Maximum size : 17 cm

Malayan Bumblebee Catfish - Leiocassis poeciloptera : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

Table of contents


Malayan Bumblebee Catfish (Leiocassis poeciloptera) are a captivating and distinctive freshwater fish species instantly recognizable by their unique appearance. With a peaceful demeanour and a penchant for social interaction, these Catfish have become a favourite among aquarium enthusiasts. An excellent addition to any freshwater aquarium, this species offers aesthetic appeal and provides an opportunity to observe intriguing social behaviours rarely seen in the aquatic world.

Like several members of the Bagrid family, Malayan Bumblebee Catfish exhibit a predilection for consuming smaller fish, necessitating their cohabitation exclusively with species of equal or larger size. While these Catfish can be integrated into a community tank, it is prudent to exercise caution when pairing adult Malayan Bumblebee Catfish with smaller Characins or Livebearers, as these diminutive fish may fall prey during the nocturnal foraging behaviour exhibited by the Catfish. Moreover, this species may engage in fin-nipping behaviour when kept with larger counterparts; therefore, diligent feeding, particularly after lights out, can help mitigate such aggression tendencies.

Ideally, maintain a group of three to five specimens within a capacious tank adorned with background vegetation. The substrate should consist of fine sand, complemented by strategically positioned hiding places and efficient filtration. 

The Malayan Bumblebee Catfish has an elongated and slender head with a protruding snout. These Catfish also exhibit a body colouration characterized by a deep brown-reddish hue, accentuated by broad, transversely arranged irregular bands, notably dark and prominent. These bands are strategically positioned, with the first spanning the nape and opercular regions, the second extending dorso-ventrally, the third encompassing the adipose and anal regions, and the fourth adorning the caudal area.

Along the lateral line, these bands intersect with a longitudinal, deep brown stripe, further enhancing their distinctive markings. The fins of this species reflect a similar deep brown-reddish to blackish-dark hue, adorned with two broad and contrasting blackish-dark double bands. Adding to its aesthetic allure, the iris of the Malayan Bumblebee Catfish is notably characterized by vivid blue pigmentation.

Malayan Bumblebee Catfish Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Regrettably, information regarding the sexual dimorphism of Malayan Bumblebee Catfish remains undisclosed.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameLeiocassis poeciloptera
Year Described1840
Other NamesHigh-headed Smoothshield Catfish, Bumblebee Cat
OriginsIndonesia , Thailand
Max Size17 cm
Aquarium LevelBottom
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asTrios
Diet & FeedingOmnivore
ReproductionEgg Depositor
LifespanUp to 10 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
pH 6.0 - 7.5
GH 5 - 20
Ideal Temperature
67 - 77
20 - 25

Natural Habitat

The Malayan Bumblebee Catfish, native to the region, exhibits a principal distribution pattern encompassing the Malay Peninsula from the Mae Nam Kolok drainage southwards to the Endau River drainage in Sumatra, extending from the Wampu River drainage southwards to the Musi River drainage in Java, and spanning the Ciberang River drainage in Borneo to the Kapuas River drainage in Borneo. Inhabiting these regions, these Catfish favour swift-flowing rivers and streams characterized by gravel substrates, typically residing within rock crevices at depths ranging from 1.5 to 2.0 meters.


While specific details regarding the breeding habits of Malayan Bumblebee Catfish remain unreported, it is worth noting their oviparous nature, which implies the likelihood of distinct pair bonding during the reproductive process, potentially resembling the behaviour observed in other members of the same taxonomic family.

Diet & feeding

Malayan Bumblebee Catfish exhibit omnivorous dietary preferences, foraging for aquatic insects and small crustaceans within their native habitat. In the controlled environment of an aquarium, these fish display a versatile palate and readily accept a diverse range of food offerings. Timing-wise, providing nourishment after the aquarium lights have been extinguished is advisable. Additionally, if the daytime resting location of these Catfish is discernible, feeding can be facilitated by depositing tablets or frozen food within their concealed retreats beneath stones or amid bogwood structures.

Other Catfish of interest