Quick Care Facts
• Care Level: Easy • Temperament: Aggressive • Maximum Size: 8"
• Minimum Tank Size: 75 gallons • Water Conditions: 75-82° F, KH 10-15, pH 7.5-8.5
• Diet: Omnivore • Origin: Lake Malawi • Family: Cichlidae
• Species: African Cichlid • Aquarium Type: African Cichlid, Rift Lake
Bumblebee Cichlid native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.
Bumblebee Cichlid's or Crabro Cichlids originate from Lake Malawi, where they are found in deeper waters live in caves or near large rocky formations. The Bumblebee Cichlid shares these caves with the Kampango Catfish, which is a large aggressive species. The two species have a partial symbiotic relationship in that the Bumblebee Cichlid will eat parasites off of the Kampango Catfish and in return the Kampango will not eat the Bumblebee Cichlid.
In the dark watery caves, the Kampango Catfish uses the lighter gold and brown/black barred pattern of the Bumblebee Cichlid to identify it and not treat it as prey. However, the Bumblebee Cichlid can rapidly change their coloration to a very dark almost black coloration that they use to mimic the appearance of the Kampango in order to feed on their eggs during breeding season. After feeding on the Kampango eggs, the Bumblebee Cichlid is quick to adjust it's coloration and pattern back to the gold and brown striped pattern so they can remain safe inside the cave with the larger catfish.
Bumblebee Cichlids must be aggressive in the wild in order to coexist in close quarters with other larger predators and steal eggs while doing it, so it is important to remember that they will also be very aggressive within the aquarium environment as well. The Bumblebee Cichlid makes a great addition to aggressive African Cichlid aquariums and larger community African Cichlid aquariums provided that the habitat is properly designed and large enough to provide the necessary territories for the fish being housed.
How to successfully keep Bumblebee Cichlid in the home aquarium.
When considering a Bumblebee Cichlid for your African Cichlid aquarium, the most important aspect to consider is the aggressiveness of the species. They are easy to care for and do not have many specific needs when kept within an aquarium, but they are quite aggressive and will need to be housed with proper tank mates in a reasonably sized aquarium.
It is critical to consider this when choosing tank mates as the Bumblebee Cichlid will quickly dominate less aggressive species, which could very well mean killing them. The best ways to mitigate this aggression is to keep them with other larger aggressive species, create aqua-scaping that provides a large variety of territories with plenty of caves, house them in large aquariums that will allow them to establish territory without taking over the entire aquarium and lastly, keeping them with many other aggressive species so that aggression is spread out amongst many fish.
Bumblebee's will appreciate an aquarium setup that has a sandy substrate and plenty of large rocky caves. Quality biological, mechanical and chemical filtration along with partial water changes are critical to maintaining high water quality levels that mimic the water conditions of the Bumblebee Cichlids native rift lake home.
Feeding & Nutrition
How to properly feed Bumblebee Cichlid and provide a healthy diet.
The omnivorous Bumblebee Cichlid is an aggressive feeder that in the wild scratches out an existence eating parasites, stealing and eating other fishes eggs and preying on a variety of meaty planktonic foods. When kept in an aquarium environment the Bumblebee will readily accept a large variety of meaty foods including: cichlid flake, pellet, sticks, frozen and freeze-dried foods, blood worms, tubifex worms and other similar meaty foods.
Simply provide them some variety to their diet so that they receive balanced nutrition and the Bumblebee Cichlid will be more than satisfied with most any meaty fare.
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