Green kribensis, Pelvicachromis sacrimontis

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Matt Clarke looks at the rarely seen Green kribensis, Pelvicachromis sacrimontis.

Common name: Green kribensis, Giant kribensis

Scientific name: Pelvicachromis sacrimontis Paulo, 1977

Origin: Nigeria, West Africa.

Size: Around 10cm/4.

Water: Ideally, soft acidic water is best for these fish as they re likely to be wild. A pH of 6.0-7.0 with a low GH would be good. They should adapt OK to slightly harder water, though.

Diet: Frozen bloodworm, brineshrimp, daphnia and dried foods.

Aquarium: A pair of these would be fine in the typical community tank alongside other small, peaceful fishes such as tetras. Aim for a tank of at least 75cm/30 and furnish it will a fine gravel or sand substrate and lots of bogwood or rocks to provide caves and spawning sites. Keep light levels relatively low.

Notes: This species has been sporadically available in the shops for many years, but it s usually incorrectly sold as P. pulcher and few dealers are aware that it is a distinct species. Like virtually all other known Pelvicachromis, sacrimontis exists in a number of different colour forms which further adds to the confusion in identifying it. According to Anton Lamboj s excellent book The Cichlid Fishes of Western Africa, a green form, a yellow form and a red form occurs in Lagos, Nigeria. Lamboj says that it s possible that sacrimontis lives alongside pulcher in the wild, as the two species quite often arrived as mixed shipments.

Similar species: There are now several species in this genus including: P. pulcher; P. humilis; P. roloffi; P. sacrimontis; P. taeniatus and P. subocellatus. Two new species, rubrolabiatus and signatus, were described by Lamboj last year (see the PFK website for more details). P. sacrimontis is only really likely to be confused with pulcher.

Identification: Lamboj says the easiest way to distinguish sacrimontis from pulcher is to look at the dorsal fin. Female P. pulcher typically have coloured striping in the dorsal fin, but this is absent in female sacrimontis which have a yellow or dusky-coloured dorsal fin.

Availability: They ve been around for decades but are rarely offered for sale under their real name. We spotted these fish on sale at Tri-Mar in Cornwall a few months ago (01209 713647). Unfortunately, Tri-Mar has just sold out, but is trying to obtain some more specimens.

Price: Expect to pay around 20 per pair if you see these on sale.

This article was first published in the January 2006 issue of Practical Fishkeeping magazine.