Tattooed Parrot Cichlid Video, CIPS trade show, China

Take a look at these hybrid Parrot cichlids on show at the CIPS pet and aquatic trade show in China.

Parrot cichlids, also known as parrot fish, are famous for being man made hybrid tropical fish of unknown genetic origin.

Available in colours ranging from yellow to red, Parrot cichlids may also be dyed to create colours like pink and purple, tail docked to create “Heart parrots,” or in this case injected with dye in strategic places to create patterns.

The fish in the video carry a flower pattern, the red circles being the flowers, and the green marks, the stems and leaves.

Pain, stress and susceptability to disease are all assumed, by those who care, to be part and parcel of fish tattooing, and a rare video released showing the actual tattooing process revealed that the fish are removed from the water stabbed and injected with a needle.

Fishkeeping News does not condone the tattooing of live fish in any way, shape or form, and although it is not illegal to sell dyed fish in the UK, it is illegal to dye them here.

The Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association had this to say on dyed fish, back in 2015:

The Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association is calling on its members not to import or sell dyed or tattooed fish.

The trade body, which represents more than 800 members from across the aquatics industry, has produced a position statement outlining its views to help retailers.

“We do not believe responsible retailers would have anything to do with these issues but we wanted to make our position clear on both,” said OATA Chief Executive Keith Davenport.

“While it might be legal in the country of origin to artificially dye or tattoo fish for purely cosmetic purposes we consider it a totally unacceptable practice that would definitely be illegal here in the UK. It makes no sense to be involved in something that we know would be considered animal cruelty if it was done in the UK. Responsible retailers really should have nothing to do with dyed fish that have been cosmetically marked in this way and we would not support any OATA member trading in these fish if they were found to have fallen foul of the law or face criticism in any way.



Jeremy Gay

Author of three fishkeeping books and lifelong fishkeeper. Experience includes editor of Practical Fishkeeping magazine, editor of Pet Product Marketing magazine, multi award- winning livestock manager and aquatic store manager.