Fish, Tanks and Ponds

Fish, Tanks and Ponds
A comprehensive guide to fish

Pelvicachromis humilis

Yellow Kribensis

Pelvicachromis humilis
Pelvicachromis humilis
Photos by Andy Rapson


Pelvicachromis: Latin, pelvica, -ae = bassin + Greek, chromis = a fish, perhaps a perch

General Notes:

Use a spacious tank with a dark sandy substrate and lots of cover using non-calcareous stones, bog wood, leaf litter and plants which thrive under low lighting.

Dissolved solids must be kept to a minimum and so larger than normal water changes are recommended. Pelvicachromis humilis always looks at its best after a water change, it seems to invigorate them.


Flake and pellets will be accepted but their diet must include fresh greens in the form of blanched spinach, skinned peas, thinly sliced cucumber and algae in the form of nori. Live or frozen inverts such as blood worms, glass worms, brine shrimps and frozen-tubifex worms.


Larger and more aggressive than others of this genus while also being quite shy at the same time. If lots of hiding places are available the fish will eventually overcome their shyness. Tank mates should be quite robust but peaceful. Corydoras, Ancistrus and some larger tetras such as Congo tetras would make ideal tank mates.


The genders are very different when mature. The male is considerably larger with more pointed and more colourful dorsal and anal fins. Females have a rosy colured belly.


Pelvicachromis humilis is a cave spawner with the female taking the leading role in brood care while the male protects the wider territory. The courtship is long and involves a lot of displaying and preparing a spawning site. The eggs are usually laid in a cave or on the underside of a large stone. After spawning and before the fry have become free swimming or even hatched the female may decide to move the brood to a new location. The male is particularly aggressive at this time and will attack any fish which ventures to close.

Ten or eleven days after spawning the fry will become free swimming, the fry are quite big at this stage and relatively easy to raise. They will accept freshly hatched brine shrimps, micro worms and finely powdered flake food.

Wild status

The IUCN Red List of endangered species lists P. humilis as 'Least Concern'. The species is widespread and common across its range but de-forestation, mining and human encroachment particularly in Liberia may impact on the population. The population trend is unknown at the time of writing.

Additional information

Pelvicachromis humilis. is the largest of the Pelvicachromis genus and has a number of regional variations some of which may turn out to be separate species.

Information at a glance

pH: 6 - 7
dGH: 2 - 5
Temperature: 24 - 28°C (76 - 82°F)
Lighting: Subdued
Diet: Omnivore
Size: 12.5cm (5in)
Min tank size: 250 litres
Difficulty level: Intermediate
Aquarium type: Community
Swimming level: Middle / lower

Distribution and habitat

distribution map for Pelvicachromis humilis

Origin: Africa: River Kolenté in Guinea to the middle course of St. Paul and St. John Rivers in Liberia

Habitat: Forest, shady rivers and larger streams with soft acidic water.


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Cichlidae
Genus: Pelvicachromis
Species: P. humilis, (Boulenger, 1916)

Other common names:

Pelmatochromis humilis