Breeding Kribensis!

Here we have a short account of my experience of breeding Kribs, along with some pictures taken at various stages during their life. I hope this is of some use to you.

Kribs, or Kribensis make great pets, and are fascinating to watch raise a family. They show real character, like most cichlids, especially with a batch of babies to look after. I've kept a wide variety of tropical fish, and Kribs are by far my favourite.

Baby Kribensis

I've recently been fortunate enough to witness my second pair of kribs raise a family. Well, to be more specific, it's a single-parent family at the moment. It seems the mum-krib was so proud and protective of her new offspring, she beat the father to death. Here's a short page about my beginner's experience of breeding kribensis.


Tips and information on how to make your own pet kribs breed

  • Get yourself a fish tank
  • Put some fine gravel in, so the kribs can dig holes in it
  • Whack a plant pot in upside-down, with a hole cut in the side for the kribs to live in
  • Purchase the decent man-krib
  • Purchase the biggest, fattest red-bellied woman-krib you can find
  • Stick them in
  • Wait

Kribensis don't seem to be too fussy about water parameters, they're supposed to like a neutral PH, but the PH in my Kribensis tank is around 8, and they do great. I've noticed that I seem to get batches of mostly the same sex babies. This is dependent on the PH, I think. I've also noticed that a clean, bright tank makes a massive difference to how active, and interesting they are, so I make an effort to keep it vacuumed, and the light clean of algae.

After much entertaining flirting and fighting, the new krib couple dig holes and try to select the best place to raise their little'uns. Hopefully in their plant pot. It's hilarious watching them dig. They carefully and methodically remove one or two stones at a time, placing them in a neat pile nearby. They can spend hours doing this, sometimes taking turns to keep watch while the other digs, sometimes digging together. When they're happy with their construction site, the female krib disappears for a few days, then emerges, hoarding a group of tiny baby kribs around.

Baby Kribensis Day One

Like so...

Breeding Kribensis

What To Feed Baby Bribs

It seems baby brine-shrimp are the best food for kribensis fry, and makes them grow quickest. My first batch of baby kribs were fed on baby brine shrimp, which I squirted at them with a pipette. That way, they appeared to catch pretty much all the food and missed none. I don't like using the liquid food for baby egg-layers, as it seems to make a bit of a mess. I seem to have pretty good results crushing up a single flake in the lid of the flake food pot until it's really fine. Then, using a pipette from a fish medicine kit, I mix in a drop of water, suck up the resulting liquid back into the pipette, and squirt it right at the little chaps. It always seems to go down a treat. Tonight, (around 3 weeks after hatching) they were invaded by daphnia. :-) The daphnia are actually too big for the baby kribs to eat, but the babies definitely seem to like trying. It must be like trying to eat a whole watermelon in one go.

Krib Breeding Tips

Sometimes, as happened to me, one of the parents may become so protective of the fry that they can attack the other parent. They may injure or kill the other krib in order to keep the fry safe. If this happens, you should remove the parent who is being attacked and leave the possessive parent to look after the fry on his/her own. (If possible, that is).

Dither Fish

I have found that dither fish are essential in keeping kribs active and entertained! Tetras and barbs are the usual choices for good dither fish, which give the kribs something to chase every now and then. It keeps them active, and can stop them directing their anger at each other. I've found that with no dither fish in the tank, the kribs can become really inactive and just sit in caves looking dull. But adding some tetras brings the kribs to life, and brings out their colours, and they straight away get on with their poking around in the gravel, behaviour.

When To Remove The Parents?

I've had loads of people asking me about when to remove the fry. The answer is, it depends. If both of the parents are there as a happy family, I'd leave them to look after the fry. But keep an eye on them, because next time they want start the breeding process again, (maybe after a month), they might reject the babies, instead concentrating on the next batch. If you just have one parent looking after the fry, you'll probably be ok leaving them all in together for a long time, until the tank gets very busy! I found that the mother got along fine with all the kids for seven months. (See below).

Baby Kribs Day Three

Breeding Kribensis

Three Week Old Kribs

The little guys are mostly venturing away from mum now, finding their own food. Can you guess what colour flake they had for dinner tonight?

Breeding Kribensis

Kribensis At Six Months

...A long gap, and finally some more (not very good quality) pictures. The kribensis tank is now getting very crowded. I'm sure they're not growing as big or fast as they would given more space. It's now pretty easy to tell males from females. The females have a more stumpy round look, while the males are longer and thinner. At this stage there isn't much difference in colour, but eventually the females will start to show a colourful red belly. The older the males get, the further back the tip of their fin stretches. I don't know if it's coincidence, or whether it's dependent on the hard PH 8 water here, but about 80% of the last two successful batches of young kribs have been female...

Breeding Kribensis Breeding Kribensis Breeding Kribensis Breeding Kribensis Breeding Kribensis Breeding Kribensis

Kribensis At Seven Months

Sadly, I had to take most of the krib family back to the shop to relieve the overcrowding in the tank.

Adult Male

And a couple of years on, here's one of the fully grown kribs. Not in a particularly colourful mood today, but he shows off his colours on HIS terms, not for the camera!

Adult Male Kribensis

That's it for now. Feel free to leave comments below.

I don't always have time to answer questions about Kribs personally! Feel free to leave comments though. Thanks

Page Updated 19/10/09