Most fish of the cichlid genus belong to territorial species, which means their intolerable and aggressive behavior even to their relatives, not to mention the other inhabitants of the water kingdom. However, there is among this unfriendly family and quite peaceful representative called pelvihakromis, which is better known among aquarists as a parrot fish.
The parrot fish, unlike other cichlids, has a friendly character
The first information about small fish with the complex name Pelvicachromis (or Pelmatochromis) pulcher appeared in 1901, and already in 1913 the species was brought to Germany, where aquarism was then actively developing. After a few more years, pelvihakromis (cichlian fishes) gained wide popularity.
The second name “parrot” was given to the species for its bright color and characteristic shape of the head, which looks like a curved beak of a parrot.
Pelmatokhromisy fell in love with not only experienced, but also novice aquarists for several reasons. Firstly, these fish are absolutely unpretentious to the feed and chemical composition of water. Secondly, they are peaceful towards their neighbors and indifferent to aquatic vegetation.
And finally, the main thing – they are very beautiful.
Parrot fishes are absolutely unpretentious to the feed and chemical composition of water
The color of adult individuals is really quite interesting, and, unlike most species of fish, in which the male looks much brighter in appearance, the “parrots” of both sexes are equally attractive. Females have smaller sizes (about 4 cm long) and a more rounded bright crimson belly.
The dorsal fin is decorated with a gold edging, and on both sides of the body there are two bright longitudinal stripes with a yellowish tint.
Males are almost twice as long (about 7−8 cm), as well as slimmer females. They have a brown back, bluish sides and a red belly, and two light cream stripes run along the body. The abdominal and anal fins are blue and have an elongated pointed shape.
On the dorsal fin there is an orange edging with several black dots, sometimes merging into a solid line. The diamond tail is decorated with dark spots in gold and silver edging.
Pelvicahromis fry are less attractive than adults. The color of their body is gray with a dark longitudinal stripe, and the fins are almost transparent.
In the future, young females on the abdomen begins to show a crimson spot, according to which they are distinguished from males.
The males of parrots are almost twice as long (about 7−8 cm), as well as slimmer females
The species is not very extensive natural range. Most often, this nimble little fish is found in the rivers of Cameroon, Nigeria and Benin.
A small population of parrot cichlids has been relatively recently discovered in Ethiopia.
Scientific descriptions of pelviqua chromis suggest that this fish prefers freshwater bodies with dense vegetation and slow currents, however, some sources report several instances of species being found in estuaries of hard and brackish water.
Being predators by nature, parrot cichlids mainly feed on caviar of other river dwellers, as well as on larvae and living invertebrates, however, not infrequently, particles of floating plants also enter their diet.
Parrot prefers fresh water with dense vegetation and slow flow
For more than a hundred years of breeding of pelmochromis as an aquarium fish, ichthyologists discovered many of its subspecies, mainly distinguished by their colors and conditions of detention. Today you can find such varieties of parrot fish on sale:
- Pelvicachromis yellow-bellied (Pelvicachromis humilis) – lives in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The maximum length is 13 cm. The male has a gray-beige body color with 7–8 brown transverse stripes. The belly and gill covers are yellow, and the odd fins are decorated with red trim. The belly of the female has a purple hue. Gill fins and tail rims – turquoise.
- Netting parrot (Pelvicachromis subocellatus) – found in Gabon, Nigeria and Congo. It reaches a length of 8 cm and prefers lightly salted water. The body of the male is colored cream-gray with a dark mesh pattern. The back has a gradient transition from light purple to lemon. Fins: abdominal – black, pectoral – yellowish, lower part of the caudal and dorsal – golden. The upper part of the tail and each scale are framed with a red border. The female has a gray-yellow color. Abdominal fins and belly – burgundy.
There are many aquarium species of parrot fish.
Pelvicahromis striped or changeable (Pelvicachromis taeniatus) – a species common in Cameroon and Nigeria. Fish have 5 different colors. The back of the males can be golden or olive in color, and the stomach – blue, light green or yellow.
The scales are framed in a dark border. Variations of the dorsal fin are also different: from light violet or red to yellow with a white or purple stripe along the edge.
Crimson tail with blue or blue stripes and black spots. Lower fins are dark blue. The belly of females can be of three options: cherry, red and blue, blue.
On the back is a bright brown stripe. The tail and dorsal fins are yellow-gold with small black dots.
Pelvicahromis striped or changeable has five different color schemes.
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