Slender krib

Aquarium fish: Slender krib (Pelvicachromis taeniatus)
Size: 8 cm
Origin: Africa
Water temperature: 22-26 ° C
Aquarium volume: 70 l

Slender krib (Pelvicachromis taeniatus ) – beautifully colored, small aquarium fish from the cichlid family.


Africa. It lives in slow-flowing forest streams and smaller rivers, areas usually densely covered with sandy bottom vegetation, in Cameroon and Nigeria. They live in darkened places near sunken roots that limit the movement of water. Rather unusual in stagnant waters.

Characteristics and disposition

An adult male grows up to 8 cm in length, and a smaller female – up to 6 cm. Body color varies depending on the occurrence. Males are larger, with more elongated dorsal and anal fins. In females during spawning, a characteristic pink color appears on the sides. They are also slightly rounder than males.

Compared to red-bellied mites , they have a bright yellow upper lip and their caudal fin is rounded. Most varieties have silver-blue dots on the gill covers, and males on the caudal fin have large, dark brown, yellow-edged eyes. There are at least 12 varieties of emerald dyes. Fish from Cameroon are named after their place of occurrence, while Nigerian species are named after their coloration. Characteristic features of individual varieties in males:

  • Kienke – gray-green body with a yellow head and throat, a stripe along the body hardly visible, caudal fin mostly red with blue vertical stripes and only a few eyes at the upper edge.
  • Lobe – Almost invisible strip along the body, no eyes on the caudal fin.
  • Possible – Similar to Kienke but with a reddish pink anal fin adorned with bluish blotches that usually form stripes
  • Nange – distinct stripes along the body overlap the dorsal fin, otherwise similar to Kienke
  • Nigerian Green – pink-gray body, barely visible stripes along the body, red and yellow edging of the dorsal fin, large and distinct eyes on the fins, green-blue color starts from the lower part of the head and ends on the caudal fin.
  • Nigerian Red – similar to Nigerian Green, but the lower part red rather than greenish-blue, the color of the whole body with a red tint – especially pronounced during the breeding period.
  • Nigerian Yellow – Similar to Nigerian Green except that the lower part of the head and body is yellowish.

    Easily mistaken for a Kienke, but the Nigerian Yellow has more eyes on the caudal fin.

In the trade, pure varieties are unfortunately very rare.

Nutrition and feeding

Omnivorous and will eat most of the food served. Fish can be fed with high-quality dry, frozen and live foods, e.g. daphnia, hydration, bloodworm, tubifex. The diet should be supplemented with plant foods, such as flakes with spirulina or spinach.

When not fed greens, they can nibble at plants.


A pair of emerald dyes requires at least a 70-liter aquarium, densely planted, with sandy or gravelly ground, and not too strong lighting. Recommended numerous hiding places made of stones and roots, in which the female eagerly lays eggs. The water should be clean and changed regularly. They feel best in alkaline or slightly acidic and soft water.

They also like the tannins secreted by e.g. marsh roots. The optimal water temperature for these fish is 24 – 26 ° C. They can be kept in a social aquarium, but it must be taken into account that they are territorial during the spawning period. They should not be kept with more active and large species.

Good company will be, for example , barb , danios , razbora , gourami, as well as in a sufficiently large tank other small cichlids from West Africa. The best, however, will be small fish that stay close to the surface of the water, such as guppies or troutfish. Small fish, swimming in the middle and upper zones of the aquarium, give the dyes boldness. Other benthic fish, including small cuiras , are not recommended and will be chased away mercilessly.


Breeding quite easy.

Slender kribs are monogamous fish. It is recommended to buy a group of young fish and raise them until they mate naturally. Couples clarified in this way are more durable and less trouble to reproduce. There are risks involved in buying adult male and female fish and one partner may be killed. Always choose the largest male and the most colored female.

The spawning tank should be arranged as described above, with soft water at a temperature of 24 – 26 ° C and pH 6.0 – 7.0. Fish must be provided with spawning grounds. For example, inverted ceramic pots with a small entrance cut out work well. Filtration should not be too strong. If we want to get a larger number of fry, there should be no other bottom-feeding fish in the aquarium, in particular catfish and armored fish.

Small fish swimming in groups from the middle and upper parts of the water are recommended, e.g. tetras, razors, where the dyes will be more daring. Before the planned spawning, we give live or frozen food more often. The first sign that spawning has started is the more vivid colors of both fish, especially the female. Her belly darkens, takes on a deep purple color and it is usually she who starts courtship by dancing in front of the male, showing her beautifully colored belly, encouraging him to spawn (During courtship, females present a purple pelvic fin, which compared to other species is large and disproportionate.

According to the researchers, males prefer and choose partners with larger pelvic fins). The couple choose a spawning site, usually a pre-made cave, or dig a pit underneath decorations. Roe in the amount of 20 – 300 pieces is usually placed on the cave’s vault. The female looks after the eggs and the male defends the territory and the entrance to the nest. If the female disappears for a few days, this is usually a good sign of spawning.

Hatching takes place within 2-3 days, and after another 7-8 days the larvae begin to swim by themselves. During this period, free-swimming fish are controlled by the female, who gathers them close to her, and the male still guards the area. During this period, the pair should be carefully monitored, the female being sometimes aggressive towards the male. The fry are immediately large enough to accept brine shrimp larvae and micro nematodes, and they are also happy to nibble on algae. It grows quite fast and is fully mature around 8-10 months.

The young are best left with their parents until the next spawning signals appear, or if the male begins to show aggression towards the female. Parents lose interest in their offspring after about a month. The pH of the water plays an important role in the reproduction of dyes . For each form, there is an ideal pH for a proper gender balance. If the pH is too low, the majority of the litter will be males, and if the pH is too high, females.

It may also happen that the entire litter will be of one sex.


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