Category: Cichlids

African, South and Central American Cichlids

What’s New In Cichlid Studies: Part 1


Aquarists often go to great lengths to duplicate or at least reasonably simulate habitat conditions in the aquarium in order to stimulate spawning in their pet cichlids. It certainly helps, but one must not lose sight of the fact that these fish are often more adaptable than we give them credit for. A recent study on several Cichla species illustrates this point [6]. These fish spawn only once a year in natural habitat due to seasonality of the river flows. However, populations living in reservoirs spawn several times a year since they are no longer dependent on floodwater seasons, and they will do likewise in captivity.

To veer off topic a moment, aquarists may not realize how far in advance of professional ichthyologists they are in some respects, specifically with the ability to raise species at near or better than habitat conditions. This is something that some ichthyologists are just starting to notice [7]. The traditional problem is getting aquarists to publish what they have done, and more importantly, to accurately document in an objective manner what they did. Every aquarium club bulletin needs more articles, and what with exchanges and literature collectors, those articles have a wider dispersion than many over-modest authors may think.


One reason why cichlids are so popular with aquarists is that they exhibit reasoned behaviours, as opposed to the average live bearer or cyprinid swimming blindly back and forth across the tank all day. Parental behaviour is where cichlids stand out. This is of interest to research scientists as well, not only from a strict behavioural point of view but also applied ecology, specifically the behaviour of introduced species. Florida’s environment has been damaged more than most areas in North America by introduced tropical fish because more species have a better chance of survival there, and because of the commercial fish farms supplying the aquarium trade. One study in Florida [1] considered that Tilapia mariae that has invaded communities previously dominated by native centrarchids, and also unfavourable areas such as channelized rivers. The success of T. mariae appears due to their specialized biparental care. One of the pair can defend the brood in its nest while the other patrols the borders against predators. They can also switch off while feeding, therefore always leaving one parent to protect the fry. The male and female of a pair co-ordinate their actions with each other, thereby improving the survival rate of their young.

Although biparental care is common enough in substrate-spawning species that keep the eggs or young in nests, it is quite rare in mouthbrooders. Out of about 1,000 species of mouthbrooding cichlids, only about 35 have biparental care [5]. The reason seems fairly obvious, for if the fry or eggs are sheltered in one parent’s buccal pouch, then the help of the second parent is not really needed. The 35 species, such as the Tanganyikan Eretmodus cyanostictus, are in the transitional stage between the substrate spawners who provide biparental care and the uniparental mouthbrooders.

Aquarists will often observe parental cichlids fanning their brood. At the egg stage this can be attributed to increasing oxygen flow and sweeping away debris. Once the eggs have hatched, parents may often begin brushing the substrate with their fins. This fin digging behaviour stirs up microscopic life from the substrate for the fry to feed on [4]. In Cichlasoma octofasciatum, for example, as the brood ages from 3 days after hatch to 10 days after hatch, fin digging increases. By the way this is where aquarists can make a difference. Professional ichthyologists can only study a few species of fish; most of their time is taken up by teaching and paperwork. Aquarists will see far more species than the average university professor ever will, and should take advantage of that to study them and report in print the results. While it is true that the average aquarium does not provide a suitable simulation of habitat for release of natural behaviour, it is still the case that any kind of documented observation may come in useful. What is important is for the aquarist to note cichlid behaviour objectively, such as life stage, how many days, and what the aquarium was like.


Cichlids often lose favour with aquarists because they exhibit aggressive behaviour, as opposed to the average live bearer or cyprinid swimming blindly back and forth across the tank all day. Much of this aggressiveness is more supposed than real, as most aquaria are too small to allow cichlids room to escape unharmed or stake out proper territories. This is one of the reasons for the time-honoured advice about always buying the biggest tank you can reasonably afford (the other reason is that larger volumes of water have more stable chemistry).

Cichlid aggressiveness is partly based on protecting feeding territory. It has been demonstrated that cichlids are more aggressive to other fish that have the same feeding habits [3]. Those that feed on a different food source will be tolerated and allowed to co-exist. A mbuna that picks only at algae-covered rocks is not particularly concerned to see another species of cichlid munching on something it snagged in mid-water. This assumes, of course, that space is not a limiting factor for the cichlids, as so commonly it is in the home aquarium. In an ideal world, no aquarist would buy an unknown (to them) species of fish in a pet store. They would have read up on the fish prior to entering the store, have a tank prepared at home, know what kind of food to give them, and how to present the food to them. In the real world, of course, most of us have been guilty of succumbing to impulse and buying something we hadn’t expected to. In fairness, pet stores often receive ‘contaminant’ species mixed in with their orders, and if the aquarist doesn’t buy then on the spot, the opportunity will be lost by the time of a return visit.

Bringing home a new and unknown fish presents problems in how to care for it. Your reference book may not list that species. If so, how and what do you feed it? Experienced aquarists know that the preferred diet and presentation of a fish can be guessed quite accurately by studying its eyes and mouth in particular. This has been confirmed by scientific studies. Detritivores, or bottom feeders, usually have their eyes high up near the top or dorsal position of their bodies, so they can see while plowing the substrate. Piscivores, who prey on other fish, have large, often extensible mouths. Surface feeders have their mouths turned up to the water surface. Midwater fish have their eyes on the sides of their heads to give a better all-around view of the water for both prey and predators [2]. By studying your new fish purchase, you can therefore tell whether you should be feeding them floating flakes or sinking pellets.


1] Annett, C.A., R. Pierotti, and J.R. Baylis (1999) Male and female parental roles in the monogamous cichlid, Tilapia mariae, introduced in Florida. ENVIRONMENTAL BIOLOGY OF FISHES 54:283-293

2] Hugueny, B. and M. Pouilly (1999) Morphological correlates of diet in an assemblage of West African freshwater fishes. JOURNAL OF FISH BIOLOGY 54:1310-1325

3] Genner, M.J., G.F. Turner, and S.J. Hawkins (1999) resource control by territorial male cichlid fish in Lake Malawi. JOURNAL OF ANIMAL ECOLOGY 68:522-529

4] Zworykin, D.D. (1998) Parental fin digging by Cichlasoma octofasciatum (Teleostei: Cichlidae) and the effect of parents’ satiation state on brood provisioning. ETHOLOGY 104:771-779

5] Neat, F.C. and S. Balshine-Earn (1999) A field survey of the breeding habits of Eretmodus cyanostictus, a biparental mouthbrooding cichlid in Lake Tanganyika. ENVIRONMENTAL BIOLOGY OF FISHES 55:333-338

6] Jepsen, D.B., K.O. Winemiller, D.C. Taphorn, and D.R. Olarte (1999) Age structure and growth of peacock cichlids from rivers and reservoirs of Venezuela. JOURNAL OF FISH BIOLOGY 55:433-450

7] Carlson, B.A. (1999) Organism responses to rapid change: What aquaria tell us about nature. AMERICAN ZOOLOGIST 39:44-55 ?

The Genus Pelvicachromis Part II: Wild Kribs

Last month, I discussed the care and feeding of the ubiquitous krib (Pelvicachromis pulcher), a delightful fish and probably the most popular cichlid after the angelfish. However, the genus Pelvicachromis also contains many other species. Some of these fish are even more colorful than the common krib. And all are just as interesting. Some of them appear in dealers price lists under their correct name, but just as often, they appear under the name “wild krib” or under some dealer-specific trade name. So whenever you see “wild kribs” offered for sale, sometimes as “Nigerian kribensis” or “jumbo-red kribensis”, look carefully, with reference book in hand, and you may find yourself a bargain. The only reference book to have when viewing wild kribs is the CAS library book African Cichlids I: Cichlids of West Africa, by Linke and Staeck. Photographs of all described species of Pelvicachromis are in this book.

Remember, however, that wild kribs, almost without exception, come from soft, acidic rainforest streams. They may be slow to acclimatize to local conditions. Although Calgary tap water is not that hard, it is quite alkaline. CO2 injection, peat, and/or RO water to lower the pH to 6.5 or so may be a good idea. Most fish will however adapt to local conditions without trouble. But as discussed in Part 1, the sex ratio of Pelvicachromis fry is pH dependent, so breeding of wild kribs is best done in slightly acidic water.

Breeding and husbandry of the wild kribs is much the same as for the commercially raised P. pulcher described last month. Keep them in pairs, use a sand bottom, provide plants, lots of krib-sized caves, and some company in the form of a non-obtrusive schooling species. Use only a very large tank for multiple pairs. Feeding should be of a varied diet with the emphasis on small crustaceans and insect larvae, if possible.

The various species of the genus Pelvicachromis can be found in the coastal tropics of West Africa, ranging from Sierra Leone in the west, east to Cameroon, where the African coastline makes a right angle turn, south toward the Congo. In the Congo River basin itself the genus Pelvicachromis is replaced by the genus Nanochromis. Unfortunately many of the countries in the Pelvicachromis’ span are systemically corrupt or politically ill at ease, and civil wars or guerilla actions are currently underway in Sierra Leone and Liberia. All are very poor. Fish collecting within their borders is therefore problematic. The easternmost country of Cameroon is however blessed with political stability, and Nigeria has also recently seen a return to a democratic government, and so it is from these two countries that most wild kribs are likely to be shipped, now and in the near future.

The greatest problem in supplying wild Pelvicachromis to local stores is however not at their source, but at their destination. Wild kribs simply don’t sell well. They must compete with the commercially bred Pelvicachromis pulcher, which, after all, they resemble. As the wild specimens must be sold for $15 to $50 each to be profitable, only the most devoted aficionado would select them over the P. pulcher being offered in the next tank for $3.99. As such, only aquarium specialty stores that supply the unusual, such as Riverfront, DAD’s, or Gold, would carry them, and then only occasionally.

Pelvicachromis sacromontis

Sometimes seen in local stores is Pelvicachromis sacromontis, the scarlet krib. This fish is listed as Pelvicachromis sp. aff. pulcher in African Cichlids I: Cichlids of West Africa, by Linke and Staeck. This designation means that the fish is undescribed, but is clearly a Pelvicachromis species similar to P. pulcher. Since the publication of the African Cichlids I: Cichlids of West Africa, this fish has been properly described under the name Pelvicachromis sacromontis.

The ranges of the P. pulcher and P. sacromontis apparently do not overlap. P. sacromontis has a more easterly range than P. pulcher, being found just east of the Niger River delta in Nigeria, unlike P. pulcher, which is found to the west of the delta.

As a juvenile, this fish is very difficult to distinguish from P. pulcher. The first distinguishing characteristic to be seen is an iridescent turquoise blue patch on the cheeks and gill covers of P. sacromontis. They maintain this color even while stressed, so this may be the only way to tell them apart in a dealer’s tank. Female P. sacromontis also have dorsal fins that are uniformly dark, as they lack the gold border of the P. pulcher female dorsal. And when fully colored up and in breeding condition, the two species are easily told apart. Female P. sacromontis have bright red, not wine-colored, bellies giving them their common name of “scarlet krib”. And in breeding colors they have two quite dark longitudinal bands running down the lengths of their sides. These become considerably lighter (almost tan) when the fish is guarding young.

P. sacromontis is also unusual in that the males are just as colorful as the females. Some male populations of P. sacromontis also have red bellies, and in these the red extends from the belly into the lower half of the face, making for a very nice fish. Other populations have yellow bellies. The red form of P. sacromontis must be considered one of the most beautiful of all Pelvicachromis.

Riverfront Aquariums occasionally gets this fish in, but you’ll have to ask when the next shipment is likely to arrive. The last time I was in Riverfront there was only one lone male still available for sale. He was a leftover from their last shipment some months previously, and was left unsold because he had lost an eye. I have never seen this fish in any other store, but Pisces, Gold, Franco’s, or DAD’s Fishroom (Edmonton) might get it for you.

Pelvicachromis taeniatus

Pelvicachromis taeniatus is the most commonly seen “wild krib” in local stores. It has a relatively large range from coastal Nigeria, then south and east throughout coastal Cameroon and into Equatorial Guinea.

Pelvicachromis taeniatus is a slimmer fish than the other Pelvicachromis species. It is also has the smallest adult male size, but the females are about the same size as P. pulcher females.

A considerable number of local color morphs exist, with a very wide range of colors. African Cichlids I: Cichlids of West Africa, by Linke and Staeck lists twelve color morphs, and provides the type localities of each. It is extremely important to keep each type separate in the aquarium. Any tank-crosses between the various forms should be treated as hybrids and discarded.

The recognized color morphs are each given a name based on their range (usually after the village closest to where they are found) or their predominant color. In order of location, from north and west to south and east, the morphs are:

  1. Nigeria-Yellow
  2. Nigeria-Red
  3. Nigeria-Green
  4. Moliwe
  5. Muyuka
  6. Wouri
  7. Dehane
  8. Lokoundje
  9. Kienke
  10. Nange
  11. Lobe
  12. Lobe-Red

The three Nigerian P. taeniatus morphs are named after the color on the gill plates of the males: yellow, red, or green. Note that the overall body color of the male fish or the color of the female fish is not necessarily the same as the plate color.

The Nigeria-Yellow morph is found along the coast of Nigeria west of the Niger River delta, while the Nigeria-Green and Nigeria-Red forms apparently come from the delta itself. The red form is apparently very localized, and the collectors are keeping their location a secret.

None of the Nigerian forms are particularly attractive. The Nigeria-Yellow females lack the “belly-color” of most Pelvicachromis females, and the coloring of the Nigeria-Yellow males is best described as “subtle”. The Nigeria-Green females are much nicer, with pink bellies, but the males are spectacularly unspectacular, despite the green iridescence on their gill covers. The Nigeria-Red form is an improvement again, with nicely flushed bellies, but even they, when compared to some of the morphs from Cameroon, are not very colorful either.

The “Moliwe” form, from north-western Cameroon, is a much nicer fish. The males have yellow cheeks and bellies, with red on their anal and caudal fins. The females have lovely purple bellies, black pelvic fins, and several dark spots on their tales and the rear of their dorsal fins.

The “Muyuka” form is also from north-western Cameroon. The males and females of this form are however much more similarly colored than the Moliwe form: both being and an overall orange-tan color. The females have only a single dark spot on their tails and neither sex has dark dorsal fin spots. The tail and anal fins of the males are red with blue bands, and the females have rosy purple bellies.

The “Wouri” females, known from a single location in western Cameroon, are the loveliest of the Pelvicachromis. They have a gold iridescent blotch on their dorsal surfaces, and this gold color is also “reflected” in their dorsal fins. They have raspberry red bellies, yellow gill covers, and dark bodies. But the males, alas, are an extremely drab olive gray-brown.

The “Dehane” form is found in small tributaries of the lower Nyong River of south-western Cameroon. This is one of the nicer forms. The males have red on their gill covers, yellow bellies and considerable red in their anterior dorsal fins, anal fins, and caudal fins. The tail also has several large back oval spots, rimmed with gold. The females’ fins are spotless, but the females have pleasant blue bellies with a purplish tinge.

Similar to the Dehane form is another form from the Nyong River, called “Lokoundje”. The females of this form have an iridescent metallic white blotch on their sides that is lacking in other forms. The males are similar to the Dehane males but the black spots on their tails are smaller and rounder.

Further south is the Kienke River, which enters the Atlantic Ocean at the town of Kribi. Here is found another form, the “Kienke”. The males have yellow bellies and gill covers, red anal fins, and a red and gold border to the dorsal. The females have blueberry bellies, yellow gill covers, and a single dark spot on a yellow dorsal fin. This is the fish that was originally given the species name kribensis, and so is the source of all the subsequent nomenclatureal confusion.

Found in southernmost Cameroon (near the border with Equatorial Guinea) is the “Lobe” form, with its intensely yellow males. And between the Kienke River and Lobe is the “Nange” form, which is intermediate between the Lobe and Kienke in coloration. The yellow Lobe males are the most distinctive of all the Pelvicachromis taeniatus, with their yellow color covering their entire bodies. If present at all, the yellow color would be confined to the belly and gill covers in other populations. Some muted red is seen in the anal and caudal fins. The females have lovely slate-blue bellies. A very nice fish.

Also listed is the “Lobe-Red”. The males of this fish are a greyish-brown with red on the tail, anal fin, dorsal fin, and gill covers. Linke and Staeck question whether this fish is a naturally occurring form or the result of hybridization, possibly with Pelvicachromis taeniatus “Dehane”.

All of the Pelvicachromis taeniatus I have seen for sale locally were “Nigeria-Yellow”, and so were among the least attractive of the various color morphs. Hopefully we’ll see some of the more colorful Cameroon forms someday soon.

Pelvicachromis subocellatus

Pelvicachromis subocellatus has a higher body than most other Pelvicachromis, being almost the same shape as an Apistogramma.

They are found to the south of the range of Pelvicachromis taeniatus; south through Gabon and Cabinda, as far down as the mouth of the Congo River.

I have never seen this fish for sale locally, which is a shame because is one of the more attractive Pelvicachromis.

The males have yellow bellies and raspberry-red anal fins, and are attractive enough. But when breeding the females are something special. They have white dorsal fins, raspberry-red bellies bordered with two broad stripes of blackberry-blue.

Pelvicachromis roloffi

Pelvicachromis roloffi is closely related to subocellatus, but it has a much more westerly distribution: Sierra Leone, Liberia, and northeastern Guinea. The males are plain fish, with whitish bellies, tan dorsal surfaces, and a dark longitudinal stripe down the side. The females are much more attractive, with violet bellies, black ventral fins, and small black spots edged with gold on the base of the dorsal fin. I have never seen this fish in local stores.

Pelvicachromis humilus

Pelvicachromis humilus is a much more elongated, almost pike-like, cichlid with a long snout. It is the largest of the Pelvicachromis, typically about 10cm in length.

Pelvicachromis humilus is from the extreme western end of the Pelvicachromis span: Sierra Leone and Liberia.

There are several color varieties, with the most commonly seen being “Kasawe” from Sierra Leone. The males of this form have a yellow belly splotch, and the females have pink bellies and bright light green iridescence over the gills and behind the pectoral fins.

Another form is from eastern Guinea, to the north of Liberia. It has blue on the face, a light orange-red color in the belly, and black spots on the dorsal and caudal fins.

A south-eastern form, called “Liberia-Red”, is found in Liberia. The males possess red fins and lack the yellow blotch of the Kasawe males. The females lack the pink of the Kaswae females, but in its place they have a solid brick red. They also lack the light green iridescence. They have some blue on the gills and tail fin, and a black border on the dorsal fin. A nice fish.

Pelvicachromis humilus are expensive. A price tag for Pelvicachromis humilus “Liberia-Red” was stuck to one of Riverfront’s tanks the last time I was in (although there wasn’t any of the fish left). The price tag read $49.95 each. And DAD’s Fishroom (Edmonton) has listed a “Bande River Purple” morph that I am not familiar with for $69.99 a pair.?

The Genus Pelvicachromis< Part I: The Krib

My favorite fish, bar none, is the ubiquitous krib. Well, actually it’s the coho salmon, but my favorite aquarium fish is the krib. The krib was the first cichlid I successfully bred, and in my early teens I had a pair in every tank I owned. But sadly, space limitations mean that I don’t own any at all at the moment. But someday soon….

Why do I like them so much? Well they have all the good things that make other cichlids so popular, but none of their drawbacks. They are colorful, smart, delightful to watch, and make wonderful parents. But they don’t wage unceasing warfare on each other and their tank mates, they aren’t so huge as to require a swimming pool, they do not think of aquarium plants as salad, and they do not insist that the proper place for aquarium gravel is in a gigantic pile on one side of the tank.

The krib is a smallish, elongated cichlid, usually less then 10cm in total length. Males are always significantly bigger than the females, and they also have a more elongated body shape. But the females have the color. And the spunk. In this genus it is the smaller females that initiate courtship, establish the territories, flash the brilliant colors, and basically call the shots. The larger lumbering males seem like dolts in comparison.

The krib is also the most commonly seen species of the genus Pelvicachromis. Its scientific name is Pelvicachromis pulcher but it was for years sold under the erroneous species name “kribensis”, a practice that has resulted in its common name.

The name “kribensis’ is however thoroughly inappropriate, as it refers to the southern Cameroon coastal town of Kribi, a location where Pelvicachromis pulcher is not even found. The fish instead comes from Nigeria, the country to the north-west of Cameroon. Specifically, from west of the delta of the mighty Niger River, which empties into the Atlantic on the central Nigerian coast.

Pelvicachromis pulcher is one of only a very few dwarf cichlids that are bred commercially, and they have become regular aquarium store fare…nowadays they are almost considered “bread and butter” fishes in the aquarium trade.

Commercially bred kribs have one important advantage over their wild brethren: they are much less demanding as to water chemistry and will adapt to (and breed in) local water much more readily than wild specimens.

Commercially bred fish are almost always sold as juveniles, which is entirely appropriate, but this has the unfortunate effect that few hobby beginners find out what colorful fishes they are. The washed-out juveniles are easily passed over in favor of such artificial fishes as the red swordtail, and so the krib does not appear in as many beginners’ tanks as it deserves to be. But an adult female in good condition will show much more color and generate far more interest than the unchanging velvet red and the mechanistic behavior of a line-bred swordtail. She will continuously flirt with her mate, flashing a belly with the loveliest wine-red in the aquarium world. So don’t be fooled by the washed-out juveniles in the store…when they grow up these are beautiful fish.

The preponderance of commercially bred kribs also has other drawbacks. The genetic quality of intensively bred, commercial fishes is usually poor. This doesn’t seem to be as much of a problem with kribs as with many other fishes…at least commercial kribs still look like the right fish…but I would still consider those rare occasions when “wild-caught kribs” are offered for sale as a chance not to be missed when selecting potential breeding stock.

However, be careful when selecting “wild-caught kribs” as they may very likely turn out not to be Pelvicachromis pulcher. If you recognize these fish, however, this is not a problem, but a great opportunity to collect the unusual.

It is universally reported that the sex ratio of Pelvicachromis fry is skewed by inappropriate water chemistry (like ours). Water that is more alkaline than the soft, acidic rainforest streams of their West African home is supposed to result in a preponderance of females being born. But this has not been my experience as I have always gotten males in hard, alkaline water. I suppose all the stock that I have ever bred from were themselves commercially bred fish, and this may have had an effect in evening out the sex ratio, but in my opinion the role in pH in sex determination of Pelvicachromis is over emphasized. But I could well be wrong… if any local breeders have had all-female hatchings of Pelvicachromis in local water I would be very interested in hearing about it.

Keeping kribs in the home is very easy, with the proviso that wild-caught fish may be difficult to acclimatize. But once settled in, they are hardy and resilient fish.

They should be kept in pairs. The usual cichlid procedure of keeping more females than males is unnecessary and potentially hazardous, as the females tend to fight more than the males. At least one cave (of some sort) must be provided for each pair. A single pair can be kept in quite a small tank (40 liters is fine) but if you have more than one pair then the space requirements increase rapidly. Two pairs need at least 80cm of floor space between their respective caves or warfare will result. This means that, at the very least, a 120-liter tank is needed for two pairs, and an even larger tank is highly recommended.

The substrate should be very fine gravel or sand. Kribs like to dig around their homes, and I do not believe that frustrating this behavior with gravel that’s too big for their mouths is the way to keep a happy krib. Let them dig…it gives them something to do. And cleaning out the cave is an important part of the mating ritual.

Feeding is a simple matter as well. The standard aquarium fare is fine for kribs, but like all cichlids they appreciate live foods once in a while. They are micro-predators in the wild, so Daphnia, blood worms, and mosquito larvae are good foods for them. White worms and chopped earthworms are devoured with particular gusto, but such rich foods should not make up the bulk of their diet. Some vegetables in the form of Spirulina flake are also a good idea.

These fish are great in a planted or community aquarium, and in fact, the presence of a school of dither fish is highly recommended. If kept alone, your fish will likely stay in their caves most of the time…and there is no point in having them if you never see them. They are much more extroverted in a community aquarium. They will of course keep any tank mates away from their caves, but they will not harm the interlopers if they have the sense to retreat. Congo tetras are ideal dither fish, as they are beautiful, school openly, and come from the same waters. But any schooling tetra, danio, barb, or rainbowfish will do. You don’t even have to worry about fin nippers, like tiger barbs, as no krib will ever allow her fins to be nipped by a mere barb.

Spawning and rearing the krib is not difficult, and neither is getting a compatible pair. Ideally, one would like to bring up half a dozen to a dozen unrelated young fish together in a large tank, and let them pair off on their own. But I’ve never done this. I’ve always just placed a male and female together. They’ve never killed each other as a result. Not every single one of these randomly introduced pairs spawned, but almost all of them got around to it eventually.

Spawning will occur spontaneously in the community aquarium without any intervention on your part whatsoever. You may be unaware of the event, however, as nuptial arrangements tend to be quite a private affair among kribs. If you don’t see the female for a few days and the male is still hanging around the cave, then you can be pretty sure that there are eggs in the cave.

Unfortunately, I have found that egg fertility rates are extremely low and fungusing is a severe problem. I have no doubt that this was caused by the hard alkaline water from the western Manitoba well I was drawing from (I have never raised kribs in Calgary where the water is considerably softer). Hopefully, you’ll get more than the few viable spawns I got. There is unlikely to be any reason to separate young from the parents unless they are in a community tank. I have never spawned a krib that didn’t prove to be an excellent parent.

The babies are easy to raise. They take newly hatched brine shrimp immediately and grow quickly. As mentioned, conventional wisdom would have it that most of the fry will be females under alkaline conditions, so CO2 injection or other pH reducing measures may be warranted if you find that this is the case with your spawns.

Next month, I’ll discuss the other species of Pelvicachromis that may show up in local stores from time to time. ?