Top 10 Compatible Tank Mates For Parrot Cichlid

Parrot cichlids occupy a strange place in the aquarium hobby. While medium in size, they have such small mouths that they can be kept with large and small fish. And although their parents are aggressive fish, they cannot really attack their tank mates. As a result, there are several great fish to choose from as parrot cichlid tank mates!

Here is a list of 10 best tank mates for Parrot cichlid:

1. Emperor Tetra

  • Scientific name: Nematobrycon palmeri
  • Origin: Soth America •
  • Size: 2 inch
  • Temperament: peaceful; Schooling

Emperor tetra Emperor tetras are a bit uncommon, but I prefer them over neons and other small species because they are robust enough to avoid the occasional chase by an angry parrot cichlid.

Like their relatives, they are peaceful fish that prefer to be kept in well-planted tanks with elevated temperatures (78-84F).

Unlike most Tetras, you can tell the difference between male and female Emperors Tetras just by looking. Males are larger, thinner, and have a tail fin extension that gives them the appearance of a trident. Females are smaller, plump, and lack the king’s trident.

2. Kribensis

  • Scientific name: Pelvicachromis taeniatus, pulcher
  • Origin: West Africa: Size: 3-4 inches
  • Temperament: Semi-aggressive

KribensisWest African cichlids don’t get as much attention as their Rift Lake cousins. However, the Kribensis is a popular exception that is also a great tank companion for parrot cichlids.

Kribs are on the larger end of what we popularly call dwarf cichlids, as they generally grow 3 to 4 inches long.

Despite having a shallower body than parrot cichlids, they can still hold their own in the occasional territorial disputes. And like all cichlids, Kribensis becomes more aggressive when breeding.

Kribs are also easy to decorate and rarely feel the need to dig or remove plants. Their small size and smaller mouths prevent them from tearing up the decoration too much!

3. Firemouth Cichlids

  • Scientific name: Thorichthys meeki
  • Origin: Mexico, Central America
  • Size: 4-6 inches
  • Temperament: Semi aggressive

Firemouth cichlid Most Central American cichlids are too much for the average parrot cichlid. While descended from two Central American species, parrot cichlids have mouths that are too small to participate in lip locks and other wrestling matches.

They are usually bullied by their cousins ​​as a result.

Firemouths cichlids, on the other hand, have very mild manners for Central American cichlids. They are also beautiful, with a fiery red underside and gill arches that show to threaten tankmates and the occasional aquarist.

Firemouth cichlids are carnivores and prefer a mix of prepared and fresh offerings, such as tubifex, brine shrimp, and bloodworms. They also prefer neutral to moderately alkaline conditions (pH 7.0-8.0) for better health and reproduction!

4. Swordtail

  • Scientific name: Xiphophorus hellerii
  • Origin: Mexico, Central America
  • Size: 4 inch
  • Temperament: Peaceful

SwordtailSwordtails are another Mexican species that gets along very well with both Firemouth cichlids and parrot cichlids.

These livebearers are on the bigger side; I don’t recommend keeping Guppies and Platies as they are easily harassed and can occasionally be eaten by a persistent parrot cichlid.

Swordtail males have beautiful lower fin extensions that are used to show off their fitness to both rivals and females. Even the females occasionally fight each other. When attempting to spar, they use their fins in a complex dance that is fascinating to watch.

Like all livebearers, they are some of the easiest fish to raise as long as you keep them well-fed and the water quality is adequate.

Like Native Americans, they prefer neutral to slightly alkaline water chemistries, but Swordtails are very adaptable.

5. Gouramis

  • Scientific name:  Osphronemidae family
  • Origin: Mostly from Southeast Asia
  • Size: variable
  • Temperament: Peaceful to aggressive

gouramiGouramis are a diverse family of fish from Southeast Asia that includes the popular Siamese fighting fish or betta.

All Gouramis are partial air breathers who prefer to stay in warm water or in slow motion. Since these conditions are typically low in oxygen, gouramis have an advantage over fish that cannot breathe air.

Most Gouramis make excellent tank mates for parrot cichlids due to their deep bodies and peaceful semi-aggressive nature.

Most of the species of the genus Trichopodus are semi-aggressive, especially the Blue or Three Spot Gourami. The paradise fish (Macropodus opercularis) is another that can be easily defended with a parrot cichlid.

The rest tends to be more peaceful, so take a look at your parrot cichlid personality to make sure it won’t get too much trouble!

6. Angelfish

  • Scientific name: Pterophyllum scalare
  • Origin: South AmericaSize: 6 inches
  • Temperament: peaceful to Semi aggressive

angelfishMany aquarists don’t realize that the graceful and mild-mannered angelfish is actually a species of cichlid. Unlike its cousins, angelfish never feel the need to dig or tear up plants by the root.

In fact, they developed their vertical, compressed stripes to more easily glide through aquatic weeds.

Since then, aquarists have shaped angelfish into dozens of varieties, including Gold, Koi, and Marble.

Altum angelfish is occasionally available, which is a separate wild-caught variety from P. scalare.

I do not recommend keeping them with Parrot Cichlids as Altums are notoriously shy and sensitive to tankmates and water conditions.

That being said, angelfish can be a bit aggressive towards each other, and they aren’t above grabbing little guppies or neons if they can fit them in their mouths!

7. Corydoras

  • Scientific name: Corydoras & Brochis sp.
  • Origin: South America
  • Size: 1-3 inches
  • Temperament: peaceful; Schooling

CorydorasIf you’re looking for busy bottom dwellers, look no further than the active and lovable Corydoras! These schooling catfish rarely grow beyond 2-3 inches, however, their fin quills and armored flanks make them immune to even the angriest parrot cichlid.

Cories have several strange habits, including rolling their eyes and rushing to the surface for air. Since parrot cichlids are quite large, I recommend keeping them with Emerald Green Corydoras (Corydoras splendens) or any of the Brochis species.

All Corydoras happily accept a wide variety of foods as long as they are small enough for them. I recommend keeping sinking mini pellets on hand to ensure they get their fair share, as Cories don’t compete too much on the surface for food.

8. Rosy Barb

  • Scientific name: Pethia conchonius
  • Origin: South Asia Size: 4-6 inches
  • Temperament: peaceful

Rosy BarbRosy barbs are some of the largest barbs commonly available, however, they are also one of the softest species. While males will sometimes show on occasion for the right to mate with females, they rarely harm other fish.

Its emerald green and ruby ​​red tones are a great counterpoint to the vivid or angel of parrot cichlids and are robust enough to coexist with an aggressive parrot.

Rosy Barbs prefers very moderate water chemistry; slightly acidic to slightly alkaline is best (pH 6.5-7.5) with temperatures on the lower end (70-75F).

Like most cyprinids, Rosy Barbs are omnivores. So give them a mixture of blanched veggies or veggie flakes to go with fresh, protein-rich prepared foods!

9. Clown Loach

  • Scientific name: Chromobotia macracanthus
  • Origin: Indonesia
  • Size: Up to 12 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful; Schooling

Clown loach If you have a larger aquarium (over 125 gallons) for your parrot cichlid, clown loaches are some of the most interesting bottom dwellers you can have. These large, active loaches are brightly colored and prefer to be kept in groups, so they will need all the space you can provide.

Clown loaches are quite peaceful despite their size. They will eat anything, however, they are specialized invertebrate hunters who prefer to sift through the sand for buried worms and insect larvae.

Clown Loaches of all kinds love snails too, so adding them to a Ramshorn infested tank is an easy way to clean it up.

While they can grow up to a foot long in the wild, clown loaches generally do not grow beyond 7-9 inches in aquariums. This makes maintaining a small sandbar so much easier! And like most Indonesian natives, they prefer equatorial temperatures (78-84F) and soft, acidic water chemistry.

10. Black Skirt Tetra

  • Scientific name: Gymnoco rymbus ternetzi
  • Origin: South America
  • Size: 2 inch
  • Temperament: peaceful; Schooling

Black Skirt TetraBlack skirt tetras are a decades-long staple in the aquarium hobby. While they don’t have as dramatic colors as some of their cousins, they do have naturally flowing fins, beautiful silver and black tones, and a bold nature that helps them stand out.

Like almost all South American tetras, they prefer soft, acidic water and are micro-predators. They should be given a mixture of protein-rich flakes, small pellets, and frozen foods such as bloodworms or brine shrimp nauplii.

Today, scientists have also designed a Glofish variety of this fish. These fish express fluorescent jellyfish and coral proteins so that they glow when exposed to ultraviolet light. Best of all, GloTetras is still as tough and easy to maintain as the wild variety!