Cichlid Room Companion

Internet lectures


By , 1995. printer
Ted Judy, 2004

Classification: Captive maintenance, West Africa.

" Fishroom talk taking place on 1995-Nov-15 "

Apistogramma says: Are we ready to get started?

Crypt says: Ain't we supposed to talk on cichlids? Pelvicachromis.

Stevendi says: I thought I was just lucky to have so many people here

Apistogramma says: I am waiting to get the pa set up so you guys can't interrupt!

Rgrmill gives the mic to apistogramma.

Rgrmill has turned the PA system ON.

public address system (PA is ON) has been installed in the room.

rgrmill says: Ted, you have the floor.

Apistogramma says: Ok.. The topic of the evening is Pelvicachromis , a genus of dwarf cichlids from West africa.

Apistogramma says: Pelvicachromis species of cichlids are one of the oldest species of cichlids in the hobby. Pelvicachromis pulcher, formerly P. kribensis, being the most common. This species has been known to the hobbyist since the early 20th century when ichthyologists working in the rain forests and river drainages of the West Coast of equatorial Africa brought them back to Germany and England alive for the first time.

Apistogramma says: The 'krib' has also been a mainstay of the commercial fish farming industry in Florida for a long time. The krib we get from the farms today, however, is a lot different from the wild type fish we are beginning to see in increasing numbers coming out of Nigeria, Cameroon and Gabon.

Apistogramma says: A recent surge in breeder interest in dwarf cichlids has created a demand for the 'kribs' that is so far unprecedented ..and this has fueled a new search of the home waters for new and interesting color morphs. Until this began in the middle 1980's, many hobbyist were beginning to take the 'krib' for that is a totally different story.

Apistogramma says: The most recent book that I have on the color morphs of P. pulcher was published by TFH in 1994. It lists five distinct Pelvicachromis species and 26 different color morphs total among these species. The most common species in the hobby is P. pulcher....but this species is actually one of the least represented in the genus. P. taeniatus leads the pack with 12 color varieties found in the wild.

Apistogramma says: Feeding kribs is easy ..anything from flake to live. I use a lot of both ..with a lot of freeze dried 'meaty' foods as well.

Apistogramma says: tank space is an issue. Pairs are highly territorial, but not usually brutal. A pair of three inch Pelvicachromis are happy in a well planted 15 gallon if they are alone, and larger if they are going to be in a community. My favorite size for adults is a 20 long.

Apistogramma says: sorry...I use 20 longs for most of my pairs..... or larger if they are in community tanks.

Apistogramma says: Breeding kribs is easy. They are biparental care givers that are cave spawners. The times that the have fry are when they are the most aggressive. But they are still mild in comparison to other cichlids in the same situations.

Apistogramma says: One interesting thing about kribs is that it has been shown that the sex of the fry is pH dependent. If they eggs are laid and incubated in a pH that is very high or very low, the sex ratio is very heavy to the males....but a neutral pH produces a 50/50 ratio males to females. This is why you see a lot more males out of Florida, where the water is very alkaline.

Apistogramma says: As well as at least three color morphs of P. pulcher that are available right now...I have seen three forms of P. teaniatus and two of p. subocellatus on a few breeders' lists.

Apistogramma says: P. pulcher is noted as having very colorful females and rather drab males...except for finnage. P. subocellatus however, is the real looker of the group. The females turn nearly jet black with a crimson belly when spawning, and the males are colorful yellowish orange with distinct scale outlines and colorful finnage. P. taeniatus is the smallest of the genus, and the one with the most spectacular color in the fins. The caudal fins of most males are bright yellow with black spots.

Apistogramma says: Also coming available now and then is the larger species in the genus, P. humilis. this fish looks a lot different than the other P. species. It does not have nearly as round a snout and it gets half again as big. The males get a vertical striped pattern during spawns and the females turn red, like most P. females do.

Apistogramma says: If any one is looking for a group of fish to get started in as far as dwarf cichlids are concerned...this is a good group. Besides the , there are several other species in the closely related Nanochromis , Parananochromis genus as well.

Apistogramma says: That is about it...any questions?

Melissa says: Do you know of any good source to find these fish? I know I can't find anything but pulcher here

Apistogramma says: The American Cichlid Association has a monthly sell/buy listing that usually has about every species that is available. The North American Fish Breeders Guild also lists several. If you have store that get shipments of wild fish in...look for contaminants. I used to get a lot of taeniatus in shipments of "wild Kribs".

Apistogramma says: there is a neat one that is currently undescribed that comes in often in wild shipments...It is called the Nigerian Giant Red Krib. In this species , which get's larger (6 inches for males) both sexes are a dark chocolate brown with a red belly. they are not super hardy however...and need careful attention to parasites

Dev says: is it possible to have a pH-dependent lean towards more females than males?

Apistogramma says: I think so DEV....but I am not overly familiar with the data. It may be one or the other at the extremes, but most environmental sex dependency has one sex at the extremes and the other in the middle.

Dev nods his head in understanding.

Dev says: I was just curious since I got 5 females from an auction bag, so I figured the breeder had too many females (or I just got unlucky)

Apistogramma says: another interesting thing you can do with the Florida kribs is look at mate selection between albinos and wild types. Kribs are very visual mate selectors

Apistogramma says: I have found that a wild type male prefers a female that is albino...her RED belly contrasts more with the white background. But Albino females usually choose a wild type male, in which the black ocelli spots on the tail and dorsal fin are visible. In albino males these spots are not.

Apistogramma says: To me...this indicates that the red belly contrast of the female is the turn on for males, but it is the black ocelli of the males that turns on the female.

Melissa says: I have observed that with my own albino female who didn't like her albino mate but likes her current wild type mate

Apistogramma says: If you want to pick out a pair at a store.. have the clerk throw in a spawning pot with the group. If they are adults that are healthy and have been there long enough to establish dominance (about a week) the dominant female and dominant male will usually stake out the new pot with in five minutes. This has worked for me choosing pairs for customers COUNTLESS times.

Apistogramma says: The females are usually good to go at 1.5 inches.. the males at 2".

Apistogramma says: I have never had a pair go bad...I have had some albino males that shot blanks.

Apistogramma says: One warning about breeding P. pulcher...the stores are usually overloaded with them at an ADULT getting rid of fry is not easy. I use the natural selection method on my P. pulcher and only save those that get up to .5 inch in the community tank. As it is I have a about 25 juveniles .

Melissa says: How long until they are too old to mate? I was wondering how old is too old to have viable spawns

Melissa says: I was wondering because I have an old female that has stopped producing eggs. She's over 2 years old now and hasn't gotten eggs back after her last spawn in June

Apistogramma says: I must admit that I rarely keep a breeding pair that long. I usually allow about six spawns before I sell off the pair and start a younger set.

Apistogramma says: Is she laying at all?

Rick says: You mentioned that in a 15G they should be kept alone ... would this affect the pair bond?

Apistogramma says: I have never had a pair break a bond alone or in a community...except when I introduced a stronger female who basically stole the male away from the weaker female.

Apistogramma says: With kribs it is obviously the FEMALE who is in charge of a pair relationship.

Apistogramma sees a duality between his kribs and his marriage.

Rick laughs.

Melissa says: The female is not laying anymore. She still has a slightly sunken belly that she got after her last spawn. She just hasn't been forming more eggs. She and the male still do act like a pair but no fry

Apistogramma says: right now I have three different krib (pulcher 0 color morphs. As soon as I get moved this weekend and get a few more tanks set up they will go into production. I will have some very nice fry available by Jan or Feb.

Apistogramma says: I would get a new female personally and put her out to pasture....but I am cruel and heartless.

Apistogramma says: Ok It is now open forum. Thank you.

public address system (PA is OFF) has been uninstalled from the room.

Melissa says: Willing to ship any of those fry? :)

Melissa says: I would get a new female but finding good kribs here is a challenge

Apistogramma says: I ship anywhere any time. I have some fry now if you are willing to pay freight for pulcher (subspecies 'red')

Melissa says: I don't have a tank now, but I'll have my quarantine free by Jan.

Melissa says: I might get back to you on that in the future Ted. I'm working on finding more room for tanks

Dev says: Ted, as you know I have 5 females, largest slightly over 2"- how should I go about getting a pair(s) (ie-introducing some males)

Apistogramma says: I would probably, Dev, pick which female you want to try and put her in with a couple of males. Females will kill each other over a male.

Dev says: how large should the males be that I look for?

Apistogramma says: I suggest that any male over 2" would be OK.

Melissa says: I found when I was introducing my female to her new mate that introducing the male into the tank a week before the female seemed to help

Apistogramma says: I found a local strain that is from selective breeding of Florida stock cross with wild that has A LOT of black in the dorsal and caudal of the males, and the females get very dark red. I have fry, but I can also get the sub adults cheaply if any one wants some.

Dev says: I'd like to get some red-variety, I think I have the yellow morph as mine have very metallic, bright yellow chins now

Apistogramma says: I would like the yellows. You have no males you say?

Dev says: after studying them for a few weeks, I'm almost positive I have no males :)

Dev says: their dorsal fin is way too rounded compared to the pictures of males I've seen in books/magazines

Apistogramma says: Do they have fat little belies?

Dev says: most of them do only one doesn't fit the profile as he/she is the smallest, still has a cigar shape (the others are fat) and doesn't display a red belly- but he/she also has a rounded dorsal

Apistogramma says: They might be yellows Dev, but I have found that he females of most pulcher have yellow cheeks. It is the cheeks, bellies and anal fins of he males that define the subspecies usually.

Melissa says: How small is it Dev?

Dev says: about 1.5-1.75" Mel

Melissa says: Would that be too small to tell yet?

Melissa says: I have no idea what color morph my male is. He's hiding so much I never see him :)

Dev says: no idea

Apistogramma says: At that size the female characteristics should be coming out. So it is either a weak female too scared to show herself in the feminine crowd, or a young male also too scared to show himself in the crowd.

Dev says: mine are always doodling around out of sight, until they hear the hood open...then they wait with their mouths open at the top :)

Dev says: I'd be scared as the only male with those females too :)

Melissa grins.

Apistogramma says: Dither fish are great for getting kribs out and about. Swords and platies are my favs, because they are rather calm compared to tetras.

Melissa says: I feed right before I leave for class and right before bed so I never see him eat either. I don't think he likes to come out when I'm in there.

Dev says: I've got 6 harlequins that work well

Melissa says I use danios because my female likes to chase the calmer ones

Melissa says: I think my female is part of the reason my male hides a lot. She dominates most of the time. Every now and again the male gets fed up and chases the female for a day.

Apistogramma says: that is a brave male krib:)

Melissa says: He's a good inch bigger than the female and she is old

Dev says: Ted, have you seen Tetra's West African cichlid book? (black cover series) that book covers a lot of subspecies of Pelvicachromis

Apistogramma says: That is the book that I mentioned and have right in front of me now.

Apistogramma says: I like that series...have most of them. Just got the gourami book.

Dev nods his head in understanding.

Dev says: good book

Mox says: He's been cutting and pasting from it all night. :-)

Mox says: Just kidding, I'm sorry.

Dev says: you mentioned TFH though

Apistogramma says: I did?

Apistogramma says: I meant tetra if I did.

Dev says: I'm waiting for the part II of the south American book- apparently they have a vol 2 that describes fish larger than 3"

Apistogramma says: That is the one with the geophagus and larger acaras....I definitely want that one.

Dev says: have you seen that book anywhere yet Ted?

Apistogramma says: NOPE.

Apistogramma says: Do you have the dwarf SA book Dev?

Dev says: yes I do Ted, it's my pride an joy :)

Apistogramma says: Well folks I need to get going. Thanks for the opportunity to spout.

Mox says: Nice talk ted.


Judy, Ted. (May 27, 1996). "Pelvicachromis". Cichlid Room Companion. Retrieved on October 19, 2019, from: