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11 Beautiful Types Of Kribensis

11 Beautiful Types Of Kribensis

Did you know that there are over 2,500 different Cichlid species? Woah! Hold on to your fins because we are about to explain it all! 

Meet the absolute fan favorites in the aquarium hobbyist community – the Kribensis.

You might also spot these fish under other names like “common Krib”, “rainbow Krib” and “purple cichlid”.

It’s not hard to see why they’re so popular. These fish are drop-dead gorgeous! 

But, how many types of Kribensis are there? Let’s find out! 

How Many Types Of Kribensis Are There? 

These little beauties are part of the massive Cichlidae family. 

The name “Kribensis” for these fish originated because they were misidentified as a species “Pelvicachromis Kribensis”. While they do fall under the Pelvicachromis genus, they are not actually called this way. 

The Pelvicachromis genus features 11 species and the most common species found in aquarium trade are P. taeniatus and P. pulcher.

1. Pelvicachromis Pulcher

pelvicachromis pulcher

The first import of P. pulcher was done by a German aquarists, Christian Bruening in 1913. 

Since then, this species has been given many names in the aquarium trade, including Kribensis, Niger cichlid, purple cichlid, rainbow cichlid, and palette cichlid. 

It’s worth noting that virtually all the specimens you’ll find in pet stores today are captive-bred, rather than caught in the wild.

Natural Habitat

The Pelvicachromis Pulcher, or Kribensis cichlid, is a fish species that can be found in nature living in still or slow-moving waters, particularly in shallow areas with lots of vegetation. 

It is a native of warm, acidic to neutral, and soft waters in southern Nigeria and coastal areas of Cameroon. 

And get this – some populations of these little fish can even survive in brackish conditions!

Some aquarists describe this type of Krib as a brackish-water fish, but sudden changes in water chemistry can actually stress these little guys out and contribute to disease.


Kribensis got its name after its stunning appearance. Its Latin name, Pelvicachromis Pulcher, literally means ‘beautiful belly’. 

So, it is no surprise that these little guys are known for their bright, eye-catching hues. They can range from deep purples and blues to bright oranges and reds. 

But it’s not just about their color, these fish have a unique body shape that sets them apart from other fish species. 

When it comes to male vs. female Kribs, it’s the guys that seem to be more fashionable, with their pointy dorsal and caudal fins. 

Meanwhile, the ladies have rounder and softer bodies with distinctive short fins.


Kribs are generally not aggressive fish and can be quite peaceful when kept with suitable tank mates. They are known to be territorial during breeding, but this behavior is usually not harmful towards others (as long as they’re not near their eggs).

In terms of tank mates, Kribensis may get along well with a variety of other fish, including peaceful community fish such as guppies, tetras, and corydoras. 

However, they may become aggressive towards other bottom-dwelling fish that occupy the same space.

2. Pelvicachromis Taeniatus

There are several varieties of P. taeniatus that are named after the places where they were collected, like “Nigerian red” and “Moliwe,” and they all have different and stunning colorations.

They are also known as “Striped Kribensis” due to their mesmerizing color patterns. 

Natural Habitat

The natural habitat of this amazing fish spans the rivers and streams of West Africa, all the way from Guinea to Nigeria. 

And they’re not picky when it comes to water flow – P. taeniatus can be found in both still and slow-moving forest streams and soft-water rivers! 

These habitats are often packed with lush vegetation, providing the perfect hiding spots for these little fish.


Males and females of this variant look so different that they could easily be mistaken for two separate species. 

When males reach maturity, they sprout slight extensions on their dorsal and anal fins, giving them a bit of an extra look! They are also more red in the face and chest.

On the other hand, females keep a more yellowish color with a bright pink or purple belly when they mature. 

But one thing they both have in common is the black lateral band that runs from their caudal peduncle to their eyes.


These fish are generally peaceful and enjoy the company of other small and calm species like barbs, danios, rasboras, Corydoras, gouramis, and Loricariids.

But hold on, things might get a little territorial when it’s breeding time. So, it’s best to keep this in mind as they might exhibit their aggressive side. 

These fish can be kept with other West African Dwarf cichlids, but it’s essential to provide a large enough tank and keep them in pairs.

9 Rare Types Of Kribensis

If you fell in love with this species and you are looking for a way to add more color to your tank, then I’ve got some good news for you. 

It’s not all about dots and stripes, these little guys come in more than just one shade!

From super-red color to rich purples and everything in between, the Kribensis cichlid has a whole rainbow palette of hues to choose from.

Here are some rare types of Kribensis that you may consider yourself lucky to come across!

1. Yellow Kribensis

pelvicachromis humilis
Photo: hishimolix

Yellow Kribs (Pelvicachromis humilis) are not as common as other types of Kribensis. 

However, they are known as the largest species in the Pelvicachromis genus. 

This fascinating fish comes in several morphs, including the striking “Guinea” and “Liberia red” varieties. 

2. Yellow-Cheeked Kribensis

pelvicachromis subocellatus
Photo: aqua_mtc

There is also the Yellow-cheeked Krib which is called Pelvicachromis subocellatus

When it comes to fashion, this rare Kribensis cichlid is all about yellow cheeks and black spots. 

Both genders show off a gorgeous pinkish-red hue on their bellies when they’re ready to breed and take over their territory. 

So, when the male fish are feeling a bit territorial, their dorsal fins get edged in red with a lavender band below.  

3. Red-Lipped Kribensis 

Also known as P. rubrolabiatus, the red-lipped Kribs was only discovered back in 2004. 

The name comes from Latin words meaning “red lips,” which is fitting because the male members of this species really do have some luscious-looking lips. 

This type of Kribensis is bigger than most other fish in its genus.

4. Pelvicachromis Sacrimontis

pelvicachromis sacrimontis
Photo: pangst00r

This wonderful fish is also known as green Kribensis. It was first described by Paulo in 1977. 

Some hobbyists find that it is similar to the common Kribensis, but there are some quite distinguishable differences. 

To tell the difference between Pelvicachromis sacrimontis and pulcher, take a peek at the dorsal fin. 

Female P. pulcher often have colorful stripes in their dorsal fin, but female sacrimontis have a yellow or dusky-colored dorsal fin, according to cichlid expert Anton Lamboj.

5. Pelvicachromis Silviae 

pelvicachromis silviae
Photo: ahhengfish

Pelvicachromis silviae is a relatively new type of Kribensis found in the aquarium hobby. It was first described by Lamboj in 2013! 

These rarely seen fish are a real attraction in the aquarium world. In the wild, P. silviae live in the same region as their relatives, the P. pulcher and P. taeniatus. 

They all may look very similar to an untrained eye and this species is often sold under the name P. pulcher, which is incorrect. 

This fish is greenish to yellow in color, with a dark stripe right in the middle of its body and another one under its dorsal fin. 

Sometimes those stripes might disappear if the fish is feeling all dominant or ready to mate. 

It might even sport some stylish vertical bands, especially when taking care of its babies!

6. Pelvicachromis Signatus

At first glance, it might seem like a dull, pale brown color, but wait ’til you get a load of this fish! Its head and back are a little darker than its belly, but that’s just the beginning. 

Its lips are colored light brown, and it has iridescent blue lines on its opercle and cheeks.

When it comes to their body scales, P. signatus has dark borders that really pop, especially in males. This fish might not be the brightest in color, but it’s definitely got style for days.

7. Albino Strain Of Pelvicachromis Pulcher

They might look like plain ol’ white fish at first, but when they mature, albino Kribs really come into their own. 

They still have those gorgeous red and yellow colors – it’s just the black ones that are missing thanks to some clever genetic manipulation.

Now, taking care of this species is similar to other Kribs. They need high-quality water, plants, and a good amount of light.

8. Pelvicachromis Drachenfelsi

This type of Kribensis got their name from Ernst Otto von Drachenfels, a German aquarist who was known for his expertise in the field. 

He discovered the species in the early 1990s while on a trip to West Africa, and later described and named it in his honor.

When you look at Pelvicachromis drachenfelsi, you’ll notice that both males and females have a pale brown to greyish brown body. Their upper lip is brownish to orange-brown, while their lower lip is greyish to brown.

9. Pelvicachromis Roloffi

Meet the rarest type of Kribensis – Pelvicachromis roloffi 

What makes this Krib so unique is the clearly visible horizontal band that runs through almost all of its moods. And as is typical of the Pelvicachromis genus, the females are the more colorful of the two genders.

If you’re lucky enough to see one of these P. roloffi in person, keep an eye out for their distinct horizontal band and their vibrant colors!

Final Thoughts

And there you have it, a rundown of the different types of Kribensis! 

Whether you’re a seasoned aquarist or a curious newbie, there’s always a beautiful krib out there waiting for you. 

From the classic Pelvicachromis pulcher to the more unusual Pelvicachromis taeniatus and Pelvicachromis rubrolabiatus, these little fish are sure to add some personality and uniqueness to your tank!