Bumblebee Pim Catfish
This bumblebee can't fly! This bumblebee doesn't buzz! However, this bumblebee might sting you if you pick it up! That is, if you can find it! Once you drop one of these tiny catfish into your aquarium, you may never see it again! It's the tiny, ever elusive, yellow and black catfish known as the Bumblebee Pim!
I have to admit that the first time I ever saw a bumblebee pim, I had to ask if the fish was alive or dead! One day while in my neighborhood wall to wall discount mart, I happened to pass by the fish tanks. In a tank filled with red tailed and rainbow sharks I noticed some tiny yellow and black catfish-like fish "stuck" between a filter and the aquarium's glass. A small school of four of these aqua-critters were wedged unmoving between the filter and the glass. The part-time pet department employee assured me that the fish were indeed alive, but he wasn't exactly sure what they were doing or what they were. Well, that piqued my curiosity, and before I knew it I had purchased two of these mysterious catfish and brought them home!
The tiny, yellow and black catfish were added to a 10 gallon tank with a pair of red tailed sharks and a small oscar. Minutes later, I decided to check on my new acquisitions. Wouldn't you know it? They were nowhere to be found! My first thought was that the oscar had had a little snack. However, upon closer examination, I found the two catfish hiding in a small boat tank decoration. I knew then that I had better do a little research on these elusive critters!
The first thing that I discovered was that these catfish were actually called bumblebee pims. Pim is actually a shortened version of the fish's family name, pimelodid. This is the same family of catfish that also includes shovelnose catfish, red-tailed catfish, sturgeon catfish and the ever popular pictus catfish. I also discovered why these little catfish were wedged between a filter and the aquarium glass. Unlike the other members of the pimelodid family, the bumblebee pim is a notorious hider! While they were wedged between that filter and glass, the bumblebee pims thought they were hidden!
The bumblebee pim is a sedentary creature that is rarely, if ever, seen during the day. The bumblebee pim is definitely one of the more nocturnal catfish. Usually when you add a bumblebee pim to your aquarium, the fish's first act will be to find a hiding place! And that hiding place is often one of the darkest, least accessible areas of the tank! The only time you will see this fish during daylight hours is when the bumblebee pim is darting at high speeds either toward a food source or another hiding spot! This is not something that will improve with time. While many so called nocturnal fish become used to their new home aquarium environment and become more active during the day, the bumblebee pim will continue to play "hide and seek" throughout its entire life!
Due to the bumblebee pim's elusive nature, its aquarium must contain lots of potential hiding places. The bumblebee pim is not picky about their hiding places, just as long as they have plenty of them. Bumblebee pims seem to prefer dense leafy vegetation such as Java ferns or Amazon swords. The bumblebee pims also need plenty of rocks or wood with narrow cracks or holes for the fish to hide out in.
The bumblebee pim is a hearty, long living fish that can easily adapt to most water conditions. However, to ensure that the fish stays healthy, the bumblebee pim's water will need to reflect its natural habitat. The bumblebee pim is found in clear, moderate to strong flowing waters of Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, the Amazon basin and other areas of northern South America. The bumblebee pim's water will need to have a pH between 6.0 and 7.5. An ideal temperature range for the bumblebee pim is between 70 - 79 degrees.
A large aquarium is not necessary for the bumblebee pim. Usually the bumblebee pims found in pet stores are around 1 to 2 inches in length. Rarely does this fish ever grow any larger than 6 to 8 inches in captivity. An ideal aquarium for a school of bumblebee pims would be a 30 gallon tank. If you plan on keep only 1 or 2 bumblebee pims, you can even get away with housing them in a 10 or 20 gallon aquarium.
If you are hoping to pair up male and female bumblebee pims, that may be difficult. Not much is known about the bumblebee pim's breeding at all. In fact, it's nearly impossible to distinguish between the male and female bumblebee pims. However, some experts claim that the female bumblebee pim will be slightly more robust than the male.
While the bumblebee pim is basically a "take-care-of-itself" fish, some hobbyists find out that the only problems they have with this fish occur with its feeding. Many experts claim that the bumblebee pim is a carnivorous fish that won't hesitate to swallow any fish that can fit into its mouth. Even if this is the case, the bumblebee pim is such a small fish with a small mouth that there aren't many fish small enough to be devoured. To play it totally safe, just make sure other fish in the bumblebee pim's tank are larger than the pim, which shouldn't be too hard to do. Also, if there are any fry in the tank, make sure to remove the bumblebee pim, or it will make a quick meal out of the young fish.
The other problem with feeding the bumblebee pim is making sure this fish actually gets enough to eat. Since it is a nocturnal fish, the bumblebee pim will rarely eat when the other fish in its tank are eating. The bumblebee pim will only come out to eat after the tank's lights have been turned off, so it often has to rely on any uneaten crumbs left behind from other fish. Obviously, you can't allow the bumblebee pim to survive this way, so it is recommended that you feed this fish a couple of hours after the tank's lights have been turned off.
The bumblebee pim is actually an omnivorous fish. The bumblebee pim will readily accept food such as flake foods, tablets, bloodworms and sinking wafers. Another favorite food of the bumblebee pim is brine shrimp. If the food can sink and remain uneaten long enough for the bumblebee pim to wait until dark to find it, the fish will probably eat it! The bumblebee pim is not a picky eater at all!
Since the bumblebee pim is a peaceful, sociable, non-aggressive community fish, it will be able to share an aquarium with any similar fish. Most hobbyists choose to house their bumblebee pims with fish like other catfish, red tail sharks, rainbow sharks, iridescent sharks, most loaches, eels, corys, plecos, tetras, barbs, gouramis and even some smaller cichlids. There aren't many fish that aren't compatible with the bumblebee pim, since this fish spends most of its time in hiding!
The bumblebee pim is not found in pet stores as often as many other catfish. When it is found, the bumblebee pim may be listed as the South American Bumblebee Pim or the misleading names South American Bumblebee Catfish or Bumblebee Catfish. The bumblebee catfish names are misleading because there is actually another type of fish called the bumblebee catfish, and it is totally different from the bumblebee pim. In fact, there is even another member of the pimelodid family called the bumblebee pim, but this pim doesn't resemble a "bee". While the bumblebee pim gets its name from its yellow and black banded body, the other bumblebee pim doesn't have these bee-like colorations.
Since the bumblebee pim is somewhat rare fish, if you do find any for sale, they might be a little pricey. I have seen the bumblebee pim available in only a few pet stores. In those stores, this fish retailed anywhere from $6.00 all the way up to $12.00 apiece. That's a pretty good investment for a fish that you probably won't ever be able to show off to your friends! And it's a pretty good investment for a fish that in all honesty you may never see again!