Thanks for contacting. My same blood parrot is alive and well. He still looks exactly the same except he has grown bigger and more "aggressive". In my experience I do think it is because of their genetic makeup some look jacked up. His gills still protrude so it is obviously normal for them to be this way. I was in your position, I thought it was maybe a parasite or some other problem. In the end I ended up wasting money on medication I didn't need because he was a normal healthy blood parrot the whole time. I do have another bp that actually has no physical problems whatsoever. Depending on how many times you've medicated it and you see no change, I would just stop because that's how he is probably supposed to be. If you could provide a pic that would be great
I'm new to this forum, but after coming across this post, I thought I should join to provide my own experience with this. I purchased a fairly mature BP from a LFS several months ago. He was already about 4 inches in length when I got him, he's now about 5 and a bit. Healthy and happy and there are two things that I noticed different about him which got me worried at first. And it seems there is A LOT of misinformation out there on this species. Especially on this topic, as I found a lot of threads on different forums with people advising on worms and parasites and treating these poor guys with an array of chemicals/medications. And from what I can tell, it was people advising these things that had no experience with blood parrots and in all cases, there was no change to the condition, hence, I'm going to assume it's just a genetic defeat of the species and you shouldn't do ANYTHING. Save your money and avoid stressing out your BPs and potentially killing them or other fish with these medications.
My specific experience. I noticed shortly after I got my BP that he developed black spots around his body (fins, tail, sides of bottom, mouth, etc). Again, a lot of forums starting advising medicating and some black spot disease non-sense. What I have learned so far, is trust nothing from anyone that does not have experience with these fish, as the standard rules don't apply. Luckily I did not subject my little guy to any of that nonsense. All I added to the tank was Stability and Prime as my tank was in the middle of a cycle, and my guess is that the black spots are simply caused by stress. Which is actually pretty nice, its like these guys have a visual indicator that you can see and know when they are stressed.
Luckily, I didn't do much and after a few days, the black spots just went away, and very quickly. Almost overnight all the spots disappeared and he returned to his beautiful deep orange color. Since that incident, it has happened once again (this week in fact). And it happened after I introduced a new clay pot to the tank and noticed that the smaller of the two BPs I have, took home in it and the two were fighting about it. It was the first time I saw the behavior of these two BPs locking lips and physically fighting. The big guy has always shown dominance and chased the smaller BP during feeding time. But I noticed the first day I saw this that the big BP had two cuts in his right fin. I put some stressguard in the tank and the fin healed up in about 2 days, BUT black spots started appearing on the big BP. Again, showing that he was upset/stressed, whatever. So its NOT black spot disease, it just means there is something stressing your BP out. So do a water test, make sure parameters are good and then try to identify if it's something else (e.g. in my case, add another clay pot so they both get one. These guys really are like dogs or babies).
Now back to the gill topic. My large BP has this on his right side. I noticed it about a month after getting him, it's always been there, but it seems more visible at certain times. I'm not sure what causes that, but it definitely doesn't seem to be any kind of disease or worms or anything. So again, please don't trust anyone advising treatments unless they really know this species and have cared for them. Because from what I can tell from my research, from the people that have had these BPs for a while, they have commented with, "yeah one of mind has this and he's been fine and with it for years". So I would take that as a good indication that this is just normal for these guys. As to why it's more visible sometimes, perhaps its another stress indicator. As I mentioned, my two BPs have been fighting over this clay pot this week and I noticed the gills sticking out with that worm/stringy looking gills plate since the fighting started.
And in closing, I am pretty over the top in terms of how I learn new things. I research the hell out of it. I have recently gotten back into the fish hobby (this time with fresh water). I have learned a lot. And the biggest take away from the past few months is, DONT WASTE MONEY ON PRODUCTS. It's mostly a scam. Aqueon being the biggest scammer, selling their junk HOB water filters and expensive replacement filters. Buy an Aquaclear, throw out the carbon bag, but another sponge and basically never replace filters (just rinse out in the tank water you are replacing). And as for products, the only thing I use is Seachem Prime (to treat water and also when I need to treat for nitrogen cycle spikes), Stability (only used during nitrogen cycle to speed up the process), and Stressguard (to help with healing when your wet pets get damaged). Other than that, Kosher salt from your local grocery store. Used to heal many things, that's really all you need in your arsenal. I hope this is helpful to others!