Last update: May 15, 2023

15 Best Kribensis Cichlid Tank Mates – FishLab

Looking for the perfect tank mate for your Kribensis cichlid? These popular fish (Pelvicachromis pulcher) have easygoing personalities, flourish in small or medium-sized aquariums, and do well with other cichlids and similar-sized fish that can hold their own ground but won’t get aggressive. Even better, even beginner aquarists can care for these fish with ease.

Find the best tank mates for your Kribensis from a popular range of cichlids, catfish, tetras, danios, barbs, rasboras, plecos, and even more unusual types such as Killifish and Seluang fish.

Check out this list to discover your favorite choice among these 15 best Kribensis Cichlid tank mates.

What You Need to Know

If you already have a Kribensis and want to stock your tank with more interesting species, you can add several compatible fish breeds in just a 30-gallon aquarium. Kribs are omnivores, easy to maintain, and need a diet balanced with meat and greens to thrive and stay on an even keel.

A Krib needs water temperatures that range from 75°F to 79°F, pH that ranges from 5.0-8.0, and water hardness from 5-20 dGH, so it’s best to introduce species that do well in this kind of environment.

The 15 Best Kribensis Cichlid Tank Mates

You also shouldn’t miss these other popular picks from this category:

1. Blue Acara Cichlid

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  • Scientific name: Aequidens pulcher
  • Origin: Trinidad and Venezuela
  • Size: 8 inches
  • Care: Intermediate

Cichlids have a reputation for getting a bit pushy, especially if tank conditions aren’t optimal, but this Cichlid has a more peaceful nature that lets it coexist with Kribensis Cichlids. It’s not fussy about food, can handle water pH that is more acidic, and just needs some rocks for hiding and enough tank space to swim freely.

Pros of Keeping With Kribensis Cichlid

  • Can tolerate broad temperature fluctuations

Cons of Keeping With Kribensis Cichlid

  • May eat fish that are much smaller than them

2. Tiger Barb

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  • Scientific name: Puntius anchisporus
  • Origin: Malaysia
  • Size: 1 to 2 inches 
  • Care:  Easy 

This orange and black shoaling fish has red trim along its pectoral, dorsal, and caudal fins. An omnivorous species, Tiger Barbs like to eat a variety of blanched lettuce and spinach, food flakes, blood worms and shrimp. Their water parameter needs are compatible with cichlids like the Kribensis, which helps make them like-minded tank companions.

Pros of Keeping With Kribensis Cichlid

  • Low maintenance

Cons of Keeping With Kribensis Cichlid

  • Prone to mouth fungus and can be known as fin nippers

3. Celestial Pearl Danio

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  • Scientific name: Danio margaritatus
  • Origin: Hopong, Myanmar
  • Size: Less than 1 inch
  • Care: Moderate

With a gentle nature and stunning scales that look like a nighttime galaxy tipped with black and scarlet fins, Celestial Pearls require a planted aquarium, a very clean tank, a balanced diet of baby brine shrimp and vegetable flakes, and thrive best in similar water temperatures as the Krib. They’re more of a cold water fish since they don’t do well if the water is over 78 degrees.

Pros of Keeping With Kribensis Cichlid

  • Can live in small-size tanks

Cons of Keeping With Kribensis Cichlid

  • Sensitive to water chemistry shifts

4. Siamese Algae Eater

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  • Scientific name: Crossocheilus spp
  • Origin: Southeast Asia
  • Size: Up to 6 inches
  • Care Level: Easy

This glamorous and sociable silvery-golden fish has a thick black line that bisects its body. They’re not only gentle and gregarious, but they also enjoy nibbling algae and plankton from the tank to keep it clean. This makes them a great low-maintenance tank mate for Kribs. They also have similar water parameter needs but can tolerate somewhat harder water.

Pros of Keeping With Kribensis Cichlid

  • Promote ecological balance in the tank 

Cons of Keeping With Kribensis Cichlid

  • Tend to jump out of tanks

5. German Ram

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This gleaming gold, red, blue, or black cichlid comes from South America, although it derives its name from a species developed in Germany. Despite their blunt features and big red eyes, German Rams get along well without other cichlids in a large and well-balanced tank.

While Kribs can adjust to some shifts in temperature, German Rams need targeted pH levels and water temperature to thrive.

Pros of Keeping With Kribensis Cichlid

  • Not fussy eaters

Cons of Keeping With Kribensis Cichlid 

  • Requires regularly clean water and strict water chemistry

6. Harlequin Rasbora

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  • Scientific name: Rasbora heteromorpha
  • Origin: Sumatra
  • Size: About 2 inches
  • Care: Beginner

Harlequin Rasboras are an elegant choice for any community tank that includes a Kribensis. They aren’t picky eaters, consuming blood worms, shrimp, or food pellets with ease, but they do need an open tank with access to the top to intake air. Their water needs mesh, including harder water preferences, mesh well with Kribensis’ requirements.

Pros of Keeping With Kribensis Cichlid

  • Hardy and can tolerate some changes in water chemistry

Cons of Keeping With Kribensis Cichlid

  • Might get consumed by bigger, more predatory fish

7. Cherry Barb

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  • Scientific name: Puntius titteya
  • Origin: Columbia
  • Size: Close to 2 inches
  • Care: Beginner

While you might not want to mix most Barbs with cichlids because they can get a bit uncontrollable, Cherry Barbs are the most peaceful Barb variety. They are shoaling fish, so it’s important to get half a dozen or so to keep them healthy and give them a social circle.

Cherries are not only beautiful, but they are flexible to some fluctuations in water chemistry so you can tune parameters in for more delicate species. 

Pros of Keeping With Kribensis Cichlid

  • Low maintenance and generally disease-resistant

Cons of Keeping With Kribensis Cichlid

  • Tend towards fine rot health problems 

8. Rubber Lip Pleco

  • Scientific name: Chaetostoma milesi
  • Origin: Columbia
  • Size: 3 to 5 inches 
  • Care: Easy

Plecos are a placid pick for a Kribensis tank mate since they get along well with just about everybody. They usually drift slowly around an aquarium or stop to latch their mouths onto the tank wall. A plus is that they require a smaller tank, around 25 gallons, and have the same temperature requirements as the bottom-dwelling Kribensis.

Pros of Keeping With Kribensis Cichlid

  • Mellow and good for beginners

Cons of Keeping With Kribensis Cichlid 

  • A generally inactive fish if you’re looking to add movement and interest to a tank

9. Kuhli Loach

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  • Scientific name: Pangio kuhlii
  • Origin: Indonesian islands 
  • Size: 2 to 3 inches
  • Care: Moderate to difficult

Just like other fish species that hug the substrate, the Kuhli Loach makes for a good, non-threatening tank friend. They have a different sleep cycle from most other kinds of fish, so they’re active and feed at night. It’s vital to make sure to drop sinking pellets, gel food, or worms that can find their way to the bottom for the Loach’s dinner.

They’re a little tricky to care for due to their precise temperature and pH needs, so they’re best handled by an aquarist with some experience.

Pros of Keeping With Kribensis Cichlid

  • Adds nighttime interest to the tank and cleans algae from the glass

Cons of Keeping With Kribensis Cichlid 

  • Prone to various infections from parasites

10. Pepper Cory


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  • Scientific name: Corydoras paleatus
  • Origin: Brazil and Uruguay
  • Size: 3 inches
  • Care: Moderate

These bottom-feeding omnivores are small, popular fish from South America. They are fascinating to watch because they will wink at you by rolling their eyes upward. Even though it lives near the substrate, it won’t bother your Kribensis if they both have enough food and space.  

Pros of Keeping With Kribensis Cichlid

  • Hardy and interesting

Cons of Keeping With Kribensis Cichlid

  • May get stressed without proper filtration

11. Killifish

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  • Scientific name: Fundulus majalis
  • Origin:  Argentina
  • Size: 2 or 3 inches
  • Care: Beginner

Add a dash of vivid color to your Kribensis tank with the shimmering sunset orange, red, and blue scales of the Killifish. Despite their name, they only tend to get aggressive towards other males, so it’s advised to keep a single male and female together rather than two males. They’re fine and non-territorial with cichlids if the tank has adequate space and lots of rocks for hiding spaces.

Pros of Keeping With Kribensis Cichlid 

  • Easy care

Cons of Keeping With Kribensis Cichlid 

  • Can get semi-aggressive with same-species males

12. Green Swordtail

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  • Scientific name: Xiphophorus hellerii
  • Origin: Mexico and Honduras
  • Size: 5 or 6 inches
  • Care: Easy

Swordtails are some of the friendliest and most sociable fish that you can add to a Kribensis tank. They are also beautiful, top-swimming fish who love to jump out of the water, so they won’t get in your Krib’s way. They thrive in the same water temperature range as Kribs, and appreciate very hard, alkaline water.

Pros of Keeping With Kribensis Cichlid 

  • Social and adaptable

Cons of Keeping With Kribensis Cichlid

  • Tend to nip the tail and fins on veil fish (not included on this list)

13. Corydoras Catfish

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  • Scientific name: Corydoras spp
  • Origin: Guyana
  • Size: Anywhere from 1 inch to 4 inches
  • Care: Intermediate

This Cory Catfish is a happy algae-eater that likes to live in a school of other Cories. Just add stones, tanks, dark substrate, and your Cory will do the rest just chilling and keeping your tank clean. Their water conditions are similar to the Kribensis, adapt well to small fluctuations in pH, and even thrive on plain tap water.

Pros of Keeping With Kribensis Cichlid

  • Top-rated tank cleaner, adaptable, and long-lived 

Cons of Keeping With Kribensis Cichlid

  • Needs a very clean tank

14. Apistogramma

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  • Scientific name: Apistogramma cacatuoides
  • Origin: Brazil, Columbia, and Peru
  • Size: Average 3 inches
  • Care level: Beginner

Called the Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid, the Apistogramma is a stunning rainbow of colors and delicate fins. Due to their streaming fins, they are best housed with other fish that don’t bite. This shoaling fish has a curious, peace-loving, and interactive nature. Another plus side is that their water parameters are compatible with Kribensis’ needs. 

Pros of Keeping With Kribensis Cichlid

  • Interactive and low maintenance

Cons of Keeping With Kribensis Cichlid

  • Avoid putting with larger, aggressive types due to size and vulnerability

15. Seluang Fish

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  • Scientific name: Rasbora
  • Origin: China and Southeast Asia
  • Size: 2 to 4 inches 
  • Care: Easy

This fish belongs to the Cyprinidae family which includes various species of rasboras. Choose from Blackline, Brilliant, Chili, Clown, Galaxy, Slender, Scissortail, Yellow Rasboras, and more for your new Kribensis tank mate. They are not super sensitive to changes in water parameters, so they pair well with more sensitive fish that may need a precise environment. 

Pros of Keeping With Kribensis Cichlid

  • Hardy and adaptable to a range of water conditions such as medium to high acidity.

Cons of Keeping With Kribensis Cichlid

  • Might get bullied by bigger fish in the tank


These attractive little bottom-dwellers are a beautiful addition to any tank. If you want to add more fish to your tank, the Kribensis makes a good community mate for a wide range of species. We chose these 15 Best Kribensis Tank Mates with care based on how well they get along with Kribs.

It’s always best to add fish that live in different levels of the tank to avoid food scarcity, crowding, or territorial spats.

Consider fast fish that swim in the middle and upper levels of the tank (although an occasional catfish or loach can work), and avoid tiny, bite-sized fish like guppies, slow fish with long, flowing fins like Angelfish, and fierce fish such as Convict fish to create a peaceful community tank.


Are Kribensis Fish Aggressive?

Kribensis sometimes get a bad rap as overprotective parents. While female Kribensis cichlids do act territorial toward other fish during the breeding season, this fish is generally a peaceful community fish. If the tank is big enough, isn’t overcrowded, and there is plenty of food on offer, aggression shouldn’t be a problem.

Ian Sterling

I've been keeping fish for over 30 years and currently have 4 different aquariums – it's an addiction. I'm here to teach you everything there is to know about fishkeeping.

I also use this site as an excuse to spend lots of money on testing and reviewing different aquarium products! You can find my reviews here.

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