Kribensis Cichlid: Care & Info

Kribensis Cichlid: Care & Info

Looking for a new addition to your (community) aquarium but don’t to settle for something boring? You’ll love Pelvicachromis pulcher: with a pair of these feisty African cichlids your tank will never be boring. You might even end up with some fry!

Find out everything you need to know about keeping the kribensis cichlid in your own aquarium below.

Kribensis cichlid description

kribensis cichlid swimming in a custom aquarium Also known as the rainbow krib or (more commonly) kribensis cichlid, Pelvicachromis pulcher is a small cichlid species that reaches a maximum size of around 4”. Naturally found in West Africa but captive bred on a large scale, this species is appreciated by aquarists for its coloration and ease of breeding.

In the wild, kribensis cichlids usually inhabit shallow and sluggish waters with plenty of vegetation. Hardness and pH in these habitats are often low due to large amounts of decaying plant matter.


Name (common, scientific) Kribensis cichlid, rainbow krib, Pelvicachromis pulcher
Minimum tank size 20 gallons (long)
Minimum group size 1M 1F
Temperature 75-80 °F
pH 5.0-7.5
Difficulty level Easy

Kribensis cichlid aquarium

The most natural aquarium set-up for kribensis cichlids would be a heavily planted West African biotope tank with soft and acidic water. That being said, having been captive bred for many generations this species is usually very adaptable and will thrive in a wide range of conditions.

As mentioned earlier, kribensis cichlids can be kept in some types of community aquariums. We do have to note that like many other cichlid species, they do tend to terrorize their tankmates to some degree when breeding time rolls around. This means you should avoid shy or equally territorial tankmates; the ideal choice are species that aren’t easily impressed by the raging (soon-to-be) parents. If geographical correctness is not an issue, you can consider Corydoras or Ancistrus catfish, which are both sturdy species. Small schooling fish like tetras are also an option. Avoid keeping more than one pair of kribensis cichlids unless you have a very large aquarium, as they will not treat other cichlids kindly during breeding time.

Be sure to include plenty of hides in your aquarium décor, both for the cichlids (which will use them during breeding time) and their tankmates. A few upside-down ceramic pots, coconut caves and some live plants will be greatly appreciated.

Caring for kribensis cichlid

kribensis cichlid swimming in a custom aquarium Kribensis cichlids are not too fussy as long as the aquarium is fully cycled, heated and not overly high in pH or hardness. They can be fed a mix of commercial cichlid food with the addition of frozen and live foods for variety.

Kribensis cichlids choose their partner for life. If you’ve managed to obtain a healthy pair and the aquarium is set up adequately, you’ll likely soon see their colors intensify. The female’s belly will take on a cherry red color and she’ll attempt to get the male’s attention by ‘dancing’ for him. After a while of this, the pair generally disappears into one of the hides you provided in order to spawn. You probably won’t see them for a couple of days, but no worries: they’re taking care of their eggs in the safety of their cave. They’ll come out soon, taking their fry with them, carefully herding them and making sure none dwell too far from the group.

Keep in mind that kribensis cichlids are quite prolific. If you don’t want to be overrun by fry consider keeping this species with tankmates that will feed on the kribs’ eggs, like Corydoras.


Whether you want to keep them on their own or in a community aquarium, with the right care you’ll love keeping this colorful dwarf cichlid. Interested in dwarf cichlids in general? You might also like the South American Apistogramma agassizi, which has its own caresheet here.

Worried about the work and knowledge required to maintain an aquarium? We can help. FantaSEA Aquariums can take on everything from aquarium design to set-up to cleaning, so all you have to do is enjoy your tank. Interested? Send us your inquiry here!