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Bumblebee Catfish: Tank Mates, Size & More

Starting a fish tank is an exciting experience! One of the best things about having a fish tank is its versatility, you can customize it however you desire. But sometimes, it might be not easy to decide what types of animals you want to put in your tank and which can go together.

There are numerous species options, but a fish that is becoming increasingly popular to add to your fish tank is the Bumblebee Catfish. Today, we will discuss everything you need to know about the Bumblebee Catfish, including what they look like, their temperament, and their diet.

We will also discuss how to care for them, what to put in their tank, and any diseases they may acquire. In addition, we will also be sharing some of the best tank mates for this fish and all things to do with breeding to ensure you are fully prepared for your new Bumblebee Catfish.

Bumblebee Catfish


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They are covered in black and yellow stripes.

The Bumblebee Catfish have a unique appearance that makes them so desirable. The first thing you will notice about this interesting fish is their patterns. They are covered in black and yellow stripes, just like a bumblebee, hence where they get their name from.

Typically, their head is black and leads into alternating stripes covering their entire body. As far as their stature, it is pretty similar to regular catfish because they have a flat head with the famous whiskers protruding out of their face.


Over 3000 species of catfish range in sizes from as big as 10.5 ft long to as small as 1 inch. While the body shape resembles a typical catfish, the Bumblebee Catfish is much smaller. The Bumblebee Catfish grows to about 3 inches, making it perfect for your aquarium! Their petite size makes them easy to care for, even for beginners.

Bumblebee Catfish Care

Bumblebee Catfish Care
Bumblebee Catfish Care

These fish are ideal for beginners or people with limited experience caring for fish in aquariums because they are low maintenance. They aren’t huge and don’t require any special care. You should treat the Bumblebee Catfish like you would any other fish.

Expert Tip: Ensure the water is clean with a proper filter, feed them daily, and don’t overcrowd the tank.

Tank Size

The tank size you pick will depend on the number of fish you intend to house. Since the Bumblebee Catfish is so tiny, a single fish will not require a tank more significant than 20 gallons. However, if you intend on adding more fish to the tank, you will need to get a bigger tank.

Regarding adding other Bumblebee Catfish, you should start with your 20-gallon tank then, for each fish you plan on adding, add 10 gallons. So, for example, if you plan on getting 3 Bumblebee Catfish, you will need a 40-gallon tank.

What To Put In A Bumblebee Catfish Tank

What To Put In A Bumblebee Catfish Tank
What To Put In A Bumblebee Catfish Tank?

The Bumblebee Catfish don’t require a ton of special accessories, and all you will need is some rocks and driftwood or other places for them to hide. It is crucial to create something similar to their natural environment the best you can to avoid them being constantly stressed, as this can result in premature death.

Catfish love to hide and wait for food so having lots of little hiding places for them to relax is essential.

Common Potential Diseases

Like any living thing, the Bumblebee Catfish can get sick sometimes, so it is essential to know what diseases they are susceptible to beforehand. That way, you can do your best to prepare, attempt to prevent it, and know what to do if they do get sick.

Luckily, these fish are a tough breed and don’t get sick very often. One disease you should look out for is “White Spot” or “Ich.” “White Spot” or “Ich” is a parasite that can affect any freshwater fish and cause them to become sick and have white spots appear all over their body.

Expert Tip: If left untreated, the fish could potentially die, so if you notice small white spots on your fish, then you must act quickly. You can buy medicine online or from any pet store that you add to the water to cure them.

Food and Diet

Feeding Bumblebee Catfish regular, high-quality fish food like flakes or pellets is entirely acceptable. But if you want your catfish to thrive, be happier, and be healthier, adding other items to their diet is a good idea.

Giving live food to your catfish, such as worms or insects, can give the fish extra nutritional value and make them feel more at home as this is what they would be eating in their natural environment. Ensure that their diet is balanced, and you don’t overfeed them because it can lead to premature death.

Behavior and Temperament

Bumblebee Catfish are very relaxed and usually quite shy.
Bumblebee Catfish are very relaxed and usually quite shy.

Generally, Bumblebee Catfish are very relaxed and usually quite shy. This is because they are nocturnal fish, which means they are awake at night and sleep or hide throughout the day.

Some people find this undesirable as they want to see their fish active throughout the day, but it makes for low maintenance care and an exciting occurrence when they emerge from their hiding spot. The Bumblebee Catfish will be happy if they have a clean environment, a place to hide, and food to eat.

If you are eager to see your fish consistently, you can strategically position their driftwood or hiding areas to where you can see them, but they will still have a comfortable and private hiding spot they need.

Bumblebee Catfish Tank Mates

If you ever had a fish tank in the past, you know from experience that not all fish can live peacefully together. Many fish will attack and kill other fish species or even their species if put together nearby.

One fish that is notorious for this is the Convict Cichlid because they are very aggressive fish and highly territorial. For species of fish like this, it is vital to choose their tank mates wisely, or else there will be problems in your tank, and some fish will lose their lives.

Bumblebee Catfish Tank Mates
Bumblebee Catfish Tank Mates

However, as the Bumblebee Catfish goes, you don’t have to worry too much. They are very relaxed and mostly want to hide and wait for food. One thing to remember is that you should only add fish in a tank with a Bumblebee Catfish that are the same size or larger.

While they are usually laid back, they like live food and might attack a smaller fish if they have the opportunity. There are plenty of great options regarding the types of species they can pair with. Some of these options include:

  • Many types of barbs, such as Tiger Barbs, Cherry Barbs, and Rosy Barbs
  • Various kinds of gourami like Dwarf Gourami or Opaline Gourami
  • Other species of catfish, including Corydoras Catfish and other Bumblebee Catfish
  • Minnow-like species such as Cyprinids, Characins, Danios, Carp, and Rasboras
  • Small sharks like Rainbow Sharks
  • Convict Cichlids (In some cases)
  • Loaches like the Kuhli Loach
  • Platy Fish
  • Bristlenose Plecos


Breeding fish at home should not be attempted mainly because most attempts are usually unsuccessful. In the wild or professional fish farms, breeding can be successfully achieved because they are experienced and know how to execute a lucrative breeding environment.

In a small fish tank, you are less likely to create a safe environment for breeding. Breeding attempts won’t cause any harm to the fish, but most likely, it will just be a waste of money and potentially time for you.

Expert Tip: It is wise to avoid breeding attempts and leave it to the professionals. Focus on making your tank thrive rather than breeding the fish.

How long do bumblebee catfish get?

Five years is the usual lifespan of the Bumblebee catfish in the wild.
Five years is the usual lifespan of the Bumblebee catfish in the wild.

Five years is the usual lifespan of the Bumblebee catfish in the wild. In captivity, they will live near that period if they are adequately cared for. It’s pretty rare for them to outlive the five-year mark, but this is only achievable if they get utmost care their whole lives. So it all depends on how they are cared for and their age when purchased.

Even though they are hardy fish, the decisions you make during their early years will always affect their future lives. No matter how tough a fish may be, we always advise taking water conditions and care very seriously.

Fish with a higher tolerance for adversity will live longer than those with a lower tolerance nonetheless, this will affect their lifespan. You can only expect your pet fish to have a long, healthy life if you take adequate care of the aquarium and feed it properly.

Final Thoughts

Purchasing your first fish tank is a momentous occasion and leaves room for you to be creative and make something beautiful. But the most challenging part about a new tank is deciding which fish to put in it!

There are plenty of great fish options, but the Bubblebee Catfish is the best choice because they are low maintenance, laid back, and can pair with numerous other fishes. Not only that, but they also have a beautiful appearance that can take a regular tank to something extraordinary.

Bumblebee Catfish are a fantastic breed of fish, and we recommend them to every aquarium owner regardless of experience. If any questions, comments, or concerns arise, please feel free to leave a comment below, and we will be happy to help.

We hope that you found this article enjoyable and informative and that we answered all your questions about the Bumblebee Catfish.

About Rencel Leyran