Bumblebee Catfish Pale And Not Eating.


I have a 2 year old bumblebee catfish who has recently been very pale and refusing to eat. It shows interest but hasn't actually taken anything besides a scrap or two per day. My care hasn't changed at all, but I recently went on vacation for 10 days and when I came back it had lost a lot of weight and became super pale. For The2 days previously, I had noticed uneaten food in the tank so I was a little worried, but when I fed him using the pipette it seemed fine. The tank had quite a bit of algae growth after vacation (or cyanobacteria? It's like a smelly red sheet,) which I cleaned out immediately, did a big cleanout, and reacclimated it.

I actually keep him in a tub, because previously he was with some cichlids and I could barely see him, but when I did he was enormous to the point where I thought he had dropsy and took him out to a tub. The tub only holds around 5 gallons, but it is 18x16 inches on the bottom and 6 inches tall, filled to about an inch from the top. It had been doing pretty well until recently, as I run a heater and sponge filter and it has been at a stable 78°F for months, with rocks, a plant, terra cotta bowl, and a silk plant laying on it's side. I keep half of it covered with a lid and do water changes weekly, with a refill of the tank every two or three days because of evaporation. I tested the water just yesterday and it was at 0, 0, and 5-10. The pH is around 8-8.2, but it's a little hard for me to tell the difference.

I feed him every week day with a 2 day weekend fast and give frozen brine, mysis, and bloodworm on a rotating schedule. It does share a pipette with my betta fish, who is healthy, but I'm giving him his own pipette while the catfish is sick. The catfish is still showing interest in food when they notice the pipette, but they aren't actually taking any. After a while, the go swim around the tub for a bit.

Do you guys have any ideas on how to treat this? It's quite skinny in comparison to how they looked before, and their head is pretty pale. I'll try to get pictures tomorrow but my attempts to get them to eat today stressed it out a lot and I already let them go for fear of causing further harm.


do you feed him at night?

looking at several other sites, the bumblebee catfish has a large mouth and can be given food w/o a pipette.
  • Thread Starter


Yes, they are fed every night, usually at 10-11 o'clock with the lights dimmed. I do use a pipette to feed them, but they haven't been eating any large pieces and only some time scraps if it's nearby and it happens to open its mouth.

Oops, I read your response wrong. I have a feeding bowl in there that I used to just put the food in, and they'd go out and eat it at night, but recently when it stopped eating properly and I was finding rotting food in the tub, I switched back to a pipette.
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