fish difficult level

Pelvicachromis pulcher

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Kribensis, Rainbow krib

Pelvicachromis pulcher is a small and very colourful dwarf cichlid species. They are among the best known dwarf cichlids and the most marketed ones, given the ease of breeding and reproduction. The majority of them today are captive bred and are far more adaptable in terms of water chemistry than the wild fish.

Submitted by
Benedetta Spelta

Water Chemistry

Water information

Water type
Fresh water
Water color
Black water
Water transparency
Concentration of sediments
Water temperature
25.5 - 28.5 °C
Water flow/curent

Chemical parameters

5.8 - 6.8
32 - 65
Dissolved Oxygen


Standard length
11 cm
Water volume (min. aquarium)
100 l
Social behaviour
Lives in pair
Behaviour description

Pelvicachromis pulcher is generally a shy and retiring fish, so it has not to be kept with very vigorous or large species. It can be kept with other fishes but enough space must be provided for territory formation.

Aggression grade
Day active
Sexual dimorphism

Male fish are larger than females – female 8 cm, males 11 cm – and develop pointed dorsal, caudal and anal fins. Females develop a characteristic purple belly when in breeding condition and are rounder-bodied than males.

Nutrition in Nature

Feeds on worms, crustaceans and insects. In the river Sombreiro (Nigeria) the observed Pelvicachromis pulcher mainly fed on diatoms, algae, higher plants and detritus.


Breeding tank set-up

The tank should be set up as above with a temperature of 25-27°C and pH 6.5-7.0. These parameters tend to ensure a relatively even distribution of sexes within the brood. Make sure you provide plenty of caves and hiding places to act as potential spawning sites.

Nutrition parents

High quality frozen and dried foods.

Mating type
Spawning behaviour

Pelvicachromis pulcher become territorial when spawning. During the breeding period the belly of the female takes on a vibrant, red flush. The established Pelvicachromis pulcher couple spawns regularly. Female initiates spawning, dancing in front of the male and displaying her purple belly to entice him to spawn with her. When ready, the lays eggs in a cave or under a stone. They may then disappear for several days.

Breeding habits
Hatching period
48 - 72 hours
Number of eggs in average
up to 300
Parental care
Fry number
Nutrition fry

The fry are large enough to accept brine shrimp nauplii or microworm as first foods and will also browse on algae and detritus.

Notes on reproduction

Raising Pelvicachromis pulcher fry is usually not a problem because the parents do most of the work. The grown fry will accept ground flakes and larger brine shrimp until they eat the same food as the adults.