Kribensis Cichlid Fish – Care, Tank Mates, Feed & Full Details!

Kribensis Cichlid, a freshwater marvel, has been widely overlooked due to the myriad of other stunning species in the aquatic world. However, this peaceful and vibrant cichlid, with its easy maintenance and captivating color patterns, certainly deserves more recognition.

Contrary to many cichlid species known for their territorial behavior, Kribensis Cichlids (scientific name: Pelvicachromis pulcher) stand out as serene dwarf species thriving well in community tanks.

They possess a striking appearance, brimming with a range of dazzling colors that can transform your aquarium into an underwater rainbow. Originating from Africa, more precisely, coastal areas of Southern Nigeria and Cameroon, most Kribensis Cichlids available in the fish trade today are captive-bred.

Their unique natural habitat makes them hardy, enabling them to adapt to various aquarium conditions smoothly.

Let’s delve deeper into understanding this incredible species, focusing on their distinctive appearance, natural habitat, origin, distribution, growth, size, and lifespan.

Quick Stats About Kribensis Cichlid

Name: Kribensis cichlid
Scientific name: Pelvicachromis Pulcher
Family: Cichlidae
Size:10 cm (4 inches)
Care level: Easy
Temperature: 75-80°F (24-27°C)
Water conditions: Clean, freshwater
Diet: Herbivorous
Tank size: 150 liters
Temperament: Peaceful
Lifespan: 5-8 years

Kribensis Cichlid Appearance: A Symphony of Colours

The Kribensis Cichlid, scientifically known as Pelvicachromis pulcher, is a visual spectacle. Embodying the classical Cichlid profile, the species is characterized by a tall height, a slim shape, and a rounded head.

Males can reach up to 4 inches in length, while females are slightly smaller, generally attaining a size of about 3 inches.

The most distinguishing feature of the female Kribensis Cichlid is the reddish-pink hue that adorns their bellies, which becomes even more vibrant during breeding seasons.

On the other hand, males lack this pinkish hue but have unique long, pointed fins. The dorsal fin, in particular, takes on a dramatic curve towards the back of the body.

The base coloration of Kribensis Cichlids varies from grey to white, complemented by a prominent black stripe that runs from their eyes to their tails.

Some may also have black coloration on the top of their heads. They are adorned with long pelvic fins, often streaked with metallic blue hues.

A sprinkling of black dots, akin to eyes, can be seen on the tips of their dorsal fin and the top of their fan-shaped tail fin.

One should note that a vibrant and colorful Kribensis Cichlid is a testament to its overall health, suggesting that it is thriving in its environment.

Natural Habitat of Kribensis Cichlids

The Kribensis Cichlid’s adaptability is largely due to its unique natural habitat. This species hails from the mouth of the Ethiope River, where it encounters a wide range of water conditions, from brackish waters to soft and acidic waters.

Throughout their life, Kribensis Cichlids shift between different water conditions, a testament to their resilience and adaptability.

As long as the water parameters are kept within a certain range (75°F to 79°F for temperature, 5.0 to 8.0 for pH, and 5 to 20 dGH for water hardness), the Kribensis Cichlids can adapt comfortably to their new home.

Kribensis Cichlids: Origin and Distribution

The Kribensis Cichlid originates from the coastal areas of Southern Nigeria and Cameroon in Africa.

Today, most of the Kribensis Cichlids found in the fish trade are captive-bred, ensuring sustainable practices that protect the wild population.

Their ability to adapt to a variety of habitats has allowed them to become a popular choice among aquarists worldwide.

Growth, Size, and Lifespan of Kribensis Cichlids

The Kribensis Cichlid is a dwarf species, with males reaching an average size of around 4 inches in length and females slightly smaller at 3 inches.

Their growth rate is relatively steady, reaching their full size within a year.

In terms of lifespan, Kribensis Cichlids typically live up to 5 years in captivity. However, their lifespan can be influenced by several factors, including diet, environment, and overall care.

If provided with optimal conditions, it’s not uncommon for these fish to live longer than their average lifespan.

Kribensis Cichlids Behavior and Temperament

Kribensis Cichlids are renowned for their engaging and unique behavior patterns. Generally peaceful, they are ideal for community tanks with other non-aggressive species.

It’s fascinating to observe them exhibiting a wide range of behaviors such as swimming, hiding, and displaying to each other.

These fish are semi-aggressive, especially during the breeding season. During this time, they can become territorial, particularly the females who guard their nests fiercely.

Despite this, their overall demeanor is largely sociable and harmonious.

Creating the Perfect Tank Setup for Kribensis Cichlids

Setting up a tank for Kribensis Cichlids requires careful planning and attention to detail. The following guidelines will assist you in designing an ideal environment that caters to these fish’s unique needs.

Tank Size

Kribensis Cichlids are active swimmers and need ample space. A minimum tank size of 20 gallons is recommended for a pair.

If you intend to keep a community of Kribensis or other species, consider a larger tank to ensure each fish has enough territory to feel secure.


The substrate forms the base of the tank, and Kribensis Cichlids prefer a darker substrate.

Sand or fine gravel in shades of black or brown not only mimics their natural habitat but also highlights their vibrant colors.

Decorations and Hiding Spots

Decorations serve both aesthetic and practical purposes. Kribensis Cichlids appreciate environments with plenty of hiding spots, as these provide a sense of safety.

Use rocks, driftwood, and plants to create caves and crevices. Live plants also improve water quality by absorbing nitrates.

Water Parameters

Kribensis Cichlids thrive in water with a pH of 5.0 to 7.5 and a temperature range of 75 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit.

Regular testing is required to maintain these parameters and ensure your fish’s health.

Filtration and Aeration

A good quality filter is essential to maintain water cleanliness and oxygen levels.

Filters also create a current, simulating the flowing rivers that Kribensis Cichlids naturally inhabit. Consider installing an air pump to further enhance water oxygenation.


Kribensis Cichlids do not require intense lighting. Moderate lighting will suffice and contributes to a relaxed environment.

Remember, too much light can lead to algae growth, which may compromise water quality.

Tank Mates

When choosing tank mates for Kribensis Cichlids, select species that are peaceful and can hold their own.

Good options include tetras, gouramis, and other non-aggressive cichlids. Avoid housing Kribensis with fish that could provoke their territorial instincts.


Feeding Kribensis Cichlids a balanced diet is essential for their health. Provide a base diet of high-quality pellets or flakes, supplemented with live or frozen foods for protein.

Periodic inclusion of plant-based foods will ensure they receive all necessary nutrients.

In conclusion, Kribensis Cichlids are a delight to care for, given their vibrant colors, intriguing behaviors, and relative ease of maintenance.

With careful attention to their tank setup and feeding, these fish can thrive and provide endless fascination for their keepers.

Tank Maintenance of Kribensis Cichlids

Maintaining a clean and healthy environment is essential for the wellbeing of Kribensis Cichlids.

Regular tank maintenance ensures optimal water quality and conditions, making your aquarium a thriving home for your fish. Let’s delve deeper into each aspect of tank maintenance.

Regular Water Changes

Water changes are a cornerstone of tank maintenance. For Kribensis Cichlids, aim for a 25% water change every week.

This routine helps to remove waste products and replenishes essential minerals, keeping the water chemistry balanced.

Always ensure the new water matches the temperature and pH of the tank to avoid shocking the fish.

Cleaning the Tank and Decorations

Over time, uneaten food, algae, and fish waste can accumulate on the tank walls and decorations.

Cleaning these elements every few weeks helps maintain a healthy environment. Use a soft brush or sponge to gently scrub the tank walls and decorations, taking care not to disturb your fish or harm beneficial bacteria.

Remember to never use soap or detergents, as they can be toxic to fish.

Filter Maintenance

The filter is a crucial component of a fish tank, removing waste and harmful chemicals.

Regular maintenance, including rinsing filter media in tank water and replacing it as necessary, ensures its optimal performance.

However, avoid over-cleaning, as this can destroy beneficial bacteria that contribute to the tank’s biological balance.

Monitor Fish Health

Observing your Kribensis Cichlids regularly is vital for early detection of health issues. Look for signs of distress or disease, such as changes in color, appetite, or behavior.

Should you notice anything unusual, consult a vet or a fish expert promptly. Regular monitoring combined with good tank maintenance practices can help ensure a long, healthy life for your Kribensis Cichlids.

In conclusion, regular and thorough tank maintenance is a rewarding endeavor, contributing significantly to the wellbeing of your Kribensis Cichlids.

By keeping a clean and stable environment, you help create a thriving aquatic habitat for these fascinating fish.

Acclimating Kribensis Cichlids

When introducing Kribensis Cichlids to a new tank, acclimation is key to ensure they adapt smoothly to their new environment. The process should be gradual, allowing the fish to adjust to the water’s parameters in their new home.

Start by floating the bag containing the fish in the tank for 15-30 minutes. This equalizes the temperature inside the bag with the tank water. Next, gradually add small amounts of tank water to the bag every 10 minutes over the course of an hour.

This step allows the fish to get used to the new water chemistry. Finally, use a net to gently transfer the fish into the tank.

Avoid adding bag water to the aquarium to keep potential contaminants out. Monitoring the fish closely for a few days after acclimation can help identify any signs of stress or illness early on.

Kribensis Cichlids Diet and Feeding

Kribensis Cichlids are omnivorous and thrive on a varied diet. Below, we detail the key components and guidelines of their feeding regimen.

A Balanced Diet

  • High-quality Pellets or Flakes: These should form the staple of your Kribensis Cichlids’ diet. They are packed with nutrients and can be easily bought from pet stores.

  • Live or Frozen Foods: Supplement their diet with live or frozen foods, such as brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms. These provide essential proteins and help stimulate natural feeding behaviors.

  • Vegetables: Occasionally offering blanched veggies, like peas or zucchini, can provide beneficial fibers and minerals.

Feeding Guidelines

  • Quantity: Feed your Kribensis Cichlids an amount they can consume within 2-3 minutes. Overfeeding can lead to obesity and water pollution.

  • Frequency: Adults should be fed once or twice a day, while juveniles require more frequent feedings due to their higher metabolism and growth needs.

  • Variety: Regularly rotating their diet ensures they get a range of nutrients and keeps feeding interesting.

By providing a balanced diet and adhering to these feeding guidelines, you can ensure your Kribensis Cichlids enjoy optimal health and vibrancy.

Proper nutrition not only enhances their coloration and activity but also strengthens their immune system, making them more resilient against disease.

Kribensis Cichlids Tank Mates and Tank Mates to Avoid

Creating a harmonious community tank with Kribensis Cichlids involves careful selection of compatible tank mates. Let’s delve into the types of fish that make good companions and those best to avoid.

Best Tank Mates for Kribensis Cichlids

  1. Tetras: These small, schooling fish are peaceful by nature and can comfortably share space with Kribensis Cichlids. Notable species include Neon Tetras, Cardinal Tetras, and Rummy Nose Tetras.

  2. Corydoras Catfish: Corydoras are non-aggressive bottom dwellers that will not compete with Kribensis Cichlids for territory.

  3. Rasboras: Rasboras are social, peaceful fish that generally keep to themselves, making them good tank mates.

  4. Mollies: Mollies are adaptable, peaceful fish that are known to get along well with Kribensis Cichlids.

  5. Guppies: Guppies are generally peaceful and quick, which helps them avoid any possible aggression.

  6. Rainbowfish: These vibrant swimmers are social, peaceful, and occupy the top of the tank, reducing territorial conflicts.

  7. Plecos: These bottom-dwelling fish are peaceful and often keep to themselves, making them a suitable choice.

Tank Mates to Avoid

  1. Cichlids: Larger, more aggressive Cichlids, like the Jack Dempsey or Oscar Fish, should be avoided.

  2. Bettas: Known for their territorial nature, Betta fish may not gel well with Kribensis.

  3. Barbs: Some Barbs, like the Tiger Barb, can be fin-nippers and may stress the Kribensis.

  4. Goldfish: Goldfish require different water conditions and may also compete for food.

  5. African Cichlids: They are known for their aggression and may bully or fight with Kribensis.

Breeding Kribensis Cichlids and Fry Care

Breeding Kribensis Cichlids can be a rewarding experience for aquarists. Here’s how you can facilitate it and ensure proper fry care.

Breeding Kribensis Cichlids

  • Pairing: Mature Kribensis will often pair off naturally. You can encourage this by keeping a balanced ratio of males to females in your tank.

  • Environment: Provide several hiding spots and caves for potential nesting. Maintaining the water parameters in their optimal range also promotes breeding.

  • Diet: Prior to breeding, feed them a high-quality diet, including live or frozen foods, to enhance their conditioning.

  • Spawning: Once a pair has formed, they’ll choose a cave or similar secluded spot for spawning. The female will lay the eggs, which the male will then fertilize.

Kribensis Fry Care

  • Protection: Parent Kribensis are often protective, but it’s best to separate the fry once they start swimming freely to ensure their safety.

  • Feeding: Initially, feed the fry infusoria or commercially available fry food. As they grow, introduce baby brine shrimp and then gradually progress to regular food.

  • Water Conditions: Maintain clean water with regular changes to promote the health and growth of the fry. Also, ensure the water parameters stay within the optimal range.

By following these guidelines, you can successfully breed your Kribensis Cichlids and nurture the fry to maturity.

Signs of Stress in Kribensis Cichlids

Stress in Kribensis Cichlids can manifest in several ways. It’s important to spot these signs early to take necessary actions and maintain their wellbeing.

Changes in Behavior: Kribensis Cichlids typically have active, vibrant behaviors. Noticeable lethargy, erratic swimming, or increased hiding can indicate stress.

Loss of Appetite: A decrease in food interest is a common sign of stress. If your fish aren’t eating as they normally do, it might be time to investigate.

Color Fading: These fish boast vibrant colors, and a noticeable fading or dulling of these colors can signal stress.

Respiratory Distress: If you observe your Kribensis Cichlids gasping at the water’s surface or breathing rapidly, they might be experiencing stress due to poor water quality or lack of oxygen.

Common Health Issues and Treatments for Kribensis Cichlids

Despite being hardy, Kribensis Cichlids are not immune to health issues.

Here are some common health problems and how to treat them:

Ich: Also known as white spot disease, Ich is a parasite that manifests as white spots on the fish’s body.

To treat Ich, raise the tank temperature gradually to 86°F and consider using a commercial Ich treatment.

Fin Rot: This bacterial infection causes the fins to fray and discolor. It’s often caused by poor water conditions. Improve water quality and consider antibacterial treatments.

Bloat: Overfeeding can lead to this condition, characterized by a swollen abdomen. Reducing food intake and feeding easily digestible food can help manage this condition.

Additional Tips for a Healthy Aquarium

Maintaining a healthy aquarium environment is key for the wellbeing of your Kribensis Cichlids.

Here are some tips:

Water Quality: Regular water changes and monitoring of water parameters help maintain optimal conditions.

Nutrition: Offer a varied diet to ensure your fish receive all necessary nutrients.

Observation: Regularly observe your fish for any changes in behavior or appearance.

Tank Maintenance: Clean the tank and filter regularly to prevent the build-up of harmful bacteria and parasites.

Should You Get a Kribensis Cichlids for Your Aquarium?

Kribensis Cichlids are a fantastic addition to most freshwater aquariums. Their vibrant colors, active behavior, and relatively easy care make them a joy to keep.

If you’re ready to maintain the tank conditions they need and enjoy observing their interesting behaviors, then Kribensis Cichlids could be a great choice for your aquarium!

Conservation Status

As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, the Kribensis Cichlid isn’t listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, an indicator of its relatively stable population in the wild.

However, like all species, it is crucial to ensure that any fish you purchase for your aquarium are sourced responsibly to support conservation efforts.

Availability & Pricing

Kribensis Cichlids are a popular aquarium species, thanks to their vibrant colors and intriguing behaviors. As such, they are commonly available in most pet stores and online fish retailers.

Prices can vary depending on the size and coloration of the fish, but you can typically expect to pay between $5 to $15 per fish.

Remember, prices are subject to change and can vary based on location and availability.

Frequently Asked Questions About Kribensis Cichlids

1. Are Kribensis Cichlids good for beginners?

Yes, Kribensis Cichlids are a great choice for beginners due to their hardiness and easy care requirements.

2. What size tank do Kribensis Cichlids need?

A minimum of 20 gallons is recommended for a pair of Kribensis Cichlids. A larger tank may be needed if you plan to keep them with other fish.

3. How long do Kribensis Cichlids live?

With proper care, Kribensis Cichlids can live for up to 5 years in captivity.

4. What do Kribensis Cichlids eat?

These fish are omnivores and enjoy a varied diet of quality flake or pellet food, along with occasional treats of live or frozen foods.


Kribensis Cichlids are a joy to keep in any freshwater aquarium. Their vibrant colors, engaging behaviors, and manageable care requirements make them a favorite among both novice and experienced aquarists.

By understanding their needs and providing a suitable environment, you can enjoy the beauty and vibrancy these fish bring to your home.

While they require some attention and care, the rewards are well worth it, making Kribensis Cichlids an excellent addition to your aquarium.