The truth about jellybean/blood parrot cichlids?

Updated on August 6, 2022

I’ve got a 55 gallon tank setup that I am working on, and today while I was at the fish store (not a chain but a private fish only store) I was talking with the owner about options I have for fish for the tank. While I know that I will be having a school of 6-7 tiger barbs and one rainbow (6” shark) eventually, I asked him what colorful or unique fish I could add in. We talked about gourami, and then he suggest jellybean/blood parrots. He said that they are very hardy and will do fine in the temp/PH of a community tank, and so long as I keep a large school of tiger barbs they will leave jellybeans alone. He suggested only one for the 55 gallon tank. He has one in the store that is 11” long and 13 years old, and his personal pet, and he says that the shortened life expectancy for them because of the dye and genetic deformities is a myth. It is in a community 150 gallon tank. I had previously decided to stay away from them because of what I had read about dye/deformities. (cont below)

So what are your opinions of jellybeans/blood parrots? How long does the dye last in jellybeans? are undyed blood parrots healthier? Are they compatiable with tiger barbs so long as there is a large school of tiger barbs and plenty of room? If you dont think so- what is another colorful option besides gouramis?

6 Answers

  • The dyed ones are considerably weaker (fact) and more susceptible to disease (they’ve already been injected with communal needles probably carrying some kind of blood borne pathogen)… The dye generally starts to wear of after about 6 months, though it can last a bit longer. The regular Parrots aren’t nearly as vulnerable, but it’s up to you to decide whether you want to support the hybridizing of species for money. Also, there is a good chance the Rainbow Shark would attack them on a consistent basis, which WOULD make it (the Parrot) very susceptible to infection.

    A better choice would be one of the real Cichlid species (hybrids are not species) like a Green Terror, Severum, or Jack Dempsey. Also, you’ve definitely got room for more Tiger Barbs, so I’d go with about 15 of them, as this will ensure they don’t bother othe fish.

  • I’m not sure if the dye causes long-term harm, or just is quite the unpleasant experience. They do have deformities which can make it difficult for them in terms of fighting other cichlids, moving fast enough to get food, etc. which could help explain why they die quicker. They are cute little guys though. The bigger the school of tiger barbs, the more likely they are to leave the guy alone. If they get nippy, though, there won’t be much left of him, because he is slow and not very maneuverable.

    A lot of people think you shouldn’t support these fish because it will encourage their continued breeding, but they are already alive, and some of them should get a chance at a good home, in my opinion. Be careful with those barbs!

    As an aside, if there are so many of these things, and if they rarely can spawn on their own, why all the mystery about their parentage?

  • Jellybean Parrot Fish

  • Please don’t support the dyed fish trade. Only 20% of dyed fish survive the process. That means for every 20 fish that make it to your pet store, 80 of them don’t.

    Jelly bean parrots are cichlids whose parents were deformed and instead of the breeder not breeding them, somewhere along the line he and others decided to capitalize on the spinal and facial deformity and make money off of people by calling it “exotic” or “cutting edge”. Now they have started to dye and tattoo the fish! Plus, Jellybean/Blood Parrots are sterile due to their deformities.

    It is scientifically proven now that dyed fish do not live longer than non-dyed fish of the same species.

    As for compatibility, I wouldn’t put a cichlid in a community tank. Even if the school of tiger barbs is a big one, they cannot compete with the larger fish for territory and food. And so help them if they invade the cichlid’s territory. You could try dwarf cichlids like apistos because they are only a bit bigger than Tiger barbs.

  • i have jellybeans and the dye fades very fast. They are hybrids and are quite hardy fish at least mine are. They are very aggressive, don’t think it would be the tiger barbs bothering them but the other way around. I think i would have more than one in tank also. The only draw back on these fish they stay hid all the time, they need hiding places if u decide to get them. They will peck on other fish!!!!

  • There good.