Breeding Kribensis

Kribensis, (Pelvicachromis pulcher), is a charming dwarf Cichlid, (under four inches) that comes from West Africa. It is popular in the hobby for its colorful display and playful antics and its suitability for planted aquariums, (unlike the rift lake African cichlids). It is fairly easy to breed.


Water parameters

Although it is considered a soft water fish, the Kribensis adapt fairly easily from soft and acidic water to moderately hard and alkaline water. The pH has a direct relation to the sex of the fry. If you want an even balance of male and female fry, then keep the pH at a neutral 7.0. Below 7.0 will result in more females and above 7.0 more males.



The male is larger with a more slim line body while the female has a rounded brightly colored belly and rounded dorsal fin.



Feeding your Kribs live food for a couple weeks will usually induce spawning. The female will find a secluded place to lay her eggs and then coax the male over to the eggs by dancing around him quivering. After the eggs have been fertilized, the Mother guards over them fanning the eggs to keep them clean until they are hatched. She prefers to lay her eggs eggs hatch, usually within three days of the spawning. Once hatched the male may begin to harass the female.



Kribs are somewhat sensitive to water conditions. They come from rivers, so they are used to clear well oxygenated water. I try to avoid doing large water changes and anything that causes a major disturbance so as not to stress out the Mother. So instead of heavy cleaning, I just top off the water, add another power head at the lowest setting, and an air stone. I add a sponge filter to increase biological filtration and for the fact it is easily removable to clean with minimal disturbance.


Rearing the young

The fry will begin by eating fine particulates of organic matter and algae. The Mother will also spit out bits of food for the fry. After the fry become free swimming, you will see the mother leading her babies around foraging for food. If you introduce live baby brine shrimp at this time, the fry will fatten up more quickly. After four weeks the young will begin to venture further away from the Mother. At seven to eight months the fish reach sexual maturity and are chased away by the parents as they are ready to spawn again.

Watching a family of Kribensis conceive and grow is a fascinating experience and a bit more challenging than live bearing fish. As long as you adhere to their basic requirements anyone should be able to be successful breeding the African Kribensis.