Bumblebee Catfish: The Ultimate Guide to Care and Maintenance


Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the care and maintenance of bumblebee catfish. At, fish tank discovery.com/ we are dedicated to providing you with expert insights and valuable information to help you create a thriving environment for these beautiful and fascinating creatures. In this article, we will delve into the world of catfish, exploring their habitat, behavior, dietary needs, and essential care tips to ensure their well-being.

Understanding the Bumblebee Catfish


The bumblebee catfish (Microglanis iheringi) is a small, peaceful species native to the rivers and streams of South America, particularly Brazil and Argentina. These unique catfish are known for their striking yellow and black striped patterns, resembling the colors of a bumble bee, hence their name.

Physical Characteristics

Bumblebee catfish have a sleek and elongated body, typically reaching a maximum length of 3-4 inches. Their coloration consists of alternating bands of bright yellow and black, creating a visually captivating appearance. Their pectoral fins are well-developed, allowing them to navigate through the water with precision.

Bumblebee Catfish: in the aquarium .

Natural Habitat

In their natural habitat, bumblebee catfish inhabit slow-moving freshwater rivers and tributaries. They prefer areas with dense vegetation, submerged logs, and rocky formations, which provide hiding spots and mimic their native environment. It’s important to replicate these conditions in your aquarium to ensure their comfort and well-being.

Setting Up the Perfect Aquarium

Creating a suitable habitat for your bumble bee catfish is crucial for their long-term health and happiness. Consider the following factors when setting up your aquarium:

Tank Size and Configuration

Bumblebee catfish are relatively small, but they still require adequate swimming space. We recommend a minimum tank size of 20 gallons for a small group of bumblebee catfish. A larger tank will provide more room for their natural behavior and social interactions.

Water Parameters

Maintaining optimal water conditions is essential for the well-being of your bumblebee catfish. Aim for the following parameters:

  • Temperature: 75-80°F (24-27°C)
  • pH Level: 6.5-7.5
  • Ammonia and Nitrite Levels: 0 ppm
  • Nitrate Levels: Below 20 ppm

Regular water testing and appropriate filtration will help you maintain stable and clean water conditions.

Bumblebee Catfish: The Ultimate Guide to Care and Maintenance

Substrate and Decor

To replicate the natural habitat of bumblebee catfish, opt for a soft and sandy substrate. This will mimic the riverbed and allow them to exhibit their natural behavior, such as digging and sifting through the sand. Adding driftwood, rocks, and live plants will provide hiding spots and create a visually appealing environment.

Feeding and Nutrition

Bumblebee catfish are primarily omnivorous, and their diet should consist of a variety of high-quality foods. Here are some dietary recommendations:

1. Commercial Foods

Choose high-quality sinking pellets or granules specifically formulated for catfish. Look for options that contain a balanced blend of animal and plant-based ingredients. Feed them small portions 2-3 times a day, ensuring they consume the food within a few minutes.

2. Live and Frozen Foods

Supplement their diet with live or frozen foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphnia, and blackworms. These protein-rich options will provide essential nutrients and promote natural feeding behaviors.

3. Vegetable Matter

Bumblebee catfish also require vegetable matter in their diet. Offer blanched vegetables like zucchini, cucumber, or spinach. Ensure the portions are small and easily consumed by the catfish.

Tankmates and Compatibility

Bumblebee catfish are peaceful and sociable creatures, making them suitable tankmates for various species. However, it’s important to choose compatible companions to ensure a harmonious aquarium environment. Consider the following guidelines:

  • Opt for small to medium-sized fish species that are peaceful and non-aggressive.
  • Avoid keeping them with larger fish that may view them as prey.
  • Good tankmate options include tetras, rasboras, gouramis, and dwarf cichlids.

Breeding Bumblebee Catfish

Breeding bumble bee catfish in a home aquarium can be a rewarding experience. Here are some key points to consider:

1. Separating Males and Females

To encourage breeding behavior, you’ll need to differentiate between male and female catfish. Females are usually larger and rounder, while males have a more slender body shape. Observe their behavior and physical characteristics to determine their gender.

2. Spawning Conditions

To initiate spawning, provide suitable breeding conditions in the aquarium. Increase the water temperature to around 82-86°F (28-30°C) and create hiding spots using PVC pipes or small caves. The addition of live plants can also provide additional cover.

3. Breeding Behavior

During spawning, the male will entice the female to the chosen nesting spot. The female will deposit adhesive eggs on the walls of the cave or other surfaces. Once the eggs are laid, the male will guard and aerate them until they hatch, which usually takes 4-6 days.


What is a Bumble Bee Catfish?

The Bumble bee Catfish (Microglanis iheringi) is a small freshwater catfish species native to South America. It is known for its striking black and yellow striped coloration, resembling the markings of a bumblebee.

What is the size of a Bumblebee Catfish?

Bumblebee Catfish typically reach a size of 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm) in length when fully grown.

What are the ideal water parameters for keeping Bumblebee Catfish?

Bumblebee Catfish prefer water conditions similar to their natural habitat. They thrive in slightly acidic to neutral water with a pH range of 6.5 to 7.5. The temperature should be kept between 73 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit (23 to 26 degrees Celsius).

What should I feed my Bumblebee Catfish?

Bumblebee Catfish are omnivorous and will accept a variety of foods. They can be fed a diet consisting of high-quality sinking pellets, frozen or live foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, and small insects.

Can Bumble bee Catfish be kept with other fish?

Bumblebee Catfish are generally peaceful and can be kept with other peaceful community fish that are not small enough to be considered prey. However, they may become territorial with their own species, so it is recommended to keep them in small groups or as solitary individuals.

How should I set up the aquarium for Bumblebee Catfish?

Bumblebee Catfish prefer a well-decorated aquarium with plenty of hiding spots. Provide them with caves, driftwood, and plants to create hiding places. They appreciate a sandy substrate, as they like to sift through it in search of food.

Are Bumblebee Catfish suitable for beginners?

Bumblebee Catfish are relatively hardy and can be suitable for beginners, provided that their specific care requirements are met. It’s important to research and understand their needs before bringing them home.

Do Bumblebee Catfish breed in captivity?

Yes, Bumblebee Catfish can breed in captivity. The females lay their eggs in caves or other secluded spots. After spawning, it is advisable to remove the adults from the breeding tank to prevent them from eating the eggs or fry.

Are Bumble bee Catfish nocturnal?

es, Bumblebee Catfish are primarily nocturnal, meaning they are most active during the night. They tend to hide during the day and become more active and forage for food in low light conditions or darkness.

How long do Bumblebee Catfish live?

With proper care, Bumblebee Catfish can live for about 5 to 8 years in captivity. Providing a suitable environment and a balanced diet will contribute to their overall health and lifespan.


In conclusion, bumblebee catfish are captivating and delightful additions to any aquarium. By following the guidelines outlined in this guide, you can provide them with a suitable environment and ensure their overall well-being. Remember to maintain optimal water conditions, offer a varied diet, and choose compatible tankmates to create a harmonious aquatic ecosystem. With proper care and attention, your bumblebee catfish will thrive and become the centerpiece of your aquarium.

Remember, if you need any further assistance or have specific questions regarding the care of your bumblebee catfish, our team at fish tank discovery.com is here to help. Happy fish keeping!

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