Kribensis Stats InfographicKribensis also known as Pelvicachromis kribensis are very attractive fishes. Because of their array of colors, they are also known as rainbow Kribs.

They are very interactive and make great tank mates for a host of other fishes. Kribensis have unique personalities and needs.

We have spoken to a host of fishery experts, and our article is a summary of all we have learned from them about Kribensis.

Find details on everything you need to know about Kribensis, from basic characteristics to breeding, feeding, and common disease.

Kribensis Cichlid Stats

Quick stats:

Scientific Name Pelvicachromis taeniatus,
Temperament Moderately Aggressive
Origin West Africa
Life Span 5 Years
Size 3-4 Inches
Character Peaceful
Temperature 75-77℉
pH Level 7

Scientific Classification

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Order Perciformes
Family Cichlidae
Genus Pelvicachromis
Species Pulcher

Origin of the Kribensis Cichlid

Kribensis cichlid is a dwarf fish species commonly found in Western Africa and the coastal part of Cameroon. These water bodies have varying ranges of PH and salt content. In low-lying black water, the PH is soft and tending towards a lower PH.

Kribensis fishHowever, you will find that the PH in the delta waters are more alkaline. Here too, the waters are brackish and hard, more than the streams feeding it.

Since the PH and salinity of the water do not play a major role in the survival of Kribs, you raise them in water bodies with soft or hard water. One beautiful thing about this cichlid species is that they will thrive anywhere.

Basic Characteristics

Let us explore the basic characteristics of the Kribensis cichlid. We will start first with their physical traits.

– Appearance

Kribensis is a really attractive fish with stunning colors that light up your aquarium. Like other cichlids, they have a slender look and a round head. In terms of color, Kribensis are very colorful. They have a base color of white or gray. The base color is accented by prominent black stripes running from the eyes to its tail.

The female Kribs are even more colorful than the males and have a reddish abdomen. The color on the belly of the female Kribensis gets even more attractive when it is about to breed. The burst of color attracts the male Kribensis to it for breeding purposes.

– The Two Common Species You Can Find

The Kribensis is a colorful fish. There are two common species of Kribensis.

They are:

  • Pelvicachromis pulcher
  • Pelvicachromis taeniatus

– Can They Live Alone?

Yes, you can raise just one Krib. However, if you decide to raise a single Krib only, you will be missing out on the stunning colors that they give off in pairs. The female Kribensis color up more when they have a male they are trying to mate with. Thus, if your dream is to have a tank full of stunning colors, we advise that you get more than one Kribensis.

– Are Kribensis Cichlid Asexual?

No, Kribensis are not asexual. There are subtle differences to help you differentiate between the sexes. We shall learn how to differentiate between the male and female Kribensis species.

1. Male Kribensis

The male Kribs are larger than the female Kribensis. They also have pointed tails as well as dorsal fins. The presence of ocelli or eyespot in the caudal and dorsal fins is also a fairly accurate way of distinguishing the male Kribensis from the female.

2. Female Kribensis

Female Kribs are smaller in size than male Kribs and more colorful. They also have fins that are more rounded than pointed. Thus, a Kribensis with the rounded dorsal and anal fin is a female Kribensis.

– Size

The average male kribensis cichlid size is around 4 inches, while the female is a little shorter at 3 inches. Owing to their small size, they are regarded as dwarf cichlid.

– Social Behavior

Kribensis are largely non-aggressive. You can keep a single Krib alone in a tank however, it is always better to keep them in pairs. When Kribensis are all paired up, they can defend their territories.

You can also keep Kribensis in the same tank with other fish species. They are shy and don’t do so well with other energetic fish. Keep reading to find out possible tank mates for Kribensis.

– Lifespan

The average kribensis lifespan is around five years. Trust me; a five-year lifespan is pretty impressive for fishes. However, they can only live this long when kept in an environment with favorable conditions. Which leads us to the next crucial aspect: caring for your Kribensis cichlid.

Kribensis Breeding

– Breeding Conditions

Kribensis cichlids are very territorial when breeding. For this cause, raise them with other fish species, then you must get a tank 3ft long or more. Generally, they prefer to breed in dark corners of the cave. To help, you should select a pond/tank with plenty of dark areas for them to hide while breeding.

Outside of breeding, Kribensis are peaceful and make great tank mates for a good number of fish species.

–  How do they Breed?

The female Kribensis uses her bright colors to attract the male. If you think the Kribensis is attractive, wait till the female is ready to spawn; the colors she gives off are simply mind-blowing. The female gives the male a dance and displays to let him know she’s ready to mate.

The actual mating takes place in a more sandy area. The female usually lays eggs by the side of the pond for extra protection. Female Kribs can lay as many as 300 eggs. Once the eggs are laid, she fans them with her pectoral fin and waits for them to hatch.

Fun fact: Kribensis are monogamous. Once they mate, they are bonded for life. Awesome, isn’t it?

– How Long Does It Take for Eggs To Hatch

It takes the laid eggs about 2-3 days to hatch. While they are in egg form, the male Kribensis watches over the breeding area. Once hatched, it takes another four days for the frylings to become free-swimming.

Both parents take great care of the frylings until they are ready to set off independently.

– Protective Instincts

The Kribensis are quite protective of their eggs and fry. However, as the next breeding season approaches, their focus shifts from the fry to the eggs about to be laid. At this point, it is not an uncommon sight to find the parent Kribensis eating the fry.

– How Often Do They Breed?

Kribensis breed every 4-6 weeks. So in no time at all, you will have a tank full of these beautiful rainbow-colored fishes. What a stress-free way to add color to your otherwise colorless tank.

– Can You Stop them from Breeding?

Yes, but it is quite difficult. It is important to recall that Kribensis are monogamous. Thus, once Kribs have bonded, they continue to breed every 4-6 weeks like clockwork. Thus, to stop them from breeding, you would have to remove one bonded pair physically.

Kribensis Care

The best way to practice kribensis care is to create a favorable environment for them. Avoid dramatic changes in tank water conditions. Sharp variations in water conditions in your tank can stress out your fish and make it susceptible to diseases. Thus it is important to learn the best way to care for Kribensis cichlid.

Tank Conditions

The best tank condition for Kribensis is one with a darker colored substrate, e.g., sand and gravel. These two substrates are preferred because they allow the Kribensis to show off its colors and dig pits for breeding.

Although Kribensis can thrive in varying water conditions, they do not do well with sudden environmental changes. Thus, it is vital that you provide them with the best tank conditions possible as well as premium care. By so doing, you can keep them healthy and stretch out their lifespan.

Tank Mates

Kribensis are peaceful and even-tempered outside of breeding time. Thus, they have several tank mates they can live with.

Kribensis compatibility:

– Unsuitable Tank Mates

Kribensis don’t do so well with other large, aggressive fishes. We have compiled a list of fishes your Kribensis should not share a tank with.

  • Other large cichlids – The Kribensis find other large cichlid species a threat. Thus, they become more aggressive.
  • Invertebrates – you must know that your Kribensis will eat other small crayfish and shrimps. So if you don’t want your smaller fish species to be eaten, you should keep them in a tank separate from the one housing your Kribensis.
  • Bottom dwellers – generally, Kribensis have no issue with other fishes that dwell at the bottom of the tank. However, when they begin to spawn, it becomes a full-on battle of the strongest.

– Can I Add Plants to My Kribensis Tank?

Yes, you can. Kribensis are not like most plant-destructive cichlids. In fact, they are considered to be plant-safe.

If you are looking for plants that will make your Kribensis colors pop even more, here are a few:

  • Ludwigia
  • Java Fern
  • Red root floaters
  • Anacharis
  • Anubias
  • Pennywort
  • Dwarf sag
  • Amazon sword
  • Rotala, etc

Optimizing Breeding Conditions

Seeing as Kribensis are shelter breeders, your pond would be incomplete without a hardscape for them to hide. Luckily, you can get a suitable cichlid cave at most pet stores. Terra cotta flower pots are a great alternative to store-bought caves.

Simply flip the pot upside down and drip a bit of a hole in the terra cotta flower pot, and you have your DIY cichlid cave. It is always a great idea to have many of these breeding caves to help your Kribensis feel more secure and establish their breeding territories.

– Best Breeding Strategies

You have two options for breeding Kribensis. The first is to have a dedicated tank for breeding. For your breeding tank, you will need a heater, and sponge filters, among other things. The tanks reduce the stress of moving the frylings in time for the parent Kribensis to spawn again.

Alternatively, if you have a community tank where you want to breed your Kribensis, you can invest in a fry tank. Once the fry tank is set up, you can move your Kribensis to breed and move them out again once the eggs have hatched.

– Factors to Consider When Setting up A Breeding Tank

There are a good number of things that you must consider carefully when trying to set up a breeding tank for the Kribensis species. One of such is the tank size.

  • Tank Size – Optimum tank size is about 3-4 Ft long.
  • Substrate – The tank should contain a dark-colored substrate, preferably small-sized gravel or sand for the Krib to spawn in.
  • Water Capacity – If you decide to go for a dedicated breeding tank, you should get one capable of holding around 20-40 gallons of water.
  • Water Hardness – The hardness of the water in the tank or aquarium should be around 5 to 20 dGH.
  • Temperature – There must also be a heater to keep the temperature around 77-79 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping the tank at this temperature can help induce spawning.
  • pH – Keep the tank at a pH above 7. At a pH lower than 7, you’ll most likely have mainly female frylings. Thus, for an even sex ratio, experienced breeders advise you to maintain the pH at 7.0.

Although Kribs can survive varying pH conditions, sudden changes in pH and temperature can stress them and result in a shortened lifespan.

Nitrogen Sensitivity – Keep the nitrate levels in the water below 40ppm. This is because, like all fishes, Kribensis are sensitive to the ammonium, nitrate, and nitrite concentration in the water.

Thus, failure to maintain the recommended nitrate level can severely compromise the immune system of Kribensis and lead to oxidative stress. You can use a freshwater test kit to monitor the level of nitrate in your fish tank.

– After Spawning, What Next?

Once the eggs are laid, the female Krib fans the eggs to hatch them and eat the unfertilized eggs. Eating the unfertilized eggs is important to protect the hatched frylings from getting fundi disease.

Typically, the parent Kribs will guard the freshly laid eggs and fry for about a month. During this period, your major task will be to provide the parent Kribs and fry with food. Let’s learn about what your fry needs to grow.

– How Long Does It Takes to Reach Maturity?

It takes six months for the fryling to reach sexual maturity. Until then, it is important to keep them safe from the parent Kribs because as they continue to grow, the parents’ priorities change. The parents begin to prioritize the survival of the next sets of hatchlings over the current frylings.

To curb this, we advise that you remove the parents from the breeding tank.

Kribensis Diet

Kribensis, whether adult or frys, require food to grow. However, for the first three days after the eggs hatch to fryling, you are not required to give them food. At that time, they are busy with the task of absorbing their egg sack. We, however, advise that you use those three days to prepare brine shrimp hatcheries.

Common food for Kribensis frylings is baby brine shrimp. You can feed them these brine shrimps for the first two weeks, then switch to flakes. However, take time to ground the flakes for the frys.

– How To Feed the Baby Kribensis.

You can use a pipette or a turkey baster to feed the fryling within the first two weeks. Once they reach the two weeks mark, you can begin feeding them the same food as the adult Kribensis. Kribs are omnivorous, and the adult Kribs can eat a wide range of food. We have listed a handful of the food you can feed your Kribensis with.

They are:

  • Flakes
  • Micropellets
  • Frozen foods
  • Mosquito larvae
  • Algae wafers
  • Blood larvae
  • Daphnia etc

A great idea to balance out the diet of Kribensis is to add fresh greens.

Great examples of fresh greens to supplement the diet of Kribensis are:

  • Dandelion
  • Flaked pea
  • Blanched spinach, etc

– What Quantity of Food Should You Feed Your Kribensis?

You should avoid overfeeding your Krib to avoid them from getting bloated. Thus, we advise that you feed Kribensis with just enough food that they can finish in 30 seconds.

– How Often Should You Feed Kribensis?

You should feed your Kribensis two to three times daily. Feeding them more than three times can result in bloating problems and excess nitrate and nitrite.

– How Often Should You Feed Kribensis?

Kribensis are very resilient to varying diseases. However, in less than optimum water conditions, they can become susceptible to all the usual diseases that plague fishes in freshwater.

  • Dropsy
  • Fin rot
  • Fish ich
  • Skin fluke
  • Protozoa
  • Velvet
  • Columnaris
  • Worm

Common Diseases

Diseases common to Kribensis can be classified into four. They are:

  • Bacterial Disease – You can identify bacterial fish disease by the telltale red streak and spot on the Kribs eye or abdomen. Sometimes even, the eye and abdomen may become inflamed and swell up. A simple antibiotic is sufficient to cure any bacterial disease.
  • Parasitic Disease – One common parasitic disease that affects Kribensis is Ich. You can treat them with Malachite green or other over-the-counter drugs with copper.
  • Fungal Disease – Fishes with a fungal disease can be identified by telltale white or fluffy gray patches.
  • Physical Disease – Kribs with physical ailments often get them from poor water conditions. Physical diseases may cause your Krib to begin gasping for air and jump out of the tank more often.

– How to Treat the Common Kribensis Disease

These steps we have listed below will guide you on the best way to treat your Kribensis.

  • Identify the Disease Type – To treat your fish, you need to identify its kind of disease. There are four broad categories that Kribensis disease falls under.
  • Isolate and Quarantine – Once you have successfully identified what class of fish disease the symptoms fall under, you should isolate and quarantine the sick fish. Quarantining your sick Kribensis will stop the disease from spreading to other fishes in the tank.
  • Administer the Drugs – Once the affected fishes have been isolated and quarantined, you can administer the appropriate over-the-counter medications. Ensure you keep an eye on the Kribensis cichlid as they recover.

– How to Prevent Kribensis Disease and Its Spread

With the right diet and water conditions, you can keep fish diseases that attack Kribensis at bay. Even if your Krib falls prey to any of these diseases, there are certain steps you should take to limit the chances of the disease spreading.

  • Buy Kribensis and the other tank mates from trusted stores or breeders
  • Quarantine the new fishes for two weeks before introducing them to your tank or aquarium
  • Avoid sudden changes in the water conditions as they can stress the fish and leave them susceptible to the common diseases that plague Kribensis
  • Balance out your Kribs nutrition; don’t overfeed it
  • Isolate the Kribs that show signs of illness and treat them
  • Disinfect all the nets used to remove the sick fish as well as the pond
  • Take care to ensure that the antibiotics used to treat the sick Kribs do not mess up the biological filter system in your tank


  • Kribensis also known as pelvicachromis kribensisKribensis cichlid is a very gorgeous, fun, and easy to raise fish
  • Its beautiful colors add spice to your tank, and they don’t require that much care
  • It can live for up to five years if you care for it well

Caring for Kribs isn’t so difficult; however, it is important to avoid stress as it can increase their risks of suffering from freshwater diseases. Now that you have learned what it takes to raise a Kribensis, you can go ahead and get some for your aquarium.

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