Breeding Kribensis

well_planted_aquarium_2Kribensis is the perfect aquarium fish for the beginner. They are colourful, relatively peaceful, live in most water conditions, they can live in small aquaria, they survive well and breeding kribensis is relatively easy.

What you will need to breed kribensis:

A fifteen gallon tank 24x12x12 inch tank is ideal with hood and light. A 75 watt heater thermostat. A thermometer. A water test kit. A sponge filter. Fine gravel. Some plants. Clay pots to make caves. Six Kribensis. Also a 20-30 gallon plastic container of water.

Kribensis prefer a ph of 7 and a temperature of 77F. But they are not too fussy.


kribensis_cichlid_femalePlace your tank by a window that doesn’t get direct sunlight. Place on a layer of polystyrene tile on a tank stand or a flat surface. Wash your gravel until it runs clean. Fill the tank a few inches and watch for leaks. Fill the tank with water. Place your heater in the tank and switch on. Put the gravel in the tank and slope it from back to front. Three inches at the back of the tank and 1 inch at the front. Wait 2 days for the chlorine in the water to dissipate. Place your plants in the tank around the back and sides of the gravel. At first they won’t root so some weight will be needed to keep them down (perhaps lead wire wrapped round the base). Place the clay pots into the gravel on their sides. Adjust the temperature by adjusting the thermostat. Wait a further 3 days. Place in the sponge filter and turn on. Then introduce the fish. Place the fish in the bags in the water and leave for 15 minutes for the temperature to equalise. Then let the kribensis free.

Remember change 25% of the water every week. Siphon off waste matter from the floor of the tank ensuring you sift through the gravel. Then top up with aged water from your plastic container.

Feed the Kribensis with vegetable matter. Try small pieces of courgette, sweet potato, cucumber, spirulina, spinach and algae as well as live food such as daphnia, brine shrimp blood worms, etc.

Experiment with different vegetable matter to find out what they will eat. Also feed with vegetable based flake food. Also siphon off any uneaten food after five minutes.

Now you are ready to start the process of breeding

kribensis_breeding_pairPrime the fish with extra live food in addition to the normal fish food. Keep this up for several weeks. Soon enough a pair bond will be formed. Check that it is a male and female. The females are smaller and more colourful with a rounded belly while the males are bigger and slightly paler. Remove the other four Kribensis. Make sure that you have two clay pots on their sides half buried in the gravel. The fish in due course will breed in the pots.

If the fish do not start breeding then try a 10% daily change of the water with aged water and raise the tank temperature to 80F. Then keep feeding them with live food.

Kribensis are cave spawners so they should be provided with a suitable cave-like item such as a clay pot. The female will first choose a site and defend it then when she is nearing spawning condition she will approach the male and flirt with him, showing her willingness to breed. The kribs take on specific roles in their ‘marriage’ The pair will both clean the spawning site, which is normally on the side or ceiling of the cave. The female lays up to 100 or more adhesive eggs inside the pot, closely followed by fertilisation by the male. The eggs are creamy beige in color and relatively large. Females carry out most of the egg care by fanning fresh water over the eggs and ‘cleaning’ the eggs in her mouth. Whilst the female is caring for the eggs the male will stand guard at the pot entrance and chase off any fish that get too close.

female_kribensis_fish_with_fryThe eggs hatch after three or four days depending on the temperature. The newly hatched fry will stay attached to the spawning site for up to four days before they are free swimming, during this time they will get their nutrition from the remaining yolk sac. Once they free swimming they will be escorted out of the cave by the parents and will forage for food in the immediate surroundings. At this point the young should be given newly hatched brine shrimp, or vegetable liquid fry food. After a month introduce crushed vegetable based fish flakes.

At night the young are herded back into the pot. It is helpful if there is a low intensity light at night with enough ambient room light for the parents to see the young safely home. Perhaps by a street light.


Also 10% daily water changes with aged water is an advantage. You could also monitor the ammonia, nitrates and nitrites. Any sudden rises should be dealt with by changing more of the water.

When the female starts to fill her belly out again (looks pregnant) then it is time to remove the young to another tank. She might become a danger to the young kribensis at this time.


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