Types Of Kribensis: 2 Common Kinds And Caring Tips

Kribensis is a West-African fish with several subspecies. With their small size and awe-inspiring colorful body, they have become sought-after among the fish-lover community. 

This post will review these drop-dead gorgeous fish for various types of Kribensis, besides general care and breeding behavior. Perhaps, after reading, you’re eager to have them as pets in no time. Scroll down!

Kribensis fish

How Many Types Of Kribensis: 2 Common Kinds

The colorful Kribensis are branched into 2 main subspecies: Pelvicachromis Pulcher and Pelvicachromis Taeniatus.

Pelvicachromis Pulcher

Pelvicachromis Pulcher is a freshwater fish belonging to the cichlid family. It is the so-called Kribensis on the market, endemic to Cameroon and Nigeria. Interestingly, this hardy species adapts to multiple water conditions.

Also, it’s known by multiple names (based on the color morphs and derivatives), including Krib, Common Krib, Super-red Krib, Red Krib, Rainbow Krib, Purple Cichlid, and Rainbow Cichlid.

The male can grow to 7 inches, while female Pelvicachromis Pulchers average 6 inches long. These highly territorial fish need 3 – 4 females per male. Females usually fight for territory before they start to spawn eggs. 

They favor the shallower waters with some rock structures. Their favorite food includes vegetables, flakes, small invertebrates, and worms. 

20 gallons are the suggested tank capacity, but 15 or slightly less is acceptable. The aquarium should have a sandy substrate, plants, rocks, and bogwood. The ideal pH is 6.5 – 7.5, and the temperature range should be 26 – 30°C (78 – 86°F). You should change about 20% of the water every week.

This type of Kribensis has a life expectancy of 6-8 years.

Pelvicachromis Pulcher

Pelvicachromis Taeniatus

East African Kribensis is a schooling cichlid inhabiting Lake Malawi, South Africa’s Limpopo River Basin, and Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls.

They can grow up to 5 inches long and need at least 15 gallons of space to swim. Amazingly, they survive on land by climbing submerged roots or rocks, hence the moniker of carpet sharks.

They like slightly alkaline, high-quality water and can stand 500 ppm nitrate but prefer 200 ppm or less. Regarding temperature, this species requires 72-82°F with a pH between 6.5 and 7.0. 

They live best in groups of 8 or more, preferably one male to four females, since males can get aggressive without enough partners.

Their lifespan ranges from 3 to 5 years. Still, fishkeepers can expect them to live up to 10 years with good care.

Pelvicachromis Taeniatus

General Kribensis Care & Breeding

General Kribensis Care & Breeding

Kribs Sex

Unpaired fin size and shape do the trick in telling the Kribs’s gender apart. Females are smaller (3 inches) with shorter fins. Meanwhile, males can reach 3.5 inches with pointed fins. 

Their bellies have purple patches and are fainter, notably when spawning, yet males’ are substantially less bright.

They all have golden bands and chocolate brown on their bodies’ top halves, but the females are also more evident. 

Moreover, males often have multiple gold-edged eyespots on their dorsal fins, gill covers, and tails, whereas females may have only one or two on the dorsal fins and gill covers.

Kribensis Spawning Behavior

Even if water conditions are ideal, the prospective parents must be “persuaded” to spawn. 

A rich diet should work. Bloodworms, Daphnia, mosquito larvae, and brine shrimp are all nutritious options for their feeding. 

More than that, they require a suitable breeding ground. Wild Kribs often dig burrows underneath stones or logs. But in a tank, they will accept all hollow decorations. Provide them with halves of coconut shells or miniature flower pots.

The spawning period begins with the female’s disappearance. While the partner patrols outside, she hides inside the cave to guard the eggs and removes fungus-infected ones, if any. 

The range can be from 30 to 300 eggs. Two days after hatching, all fries are free-swimming.

Water Conditions

The optimal pH for producing a brood with roughly equal numbers of males and females is 7.0. Water with a higher pH level (alkaline) produces more males, while a lower pH (acidic) creates more females.

Such skewed fry populations with single-sex can stem from the tap water being more alkaline or acidic. In this case, you should utilize buffering agents to adjust the pH level in the spawning tank. As such, you can achieve the target balance you want.

Temperature matters, too. Kribs can be kept at 75 F, but 78 to 80 will enhance spawning. Warmer water has less oxygen, so use more aeration in the tank if needed.

Water Conditions

General Care Of Kribensis

For Kribs breeding, neutral, reasonably hard water is optimal. These bottom-dwelling fish like to live among sunken wood and aquatic vegetation. 

A single pair can live comfortably in a 20-gallon tank with Java fern and moss. Give them a sandy substrate to allow them to forage naturally.

They devour both plants and small animals. In the wild, decaying vegetation and algae are key parts of their diet. Supplement a Spirulina-based flake food with tiny invertebrates (e.g., bloodworms) and live foods (e.g., Daphnia, brine shrimp) for them. 

Also, add “dither fish”, like Guppies and danio, to their tank’s top level. Their diet, in general, can vary depending on the particular type.

General Care Of Kribensis


Can You Keep 2 Female Kribensis Together?

Yes. Keeping two female Kribs without a male is 90% likely okay. Some seasoned aquarists keep ten or more together with no issues. 

Granted, females would become territorial once a male emerges. In other words, you should only have one male and 3-4 females inside a single tank.

How Many Kribensis Can I Keep Together?

You can keep two Kribensis in a 20-gallon tank, but a larger one, 30 to 50 gallons, is better.

The extra space offers your fish room to swim, establish a territory, and promote peaceful cooperation.

How Many Kribensis Can I Keep Together?


Our post summarizes what we learned about types of Kribensis from fishing professionals.

Caring for Kribs isn’t so tricky at all. Still, stress might raise Kribs’ risk of freshwater infections; thus, try to sidestep it. 

Get your new Kribs right now, and share this post with other Krib lovers as well!