Kribensis -- Out of West Africa
The inside scoop on Pelvicachromis pulcher
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Origins: Kribensis originally came from the Niger River basin in Nigeria, a subsidiary of Shell Oil (just a little political humor to spice up the text). “How you day?” Wild-caught specimens pop up occasionally, but most are tank-reared these days.
Our Main Kribensis Source: We get most of our kribensis from a local Russian breeder. “Yoo by dees, da? I haf lots” Why not? We communicate by pointing at pictures in fish books. His are all in Russian. Beautiful photos.
Water Conditions: Like most cichlids, kribbies (or Kirbys, as the Luptons say) adapt to a wide range of pH and hardness levels. Just add a teaspoon of salt per gallon of your local water. Hold the pepper.
pH Level: When kept at pH levels below 7 you get all one sex in the fry. pH levels above 7 yield the other sex. Avoid the temptation to Frankenstein your pH levels. Adding sulfuric acid or Drano to your aquarium can present more problems than the original problem.
Appeal: Kribs look great when they grow into their adult colors. Even the albinos look good. Add their interesting breeding behavior and you have an attractive package.
Albino Pelvivachromis pulchers are not rare. The females’ bellies look
a nice bright crimson as they mature. They show no black. Krib
males grow the “eye spots”
on their tails as yellow-rimmed circles.
Tank Mates: You can mix your kribs with most community fishes. When protecting their eggs and fry, kribensis parents will probably drive your other fish to the opposite end of a small aquarium. Angelfish do the same thing. With this much room (29), the kribensis have plenty of space to argue amongst themselves.
Size: Males grow larger than females – usually four inches. Females stay smaller but often get rowdier, especially at breeding time.
Sexing: You can’t
really tell sexes till they hit about 1.5 inches.
Then the females start developing a reddish tint to their belly.
Their bellies also start growing rounder -- if you feed them well. Males start
growing larger bodies and fins.
Their top and bottom fins grow longer points.
Fins are more rounded on the females. Females develop more
color than the males -- a true exception in fishes.
Rich Foster, Hull, England, June 28, 2008
Thanks 4 the info. By the way I'm a big kribensis enthusiast (I've been keeping them years) and just wanted to let you know that when trying to pair them off I always have more success with a larger, older male and a younger, smaller female. Just wondering if you might want to add this to the krib page on the website. No worries if not. Cheers
A: Will do. LA
Add Caves: Kribensis breed in caves. Add at least two to their tank. If your female stays in her cave longer than a couple days, look in there with a flashlight. Check the roof of the cave first.
Foods: Not at all picky. If you want to color them up or breed them, add frozen or live foods to their dessert menu. Another secret: Give them several small feedings per day. Your chances of having babies go way up when you give them plentiful food. Warning: Do not overfeed. Stick with small feedings.
Breeding: Unpaired females will compete for the males. They use their crimson bellies to attract males. They hold their ventral fins down to make their bellies look bigger. You won’t see the fevered lip locking that you see with larger American cichlids or on late night TV. Kribs breed more sedately. You may not even know they bred until you see the fry swimming.
Plants: Kribensis love planted aquaria. They are not gravel plowers like most cichlids or plant eaters either. You can decorate their tank the way YOU prefer. Artificial plants also work well.
Disease: Not much of a problem if you keep their water clean. Do not overfeed.
Last Word: You can’t beat a pair of breeding kribs for color and interesting activity. Best of all, you can easily breed them in a community tank -- even a 10-gallon tank. (Add extra caves.) LA.
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