Practical Information About Keeping, Breeding and Buying Dwarf Cichlids
West African Dwarf CichlidsWest African Dwarf cichlids are great aquarium fish that are rarely seen in most areas. The lone exception to this is the common Kribensis or Krib Pelvicachromis pulcher. West African cichlids come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and occupy a diversity of habitats. With South American cichlids there are some very logical breaks as to which fish are considered dwarfs and which are not. However, with West Africans this is not so easily done. There are a number of species that make excellent aquarium fish that could be considered dwarfs by some definitions but will not be included in this site.
Pelvicachromis, Nanochromis and related genuses are fascinating aquarium residents. They have great colors and patterns and usually have distinct differences between male and female fish. They often form strong pair bonds and are usually great parents. They will normally ignore plants and will get along with most other fishes of appropriate size and temperament. Most West African dwarfs will do fine in moderately soft pH neutral water. Unfortunately, a few require extremely soft very acid water. These fish will usually live in other conditions but reproduction will rarely be successful.
With the exception of Kribs, most West African dwarf cichlids that are offered for retail sale in America are wild imports. Many distributors have access to some type of West African dwarfs but few pet shops request them so they are not very common. Of course, the common krib is found in many stores. These are normally from farmed sources but there are wild imports that can be found on occasion.
In recent years there has been an increase in the number of hobbyists who keep and breed these West African gems. This has created a fairly steady supply of some species which are made available through mail order sources.