Skip to Content

Kribensis With Betta: Good Match Or A Disaster?

Kribensis With Betta: Good Match Or A Disaster?

The Kribensis cichlid (Pelvicachromis pulcher) and the Betta fish (Betta splendens) are both beautiful and fascinating tank species that have become extremely popular in the aquarium world. 

Opinions on whether these two can coexist peacefully in the same aquarium are divided. Some aquarists believe that it’s possible, while others strongly advise against it. 

In this article, we will find out whether it’s a good idea keeping Kribensis with Betta fish in the same tank!

Why Kribensis With Betta Is A Recipe For Disaster

If you are wondering if Kribensis can get along with Betta, then I will have to disappoint you. A simple answer would be no, but there is more to their complex friendship.

The main reasons why these two don’t get along is due to their nature and size.  

Both Species Can Be Territorial

Kribensis and Betta fish species both inherit very intriguing temperaments. The Betta fish are known as extremely aggressive and territorial, whereas Kribs are known to become feisty especially during mating and spawning. 

Even when not breeding, they may not tolerate the presence of a Betta in their territory. 

So, we can clearly see why these two are potentially a very bad match. 

I mean, the Betta is called the Siamese Fighting Fish, and believe me, it will fight for its own territory. Not only will they display this behavior to Kribs, but they will most likely bully other tank mates. 

If an angry Betta perceives a Kribensis cichlid as a threat to its territory, it may attack and injure or kill the cichlid. 

Kribensis Cichlids on the other hand, probably won’t cause trouble to Bettas unless they feel threatened by them in any way.

They Vary In Size 

Kribensis males can grow up to 4 inches, which is significantly larger than Betta fish. Male Bettas grow only up to 2.5 inches. 

It is also worth noting that different types of Kribensis come in different sizes.

Don’t let their size fool you though, these little fighter fish are not afraid to stand up against bigger Kribs. But, we can’t guarantee what would happen if the two got into a fishy fight. 

Female Bettas on the other hand, are usually about 1.5 to 2 inches long, whereas female Kribensis grow up to 3 inches. Both females can act very frisky around each other, especially when it is time to protect their fry. 

The size difference, combined with the aggressive nature of both species, could lead to epic fights, serious injuries, and even death. 

Different Age Also Plays A Role 

kribensis cichlid and betta fish

Younger Kribs are typically less aggressive and more social than adult Kribensis, which can make them more compatible with Betta fish. But, they are also smaller, which can make them more vulnerable. Some Bettas may even perceive them as food!

The same can be said for young Bettas with adult Kribensis. These omnivorous fish can be a bit ruthless and may end up eating Betta’s small fry. 

Therefore, it is really not a good idea to keep juvenile fish of any of these two species together with adults. 

Kribensis Has A Fin Nipping Problem

If you’re into keeping Kribensis fish, then you know that these little guys come with a nipping problem. 

Kribs like to nip on active swimmers like Danios and Rasboras. They also like to chase them around, as if they are playing fishy tag! 

Weak swimmers like Bettas are also not safe from Kribensis’ nipping issues. These fish have a very interesting anatomy with their enchanting fins that come in various colors and sizes.

It is no wonder that Kribs will be curious enough to nip on their gorgeous fins and heavy tails!

Their curiosity is not the only reason why they indulge in fin nipping. This behavior is usually seen when these Cichlids are feeling stressed or agitated, such as when they are establishing their territory or breeding.

In some cases, they may also nip at other fish simply out of boredom!

Bettas May Also Nip 

Male Bettas are known to be very aggressive towards each other, but they can turn to other Kribensis if they feel like it. 

Betta fish may not directly attack and kill the Kribs, but they will nip on their fins and tails from time to time, damaging them in the long run. 

This behavior will slowly kill the Kribs! 

Why People Think Kribensis With Betta Is A Good Match

betta fish

Despite the naysayers who warn against putting Betta fish and Kribs together due to their supposed aggression and incompatibility, some daring aquarists have successfully kept them in the same tank without any drama. 

In fact, pairing Betta fish with Kribensis is often seen as a good match, with many enthusiasts citing a number of benefits to this unique pairing.

So why do people think that these two make a good match? Are they truly a match made in Heaven? 

They Swim In Different Levels

Fish that swim in different levels of the tank often get along better than those who compete for the same swimming space. 

For example, Betta fish tend to swim near the surface of the water, while Kribensis are bottom dwellers. 

A few aquarists claim that the Betta stayed near the top of the tank, while the Kribs stayed near the bottom, and they coexisted peacefully. 

It’s almost like they have a silent agreement to stay out of each other’s way, with the Betta fish ruling the upper levels of the tank and the Kribensis chilling peacefully below.

However, there is one potential drawback to consider – feeding. 

Even though Kribs and Bettas can be fed the same food, they may not be willing to share. 

When food falls down on the bottom of the tank, Bettas may venture into the deep Kribensis territory, which can lead to some fishy disputes. 

They Can Get Along In A Large Tank

In a big tank, these fish have plenty of space to coexist peacefully without stepping on each other’s fins. Or nipping on them. 

In a smaller, 5-gallon tank, there may not be enough space for both Kribensis and Bettas to establish their own territories. This can lead to aggression and fighting as they compete for limited resources.

Aquarists have found that breeding pairs of fish like Betta and Kribensis could do well in a 40 gallon breeder tank. 

Another thing that hobbyists have noticed is that larger tanks are easier to clean and the water quality is better. You know what that means? Better water quality equals less stress and aggression in fish, which leads to a more peaceful environment.

They may get along well if they have plenty of hiding places and territories in their tank.

However, it’s still a risky combination and should be attempted with caution. 

The Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about adding a Kribensis with Betta fish to your tank, it’s important to remember that both species are very unique and they may or may not be the best tank mates. 

It’s worth giving them a chance to live together, but make sure you’ve got a big enough tank for them to swim around without getting on each other’s fins!