Kribensis are a West African Cichlid. Hearing this, you may be wondering if this means they will be able to live with plants or not.
In this article, we will go over what plants Kribensis can live with, what species are best in a Krib tank and for what reasons these plants are the best picks.
Do Kribensis like real plants in their tank?
The natural coastal areas Kribensis originate from are filled with vegetation along the banks and shores. Kribensis are used to living in an environment that contains plant life and so replicating this in the aquarium setting is a good way to ensure that your Kribs do well.
Kribensis are cave dwelling cichlids – they occupy territories within cracks or gaps within rockwork where they breed and spend the majority of their time.
While they appreciate plants as cover, they much prefer rocks and caves which they can go inside.
The other benefits plants bring however, are extremely useful in your Kribensis tank, as they reduce maintenance and make your life much easier.
Plants feed on the waste that fish produce, consuming some of the harmful nitrates that would otherwise have to be removed via water changes. Plants also produce oxygen, maintain mineral levels and ensure that the hardness doesn’t build up over time.
Plants also create an ecosystem for infusoria and beneficial bacteria to survive and grow in, which assist in the breaking down of waste and can make a great food source for your fish.
How do you know which plants are suitable for Kribensis?
Most, if not all, of the plants you will commonly find at your local fish store will be suitable with Kribensis as Kribs are typically very plant safe. Although some weaker unwell plants may be picked at or pulled on, your Kribensis are not going to destroy strong, healthy plants.
What plants do Kribensis eat?
Kribensis do not usually eat or destroy plants and live with them harmoniously, unlike many other African cichlid species.
They will however, occasionally nip at soft plant leaves and will consume Duckweed in small amounts, but they are not anywhere near as destructive towards plants as some of their cousins in the rift lake who shred, dig up and eat plants with ferocity.
Kribensis are a plant safe African cichlid, and you have little to worry about them trashing up your planted tank, although they may move stuff around from time to time.
How to choose plants for a Kribensis tank
Choosing plants for a Kribensis tank is fairly easy as they are safe with most live plants, however, as mentioned, they may occasionally move around plants or nip at soft leaves.
Kribensis will often dig out scrapes when they want to spawn, as areas to place their fry in. They do this by picking up mouthfuls of sand and spitting it out somewhere else. Sometimes they do this underneath a plant, and anything with shallow roots can sometimes be dislodged.
So, if you don’t want your Kribensis to interfere with your plants at all, it is best to choose plants with hard leaves that are not easily torn at, and plants that either have a strong, deep root system or that do not need to be planted into the substrate.
The best plants for Kribensis
Kribensis don’t really seem to have a preference for any particular plants, as they like to take cover within rocks/caves much more.
However, the pros that plants bring are their consumption of harmful nitrates and nitrites, oxygen production and mineral absorption, which means that while your Kribensis may not use the plants directly, they will still highly benefit from their presence in the aquarium.
As mentioned, Kribs can occasionally dig up sand and move things around. They have also been known to nip at soft leaves too, so the plants we recommend need to be resistant to the minor destruction that Kribensis may cause.
Anubias nana petite
A small leafed species of Anubias that goes well in nearly any aquarium due to its high versatility and hardiness.
Anubias nana petite does not need to be planted in the substrate, so there is no worry that it will be dug out. It has hard leaves so is resistant to attack from any cichlids, and it is very tolerable of different water parameters, nutrient levels and light levels. It is an ideal plant for a Kribensis tank.
Rid Tiger lotus
This plant grows from a bulb which is to be planted firmly into the substrate. Once settled it grows quickly, producing extravagant bright orange and deep red leaves that provide great cover both down low and up high in the tank.
It is a fairly hardy plant, but needs feeding with root tabs as once it has absorbed the nutrients from its bulb. It will feed ferociously, sapping nutrients from the soil very quickly.
It is a great addition to any planted tank, and does well when paired with Kribensis.
Amazon Swords are a staple in the planted tank community, and for good reason. They are a very hard plant, being able to grow under all different types of conditions and even in some low light setups, it is firm and easy to manage.
Swords usually root themselves pretty firmly, so you have little to worry about your cichlids dislodging them, their leaves are broad and large, providing lots of cover, and they are very easy to keep alive.
They are a great plant, even for beginners.
What plants should you avoid putting in a Kribensis tank?
You should avoid adding wild pond plants to your Kribensis tank, as it can be dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing.
Unless properly identified and properly treated, wild pond plants can create all types of problems for your fish. They can be poisonous, carry parasites or can be polluted with harmful chemicals and toxins that people throw into the lakes and ponds.
Do Kribensis need live plants?
Kribensis do not need live plants to be present in the aquarium. With good care, water changes and cover provided from rocks and pebbles, your kribs will live healthy, comfortable lives.
However, the benefits plants bring to the aquarium extend past just providing comfortable housing, as the aforementioned toxin and mineral control, oxygen production and micro ecosystem that plants come with is enough to make them very much worth putting in your Kribensis tank.
While your Kribensis will live fine without ever seeing a live plant in their life, if you want to better maintain water quality and produce a high functioning aquatic ecosystem, then planting out your tank may be a fruitful endeavour.