The bumblebee catfish is a quite vibrant colored fish and very amusing to watch when it comes out of it's hiding hole to scavenge for food. Normally the bumblebee catfish is nocturnal and will only come out at night, but if it becomes aware of food being present during the daytime, it will come out and feed during the middle of the day and bury it's head in the substrate just to get the few bits of food there are laying around the tank.
There are 2 types of bumblebee catfish, the South American and the Asian. The South American can be identified by the spot at the base of the caudal fish. This spot is almost like a square in the South American and a triangle with the tip towards the head for the Asian.
The South American bumblebee catfish (Microglanis iheringi), is quite easy to take care of because the water it requires is close to any basic water that city offers, with the water being soft, with a pH of 6.5-7.5 and the temperature at 21-25°C (70-77°F). It grow to a max of about 2" (5cm) but I have had some that grow to about 3" (8cm). They can live for about 3-5 years in ideal conditions.
Since the bumblebee catfish has such a wide mouth, it can swallow big food items like sinking pellets, frozen foods, freeze dried foods, whole, as well as small slender fish, like some tetras. Because it has such a wide mouth, it should be kept with fish that are too big to fit in it's mouth and with fish that are small enough that it won't fit in the other fish's mouth.
It will hide in the lower regions of the tank, or where there is the most hiding spots. The roots of plants, in cracks and holes of driftwood and rocks, in ornaments, wherever it can fit and still get out of later.
The size of tank for 1 catfish is 20 gallons, and with each additional catfish, it should be at least 10 gallons with lots of hiding spots.
There have been no recorded accounts of this fish spawning in captivity yet. The sex of this fish is unknown.
Bumblebee Catfish Profile and Care Information
Scientific name: Microglanis iheringi
Common name: South American Bumblebee catfish
Care level: Easy
Size: 2" (5cm)
Temp: 21-25°C (70-77°F)
Water Hardness: Soft
Origin/Habitat: Venezuela and Columbia, South America
Lifespan: 3-5 years
Temperament/Behavior: Quiet, peaceful, nocturnal, but will eat small slender fish during the night when it is feeding time.
Breeding: No recorded accounts in captivity as of yet
Compatible Tank mates: Any fish that is just big enough not to get eaten and just small enough that it won't eat the bumblebee catfish.
Food: Omnivorous, but prefers sinking tablets, frozen foods, freeze dried foods, or even small sinking granules. The fish will come out of hiding during the daytime if there is food present.
Tank region: Lower, with lots of hiding spots from plant roots, Anubias sp. are great for this, crakes and holes in driftwood and rocks.
Tank size: Min. of 20 gallons for 1, an additional 10 gallons for each additional fish
Similar species: Asian Bumblebee catfish