How We Care Bumblebee Cichlid (And You Should, Too!)

Bumblebee Cichlid: What No One Is Talking About

The Bumblebee Cichlid is a freshwater fish that belongs to the cichlid family. It’s also related to other aquarium fish species that are commonly seen such as angelfish, as well as convict cichlids.

Hornet Cichlid, Pseudotropheus Crabro, and also Bumblebee Cichlid is a species of cichlid that is native to Lake Malawi where it is located in a variety of habitats but is usually found in caves with large volumes or near huge boulders.

Bumblee cichlids are also referred to by the name of chameleon cichlids; this is because they are able to change their colors like a chameleon.

When in the wild bumblebees cichlids change their colors completely black in order to fool Bagrid Catfish.

It’s a fascinating relationship when the bumblebee cichlids have their usual color and the bagrid catfish is in its normal color, it will allow it to consume parasites that are in its body.

When the bagrid catfish begins to lay eggs and the bumblebee cichlid hatches, it will become black and begin eating the eggs.

The color will quickly change to its original color. The catfish that is bagrid will be unable to comprehend what has happened to the eggs.

Bumblebee Cichlids are well-known because of their distinctive appearance. They look attractive, have intriguing color combinations, and also have distinctive stripes of black and yellow running across their bodies. This is why they’re called Bumblebee Cichlids.

Bumblebee Cichlids exhibit aggressive personalities. They can be territorial and will compete with other fish in aquariums that are overcrowded. So, novice aquarists frequently have trouble managing the cichlids in tanks that are shared with other fish.

Bumblebee Cichlid Facts and Overview

Bumblebee Cichlids are identified by a variety of names. They include Bumblebee mouthbrooders and hornet cichlids however the scientific term for them is Pseudotropheus Crabro.

Bumblebee Cichlids originate from Africa and are native to Lake Malawi, which is the only location on earth where populations of natural species can be found.

It also is the home of more than 1000 varieties of fish, the majority of which are Cichlids. Bumblebee Cichlids, as their name implies are reminiscent of the bumblebee.

This is due to both having gold-colored bodies that have black stripes running across them. However, this isn’t always the case.

Bumblebee Cichlids are offered around the world for fishkeeping business at pet stores and online. African Cichlids from Lake Malawi are also sometimes known as mbuna which can cause confusion within pet stores.

Bumblebee Cichlids are a very popular and well-known fish. the majority of pet stores stock them, therefore finding bumblebee cichlids available to sell is simple.

Pet stores sell them for about $10 each, however, ensure that the fish is healthy prior to purchasing. It is recommended to observe the bumblebee cichlids for short time and check for any signs of disease or injuries.

A healthy bumblebee cichlid can last for 10 years or more with the right aquarium.

Appearance & Behavior

Bumblebee Cichlid Care and Species Profile
Bumblebee Cichlid

The name”Bumblebee Cichlid” is a description of the fish’s appearance perfectly. The fish resembles a bumblebee, due to its long vertical black and yellow stripes that run from the mouth to the tail.

The majority of fish have yellow heads, bodies, and fins. However, their colors may be very different.

Cichlids of Bumblebee vary in color because of environmental and genetic variations. For instance, fish that appear pale tend to be stressed or sick.

Color changes caused by illness or stress are only temporary and return to normal when the fish is healed.

Bumblebee Cichlids have small fins. The tail fins and dorsal fins are small and have small indentations. The fish can grow to seven inches in length.

The head of the fish is covered with large black eyes and a mouth that is large. Their mouths are essential in breeding and feeding since these fish are mouthbrooders.

A fascinating aspect of cichlids is their two teeth sets. There is one set inside their mouths as well as a second set that is in their throat (a pharyngeal jaw). They help break down difficult food into smaller pieces.

Bumblebee cichlids consume small crustaceans that they encounter in the wild, as well as a jaw, called the pharyngeal permits the cichlids to break down hard shells.

Males are bigger and darker than females. Males darken to nearly black when mating or when they are feeling at risk.

Females are spotted with prominent areas of egg marks on their anterior fins, which is a different method of sex.

Typical Behavior

Bumblebee Cichlids are territorial and aggressive. They will fiercely defend their tank when they think their home is under threat.

Males tend to be the most aggressive and tend to be obsessed with females and will fight males to be allowed to reproduce.

This is why it is best to separate males in order to lessen fights. Three females should be available per male fish to keep males from attacking females.

Bumblebee Cichlids are aggressive, however, they can be found in tanks that are part of a community.

Make sure that your tankmates are from Lake Malawi and have semi-aggressive natures. A proper tank environment will keep fin nipping and fighting out.

The cichlids are often seen floating around the middle and lower part of the aquarium. They are slow swimmers but very confident.


Bumblebee Cichlids are simple to take care of with the appropriate training and conditions in the aquarium.

These fish can be extremely aggressive, and therefore having fishkeeping experience is preferred but not necessary. Cichlids must be kept in a tank that resembles their natural habitat for the fish to flourish.

Cleaning your aquarium is crucial and so are periodic water changes. Cichlids that are Bumblebees are used to clean, fresh natural water, so they are extremely sensitive to unsafe conditions.

Bumblebee Cichlids are susceptible to contracting common infections and diseases in aquariums. But so long as their tanks are clean the fish will be healthy and free from illnesses. Certain illnesses are not preventable, but they can be treated by using antibiotics or periodic water changes.

Habitat & Tank Requirements

Study a bumblebee cichlid’s natural habitat before you design your aquarium, as you will recreate their habitat within your tank.

If the conditions in your tank are not similar to what fish are used to, they may sick and eventually suffer a death.

Bumblebee Cichlids are native to Malawi Lake in Africa, which is among the most affluent lakes in Africa and is located between Malawi, Tanzania, and Mozambique. The lake is famous for its diversity of Cichlids (mbuna) which have developed by rapid speciation.

Bumblebee Cichlids reside in deepwater areas with rocky bottoms of the Lake. They have opportunities to access caves and shelters which is an important aspect of the aquarium that you maintain for them.

Caves are used to establish territory. Every fish takes caves as its own and returns to the cave on a regular basis. If a fish that is unusual enters the cave of a bumblebee cichlid and fights to defend its territory.

There are a variety of species that live throughout Lake Malawi, including other well-known ornamental fish. They have a tendency to be aggressive personalities, similar to the bumblebee cichlids.

It is not uncommon for hobbyists to only keep mbunas from other mbunas such as Bumblebee Cichlids. This is yet another method to recreate what is happening in the Lake Malawi habitat more closely.

There are strong currents of water in the bumblebee’s natural habitat. The water is cold, hard, and alkaline.

These conditions change throughout the year, as the weather changes. Bumblebee Cichlids require constant conditions in captivity in order to thrive.

Tank Conditions

After studying a bumblebee’s natural habitat The second step will be to determine how to replicate it in your own home. It’s easy to do to replicate the habitat of Lake Malawi.

A few important points to be considered include:

Size You need to raise the tank’s size by 50-gallons for each additional Bumblebee Cichlid.

Substrate: Use a sandy substrate to cover the top of your aquarium. You can add rocks to create an array of caves. The rocky structure must extend over the water.

pH level – Its pH level needs to be hard and have a pH of 7.8-8.6.

Temperature – Maintain the water’s temperature between 76degF to 82degF.

Bubblers and filtering – Bumblebee Cichlids have strong water movement. Utilize a powerful filter, an air pump, or water pumps to make the perfect ambiance.

Decorations – You should create caverns all around your tank to form zones. By doing this, you can reduce conflicts in the tank. Aquarium glue is used to hold the heavy structures and rocks together.

Water Type – Adding a small amount of salt from an aquarium to the water will raise the salinity level.

After these requirements have been satisfied, they need to be maintained. Regularly cleaning the substrate, the water as well as other areas is necessary to accomplish this.

Tank Mates

What fish is compatible with the bumblebee Cichlid?

Bumblebees are excellent tankmates as the Cichlids are also fellow Lake Malawi residents. Gold mbuna, Melanochromis chipokae, and Pseudotropheus Cyaneorhabdos are excellent selections since they have the same requirements for care and aggression levels.

Beware of tank mates who have similar colors to the bumblebee cichlids. Bumblebee Cichlids be frightened by fish that have similar patterns.

Invertebrates also aren’t suitable tankmates for bumblebee Cichlids since they are too small and can be consumed.

These cichlids are able to live in communal tanks or in their individual tanks. Males can fight each other, so make sure that there are enough females and just one male in the tank.

The creation of a tank for only one species can help reduce the chances of compatibility problems.

Compatible Tank Mates for Bumblebee Cichlids

The first thing to look at is putting multiple bumblebee Cichlids. It’s only feasible under one thing; there must just be one male.

Therefore, bumblebees cichlids are mutually compatible so long as there’s a single male and a few females. This is a simple thing to accomplish because it’s not too difficult to differentiate between male and female bumblebees distinct.

Incompatible Tank Mates for Bumblebee Cichlids

The list is long in the case of fish that don’t work with the bumblebee cichlids. Fish that are smaller than the Bumblebee Cichlid or more gentle ones are more likely to be beaten and bullied.

Beginning at the top, male bumblebees do not get along. They’ll fight and possibly cause harm to each other. One male and one female Bumblebee Cichlids don’t get along.

Males can be aggressive when they breed, which is why it is advised to keep them in a group of females.

Bumblebee Cichlid and Yellow Lab

Both Bumblebee Cichlids and Yellow Labs are native to Malawi Lake in Africa. This means that their preferred habitats are very similar, as their water parameters are similar.

Yet, despite the similarities both yellow labs and Bumble Cichlids will likely not be able to coexist within the same aquarium.

Bumblee cichlids are extremely aggressive, while yellow labs tend to be toward being more docile.

Bumblebee Cichlid and Angelfish

Angelfish are a kind of cichlids that are native to river systems in South America. They’re among the most sought-after freshwater species that aquariums can use.

Naturally one might be wondering about the compatibility of other species. Bumblebee Cichlids and Angelfish are unlikely to get along quite effectively in the tank.

Angelfish are more laid back and less aggressive than bumblebee cichlids.

Bumblebee Cichlid and Oscar Fish

Bumblebee Cichlids and Oscar Fish should not be put in the same tanks. They have distinct specifications for water parameters. This is due to the fact that they are from two distinct regions of the globe.

Oscars originate from South America, while bumblebee fish belong to Lake Malawi in Africa. Additionally, the bumblebee’s aggression makes them more likely to bully Oscar which is why they’ll likely end up dying.


Bumblebee Cichlids are durable and are generally free of disease and infections. They aren’t afflicted with species-specific diseases however, they could be afflicted by common freshwater illnesses.

Ich is a well-known Freshwater Tank Disease. It’s an ectoparasite that creates white spots on the body of a fish.

Infections of the swim bladder are a frequent bumblebee cichlid issue. It causes the fish to lose buoyancy and causes it to remains on its surface. Overfeeding is the main cause of swim bladder disease.

Malawi Bloat is a different freshwater fish disease. This disease can make fish sink into the substrate.

Infections and diseases are relatively simple to cure. Pet stores usually have remedies for specific ailments.

Fish that are sick should be moved into hospital tanks to avoid cross-contamination. New fish need to be kept in quarantine for three weeks prior to moving into community tanks.

In poor water conditions. The best method to prevent diseases is to keep the aquarium in good condition.

Do weekly water changes, maintain the algae levels at a minimum, and provide the fish with a healthy diet to help prevent illness.

Diet & Feeding

Bumblebee Cichlids consume insects’ larvae and small crustaceans and eggs of fish on their own in wild settings. Bumblebee cichlids that are captive-bred should eat plants as well as fish food in flakes.

This species is one of the feeder fish, meaning that it eats parasites that are present in the water.

Aquarists typically pair a big catfish with a bumblebee in aquariums so that the cichlid will devour parasites associated with the catfish.

Dry fish food flakes, as well as pellets, are great for bumblebee Cichlids. frozen and live bugs, brine shrimp, and Mysis shrimp are excellent snack options. Cichlids should be fed an assortment of live and dry foods.

Bumblebee Cichlids will be able to learn their feeding habits. They are more active during meals because they anticipate being fed.

Give them food 2-3 times a day. Give them only a portion they are able to finish in two minutes to avoid overfeeding.

How To Breed Bumblebee Cichlids

Breeding in captivity bumblebee Cichlids is feasible. Clean the tank and provide the fish with a nutritious diet that encourages breeding.

Keep one male and several females in a tank for breeding to prevent injury. Also, be cautious not to crowd the tank. The male will woo the female and then circle her to start breeding.

They are mouthbrooders which means females deposit eggs in order for males to fertilize. When the eggs are fertilized by the females, they will take the eggs by rubbing them in their mouths.

Females will store eggs over the next 25 days until they hatch. It will result in 20-30 children.

It is recommended to feed the hatchlings of juveniles with brine shrimps, daphnia, and crushed flake flakes till they’re able to consume fry food.

Where Can I Find Bumblebee Cichlid for Sale and What Is The Price?

Bumblebee Cichlids are very well-known and are likely to be available at most pet stores.

If they’re not available in any pet retailer, you’ll have the option to purchase them from an aquarium store that is specifically designed for them or on the internet. 

The cost of the bumblebee-cichlid alone varies from store to store however, generally speaking, they are sold for about $10 for one. If you buy several at one time, you’ll be able to receive a lower cost on them.

Are Bumblebee Cichlids Aggressive?

Bumblebee cichlids can be very territorial and aggressive which means that they won’t make ideal tankmates in a communal tank. They also consume eggs of fish which is another reason it’s best to not keep them in a tank with a community.

How Big Do Bumblebee Cichlids Grow?

The bumblebee is a huge fish with a strong and large body. Males can reach the length of nearly six inches, whereas females tend to be smaller, reaching less than five inches in length.

What Is The Distinction Between Male and Female Bumblebee Cichlid?

Bumblebee Cichlid male vs female: The males tend to be bigger and feature blue markings, whereas females are smaller, and have yellow markings. Males may have female coloration, so take a considerable size and your anal fin.

Males may have between two and four clearly distinct egg spots, while females will have around anal fin, and just two or three egg spots.

Should You Get a Bumblebee Cichlid for Your Fish Tank?

Bumblebee cichlids do not work for aquariums with established tanks. The fish should be housed in tanks that are specifically designed for the bumblebee-cichlid.

The cichlid is a mouthbrooder from the African Lake Malawi. The most popular name is the scientific term, Pseudotropheus crabro, these gorgeous fish are a beautiful aquarium.

However, bumblebees are extremely aggressive and for this reason, they should be kept in a cichlid with a more confident species.

Beginning fishkeepers should learn fishkeeping by focusing on species that are easier to handle. Fishkeepers who have experience can find the care and feeding of Bumblebee Cichlids enjoyable and exciting.

They are striking fish with interesting personalities that are comfortable fish so long as the conditions in their tanks are in order.

The mouthbrooders can be produced in captivity, but spawning is more successful in large tanks.


Dibyajyoti Bordoloi is the creator and author of, a third-generation experienced fish keeper and owner of a successful pet breeding farm. He is also a member of the Center for Wildlife Rehabilitation And Conservation (Assam), the Marine Aquarium Societies of North East India, and the Kaziranga Nature Conservancy of Assam.

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