Fish, Tanks and Ponds

Fish, Tanks and Ponds
A comprehensive guide to fish

Pelvicachromis pulcher


Kribensis, Pelvicachromis pulcherKribensis, Pelvicachromis pulcher
Photos by Andy Rapson


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

General Notes:

Kribs are colourful, they have an interesting life cycle they are peaceful and very undemanding. Kribs are excellent fish for a novice fish keeper to keep and to breed. Provide them with caves to hide in made from rockwork or broken terracotta plant pots and plant thickets to help the fish to feel more secure. Use a dark fine substrate and use subdued lighting to bring out the kribs best colouration.


Wild kribs feed on diatoms, green algae, plants and some crustaceans. In captivity kribs are very easy to feed and will accept all food offered. Use a good quality flake food, algae wafers/pellets, nori and supplement it with live or frozen blood worms, daphnia, cyclops etc. to ensure a balanced and varied diet.


Kribs make good community fish except when breeding. They will try to protect their brood by keeping other fish away from their territory. They won't relentlessly attack other fish even when they have a brood. Suitable companions are Congo tetras, barbs, corydoras catfish, gouramis and other fish of a similar size which requires similar conditions.


Males have longer and more pointed dorsal and anal fins and tail. Females are smaller.


Kribs are very easy to breed often keeping a pair in good condition is all that is required to encourage spawning even in a community aquarium they also make great parents. The eggs are laid out of site under stones or in artificial caves such as plant pots. The fry will be free swimming approximately one week after the eggs were laid. The parents will lead the fry around the tank very slowly allowing the fry to feed as they go. The fry can be left with their parents until they begin to mature at which point they should be removed or they might be considered to be intruders and dealt with accordingly. The fry will take newly hatched brine shrimp, meal worms or finely powdered flake food.

Wild status

Kribs have a wide natural range and face no major threats across the entire range. Some parts of the range in Nigeria are threatened by the effects of oil exploration and deforestation. Almost all kribs offered for sale are bred in captivity.

Additional information

The meaning of the scientific name is as follows "Pelva" meaning 'belly,' "chromis" meaning 'color,' and "pulcher" meaning 'beautiful', which sums up the fish's appearance quite well.

Information at a glance

pH: 6 - 8
dGH: 4 - 19
Temperature: 22 - 28°C (72 - 82°F)
Diet: Omnivore
Size: 11cm (4.5in)
Min tank size: 100 litres
Difficulty level: Easy
Aquarium type: Community
Swimming level: All levels

Distribution and habitat

distribution map for Kribensis, Pelvicachromis pulcher

Origin: Africa: eastern Benin, southern Nigeria and western Cameroon

Habitat: P. pulcher occurs in freshwater and in brackish water, and is able to survive in anoxic (low oxygen) conditions


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Cichlidae
Genus: Pelvicachromis
Species: P. pulcher (Boulenger, 1901)

Other common names:

Synonyms: Pelmatochromis pulcher, Pelmatochromis aurocephalus, Pelmatochromis camerunensis, Pelvicachromis sacrimontis, Pelmatochromis kribensis, Pelmatochromis pulcher kribensis, Pelmatochromis subocellatus kribensis