Bumble Bee Catfish

Bumblebee Catfish: Everything You Need to Know in 2022

Bumblebee Catfish: Everything You Need to Know in 2022

There are many reasons why people love the bumblebee catfish. The species do not just have beautiful body bands with a bright mix of colours but they are also easy to care for and have a good composure. They are not one to swim around all the time and play with every fish in the aquarium. Bumblebee catfishes are more known to stay in their corner and come out in search of mostly food which is often at night.

In case you were wondering what fish to add to your freshwater aquarium, a bumblebee catfish is a great choice and we’ll go over everything you need to know about the fish. From its different varieties to breeding methods, water parameters, feeding and diet and their life span, to make sure you enjoy your experience with the ‘bumblebees.’

Asian vs. South American Bumblebee Catfish

One of the most popular questions about this species is the difference between its two varieties which is based on their origin. They are the Asian and South-American bumblebee catfish. Asides from their origin, other qualities make distinguishing between the different varieties worthy of note.

For instance, the mark at the base of the caudal fin distinguishes the South American species as the shape resembles a square, but in the Asian variety, it looks like a triangle with the tip pointing towards the head.

South American Bumblebee Catfish
South American Bumblebee Catfish

The South American Bumblebee Catfish goes by the scientific name Microglanis iheringi and are originally found in Columbia, Venezuela, and South America as the name implies. The water conditions that this species can live in make it easy to care for. It can thrive in almost any clean water as long as it is soft and maintains a pH level of 6.5-7.5 and a 21-25°C (70-77°F) temperature range.

This specie has a mix of black and yellow on its skin and will often stand out among other fishes when they come out of their hiding place. It is more nocturnal and most of its activity is during the night but will come out during the day if food is poured into the tanks.

Due to its omnivorous nature and wide mouth, this catfish can swallow large food items such as sinking pellets, freeze dried foods, and other smaller fishes when it comes out at night. You can keep this in mind when choosing tank mates. The sex of the fish is unknown and there has been no evidence of its breeding in captivity for now.

Asian Bumblebee Catfish
Asian Bumble Bee Catfish

The Asian Bumblebee Catfish

The Asian Bumblebee Catfish goes by the scientific name Pseudomystus siamensis and they are native to Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. Like the South American species, they are also tank bottom dwellers and are generally peaceful but they can be territorial when there is limited space. Unlike the other species, they have a successful record of spawning and are known for the brown and burnt orange bands on their skin.

This species is not a fan of plants as it is carnivorous but it will eat any form of unprocessed meaty foods including smaller fishes. The recommended water parameters for this fish is between a temperature of      20° – 26° C (68° – 78° F) and maintaining a pH level of 5.8 – 7.8. The Asian Bumblebee catfish is also nocturnal and mostly comes out at night.

What is the Lifespan of the Bumblebee Catfish?

The Bumblebee catfish is a resilient fish that can easily adapt to its habitat still one needs to be intentional about caring for it. When placed in the right ambience, this catfish can live up to 5 years, so you don’t have to worry about losing your bright fish anytime soon.

How Big can the Bumblebee Catfish get?

The bumblebee catfish is a small to medium sized fish that typically grows to about 5cm, although, some have beaten the standards and reached 8cm in size.

Caring for the Bumblebee Catfish
Caring for the Bumblebee Catfish

Caring for the Bumblebee Catfish

Although the bumblebee catfish is one of the easiest to care for, you still have to do it right and here we’ll look at the tank setup and feeding and diet,

Tank Setup

The tank setup to keep your bumblebee catfish is one of the most important considerations so it can grow and thrive in an environment close to its natural habitat. The minimum tank size should be about 20 gallons for a single specimen and around 90 gallons for a group because this fish is a wide swimmer.

Due to the nocturnal and shy nature of the bumblebee catfish, it is better to set up your tank with many hiding places or spots for refuge. Plants like the Amazon sword and decorations like ships, stones, and bubble makers are usually a top choice since the species is a bottom dweller, recreating these natural conditions in your tanks is usually best.

Adding plants like the Anubias, Java ferns, and Amazon swords are ideal not only for their green nature but they do not overgrow to float on the water and limit the movement of the fish. Being generous with the use of stones and rocks at the bottom of the tank also helps give the feel of their natural habitat and the rocks provide plenty of corners.


The bumblebee catfish is known to have a large appetite making it likely to overfeed. As its owner, you have to control the fish’s feeding by how much food you put into the tank. Feed them moderate portions not more than three times a day.

The diet should be rich in animal protein and it could be artificial, live or frozen food. The bumblebee catfish isn’t a picky eater. Meaty foods, insects, fishes, larvae and the healthy plants in the tank will work well for a balanced diet. This means you don’t have to stress too much to feed your bumblebee catfish.

Most of the feeds and decorations are available on Amazon and other websites that are participants in the Amazon Services LLC  associate program. This is an affiliate advertising program that allows websites to earn some money from advertising Amazon’s products. You won’t have a hard time getting all you need to keep your catfish thriving.

Bumblebee Catfish Care
Bumblebee Catfish Care


The bumblebee fish is a spark of colour to add to your tank with little stress. As long as you keep it in the right living conditions and are also mindful enough to adjust as it grows, you’ll have yourself a happy swimmer during its lifetime.

It is also important to know what variety of the bumblebee catfish you’re taking home to keep. This knowledge will help you make informed choices as you prepare its tank and water conditions, food, and perhaps choosing decorations for your tank if you like to match colours.

Finally, don’t miss the catfish too much if you fail to see it out during the day for over a week. As we’ve established, these fishes like their space.

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