How Many Parrot fish Should You Keep Together

Parrotfish belong to the cichlid family and have 80+ different species. They are suitable and beautiful options for medium and large tanks. However, it’s interesting to know how many parrot fish can keep together and some other stocking tips. The selection of suitable tank mates enhances the colors of a tank. All of this and their relation with white sandy beaches are also there in this article.


Parrotfish and Sand

70% sand on the white sandy beaches of Hawaii and Carrebien is the poop of parrotfish. Parrot fish scraps the algae and old corals in marine habitats. As a part of the diet, parrot fish consume the core of the coral skeleton’s material, i.e., calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate is inedible.

This material turns into fine particles and is excreted through the parrotfish digestive system as fine particles. These fine particles pile up on the seashores, forming white sandy beaches. This activity is widely suitable for the corals and also for the beaches. Algae growth on corals remains in control, and new sand on the beaches improves the ecosystem.

How Parrotfish Consume Corals?

Parrotfish bite the coral pieces with the help of a beak-like mouth. This beak-like mouth structure is strong enough to break down the big chunks of coral structure. After that, this big coral piece passes through their throats where a set of specialized tooth plates, i.e., pharyngeal mill, grind it into manageable pieces.

After that, these fine particles move to the parrotfish digestive system. They derive some nutritional value and excrete the rest of the fine particles. This particle accumulation leads to the formation of fine-grain white sand.

How Much a Fish Produce Sand?

In a year, a large parrotfish produces about 1000lb of sand. However, Chlorurus gibbus parrotfish excretes about 2000lb of sand each year.
Parrot fish and sand beach

How Many Parrot Fish Can Stay Together?

Parrotfish are a beautiful addition to any aquarium. They fill the tank with different colors and are compatible with other creatures. How many parrot fish can be stocked in a tank depends on various aspects.

Before going deep into the topic, here is a brief introduction to parrotfish.

Parrotfish are present all around the world in tropical reefs. These bright creatures have 1–4 feet in length in the wild. However, some species can gain 1.2 meters in marine habitats. However, the size remains under 1 foot in captivity. They spend 90% of their life eating corals and defending para fish, i.e., beneficial for corals.

Tank Size

The fish size helps to decide the tank size. It would be best to have at least a 42-gallon fish tank for keeping one small parrotfish, and at least a 75-gallon fish tank for a group of five. Each small parrotfish requires about 20–30 gallons of space. For large species, you need at least a 100+ gallon fish tank.

Fish Size

How many parrot fish can keep together largely depends on their size. There are 6 different size classes, i.e., 2.5 to 30 cm. As mentioned, small sizes under 5 cm require at least a 42-gallon tank for one fish. While large species of 30 cm parrot fish need at least a 100+ gallon fish tank for one fish.

Fish Species Selection

The factor to address how many parrot fish can be kept together depends on the species selection. In general, they are schooling fish. However, this behavior varies among different species. Therefore, you need to research specific species to understand their social acceptability. Moreover, keep a separate breeding tank for them, as they become aggressive during the breeding period.

Gender Specification

You need to manage the male fish and female ratio in a tank. Males show supremacy in the tank and can be aggressive to other males. Therefore, you should keep one male parrotfish in a group of 20. Super males can lead a herd of 40 fish.

Water Parameters

Keep the water parameters to the optimal condition in a parrotfish tank. The temperature should remain between 28-29°C. The suitable pH range is between 6.5 to 8.0. The water hardness should be between 6–18 dGH. Water chemistry doesn’t affect at large because they are insensitive toward it. They generate a heavy bioload. Therefore, there should be an excellent filtration system in the tank.

Tank Mates

For a happy fish tank, you also need to remember the tank mates. Parrotfish are schooling but become aggressive to small and docile fish. Therefore, always stock them with some larger and a bit more aggressive partners. Angelfish, giant gourami, silver dollars, and silver sharks are examples of such tank mates.
can parrot fish live with

Can Parrotfish Live With Mollies

No, the parrotfish can’t live with mollies. Mollyfish are relatively small and peaceful. These qualities make parrotfish aggressive toward the mollies. This aggression can cause stress on both sides. Therefore, it’s better to stock the parrotfish with some compatible tank mates. Here are some compatible partners with whom a parrotfish can live.

South Asian Gourami

A South Asian gourami can live with parrotfish. They have a relatively large size. The large size and semi-aggressive behavior protect them from being food for parrotfish. They don’t start fighting until someone provokes them.

Bristlenose Plecos

They are the passive and peaceful creatures. They don’t interfere in other territories and are happy with their spot in the tank. Therefore, Bristlenose Plecos fit best with parrotfish.

Clown Loaches

These colorful clown loaches are another best option as a tank mate for the parrotfish. Clown loaches are bottom dwellers and peaceful. However, you can only stock them with parrotfish in a large tank, i.e., 80-gallon, because they attain 12-14 inch size.

Tiger Barbs

Tiger barb is another fish that can live within a parrotfish tank. Tiger barbs are small, peaceful, beautiful, and active. Their fast speed protects them from being preyed.
how many parrot fish

End of the Line

Parrotfish are large and colorful marine that produce sand. 70% of white sandy beaches in Hawaii and the Caribbean are the excretion of parrot fish. Parrot fish are schooling and can live together. While grazing over the corals, they live in a group of 40. However, if you want to keep them in your tank, you can keep 5 or 6 small parrotfish in a tank of 75 gallons. However, large fish require a 100+ gallon tank. Large, super active, and semi-aggressive fish are the most suitable tank mates instead of mollies.

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