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All About Kribensis

Kribensis are an easy to keep species of west african cichlid with a lot of personality and colors, making them a great choice for an aquarium.


Although all varieties of kribensis are can interbreed there are definitely some differences in appearances. The common kribensis aka “Pelviachromis Pulcher”

Tank Requirements

Kribensis are hardy and in their natural habitat are exposed to a variety of water conditions including acidic and brackish water. They are tropical fish so you should try to keep the water between 70 and 82 Fahrenheit. Note that when breeding the sex ratio is determined by ph - so if the water is alkaline you will get males and if it’s acidic you will get females. I would recommend something neutral around 7 or better yet, ask the breeder.


Kribensis are omnivores, I’ve fed mine blanched cucumber, live scuds, flake food, etc. In nature they tend to sift through the sediment looking for food so they need either sand or fine gravel. Analysis of the stomach contents of wild kribensis has shown that they mostly eat algae and plants in the wild, so it’s important that they get some plant matter in their diet. Because kribensis prefer to occupy the bottom third of the aquarium sinking foods are easier for them to eat.

Tank Design

Kribensis tend to stay in the bottom third of the tank and prefer to have cover over their heads. without floating plants my kribensis tend to stay under rocks and driftwood and only go out for short periods of time. But when the top is covered with duckweed (or at night) they get much more comfortable and will swim in open water and come up for food.

So with this in mind make sure you have lots of hiding places so that they feel comfortable, trust me they want to keep an eye on you so you’ll still get to see them.


Kribensis are one of the easiest fish to breed – so easy in fact when I was asked “how do you get them to spawn?” my response was how do you get them not to?

Kribensis are hardcore cave-spawners, as soon as they finish acclimating to a tank they will start exploring it looking for caves and will excivate under tank decorations to make more caves. But even without a cave they’ve been known to spawn.


Tank Mates

When spawning kribensis become super territorial and usually the female will corral all the other fish in the tank into a single corner and both will attack anything that comes close to their fry and may even injure themselves in the process.

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