Bumblebee Cichlid (Pseudotropheus crabro) Species Guide

Bumblebee cichlids are fascinating creatures that swim in the waters of Lake Malawi, Africa. With their striking patterns and vibrant colors, you might have even considered adding them to your aquarium. These little fish are not only charming, but they also exhibit unique behaviors and adaptations that make them a captivating subject to explore.

Taking a closer look, you’ll discover that bumblebee cichlids belong to the Pseudotropheus genus, which contributes to their unique features and behaviors. They’re known for their territorial nature, and watching them interact in your aquarium can be a rewarding experience. So, let’s dive into the captivating world of bumblebee cichlids and learn all about what makes them so special.

Image Of A Bumblebee Cichlid Swimming In Front Of Rocks

Bumblebee Cichlid Species Guide Summary

  • Average Lifespan: You can expect your bumblebee cichlid to live for 5-8 years with proper care.
  • Care Difficulty: Taking care of bumblebee cichlids is moderately easy for most aquarium enthusiasts.
  • Colors: Your bumblebee cichlid can showcase yellow, black, and white colors that resemble striped patterns.
  • Compatibility: These fish thrive best in a semi-aggressive community tank with tankmates of similar size and temperament.
  • Conservation Status: No worries, bumblebee cichlids are not threatened and have a stable population.
  • Diet: Your fish will enjoy a variety of meaty foods, including insects, crustaceans, and small fish.
  • Distribution: You’ll find bumblebee cichlids naturally in Lake Malawi, Africa.
  • Group: It’s great to have a small group of bumblebee cichlids in your tank to reduce aggression.
  • Habitat: Your bumblebee cichlid likes rocky areas with plenty of caves and hiding spots.
  • Hardness: Keep your aquarium water moderately hard (10-20 dGH) to make your fish feel at home.
  • Interesting Fact: Did you know? Bumblebee cichlids are known for combining their eggs with sand to hide them.
  • Minimum Tank Size: Provide at least a 50-gallon tank for your bumblebee cichlids to live comfortably.
  • pH: Maintain a pH between 7.8 and 8.6 to mimic their natural habitat.
  • Scientific Name: Your bumblebee cichlid’s official name is Pseudotropheus crabro.
  • Size: Expect your bumblebee cichlid to grow up to 4-6 inches in length.
  • Temperament: Be prepared for a semi-aggressive fish that might show territorial behavior.
  • Temperature: Make sure your aquarium water stays between 72-82°F for the health and comfort of your fish.
  • Where It Swims: Your bumblebee cichlid enjoys swimming in the middle to bottom areas of the tank.

Appearance & Varieties

Bumblebee cichlids are truly a sight to behold. With their unique appearance featuring yellow and black stripes, they add a splash of vibrant color to your aquarium. Not only are they visually stunning, but these fish also come in a variety of shapes and sizes, making them an exciting addition to any aquatic environment.

Sex Differences

When it comes to sex differences in bumblebee cichlids, males and females do have some subtle variations in their appearance. You’ll notice that males tend to be larger and have more elongated dorsal fins. These fins can really catch your eye when they display them proudly.

Females, on the other hand, are generally smaller in size and have rounder dorsal fins. Their yellow and black stripes might also appear slightly duller compared to the males. However, both males and females share the characteristic pattern that gives the bumblebee cichlid its name.

You may find it helpful to use these differences to identify the males and females in your aquarium. As you observe your bumblebee cichlids, you’ll start to notice these variations more easily, appreciating the subtle uniqueness of each individual fish. So, sit back and enjoy adding these delightful swimmers to your aquarium experience.

Behavior & Temperament

If you’re considering adding a bumblebee cichlid, also known as Pseudotropheus crabro, to your aquarium, it’s important to understand their behavior and temperament. Bumblebee cichlids are known to be aggressive and territorial fish.

In a community tank, you might find that these fish often claim territories and defend them vigorously. They are known to be relentless in maintaining and patrolling their territories, which can result in conflicts with other tank mates. So, when setting up your tank, make sure to include plenty of hiding spots and structures like rocks and caves to provide some boundaries and help reduce tension amongst the fish.

Despite their aggressive nature, bumblebee cichlids can coexist with other robust or semi-aggressive species if provided with enough space and suitable tank mates. Keep in mind that it’s crucial to maintain balance in the tank and avoid overstocking, as this can exacerbate their territorial behavior.

Remember, understanding and accommodating your bumblebee cichlid’s temperament will be essential in maintaining a harmonious aquarium environment. By giving these fish ample space and appropriate tank mates, you can enjoy the colorful and fascinating presence of these captivating fish in your aquatic habitat.


Breeding your bumblebee cichlids can be a rewarding experience, especially if you’re into observing fascinating behaviors. To give your cichlids the best conditions for a successful breeding, it’s essential to set the stage properly. Let’s talk about how to prepare for breeding and what to expect in the process.

First, choose a suitable substrate for your aquarium. A fine sand or gravel bed would be perfect, as bumblebee cichlids practice substrate spawning. This is where they lay their eggs directly on the aquarium floor rather than on plants or rocks. Providing them with a comfortable environment is crucial to initiate breeding.

During the breeding season, you may notice behavioral changes in your cichlids. They become more territorial and may also display more vibrant colors. Keep an eye on these signs, as it will indicate that the breeding time has come. An interesting fact to know is that some aquarists call them hornet cichlids due to their vibrant yellow and black patterning resembling a hornet.

When your cichlids start spawning, the female will lay the eggs on the chosen substrate, and the male will quickly follow to fertilize them. It’s common to see them laying anywhere from 100 to 500 eggs at a time! As a responsible fish keeper, it’s vital to maintain optimal water conditions, such as temperature and pH levels, to ensure the highest survival rate of the eggs.

Once the eggs are fertilized, the proud parents will show remarkable parental care. Both male and female bumblebee cichlids will protect their eggs and larvae diligently. They’ll fan the eggs to provide them with oxygen and keep them clean from debris. After three to five days, the eggs will hatch, and the larvae will emerge. They’ll start swimming around in about a week, but they’ll stay close to the parents for protection.

So there you have it – a glimpse into the captivating world of bumblebee cichlid breeding. Armed with this knowledge, you’re ready to partake in the exciting journey of nurturing these lovely aquatic creatures. Happy breeding!

Care Instructions

Food & Feeding Frequency

Bumblebee cichlids are omnivores, so you’ll want to offer them a balanced diet to keep them healthy. You can feed them with a mix of high-quality flakes, pellets, and occasional treats like live or frozen food such as brine shrimp or bloodworms. Typically, feeding your bumblebee cichlid 2-3 times a day in small portions will suffice. Make sure not to overfeed them, as it might lead to poor water quality and health issues.

Potential Diseases

Just like any other freshwater fish, bumblebee cichlids are also susceptible to diseases. One common disease affecting cichlids is Ich, which manifests as small white spots on their bodies. To avoid this and other diseases, maintaining good water quality and promptly addressing any signs of illness is crucial. If you notice any unusual behavior or symptoms, consult a fish care expert or veterinarian right away.

Tank Setup

When setting up an aquarium for your bumblebee cichlid, consider the following guidelines:

  • Size: A minimum of 40-50 gallons is recommended for one adult cichlid, and larger tanks will be needed for multiple fish. Keep in mind that they are territorial and require adequate space to establish their own areas.
  • Decoration: Provide rocks, caves, and hiding spots to help them feel secure and establish their territories. Adding live plants can also enhance water quality and create a more natural environment.
  • Filtration system: A reliable filtration system is essential to maintain water quality. Ensure regular maintenance and cleaning of the filter to prevent any build-up of ammonia and other harmful compounds.

Water Conditions

Proper water conditions are vital for the well-being of your bumblebee cichlid. Adhere to the following parameters:

  • Temperature: Maintain a temperature between 75-82°F (24-28°C) to emulate their natural habitat.
  • pH: Maintain a pH level between 7.5 – 8.5, as bumblebee cichlids prefer alkaline water conditions.
  • Water hardness: Keep the water hardness between 10-15 dGH to ensure your cichlids thrive.

Regularly test the water in your aquarium to ensure these parameters are stable and make adjustments as necessary. By creating a comfortable and healthy environment for your bumblebee cichlid, you’ll set them up for a long, happy life.

In The Wild

When exploring the world of bumblebee cichlids, you can find yourself immersed in the vibrant and diverse underwater environments they inhabit. As a close relative of the hornet cichlids, these fascinating fish make their home in the crystal-clear waters of Lake Malawi in Africa. So, let’s take a dive into their natural environment and discover what makes these fish so special.

As you swim through Lake Malawi, you’ll notice the unique hiding spots that bumblebee cichlids love to occupy. Like any other intelligent species, they know the importance of having a sanctuary to retreat to when needed. Bumblebee cichlids take advantage of rock crevices and densely aquatic plants, creating the perfect camouflage to blend in with their surroundings. This helps them to stay safe from potential predators and provides them with a great vantage point to observe their environment.

Within Lake Malawi, you’ll find a multitude of other cichlid species coexisting, thanks to the lake’s outstanding biodiversity. Due to this, bumblebee cichlids have learned to adapt and thrive alongside their fellow fish in this incredible ecosystem, making for a fascinating sight as they navigate their underwater world.

While observing the bumblebee cichlids in their natural habitat, you’ll notice their striking appearance, which adds to the beauty of the Lake Malawi scenery. With their contrasting black and yellow bands, these fish not only look good but also have an important role to play in their environment. The vivid colors serve as a warning to predators and help in attracting potential mates, ensuring the continuation of their species.

So next time you find yourself exploring the depths of Lake Malawi, be on the lookout for bumblebee cichlids and appreciate their unique characteristics that have enabled them to thrive in one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet. Enjoy your underwater adventure, and who knows what other fascinating creatures you might get to witness!

FAQs About Bumblebee Cichlids

Are Bumblebee Cichlids Good Tank Mates?

Bumblebee cichlids can be a bit tricky when it comes to finding tank mates. They’re known for being semi-aggressive fish, which means that they might not get along with all types of tank mates, especially those that are less aggressive. It’s generally a safe bet to avoid housing them with angelfish or other peaceful freshwater fish. Instead, try setting up a community tank with other semi-aggressive fish that can hold their own. This way, your bumblebee cichlid has companions, and you won’t have to worry about conflicts in the tank.

How Much Do Bumblebee Cichlids Cost?

The price of bumblebee cichlids can vary depending on factors like size, age, and supplier. You can generally expect to pay around $10 for a juvenile, while adults might cost upwards of $20. It’s essential to buy your bumblebee cichlid from a reputable seller to ensure the fish’s health and well-being.

How Do I Keep My Bumblebee Cichlid Healthy?

Keeping your bumblebee cichlid healthy requires a bit of effort, but it’s certainly worth it to see your fish thrive. Here are some tips for maintaining their health:

  • Water Conditions: Maintain a stable water temperature with a heater, as these freshwater fish prefer temperatures between 72°F and 82°F (22°C to 28°C). Also, maintain a pH level between 7.5 and 8.5.
  • Diet: Feed your bumblebee cichlid a diet of high-quality pellets or flakes, along with occasional treats like frozen or live brine shrimp and insects.
  • Tank Size: Provide a spacious tank to accommodate their growth – at least 40 gallons (about 150 liters) for one bumblebee cichlid. A larger tank allows them to establish territories and reduces stress.
  • Proper Filtration: Install a powerful filter to keep the water clean and free of harmful chemicals.
  • Shelter: Create hiding spots and caves in your tank using rocks, wood, or decorations. This helps create a habitat that mimics their natural environment and offers them places to retreat to when they feel threatened.

By following these guidelines, you can keep your bumblebee cichlid healthy and happy, ensuring they live a long and fulfilling life in your tank.


In your exploration of the bumblebee cichlid, it’s clear that these fish are unique and fascinating creatures. Their feaking architecture sets them apart from other cichlids and contributes to their intriguing appearance.

Remember, bumblebee cichlids are not only captivating to look at, but they also hold insights into the diverse world of aquatic life. So as you continue to learn more about these fish, don’t forget to appreciate their beauty and the wonders they hold. Cheers to bumblebee cichlids!


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