Introduction

The bumblebee catfish is a small catfish which is also known as the South American Bumblebee Catfish. It is a tropical fish and is native to Venezuela. The bumblebee catfish is found in clear, moderate to strong flowing waters of Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, the Amazon basin and other areas of northern South America. It inhabits swift flowing waters over rock and gravel.

Bumblebee Catfish’s Overview

The bumblebee catfish is really very pretty catfish with lovely yellowish stripes and wide smiley faces. Body of this fish is elongated with large mouth.  It has dark brown markings on a light brown background. The area of dark brown color on the caudal peduncle is more or less square. Dorsal fin is rounded and it is mainly dark brown in color with a pale tip. It is slightly mottled with brown and a large triangular pale patch is present which is located on the base of the last two rays of fin. Dorsal and pectoral fin spines are well developed. The caudal fin is truncated with a broad dark brown cross band while adipose fin is well developed. Maxillary barbels are present reaching past the origins of the pectoral spines. Head is flattened and lateral line is well marked.  It is notoriously elusive and largely nocturnal and rarely comes out at day from its hiding place except for feeding time. In wild it mainly feeds on insects, mostly ants. The bumblebee catfish is a hardy fish that can easily adapt to most water conditions. It prefers water with pH between 6.5 and 7.5. An ideal temperature range for the bumblebee catfish is between 70 and 790 F. It grows to a max of about 8 cm in length. They can live for about 3-5 years in ideal conditions.

Scientific Name: Microglanis iheringi

Common Name: South American Bumblebee catfish

Origin: Venezuela and Columbia, South America

Adult Size: up to 8 cm in length

Behavior: Peaceful

Tank Level: Bottom of the tank

Minimum Tank Size:  20 gallons

Diet: carnivore

Breeding: Egg layer

Care level: Easy

Water pH: 6.5-7.5

Water Hardness: 9-19 dGH

Water Temperature: 70-79° F

Lighting:  Moderate – normal lighting

Lifespan:  3-5 years

Background of Bumblebee Catfish

The South American Bumblebee Catfish is an attractive bottom dwelling fish. It was described by Eigenmann in 1912. It is a ray finned fish which belongs to family Pseudopimelodidae under Order Siluriformes of Class Actinopterygii. They are named for their broad light and dark bands.

Housing Bumblebee catfish

The South American Bumblebee Catfish is very peaceful fish which does well in community tank. It requires 15 gallons or larger aquarium with dimmed light. The tank should be furnished with driftwood, narrow cracks or hole, rock caves and other dim areas for the fish to hide in. The Bumblebee Catfish is very sociable. These cats are non-aggressive and do well with other fish including other catfish. They show very shy in alone and they are more interactive in groups between 6-8 individuals. Most hobbyists choose to house their bumblebee catfish with fish like other catfish, red tail sharks, rainbow sharks, iridescent sharks, most loaches, eels, corys, plecos, tetras, barbs, gouramis and even some smaller cichlids. This catfish should be kept in a temperature between 72 and 770 F. Lots of vegetation like large Amazon swords or ferns like narrow leaf java fern should be provided which help this fish hide during the day. This species does best in soft, slightly acidic to slightly alkaline water (pH 6.5 -7.5) with good oxygenation and a moderate amount of currents.

Feeding South American Bumblebee Catfish

It is a carnivorous fish which mainly feeds on insects and their larvae in the wild.  In captive condition it eats a wide variety of foods that sink or reach to the bottom such as prepared foods like flakes, pellets and frozen foods such as frozen bloodworms , blackworms , and earthworms. It also takes small live foods such as Daphnia, mosquito larvae and cooked sea foods such as mussels, prawns, cod and beef heart. Feed should be offered 2-3 times a day.

Breeding Bumblebee Catfish

Breeding is very hard. Breeding tank should have good water chemistry with pH between 4.8-6.0 and temperature values between 70 and 77° F.  To condition this species for breeding feed the fish with varied live foods such as Daphnia, prawn, mussels, ox heart, blood worm and river shrimp.  You should provide caves or tunnels in the tank and use dim lighting.

The tank should be placed in a quiet corner so that the fish do not get disturbed by human traffic.A large water change should also be done to encourage spawning. The female lays eggs in the piping and are guarded by the male. When the fry are free swimming, they can be fed with crushed flake or newly hatched brine shrimp.

Sexing Bumblebee Catfish

It is difficult to make differences between male and female. Females are noticeably plumper than males.

Bumblebee Catfish for sale

South American Bumblebee Catfish are a very popular aquarium fish due to their hardiness. They are available sometimes in aquatic stores as well as online for a moderate price. For buying your bumblebee catfish, look below for online vendors that I recommend you buying your next Bumblebee Catfish.