- Scientific name: Scaridae
- Common name: Parrotfish, Parrotfish
- Aquarium size: From 300 liters
- Temperament: Calm
- Temperature: 24ºC to 26ºC
- pH: 8.2 to 8.4
- Diet: Herbivores
- Length: Between 15cms and 1200cms
It is not possible to speak specifically of Parrot Fish, as if it were a unique specimen. Parrot “fish” are a subfamily of the Wrasses that include approximately nine genera and 80 different species of tropical marine fish.
Their presence has a great environmental impact, due to their diet.
Although they are fundamentally herbivorous and in a juvenile state they tend to eat invertebrates, to facilitate their digestion they usually ingest pieces of coral and rocks, which they crush with their pharynx, creating large amounts of sediment in the form of sand.
Their name of Parrot Fish or Parrot Fish, they receive it from their beak-shaped mouth and their striking coloration, which somehow resemble parrots or parrots.
They have a second set of jaws in their throats, which help them grind, trim, and grind food as they process it.
The dorsal fin is provided with nine spines and ten soft rays , the anal fin has three spines and nine soft rays, while the pelvic fins have a single spine and five soft rays.
Its size varies from one species to another, being able to find specimens from 15 centimeters in length to 1.20 meters.
Its coloration is also varied, there arespecimens ranging from red, green, blue, purple, pink or yellow, which also vary in intensity and color, depending on whether we are dealing with male or female Parrotfish.
Distribution and habitat
Parrotfish are tropical fish that inhabit the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. We can also find some specimens in the Red Sea.
They can be found at any depth between 1 and 30 meters, although there are also some species that prefer to live deeper, reaching 80 meters.
They like sea beds covered by algae and where they find corals or rocks, which they use in their digestive process.
Depending on the species of Parrot Fish that we are going to introduce into the aquarium, it must be the right size, although we should start with a minimum aquarium of 300 liters.
The water temperature should be between 24ºC and 26ºC, with a pH between 8.2 and 8.4, with a water density between 1.023 and 1.026.
The aquarium must reproduce the conditions of its natural habitat, for which we must add a sand substrate with enough depth so that they can hide if they need it.
Rocks must be added, which they need for food or dead corals, although this can be somewhat more complicated.
They basically feed on algae, they are herbivores, although in their juvenile stages they can include invertebrates and small shellfish in their diet.
In their diet they include the consumption of dead corals or rocks , with the exception of the parrot fish with the molt head, which consume live coral.
All food is processed through their pharyngeal jaw, they turn it into a fine paste that they eat and break down.
They usually form feeding groups, even associate with other fish . This very special form of coexistence is intended to deter predators.
Behavior and compatibility
Something very curious and distinctive of some species of Parrotfish is the ability at night to secrete a kind of enveloping cocoon, in which it sleeps until the next day.
It takes about 30 minutes to create the cocoon, which is open at the front and back, to facilitate the circulation of the water.
It is believed that it can serve as protection to deter nocturnal predators that are guided by the smell of their prey, since it gives off a bad smell and taste.
They are not easy fish to keep in an aquarium, due to their great symbiosis with coral reefs.
The Parrotfish is hermaphroditic , it is born as a female and throughout its life it can become a male , it is a phenomenon known as sequential or proterogynous hermaphrodites.
This sex change is usually socially influenced, when the dominant male disappears or dies, he is replaced by an adult female, who changes her sex to replace the male. The process is irreversible, once the Parrot Fish becomes a male.
These changes are usually associated with morphological and color changes, with males exhibiting more intense and striking patterns and coloration.
There are several forms of mating within the species of Parrotfish.
When the females spawn, they usually do so taking into account the tides, so that the eggs are dispersed.
Hatching takes place approximately 25 hours after fertilization . The fry will begin to feed three days after hatching.