How To Tell Male and Female Kribensis From Each Other - "chase" by Genista is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.
How To Tell Male and Female Kribensis From Each Other - "chase" by Genista is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Introducing Kribensis

Kribensis cichlids, scientifically known as Pelvicachromis pulcher, are a small and popular species of cichlid fish native to West Africa. These colorful and relatively peaceful fish are well-liked by aquarists for their striking appearance and interesting behaviors. Here’s an introduction to kribensis cichlids. Later we’ll also cover how to tell male and female kribensis apart.

Physical Characteristics

  • Size: Adult kribensis typically reach lengths of 3 to 4 inches (7 to 10 centimeters), with males being slightly larger than females.
  • Coloration: Kribensis are known for their vibrant colors, which can include shades of yellow, red, blue, and purple. Their colors can intensify during breeding displays.
  • Body Shape: They have a slender, elongated body with a somewhat compressed shape.


  • Native Range: Kribensis cichlids are native to the rivers and streams of West Africa, primarily found in countries like Nigeria and Cameroon.
  • Habitat: They inhabit slow-moving or still waters in their native range, often living among dense vegetation, rocks, and submerged branches.


  • Kribensis are known for their interesting and sometimes quirky behaviors. They are generally peaceful for cichlids but can be territorial, especially during the breeding season.
  • They are cavity spawners, meaning they prefer to lay their eggs in hidden locations such as caves or crevices.

Care and Maintenance

  • Aquarium Size: A tank of at least 20-30 gallons (75-115 liters) is suitable for a pair of kribensis. They appreciate the presence of hiding spots and caves.
  • Water Parameters: Kribensis thrive in slightly acidic to neutral water conditions with temperatures ranging from 75°F to 82°F (24°C to 28°C).
  • Diet: They are omnivores and will accept a variety of foods, including high-quality flakes, pellets, live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, and vegetable matter.


  • Kribensis cichlids are known for their interesting breeding behavior, where it’s usually a hood idea to know how to tell male and female kribensis apart. During courtship, males display their vibrant colors and engage in elaborate dances to attract females.
  • The female typically lays her eggs in a sheltered location and guards them while the male defends the territory. Both parents are involved in caring for the fry once they hatch.


  • Kribensis are generally peaceful but can become territorial during breeding. They are best kept with other peaceful fish of a similar size in a well-decorated tank with hiding places.
  • Avoid housing them with very aggressive or much larger fish that may intimidate or harm them.

Kribensis cichlids are a fascinating and visually appealing addition to a freshwater aquarium. Their relatively small size and colorful personalities make them a popular choice for hobbyists looking to keep cichlids without the aggression often associated with larger cichlid species.

How To Tell Male and Female Kribensis From Each Other - "chase" by Genista is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.
How To Tell Male and Female Kribensis From Each Other – “chase” by Genista is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

How To Tell Male and Female Kribensis From Each Other

Kribensis, also known as Pelvicachromis pulcher, are a type of cichlid fish that are sexually dimorphic, meaning males and females have different physical characteristics. Here are some ways to tell male and female kribensis apart:

  • Body Size: Typically, male kribensis are slightly larger and more robust than females. In well-fed and healthy conditions, males can grow up to around 4 inches (10cm), while females tend to stay around 3 inches (7,5cm).
  • Colors: Males can display vibrant colors, especially during their breeding displays. They may have colorful patterns on their bodies, but these patterns may not be as intense as those of females. Females can exhibit intense and striking colors on their bodies, including rich reds and oranges. Their coloration can become even more vivid during the breeding season. Also, female kribensis can have a more intense and colorful belly, especially during the breeding season. On both male and female kribensis you may see some purple or red coloration on the abdomen. This usually covers a larger area on females.
  • Fin Shape: One of the most noticeable differences is the shape of the dorsal fin. In males, the dorsal fin is usually longer and more pointed, extending into a noticeable “spike.” This fin is more rounded in females. Additionally, males may have more extended and pointed pelvic fins compared to females.
  • Behavior: During the breeding season, males become more territorial and aggressive, while females may display a more subdued behavior. Males are the ones who actively court females, often by displaying their vibrant colors and performing various courtship rituals.
  • Belly Shape: In some cases, female kribensis may have a rounder and more bulging belly, particularly when they are carrying eggs or have recently laid eggs.

It’s important to note that these characteristics can vary somewhat among individual kribensis, and juveniles may not show these differences as clearly until they reach sexual maturity. When trying to determine the gender of kribensis, it’s often helpful to observe their behavior and the combination of these physical traits.


Understanding how to care for kribensis is essential for their well-being. They thrive in aquariums with appropriate water parameters, ample hiding spots, and a varied diet. Additionally, knowing how to create a suitable breeding environment can provide fascinating insights into their reproductive behaviors.

Lastly, how to tell male and female kribensis apart is a key aspect of keeping and breeding these fish. While males are typically slightly larger and may exhibit more pronounced fin extensions, females can display varying degrees of coloration

n summary, kribensis cichlids offer both beginner and experienced aquarists an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of cichlid fish without the high aggression levels seen in larger cichlid species. Their captivating appearance and engaging behaviors make them a delightful addition to any freshwater aquarium.