Kribensis Cichlid


Common Name: Kribensis Cichlid
Scientific Name: Pelvicachromis pulcher
Adult Size: 3-4 inches
Life Expectancy: 5-6 years
Tank Size: 20 gallons minimum

The Kribensis Cichlid, often simply called “Krib,” is a colorful and popular West African cichlid known for its ease of care and breeding. They exhibit rich coloration with females typically displaying a purple belly, especially when ready to breed.

A 20-gallon tank is adequate for a single pair of Kribensis, but larger tanks are beneficial if keeping groups or breeding them. The tank should include caves or flowerpots for hiding and breeding, along with plants and open swimming areas.

Kribensis Cichlids are omnivorous and will accept a variety of foods, including high-quality cichlid pellets, frozen or live foods like brine shrimp and bloodworms, and vegetable matter. They are generally peaceful but can become territorial during breeding. Suitable tank mates include other peaceful fish that inhabit different levels of the tank to avoid competition for space.


Where Do Kribensis Cichlids From?

The Kribensis Cichlid (Pelvicachromis pulcher) is native to southern Nigeria and the coastal areas of Cameroon. These fish are found in a variety of waterways within this region, further bolstering their reputation for hardiness.


What Is the Natural Habitat of a Kribensis Cichlid?

In their natural habitat, Kribensis Cichlids thrive in shallow waters that are densely vegetated. These conditions offer ample hiding spots and territories crucial for their well-being. Typically, the water in these areas can vary in hardness, demonstrating their capacity to adapt to diverse aquatic environments.


What Do Kribensis Cichlid Eat?

Kribensis cichlids are omnivorous fish and they display a diverse diet in their natural habitat. In the wild, their diet primarily consists of small crustaceans, insect larvae, and plant matter. For aquarium-kept Kribensis cichlids, a varied diet is crucial to ensure their health and vitality.

You should provide a mix of high-quality flake foodsgranules, and live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp and bloodworms to meet their dietary requirements. It’s essential to include vegetable-based foods to replicate the plant matter they would consume in the wild.

Here is a simplified dietary breakdown for Kribensis cichlids:

  • Proteins: Live or frozen brine shrimp, bloodworms, daphnia.
  • Vegetables: Spirulina flakes, blanched spinach, zucchini.
  • Commercial Foods: High-quality cichlid flakes or pellets that are labeled for omnivorous cichlids.

Feeding should occur once or twice daily in small amounts that they can consume within a few minutes to avoid overfeeding.


Kribensis Cichlids tend to display calm and peaceful behavior, which is quite atypical among the generally more aggressive cichlid family. They exhibit vibrant social interactions and can become more spirited during the breeding season, but typically coexist well with other species.

Are Kribensis Cichlids Aggressive?

Kribensis Cichlids generally are not aggressive. They tend to exhibit tranquil behavior and coexist harmoniously with other fish species in a community tank setting. During breeding, however, they may show increased territorial instincts, which is a natural response to protect their offspring. To mitigate any potential strife, adequate space, and hiding places within the aquarium can ensure a peaceful environment for all inhabitants.

Tank Size

How Big of a Tank Does a Kribensis Cichlid Need?

For a single pair of Kribensis Cichlids, a 20-gallon tank is recommended. However, if you plan to keep more than one pair or introduce other fish as tank mates, a larger tank of 40-50 gallons is advisable to provide adequate space for all inhabitants. Remember, ample space is key to reducing stress and aggression among fish.


What Are the Best Tank Mates For Kribensis Cichlids?

When choosing tank mates for your Kribensis Cichlids, opt for other non-aggressive fish of similar size to avoid predation or intimidation. Your Kribensis will thrive best alongside species that also prefer the lower and middle areas of the tank, ensuring that their space isn’t invaded by more territorial fish. Here’s a brief list of compatible tank mates:

  • Tetras: Small and peaceful, a good match in temperament
  • Catfish: Bottom dwellers, they will complement your Kribensis without competing for space
  • Livebearers: Such as guppies, which are non-aggressive and share similar water requirements


How Big Do Kribensis Cichlids Get?

Kribensis Cichlids are a relatively small species of fish that can grow up to 4 inches in length. They are sexually dimorphic, meaning that males and females have different physical characteristics. Males are typically larger and more colorful than females, with elongated dorsal fins and brighter colors.

Kribensis Cichlids grow relatively quickly, reaching their maximum size in about a year. During the first 2-6 months of their life, they experience the fastest growth, often reaching approximately 2-2.5 inches in size. After 6 months, their growth rate slows down, and they will typically reach their full size.