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Question
Hi,
I do not know if this is appropriate to ask you but I did not know who else to ask you were referred to me by a friend. I have a very young Blood Parrot fish, I was told was a chichlid but engineered by man OMG is nothing sacred. This little fish was given to me as a gift I know nothing about fish or aquariums...I am  doing my best to keep this little fish alive it's very shy and cute but after reading it seems terrible to these poor guys to have to live with their abnormalities. Anyway it was a soft orange but over the past week has started to get black in places across the finline and a little pale. It seems to have troubled at the top of the tank so never ventures up but waits for food to drop in front of it's face before it eats. I give it very small pellets designed for Blood Parrots, it likes blood worms and gold fish food, it eats that better than anything else. Why is this little thing turning black and getting pale what can I do to help if this is a problem. I don't want to see anything happen to it I already named the darn thing, looks like a girl so I named her. I have had her for two weeks now and it's just been the last 4 days that the black had shown up but her paleness began about 2 days after I received her. Any help would be appreciated :)

Answer
Hi BJ,
 Yes, blood parrot cichlids are a manmade creation. Part of their ancestry involves a cichlid called the midas cichlid and that cichlid is famous for changing colors as it grows, and so too do blood parrots.  So, the black could be perfectly normal.  Do you have her in an aquarium with a heater? They really need the water to be around 80oF or so.

-- Ron C.
  rcoleman@cichlidresearch.com
  Cichlid Research Home Page <http://cichlidresearch.com>

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Ron Coleman

Expertise

I am an expert on cichlid fishes, particularly New World cichlids. My broader expertise includes the behavior, ecology and reproduction of fishes in general. (I am NOT an expert on Goldfish). Please do not use abbreviations, such as "my GT has a swollen eye" because I don't know what a "GT" is. The more clearly you can explain your question, the better chance I have of understanding what it is that you seek. I keep fishes both as a scientist and as a hobbyist and I currently maintain about 140 aquariums.

Experience

I am an Associate Professor at the California State University, Sacramento in the Department of Biological Sciences, and I run a website, called the Cichlid Research Home Page . I also write for many popular aquarist magazines, and I was editor of Cichlid News magazine for several years. I am a scientist and I spend my time teaching fish biology, ecology, behavior and evolution and doing research on the reproductive biology of fishes, particularly cichlids. I do research in the laboratory and in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Mexico. My main interest is understanding the evolution of parental care in fishes. I am interested in encouraging greater public awareness, understanding and participation in science.

Publications
Cichlid News, Tropical Fish Hobbyist, Freshwater and Marine Aquarium, Science, Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, Copeia, Canadian Journal of Zoology, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, AUK, Environmental Biology of Fishes

Education/Credentials
PhD (Toronto, 1993) MSc (Simon Fraser, 1986) BSc (British Columbia, 1983)

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