*Sameer Gudhate

If any aquarium hobbyist is looking out for a small fish that can add action and an array of sparkling colours to his freshwater aquarium, the kribensis cichlid (Pelvicachromis pulcher) is undeniably worth considering. This fish is a great choice for the rookie fish keeper and can even be recommended to experienced aquarists. This colorful dwarf cichlid fish is easy to care for. Affectionately referred to simply as “krib” within the hobby, this West African cichlid is called kribensis because it was once known as P. kribensis. The present accepted scientific name is P. pulcher, which roughly means “beautiful belly fish.” In Latin, pelvica is the plural of pelvis, chromis refers to a fish, and pulcher means beautiful. And that is undoubtedly an appropriate description for a species in which the belly of the female takes on a effervescent, cherry red rosiness throughout the breeding period. Since an established krib couple spawns regularly, you can expect to see a lot of this coloration in your tank.


Family Cichlidae
Origin Africa
Social Peaceful
Tank Level Bottom dweller
Minimum Tank Size 20 gallon
Diet Omnivore, eats most foods
Breeding Egglayer
Care Easy
pH 6.5
Hardness 8 to 12 dGH
Temperature 75 to 77 F (24 to 25 C)

Habitat and Care

Kribs come from different West African rivers and deltas with varying hardness, pH, and salinity levels. Some Kribs come from brackish and hard water areas while others come from soft, black water areas. The ideal habitat is to provide each fish with one or two caves. The most commonly used items are a stable rock formations or flowerpots. The cave need not be large, but it must be architecturally secured and should have only a single entrance which allows minimal light to go inside the cave. Ideally the tank should be a well-planted one with real plant as much as possible. Kribs generally are peaceful in temperament not damaging to vegetation, but they do like to burrow in the gravel which may uproot the plants. They prefer fine gravel, which they will quickly rearrange to suit their needs and wants. Apart from the caves and plant cover an area for open swimming is recommended. Kribensis is actually an undemanding fish when it comes to water conditions, which is another reason for its popularity.

Diet and Feeding

Being omnivorous they will accept all of the food offered.  Flake or pellet foods, frozen brine shrimp, freshly hatched brine shrimp, daphnia, mosquito larvae, bloodworms, and even vegetables such as zucchini or cucumber. In order maintain their good health and colouration, feeding a variety of food as in case with any fish is necessary with kribs too.

Gender Differences

Females have petite rounded fins and a broad yellow band across the top of the dorsal fin. They are much smaller than the males and have a plumper belly that is bright red/purple when they are ready to breed. Males in comparison are larger, longer, and thinner with fins that end in distinct points. Their bellies are less brilliantly colored,


Kribensis tend to do very well with schooling fish like tetras and barbs. Other Dwarf Cichlids, Tiger Barbs, Siamese Algae Eater, Plecos, Cherry Barbs, Harlequin Rasboras, Corydoras Catfish, Congo Tetras are some of the fishes which go absolutely well with kribs. More options are available than those listed, but these are some of the more popular tank mates for Kribensis Cichlids:

Fish Diseases

The Kribensis is a pleasing specimen to keep as long as water quality is upheld. These fish are vulnerable to typical fish diseases, especially if water is stale and of poor quality and has low oxygenation. Water changes, not overfeeding, providing adequate hiding places, and observation along with foods will keep them in optimum health.

Now that you know more about Kribensis Cichlid care (and the species in general), what do you think? Are you considering getting some for your home aquarium? These fish are simply gorgeous and very fun to watch. You’ll find yourself spending a surprising amount of time observing them each day! Trust me on it I know many who do it and I am one of it…

*Author is an advanced aquarium hobbyist with an Aquarium at his place even before his birth. He promotes the pet keeping hobby apart from maintaining his own aquarium. He can be contacted on +91-9820270247/ samgudhate@gmail.com

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