning them.

And for decoration, you can use a hollow pot made of clay or plastic. Polar Parrot cichlids prefer some cave in their tank. You can also use Aquarium caves available in your local fish store. They will stay in their cave when they feel threatened and also use them as a site to lay eggs. A decoration piece like these helps the fish feel safe in your aquarium.

You can even get a better viewpoint on how to decorate an aquarium from our beginner’s guide.

Polar Parrot Cichlid Diet

The Polar Parrot Cichlids have a very compact body, which means their digestive tract is cramped together. You should feed them foods that can be digested very easily.

It would be best if you didn’t overfeed them, especially with live foods, which can be pretty hard to digest. Since the mouths of the Polar Parrot are very small, you should feed them with small-sized pellets so they won’t have trouble feeding on it.

Some of the best fish foods for this fish are

You should make sure that the sizes of these pellets are small or medium.

Maintaining Water Quality

For the overall wellness of the fish in your aquarium, you will need to maintain the parameters of the water to some extent. The water temperature in your aquarium might not be suitable for the fish, so you may need to add an aquarium heater.

The water from your area might be too soft for the fish, and you may have to add different water conditioners to make them suitable for your fish. You should always use a water de-chlorinator in your water before using it in your aquarium. Here are the parameters of water that should be kept in check for the Polar Parrot Cichlids.

Water Temperature

The Polar Parrots require an aquarium heater throughout the year. Frequent changes in the water temperature are not good for the overall health of your fish.

Your fish may lose its immunity, become stressed, and fade out if the temperature is not kept in an optimum range. At the right temperature, your fish will bring out its best colors and will not stress out. The Polar Parrot cichlids will do fine in temperatures of 76°F to 82°F.

You should keep the water temperature around 80°F, which will also be suitable for other fish that might be present in the same aquarium.

Water pH

Since the Polar Parrot Cichlids are made by cross-breeding two Central American cichlids, they require water parameters similar to other Central American cichlids. They can withstand a pH of around 6.4 to 7.5. I would recommend you keep the water pH at neutral 7.0, which is easily achievable.

Water Hardness

The Polar parrot cichlids prefer soft water. So, the water hardness of 2 to 25 dGH would be perfect for the fish.

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Water Filtration For Polar Parrot Cichlid

The Polar Parrot Cichlids have a very compact body, and the fins of these fish are not very strong.

Gentle Flow

You will need an aquarium filter that performs well but produces gentle flow only. Any type of filter that produces a lot of flow is more likely to stress out your fish. You should not use any strong powerhead filter. These filters produce a lot of water movement, which is not suitable for the fish.

Hang-on-the-back filters are a perfect choice for your aquarium.

Filtration Media

You can use all sorts of filtration media and manage the flow rate in your hang-on-the-back filter. They produce gentle water flow and provide excellent filtration; thus, they are the perfect filter for your aquarium.

Water Maintenance

Once you’ve got all the water parameters right, it is very easy to maintain the water condition in your aquarium.  You should perform a 30% water change once every week. The water you add to your aquarium should be at the same temperature as the water inside your aquarium. You should clean the filter media of your aquarium filter twice a month.

Polar Parrot Fish Disease

Suppose the water conditions in your aquarium are not good, and the temperatures are regularly fluctuating. In that case, the immunity of your fish will drastically decrease, and the chances of getting infected by the disease will skyrocket. Here is some of the more frequently occurring disease in the Polar Parrot Cichlids.

White Spot Disease

White Spot disease, or the Ick, is caused by a protozoan Ichthyophthirius multifiliis and only affects fish with low immunity.

Causes and Symptoms

Decreased aquarium temperature is one of the main reasons that your fish gets infected with white spot disease. Small white plaque-like spots occur in the fish’s body, and if left untreated, the spots multiply throughout the fish’s body and will eventually kill the fish.

Treatment and Prevention

Treating the white spot disease is very easy as they pretty much go away once you raise the temperature in your aquarium. Some of the home remedies like Garlic also help reduce the white spot in the fish. If the fish’s condition is worsening, you use medicine like the Super Ich. Regular water changes will also help the fish recover from the white spot disease.

Medicine for Ich

API Aquarium Salt

Seachem ParaGuard



It is a common disease in hybrid fish. Fish with shortened body lengths tend to have shorter guts.

Causes and Symptoms

It will cause many complications for the fish. And the most evident is its inability to digest food quickly. Fish like Flowerhorns, Parrot, and Polar Parrots are very susceptible to this disease. When you feed your fish a lot of live foods, your fish cannot digest them in time, causing your fish to get bloat.

Treatment and Prevention

It is a very frequently occurring disease in these fish, but it is also very easy to treat. You should not feed any more food when your fish is suffering from bloat. The digestion will continue slowly, and the bloat will eventually decrease. You can also feed them with boiled peas by removing their shell. This will help improve the digestion of the fish.

Swim Bladder Disease

As stated above, the Polar Parrot cichlids are compact fish.

Causes and Symptoms

They have small bodies, and the organs within the fish are in very close proximity to each other.  And the swim bladder of the fish is also compressed against the other organ of the fish. This makes the swim bladder more susceptible to external injury.

When there is any injury to the Polar parrot cichlid in the abdomen, it might likely injure its swim bladder. Your fish will have a hard time swimming if it has swim bladder disease.

These diseases rarely occur in your fish and only occur when your fish has a big accident. But when your fish has swim bladder disease, it is almost impossible to treat them.  You can increase the amount of aeration in your aquarium and decrease the level of water to ease your fish.

Treatment and Prevention

These are the most frequently occurring disease in the Polar parrot cichlids. Since these diseases have been so common the medicines for these diseases are being manufactured day in and day out. These diseases are not 100% preventable, but you can prevent them to some extent by cleaning your aquarium and maintaining the water parameters to optimum levels.

Breeding Polar Parrot Cichlid

The Polar Parrot Cichlid has the same breeding ritual and process as the convict cichlids. And considering this fact, the polar parrot cichlids are one of the easiest fish to breed in an aquarium. Once the fish feels safe in their aquarium, they can breed once every three months. Since the breeding process may take up to 2 days, you should prepare the parents by feeding them high-quality food. There are also different types of hormone-inducing fish food that you can use to make your fish breed faster.

Setting up a Breeding Tank

If you want to breed the Polar parrots successfully and more efficiently, you should set up a breeding tank.

Size of Breeding Tank

You can breed these fish in an aquarium as small as 30 gallons. You should use a plate with a smooth surface or a small cave-like pot where the female Polar parrot can lay their eggs.

Filter For Breeding Tank

The filter in your breeding tank should not produce a lot of flow rate. So I would suggest you use any air-driven filter and, most preferably, a sponge filter.


You can run a bare-bottom aquarium as they are very easy to clean. Doing 20% water changes will also encourage the fish to breed abruptly.

Breeding Process

The breeding processes of the Polar Parrots are very similar to the Convict Cichlids. The female fish will clean the surface where they decide to lay the eggs later. Depending on its age, the female Polar Parrot can lay about 100-300 eggs.

The eggs are transparent in color. And then, the male fish fertilizes it. The fertilized eggs turn darker while the unfertilized eggs become opaque white. This process can take up to 12 hours. Both parents protect the egg by taking a turn and will defend the eggs if there are any other fish in the tank. The female fish are more aggressive toward intruders.

The fertilized eggs will hatch in about 2-3 days. The recently hatched fry’s are very small and will always stay in a group until they can freely swim.

Caring for Fry of Polar Parrot Cichlid

Caring for the fry of Polar parrot cichlid is very easy.

Does Polar Parrot Cichlid Eat Their Babies?

The Parent fish will take care of the fry after they hatch out of their eggs. Polar parrots are some of the best parents among all freshwater fish. The parents start by fanning the egg and will fight every intruder regardless of its size.

Most fish eat their young ones after they hatch out of the eggs. But unlike other fish, Polar Parrots take care of their fry. Once the fry becomes free swimmers, they swim around their parents as the parents will defend their fry from any possible threats.

Feeding Polar Parrot Cichlid Fry

The mouths of the fry are very small, so you should start by feeding them with freshly hatched baby brine shrimps. These are a good source of protein and will promote the quick growth of the fish.

Once the fry gains some size, you can feed them with fry pellet food. Some of the best food for the Polar parrot’s fry are Tetra Cichlid, Balanced diet flake food, Northfin Cichlid formula pellets, API fish food Pellets, etc.  Flake foods are more convenient as they are easy to break and turn into small pieces that the fry can chew on. You can also use other small-sized fish food.


The Polar Parrot Cichlids are one of the best-looking ones you can get right now. In my opinion, they are the cutest freshwater fish.

Watching them swim peacefully in your aquarium is truly amazing. They are very hardy in nature and rarely get any disease, they have very few requirements, and even a beginner fish keeper can keep them. The Polar Parrot Cichlids are one of the easiest fish from the Cichlid family to breed.

So, if you want a cool fish in your aquarium tank and if you are looking to breed fish for profit but don’t want to breed guppies or other livebearers anymore, then Polar Parrot Cichlids are perfect for you.


Image Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfPKA236U2g