» Posted by on Sep 11, 2014 in Blog, Education, Freshwater Fish, Jim F | Comments Off on Unseen Beauty in the Glass Catfish

Unseen Beauty in the Glass Catfish


By Jim Flynn

The “Glass Catfish” or Kryptopterus sp. are one of my favorite fish genus. The species most commonly kept in the aquarium trade is Kryptopterus vitreolus, but you may find species of Kryptopterus bicirrhis and Kryptopterus minor as well. They are a personable fish with cute little faces that look, at least to me, to have an expression of curiosity and contentment. They have two “whiskers” or barbells that extend from their face giving them an almost alien-like appearance. They have a slender body and it looks like they are dancing when they swim in the water. What really makes these little critters stand out though, is that their bodies are almost completely transparent. You can see straight through to the bones and organs!
Glass Catfish

Glass Catfish are a delicate fish and are not recommended for beginning aquarists. Intermediate to advanced keepers should have no problem raising them, provided the water conditions and other parameters are kept in check. Being tropical fish from the rivers of Thailand they prefer water temperatures between 75-80° Fahrenheit. They do best when kept in schools of at least six or more and will suffer ill health effects if kept alone. Their water should be slightly acidic at about 6.5 PH. This can be accomplished by introducing peat into the aquarium or using one of the many water-stabilizing buffers we sell at the store.

Feeding Glass Catfish may pose a challenge. Being microvores, Glass Catfish may initially only accept live foods such as worms, brine, and daphnia. With patience however, Glass Catfish will accept flake based foods. If kept on a flake based diet, freeze-dried or frozen treats should be introduced occasionally to round out their diet and provide proper nutrition.

In terms of behavior, in a home aquarium Glass Catfish love two things; shady spots and flowing water. Creating a rock shelf or something similar will allow your fish a shady spot to swim underneath. They will spend a lot of time underneath this shelf or under broad-leafed plants, venturing out occasionally to look for food. When eating they like to swim against the current and pick up food moving about in the water. When they swim against the flow, they almost look motionless, essentially occupying the same space as the water gently moves past their transparent bodies.

Glass Catfish are not particularly aggressive, so potential aquatic companions are varied. Just make sure that any tank mates you add in come from similar water chemistries. Keep the temperament of tank mates peaceful. A nicely planted, peaceful community tank with a rocky outcropping would be a terrific home for a Glass Catfish. Stop into the store to learn more about Glass Catfish or to bring some home today!  

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