Fish Profile

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

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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 the hybrid of Convict and parrot cichlids. They have the main characteristic features of a Parrot Cichlids and the Convict cichlids. The hybrid parrot cichlids are truly amazing fish to watch in your aquarium. These fish have a lot of personalities and combined that with its compact shape and form, it makes it one of the cutest fish in the fish keeping hobby.

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 a 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 breeds around the early 2000s.

Appearance

The Polar Parrots are a pretty interesting looking fish. If you have ever wondered what a Parrot body with Convict color would look lie. The answer would be Polar Parrot Cichlids. The two distinct characteristics of both the 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 through its body similar to the convict cichlids. These fish can grow to about 8 inches in length and will usually retain its oddly attractive look throughout its life span. They have a very compact body shape. The bodies of the Polar Parrots have a fine shiny blue dot which appears like they’ve been sprinkled with blue glitter. In my opinion, The Polar Parrot Cichlids are some of the cutest looking fish.

Availability

Since the Polar Parrot Cichlids have been 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 of the 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 Cichlid 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.

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 up to 15$ to 20$ for a pair. You can even get some cheaper rates if your source the internet. If you want a high-quality pair for a decent price you should seek a local fish breeder. They usually tend to have high-quality fish with fairly priced.

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 6 years in your aquarium.

Sexual Difference

YOu can easily differentiate the male Polar Parrot from the Female Polar parrot cichlid. However, they should reach their sexual maturity. In its juvenile stage, they look almost the same and are almost impossible to differentiate the male fish from the female. Once the fish are old enough you can easily sex the fish. The male Polar Parrot is usually thinner and has a broader body. And the females have a fatter body and are usually smaller bodies. The female Polar parrots are rounder and smaller in size. 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 into bright yellow or orange. These signs can help sex the fish but do not have 100% accuracy.

If you want to make sure 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 which make sure that the fish is female and you can also vent the tube of the fish. 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 and Tank Mates

The Polar Parrot Cichlids are very calm and gentle fish. They do not get aggressive towards other fish unless the other fish starts things up. Although these fish are small in size 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.

Some of the best tank mates for the Polar Parrots are similar-sized Central American Cichlids like Parrot Cichlids, Severum, Angelfish, etc. Bottom-dwelling fish like Cory Catfish and bristle nose plecos are also compatible with Polar Parrots. 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

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 very less demanding and require very little attention and care, so I would highly recommend this fish to any type of beginner fish keepers.  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 the 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 would suggest you get a size larger aquarium than what your fish requires. This way you can add more fish if you want to without having the trouble of setting a new aquarium.

Lighting

Aquarium light is responsible for bringing out the best colors of your fish. It also makes your aquarium look brighter and beautiful. Bright white color and blue color will really bring out the colors of Polar Parrot Cichlids. You can use any kind of store-bought aquarium light. But you don’t need high-end aquarium lights like Fluval Spectrums, 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 the polar parrots are known to be substrate diggers you should not use any type of 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 out of clay or plastic. Polar Parrot cichlids prefer some sort of caves in their tank. You can also use Aquarium caves which are available in your local fish store. They will stay their cave when they feel threatened and also use them as a site to lay eggs. So a decoration piece like these helps the fish a lot to feel safe in your aquarium.

Polar Parrot Cichlid Diet

The Polar Parrot Cichlids have a very compact body which means that their digestive tract is cramped up together. You should feed them with foods that can be digested very easily. You shouldn’t overfeed them and 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 Northfin Cichlid formula Pellet, Omega One Super Color cichlid pellets, Hikari Biogold Cichlid Pellets, etc. 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 temperature of the water 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 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 pH 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.

Water Filtration

The Polar Parrot Cichlids have a very compact body and the fins of these fish are not very strong. You will need an aquarium filter that performs very 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 type of 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. You can use all sorts of filtration media and you can also 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 choice of a filter in 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 that you add in your aquarium should be at the same temperature as the temperature of the water inside your aquarium. You should clean the filter media of your aquarium filter twice a month.

Fish Disease

If the water conditions in your aquarium are not good and the temperatures are regularly fluctuating, 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 it only affects the fish having low immunity. 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 body of the fish and if its left untreated the spots multiply throughout the body of the fish and will eventually kill the fish.

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 helps reduce the white spot in the fish. If the condition of the fish is getting worse you use medicine like the Super Ich. Regular water changes will also help the fish recover from the white spot disease.

Bloat

It is a common disease in hybrid fish. Fish with shortened body length tend to have a shorter gut. It will cause many complications in the fish. And the most evident being its inability to digest food quickly. Fish like Flowerhorns, Parrot, and Polar Parrots are very susceptible to this disease. When you feed your fish with a lot of live foods your fish cannot digest them in time causing your fish to get bloat.

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 pea 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. They have a small body 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 the 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.

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 maintain the water parameters to optimum levels.

Breeding Polar Parrot Cichlid

The Polar Parrot Cichlid have 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 with 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. 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.

The filter in your breeding tank should not produce a lot of flow rate so I would suggest you use any sort of 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. The female Polar Parrot can lay about 100-300 eggs depending on its age. The eggs are transparent in color. And then the male fish fertilizes it. The fertilized eggs turn into darker color while the unfertilized eggs become opaque white. This process can take up to 12 hours. Both the 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 towards the 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 are capable of freely swimming.

Caring for Fry’s

Caring for the fry’s of Polar parrot cichlid is very easy. The Parent fish will take care of the fry after they hatch out of their eggs. The Polar parrots are some of the best parents among all the freshwater fish. The parents start by fanning the egg and will fight every intruder regardless of their size. Most fish eat their young ones after they hatch out of the eggs. But unlike other fish, the 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.

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 start feeding 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 pellet, 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.

Summary

The Polar Parrot Cichlids are one of the best looking Cichlids that 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.

Reference

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

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