Maximum size : 10 cm

Kribensis Cichlid - Pelvicachromis Pulcher : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

Table of contents


Kribensis Cichlids (Pelvicachromis pulcher) are a delightful and peaceful species and are popular fish due to their undemanding water parameters. Their unique and eye-catching colour patterns, as well as their high activity level, make them a perfect addition to any community aquarium. However, due to their generally shy and retiring nature, it is not advisable to keep them with overly aggressive or large species. 

Although Kribensis Cichlids are typically kept in a community aquarium, it is essential to choose their tank mates wisely. Slow-moving fish, such as Angelfish, may have their fins nipped by these gentle creatures despite their peaceful nature. Additionally, since Kribensis are territorial about caves, they should not be kept with other cave-dwelling species. 

One or two caves should be provided for each fish, even if you don't plan on breeding them. The most common materials used for caves are stable rock formations and flowerpots. A cave does not have to be large, but it must be structurally sound and have only one entrance to allow minimal light, and the edges of the opening should be smooth.

The aquarium should be well-planted with natural or artificial plants. While Kribensis Cichlids generally do not damage vegetation, they enjoy burrowing and may uproot plants. They prefer fine, dark gravel, which they will rearrange to suit their needs. Additionally, provide an open swimming area in addition to caves and plant cover. 

Kribensis Cichlids are distinguishable from other fish species by their variety of eye-popping colours. The base colouration ranges from various shades of grey to white, accentuated by a black stripe running from the eye to the tail. There may also be black colouration on top of the head. Red and yellow edges surround their dorsal and tail fins, and some individuals have long, brightly coloured pelvic fins with metallic blue stripes.

The species also has black dots that imitate eyes, which may be found on the fan-shaped tail fin and the dorsal fin tips. In the aquarium trade, an albino form of the species has been developed. Kribensis Cichlids have an incompletely dominant trait, unlike typical albinism, meaning that the trait is not recessive.

Kribensis Cichlid Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between male and female Kribensis Cichlids is a straightforward task. Females are slightly smaller and exhibit a reddish-pink belly, which becomes more intense during the breeding season. Moreover, they possess a fuller and rounder body compared to their male counterparts. On the other hand, male Kribs are larger in size and feature elongated and pointed dorsal, caudal, and anal fins. Particularly, the dorsal fin is noticeably curved towards the back of the body, forming a pointed tip.

Quick Facts

Scientific NamePelvicachromis Pulcher
Year Described1901
Other NamesRainbow Krib, Pink Kribensis, Krib, Purple Cichlid, King Cichlid, Palette Cichlid,
OriginsBenin , Nigeria , Ethiopia , Cameroon
Max Size10 cm
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 5+
Diet & FeedingOmnivore
ReproductionEgg Depositor
LifespanUp to 5 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
pH 6.0 - 8.0
GH 5 - 20
Ideal Temperature
75 - 79
23 - 26

Natural Habitat

Kribensis Cichlids are native to the slow-moving, shallow waters of Nigerian rivers, with particular emphasis on the Ethiopian rivers near the outflows of the River Niger Delta, as well as Cameroon and Benin in West and West-Central Africa. These remarkable fish are most commonly found in heavily vegetated waters with slow to almost still flow. Interestingly, some populations are adapted to thrive in both soft and acidic water, while others have developed in brackish conditions.


The Kribensis Cichlid (Pelvicachromis pulcher) is a hardy and popular species that is relatively easy to breed. The key to success is to ensure that the fish are healthy and in good condition before breeding, with clean and stable water conditions. To encourage breeding, it is recommended to condition the fish with a varied and nutritious diet for several weeks before spawning.

Once the fish is ready, a suitable breeding site is required, such as a cave or structure made from rocks, overturned flowerpots, or PVC piping. During spawning, the female will initiate the courtship dance in front of the male, after which they will select a suitable cave for the female to deposit her eggs on the inside of the top part of the structure.

The male will then fertilize the eggs, and both parents will protect and guard the eggs until they hatch. After about 5 to 7 days, the eggs will hatch, and the fry will remain attached to the spawning site for a few more days until they become free-swimming. It is crucial to provide the fry with a suitable first food, such as infusoria type foods, powdered flake food or baby brine shrimp to ensure their survival and healthy growth.

Diet & feeding

The Kribensis Cichlid is an omnivorous fish with a wide-ranging diet. While they do accept high-quality flake food, it is recommended to provide them with good quality Cichlid pellets as the staple diet, given their tendency to stay close to the bottom of the aquarium. A balanced diet is essential, and it should include a mix of live and frozen foods, such as brine shrimp, daphnia, bloodworm, and mosquito larvae. Additionally, vegetables such as small chunks of zucchini and mashed peas can be given as a treat. Regularly offering a varied diet helps ensure the Kribensis Cichlid receives all necessary nutrients to maintain optimal health and vitality.

Other African Cichlids of interest