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Wrasses
You are here:  Home » Fish » Wrasses » Bicolor Parrotfish
Bicolor Parrotfish
Scientific Name Cetoscarus bicolor 
Reef Compatible No 
Care Level CARE Species 
Disposition Peaceful 
Min. Tank Size 150 gallons 
Mature Size 35 inches 
Diet Omnivore 
Range Indo-Pacific, Red Sea, Australia 
Size Class
8
Curator's Note
CARE Logo
CARE SPECIES - Conscientious Aquarist Restricted Entry

The CARE designation is a designation used by Blue Zoo Aquatics to indicate that we have elected to self-regulate the sale of this animal either because of the species' status in the wild or its general unsuitability for the majority of home aquaria. Because Blue Zoo Aquatics commonly works with public aquaria, researchers and advanced aquarists, we do offer this species for sale, but we request you contact us first to discuss the animal’s husbandry requirements.

If you are interested in this species, please contact Director of Marine Ornamental Research Mark Martin.

Other Common Names
Bicolour Parrotfish, Irobudai, Loro de manchas rojas, Two-colour parrotfish
General Description
From a marine aquarium industry perspective, parrotfishes are not great aquarium fishes. As Bob Fenner, author of The Conscientious Marine Aquarist, says, “[The parrotfish] would seem to have everything going for it as far as desirability to marine aquarists; many are spectacularly colorful, they have almost comical fusiform-torpedo body shapes, and they are numerous and easy to catch (at night) as they lay sleeping with or without their fish-made mucus cocoons. Their only downside, and it's a big one, is that [parrotfish] rarely live for anytime in captivity.”

The reason parrotfishes often don’t survive in the aquarium has to do with their diet, their adult size and their high levels of stress, which, more often than not, leads to disease.

The only parrotfishes that can be recommended for home aquarium use are the queen parrotfish (Scarus vetula), the spotlight parrotfish (Sparisoma viride) and the bicolor parrotfish (Cetoscarus bicolor). Even these three species are only recommended for public aquaria, scientists and expert aquarists who can provide a mature system of at least 150 gallons and are prepared to meet the fish’s dietary needs.

“If you really like the look of a parrotfish,” Mark Martin, director of marine ornamental research at Blue Zoo Aquatics, suggests, “take a closer look at their cousins—the wrasses, many of which do make excellent aquarium species and are much better suited for aquarium use.”

Diet
Parrotfishes graze on algae. In the wild, their specialized teeth are well adapted for scraping algae off of dead coral skeletons and sometimes living coral heads as well. They do this by taking a rather sizable chunk of the calcareous skeleton itself and processing whatever algae is on that skeleton inside its digestive system. The calcareous material is then excreted as waste creating brand new sand.

In a typical reef aquarium, the aquarist does not often keep dead coral skeletons as a matter of practice, and so the parrotfish will turn to living coral, which it will not differentiate from the dead, algae-laden coral skeletons it is used to consuming. When the parrotfish eats the living coral, it is not actually eating the coral itself. Instead it is processing and utilizing the zooxanthellae in the tissue of the coral as food energy.

As a result of this feeding behavior, most reef aquarists who keep expensive and difficult to find corals do not keep parrotfishes in their reef tanks. In the fish only system, however, it is quite difficult to keep up with the fish’s dietary needs.

Mark's Species Tips

Please read "Queen of the Green", which was published in Blue Zoo News about the role of parrotfishes as primary grazers on degraded coral reefs.

For more information, please see the interview Blue Zoo News conducted with Dr. Peter Mumby in May 2008 concerning his research on parrotfishes and the resilience of Caribbean coral reefs. In the interview, Dr. Mumby makes a case for self-regulation of this important, albeit little understood, herbivorous fish.

 
 
 
Item #   Description  
Price
 
Quantity
 
Stock Status
002911   Bicolor Parrotfish, Small: over 1-1.5", Indo Pacific
* Restriction On Guarantee
 
$24.95
 
 
In Stock
002914   Bicolor Parrotfish, Medium: over 1.5-3.5", Indo Pacific
* Restriction On Guarantee
 
$29.95
 
 
In Stock
002916   Bicolor Parrotfish, Large: over 3.5-5.5", Indo Pacific
* Restriction On Guarantee
 
$39.95
     
 
 
* Due to availability and individuality of each species, colors and sizes may vary.
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