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6 Great Tank Mates for Kribensis Cichlids: Compatibility Guide 2024

Lindsey Stanton Profile Picture

By Lindsey Stanton

Kribensis cichlid

If you have a fish tank in your home, you may be wondering how to choose compatible tank mates. In this article, we will discuss the best tank mates for the kribensis cichlid, a popular dwarf cichlid with beautiful coloration on its body. Then, we will discuss some of the benefits of having tank mates for your rainbow beauties.

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Top 6 Tank Mates for Kribensis Cichlids

1. Tiger Barb

Tiger barb
Image Credit: Grigoriev Mikhail, Shutterstock
Size 3 inches
Diet Omnivores
Minimum tank size 20 gallons
Care Level Low to medium
Temperament Mildly aggressive

The tiger barb is a small fish native to Malaysia and Borneo. These fish work well as tank mates for kribensis cichlids because they are about the same size; they grow to be a maximum of 3 inches long. Though these fish can be mildly aggressive, they are mid-tank dwellers, meaning they are likely to give your kribensis cichlids plenty of space.

It’s important to note that the tiger barb thrives in groups of a half dozen fish or more; in smaller groups, they are more likely to pick a fight with other fish in their tank.

2. Congo Tetra

congo tetra fish in aquarium
Image Credit: Grigorev Mikhail, Shutterstock
Size Up to 3.5 inches
Diet Omnivores
Minimum tank size 30 gallons
Care Level Medium
Temperament Peaceful

As you might guess based on its name, the Congo tetra is a native of the basin of the Congo River. These shimmery, rainbow-colored fish are peaceful schooling fish that like to be in a tank with members of their own species, so consider getting at least a half dozen of these fish if you are going to add them to your tank.

In general, they live peacefully with other species of their size such as the kribensis cichlid.

3. Siamese Algae Eater

siamese algae eater in aquarium
Image Credit: Grigorev Mikhail, Shutterstock
Size Up to 6 inches
Diet Omnivores
Minimum tank size 20 gallons
Care Level Low
Temperament Peaceful

The Siamese algae eater is a freshwater fish originally from Southeast Asia. They are aptly named, as they tend to help keep your aquarium clean by eating up algae. They are also easy to care for, making them a great addition to your aquarium. The Siamese algae eater isn’t an aggressive fish, but it is quite an energetic and quick swimmer. This combination makes these fish perfect companions for the kribensis cichlid, which has a tendency to chase and nip at slower-moving fish.

4. Harlequin Rasbora

Harlequin rasbora in aquarium
Image Credit: InsectWorld, Shutterstock
Size 1.75 inches
Diet Omnivores
Minimum tank size 10 gallons
Care Level Medium
Temperament Peaceful

Growing to be up to 1.75 inches long, the harlequin rasbora is the smallest fish on our list of potential tank mates. While this native of Southeast Asia will do well with other small fish, make sure not to pair it with anything much larger than the kribensis cichlid or it may become a meal for one of your other fish.

5. Cherry Barb

cherry barbs
Image Credit: Grigorev Mikhail, Shutterstock
Size 2 inches
Diet Omnivores
Minimum tank size 25 gallons
Care Level Low
Temperament Peaceful

The cherry barb gets its name from the beautiful red color males acquire during mating season. These small fish are popular pets because they are easy to care for and look wonderful in aquariums. They are a good match for the kribensis cichlid because they are around the same size. Additionally, the cherry barb is a mid to top dweller, which means it won’t get in the way of the kribensis cichlid.

6. Pepper Cory

peppered cory catfish at the bottom of the tank
Image Credit: Kristiana Berzina, Shutterstock
Size Up to 3 inches
Diet Omnivores
Minimum tank size 15 gallons
Care Level Medium
Temperament Peaceful

The pepper cory is a small fish native to South America. They are one of the most common Corydoras species in aquariums because they are interesting fish; they sometimes vocalize while mating and are known to “wink” at people by tiling their eyes without moving their heads. The pepper cory is a bottom dweller, but it is a peaceful fish that won’t disturb your kribensis cichlid. Your kribensis cichlid should be fine with the pepper cory in return, so long as it has enough space.



What Makes a Good Tank Mate for Kribensis Cichlid?

The kribensis cichlid tends to thrive in bonded pairs, but it can be difficult to keep more than one male in a tank together. Therefore, it’s best to keep more females in your tank than males – whether they are kribensis cichlids or another species. Other species that tend to do well with the kribensis cichlid are peaceful species that are around the same size as the kribensis cichlid. Avoid slow-moving fish like Angelfish, as the kribensis cichlid will chase and try to nip at other fish if the opportunity strikes.

Kribensis cichlid in planted aquarium
Image Credit: Aleron Val, Shutterstock

Where Do Kribensis Cichlid Prefer to Live in the Aquarium?

The kribensis cichlid prefers to stay at the bottom of the tank, where these fish like to dig around in the substrate. The best way to feed your fish is to sink fish pellets to the bottom of the tank, so it’s necessary to choose pellets that are dense enough to sink all the way down to where your kribensis cichlids like to dwell.

Water Parameters

The kribensis cichlid is native to West Africa. Though the kribensis cichlid is a freshwater fish, its natural habitat of the Ethiope River has a mix of water conditions, including acidic and brackish water. As a result, these fish are fairly hardy and can tolerate many different types of water. Your kribensis cichlid tank should be at least 20 or 30 gallons large.


Among cichlid species, the kribensis cichlid is considered to be a dwarf cichlid because these fish do not grow to be more than about 4 inches long. Adult female kribensis cichlids grow to be about three inches long, and males grow to be up to 4 inches long.

Aggressive Behaviors

Overall, the kribensis cichlid is a peaceful, non-aggressive fish. Additionally, as long as it gets enough food, the kribensis cichlid is not aggressive toward other bottom feeders. However, you might notice that the female kribensis cichlid behaves more aggressively toward other fish after she lays her eggs. As long as your tank is large enough and the mother has plenty of room, aggression should not be an issue.

rainbow kribensis inside the aquarium
Image Credit: Aleron Val, Shutterstock

Benefits of Having Tank Mates for Kribensis Cichlid in Your Aquarium

If you are going to keep just one species, it is recommended that you keep your kribensis cichlid in pairs or in harems so that they aren’t alone. Avoid keeping more than one kribensis cichlid male in a tank, as they can be territorial. Like humans, kribensis cichlid and other fish need companionship to stay happy and healthy. When they are alone, they can become lonely, depressed, and lethargic.

When you choose the right companions, other species of fish can also keep your kribensis cichlid from getting too lonely as well.




Housing fish together in your aquarium can help improve the health of your fish by providing them with companions and preventing loneliness. Be mindful about which species you house together, though; not all fish are good tankmates. The kribensis cichlid tends to be a peaceful fish as long as it has enough space and gets enough food, but it does have a tendency toward aggression or nipping from time to time.

There are several fish species that could work as tankmates for your kribensis cichlid, but when in doubt, you can simply choose to keep one mated pair of kribensis cichlids or a group of females in your tank.

Featured Image Credit: EcoPrint, Shutterstock

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