Kribensis cichlid

The Pelvicachromis pulcher, also known as the Kribensis cichlid or the rainbow krib, is a stunning freshwater fish. With its vibrant colors, interesting behavior, and relatively easy care requirements, this African cichlid species has become a favorite choice for both beginner and experienced aquarists. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the size and appearance, region of origin, behavior, diet, and essential tips for keeping these beautiful dwarf cichlids in your home aquarium.


The Kribensis cichlid is a relatively small-sized cichlid species, typically reaching an average length of 8-10 cm (3-4 inches) for males and slightly smaller for females. Its body displays a variety of colors, including vibrant shades of yellow, orange, red, blue, pink and purple. The male fish often exhibit more intense coloration compared to the females, but during the spawning season, the female has a brilliant, cherry-red colored belly. These cichlids feature elongated dorsal and anal fins, with the male’s fins extending more prominently than the female’s. Additionally, males develop extended pelvic fins, contributing to their unique appearance.


The Kribensis cichlid is native to the West African region, specifically Nigeria and Cameroon. It is commonly found in slow-moving rivers (Ethiope River in the Niger Delta), streams, and flooded areas within its natural habitat. These cichlids have adapted to diverse aquatic environments, including both clear and murky waters. They are found in soft and acidic water as well as slightly brackish, alkaline, harder water depending on the place in the stream they are found. Therefore they tolerate various water conditions as long as you keep the same parameters stable in the aquarium. They are often encountered in areas with dense vegetation and prefer hiding spots such as submerged roots, rocks, or driftwood.


The behavior of Kribensis cichlid is a fascinating aspect that adds to their appeal. They are generally peaceful, making them suitable for community aquariums. However, it’s important to note that these cichlids can display territorial behavior, especially when breeding or during times of aggression. They can show aggression if they have to compete over caves. Males may become more assertive, establishing their territory and defending it against potential threats. To ensure a harmonious environment, providing ample hiding places and territories within the aquarium is crucial.


In the wild, Pelvicachromis pulcher primarily feed on small invertebrates, insects, worms, and plant matter. To replicate their natural diet in captivity, a well-balanced diet is essential. They readily accept various high-quality commercial fish foods, including pellets, flakes, and granules. Supplementing their diet with live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia is highly recommended. Offering a varied diet ensures optimal nutrition and enhances the fish’s coloration and overall health. They are basically omnivorous.

Keeping the Kribensis cichlid at home

Creating a suitable habitat for Kribensis cichlid is crucial to their well-being. A spacious aquarium with a minimum capacity of 75 liters (20 gallons) is recommended to provide ample swimming space and territorial divisions. Maintain the water temperature between 24-28°C (75-82°F) and keep the pH level around 6.5-7.5, replicating their natural environment. A sandy or fine-grained substrate, along with the addition of rocks, driftwood, and live plants, creates an ideal setup that mimics their native habitat. Give each fish at least one cave or even two caves as they can become territorial over these caves. You can use a flowerpot on its side or rock formations. Most kribensis cichlids are captive bred nowadays. They will prefer planted tanks.

When selecting tank mates for Pelvicachromis pulcher, choose peaceful species that can tolerate slightly acidic water conditions. Avoid housing them with aggressive or large fish that may intimidate or harm the cichlids. Suitable companions include small tetras, rasboras, catfish, and peaceful bottom-dwelling species that will not compete with them over caves.

Regular water changes, filtration, and monitoring water parameters are crucial to maintain optimal water quality. It’s important to note that these cichlids may exhibit increased aggression during breeding. Provide sufficient hiding spots and ensure there are no overpopulated areas to minimize potential conflicts.

Pelvicachromis pulcher are relatively small sized, and easy to take care of, which make them a popular choice among aquarists of all levels. By providing suitable habitat conditions, a balanced diet, and compatible tank mates, you can create a thriving environment for these beautiful cichlids. With proper care and attention, Pelvicachromis pulcher will reward you with their stunning presence and add a touch of brilliance to your aquatic masterpiece.

Scientific namePelvicachromis pulcher
Type of aquariumFreshwater aquarium
Size8-10 cm / 3-4 inches
RegionWest Africa (Nigeria and Cameroon)
Ideal tank sizeMinimum 75 liters / 20 gallons
Ideal water temperature24-28 °C / 75-82 °F
DietOmnivorous: small invertebrates, insects, worms, plant matter, commercial fish food, live/frozen foods as well as flakes and pellets.
ReproductionEgglayers (lay eggs and guard them)
Life spanVaries, typically 5 years with some reaching 8 years
SchoolingNon-schooling, can be kept in pairs or small groups


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