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Microglanis iheringi Gomes, 1946 

e are back to the South American sub-continent for this months factsheet (April 2004) with a first from us on a member of the Pseudopimelodidae family. The sub-family of Pimelodidae, Pseudopimelodinae, is now considered a full family status of Pseudopimelodidae and is of course closely related to the Pimelodidae family and mostly contains the smaller pims, such as the South American Bumblebee and dwarf marbled catfishes.

Microglanis iheringi

Its common name of the Bumblebee Catfish can be misleading as there is another catfish, from Asia,
Pseudomystus siamensis, that also carries this name and this is probably the fish that we know mostly as "The Bumblebee Catfish". P. siamensis has a different body pattern, shape, and possess's an extra pair of barbels. That is why we mostly refer to them as the South American and Asian Bumblebee Cats. There are at the present moment (2010) 17 species in the Microglanis genera.

There can be confusion between another three species of the same genera, Microglanis poecilus, M. secundus and M. parahybae. There are diferences in colour patterns, especially on the caudal peduncle and caudal fin areas.

M. poecilus
M. poecilus
M. iheringi
M. iheringi
M. parahybae
M. parahybae
M. secundus
M. secundus

The line drawings may help you to identify your Microglanis but being able to see your species in your tank to do this is another matter entirely as they are very secretive as you can go months without spotting them, unless you can view them with the lights out at night when they come out for their forays.

To sum up, a very nice looking pim, while being very nocturnal, but being able to see them on the odd occasion makes up for the weeks that you thought you had lost it, and so a nice addition to a medium sized community tank.

Dorsal fin rounded, Caudal fin truncate. Adipose fin well developed. Maxillary barbels reaching past the origins of the pectoral spines. lateral line well developed (tubular with pores) Head flattened.

Dark brown markings on a light brown background. The area of dark brown colour on the caudal peduncle is more or less square. Dorsal fin mainly dark brown with a pale tip, Slightly mottled with brown and with a large triangular pale patch based on the last two rays. The caudal fin has a broad dark brown cross band.

Microglanis iheringi is one of twenty six, small to medium sized pims, found in this family, and as such is a good addition to the medium sized community tank, and will not harm the occupants unless they are small enough to fit into its mouth such as newly born fry and young fish. If you keep livebearers such as Guppies and Platies in with them you will very rarely be overrun with fry as the Bumblebee Catfish will promptly finish them off on its night time prowls. Hiding places such as rockwork, plants and or wood will benefit this species and help, along with regular water changes, to keep this "Bumblebee Catfish" happy in its surroundings.

Males are slimmer than females.

Two reports from English aquarists. First Des Penny published in the magazine of the Catfish Association of Great Britain stating that the water parameters ranged from 4.8-6pH and temperature values between 22°c and 25.5°c. He fed a regime of shredded cod, coley, prawns, mussels, cockles and oxheart, plus feedings of live Daphnia, bloodworm and river shrimp. He found fry by accident one day when he was feeding his fish, a total count of 40 at about 12mm in size which were perfect replicas of the parents. There is no report of how they spawned but Des puts it down to either three things that went on in the tank previously, a drop in temperature then it quickly warming up, his Characins spawning at the same time or it could have been the very varied diet that he was undertaking. Next article from Paul Barrow appeared in the Tropical Fish Hobbyist in 1997 and he witnessed the spawning with them dashing around the tank with the male wrapping itself around the females head (It must be noted here that the females get quite rotund and helps to differentiate males from females). Paul actually put them back into the new tank after fitting a new under gravel system prier to them spawning, so with 50% new water this would go a long way to facilitating their actions. His water parameters were: Temp: 72°f rising to 75°f over a 12 week period with the p.H. never dropping below 6.5. He took the eggs out of the tank to a smaller tank but they all fungused and unfortunately he did not get any offspring.

Can be fed a varied diet of tablet food, pellets, worm foods and frozen food such as bloodworm and as seen above in the breeding report.

Microglanis: Micro = small; glanis = catfish.

Glossary of Terms:
Maxillary barbels : Pertaining to the upper jaw. (maxillary barbels)

Catfish Association of Great Britain, Magazine 69-1/91, p63-64.
Sands, David; Catfishes of the World Vol.3 Auchenipteridae & Pimelodidae.
Barrow, Paul; Tropical Fish Hobbyist, Sep.1997, p82-91

Photo Credits
Top picture: Jim Makin. 
Line Drawings: Catfish Association of Great Britain, Magazine 69-1/91.

Factsheet 094

Common Name:
South American Bumblebee catfish
South America: Rio Turmero near Turmero in Aragua, Venezuela
8.5cm. (3½ins)
21 -25°C (69-77°F)    
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                                                                                                                               Factsheet 94= updated January 29, 2019 , © ScotCat 1997-2019  Go to Top