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7 Great Tank Mates for Glass Catfish: Compatibility Guide 2023
By Ashley Bates
Updated on Aug 19, 2023
Glass catfish, or ghost catfish, are absolutely stunning editions to any home setup, permitting that you provide them with the right environment. These catfish come by their name honestly, being completely transparent with a black stripe down their side.
They do, in fact, look like glass figurines. You can enjoy watching these gorgeous specimens swim around freely in your aquarium. So, what other fish can add to the beauty? Here are seven compatible companions.
The 7 Great Tank Mates for Glass Catfish
1. mollies (poecilia sphenops).
Mollies are common among aquarists because these little tropical fish get along so well in tons of setups. They are mid-dwellers with unique appearances that catch the eyes of onlookers.
Mollies are livebearers, which means they give birth to young instead of laying eggs. They are relatively easy to breed, and they get along well with each other and others.
Mollies are incredibly easy to keep, so they are ideal for beginners and seasoned aquarists alike. They aren’t demanding or susceptible to illness like some species on our list. So, all in all, we think mollies are probably the best pairs for glass catfish.
The good thing is there are tons of different mollies to choose from such as:
- Black mollies
- Orange mollies
- White mollies
- Red mollies
- Dalmatian mollies
- Balloon mollies
- Sailfin mollies
- Lyretail mollies
Each is beautiful in its own right. Mollies do very well in groups, so you can get several at a time.
2. Guppies ( Poecilia reticulata) – Best for Small Tanks
Guppies , otherwise known as the millionfish or rainbow fish, are easy little keepers that are ideal for small setups. Guppies are a perfect choice if you don’t have a lot of extra space and need a little fish who will adapt to the environment.
Guppies are very hardy and peaceful little fish that can coexist nicely in a tank with glass catfish. You can keep a pair or several in one aquarium, permitting there is enough room. There are well over 300 different types of guppies, so you get a vast selection.
Guppies exhibit sexual dimorphism—females are solid gray, whereas males have stripes and spots. Females are also a little larger than their male counterparts by roughly an inch or so.
If you want colorful little swimmers, guppies come in a variety of different looks. They also have lots of tailfin types as well. Here are a few you might find:
- Fin tail guppies
- Delta tail guppies
- Veil tail guppies
- Flagtail guppies
- Lyre tail guppies
- Spade tail guppies
- Halfmoon tail guppies
- Top swordtail guppies
- Round tail guppies
All these tail variations can come in a rainbow of colors.
3. Tetras (Hyphessobrycon anisitsi)
Tetra fish are interesting little fish that linger in the middle of the aquarium. They are perfect at catching eyes with their vibrant coloring and zippy movements. Tetras do best with at least 10 of their own kind and live peacefully alongside other fish.
Tetras do best in dark tanks, so adding floating plants to your setup will keep these fish happy and healthy.
Here are a few types of tetras:
- Diamond tetras
- Gold tetras
- Mexican tetras
- Long-fin tetras
- Bleeding heart tetras
- Bloodfin tetras
- Dawn tetras
- Ember tetras
- Neon tetras
- Serpae tetras
- Congo tetras
Tetras come in all sorts of shapes and colors to enjoy. So, have fun shopping around.
4. Swordtails (Xiphophorus helleri)
Swordtails are fascinating little fish with a name that matches their physical makeup—well, at least partially. The males have an elongated caudal appendage, while females lack this classic characteristic.
Their dimorphism helps you decipher males from females upon purchase, which is helpful if you want to separate the genders.
There are several color variations in this little fish, such as:
- Black swordtail
- Golden swordtail
- Red velvet swordtail
- Yellow tuxedo swordtail
- Red tuxedo swordtail
- Wagtail swordtail
- Green swordtail
- Pineapple swordtail
- Kohaku swordtail
- Showa swordtail
- Pineapple wagtail swordtail
- Koi swordtail
- Painted swordtail
- Neon swordtail
- Yellow comet swordtail
So, you can add a little color variety to spruce up the look of your tank.
Related Read: 10 Best Tank Mates for Swordtail
5. Celestial Pearl Danios (Danio margaritatus)
The celestial pearl danios is a very flashy little cyprinid that goes by many interesting names. You might also know it as the danio margaritatus, galaxy rasbora, and simply ‘galaxy.’
These little freshwater fish are relatively new to aquarium hobbyists, gaining public traction since 2006.
Even though these cuties are tiny, they add tons of color to any setup. You can get a handful of these fish to keep them in a small community of their kind. They are peaceful enough to get along with virtually any fish permitting they have the same tank requirements.
However, they are quite small and could fall victim to bigger fish if you aren’t careful.
6. Kuhli Loach (Pangio kuhlii)
The Kuhli Loach , also referred to as the coolie loach, is a visually impressive specimen that will work alongside your glass catfish swimmingly. They might be the coolest-looking fish that made the list, but they come with their own special challenges.
These highly sought-after little fish are attractive because of their long, eel-like bodies and colorful patterns. These fish are slender, and their fins are very tiny.
Loaches come in a variety of colors, so you can really add to the vibrant beauty of your tank. They can vary from soft pink to brassy colors with dark stripes, although some can be completely black. Most carry a tiger-like pattern.
Kuhli loaches are a bit difficult to maintain. If you’re a novice aquarist, you may want to get some experience under your belt before taking on the challenge.
Water quality and temperature are very important—they are especially susceptible to ich (which is highly contagious for all fish).
7. Cory Catfish (Corydoras)
Cory catfish are attractive bottom feeders that are very peaceful and even shy. These easy keepers take up minimal space, but they are a bit more active if they have other cory friends to keep them company.
Even though these fish rest during the day, you can still catch them out and about occasionally. Cory catfish are relatively quick breeders, which can be a fun experience for onlookers.
Here are a few different types of cory catfish:
- Green cory catfish
- Panda cory catfish
- Peppered cory catfish
- Pygmy cory catfish
- Julii cory catfish
- Sterbai cory catfish
- Emerald cory catfish
Cory catfish are designed to adapt to low oxygen levels in their environment, so you might see them surface for air.
What Makes a Good Tank Mate for Glass Catfish?
Glass catfish can live harmoniously with several different kinds of fish. Since these fish are non-aggressive, they can live happily amongst other fish who share their love for a laidback home.
What is most important for the glass catfish is socialization. They thrive on companionship with similar fish and become very stressed and depressed if they are alone.
Where Do Glass Catfish Prefer to Live in the Aquarium?
Glass catfish are free swimmers, which means they really explore the space. They get along well with other fish, no matter their preferred dwelling spots. Because they swim freely where they want, they can make friends with all species in the tank.
- Water Parameters: In nature, glass catfish are found in rivers and streams of Thailand, so they much prefer moving water. Glass catfish prefer slightly acidic waters with a pH somewhere around 7.5.
- Size: Glass catfish get up to 4-6 inches as adults.
- Aggressive Behaviors: Glass catfish are generally very peaceful, non-aggressive fish. They do best in small groups of their own kind, as well as with different fish species. If you pair them with more aggressive fish, these catfish might get a bit bullied. So, it is incredibly crucial to make sure they have ideal tank mates who equally love peaceful living.
Top 3 Benefits of Having Tank Mates for Glass Catfish in Your Aquarium
As we mentioned before, other glass catfish are the primary fish you should have in your tank to help them thrive. However, there are certain perks of adding tank mates to the mix.
The more variety you have in your tank, the more eye-catching your setup will be. If you have a drab, boring set of fish, onlookers may quickly pass over it.
Of course, you put a lot of work and effort into your setup, and you want it to have the appreciation it deserves, both for you and others.
2. Roles in Tank
Different types of fish behave in unique ways. Some are bottom feeders, others prefer the middle, and some love hiding or exploring the space.
If you have multiple types of fish, you can make sure your whole tank is teeming with life, each serving a different role. This helps your tank look full, vibrant, and active.
3. Ups Your Aquarist Experience
Getting an exciting series of fish will give you a challenge. After all, each fish requires different terms of care.
If you get several compatible fish, you’ll have to learn how to care for each species. It will only benefit you later, especially if you want to keep more challenging fish eventually.
Glass catfish are amazing spectacles that deserve to have tank mates both of their own and other species. Luckily, there are many gorgeous fish that can share the space with these lovely creatures.
You can try one or more of these seven delightful fish. Just remember to get the ones that are within your experience level, so you don’t get in over your head. Some fish may be more challenging to keep for beginners, so choose accordingly.
- See also: 8 Best Tank Mates for Upside-down Catfish
Featured Image Credit: Grigorev Mikhail, Shutterstock
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Glass Catfish Care: Food, Tank Mates, Lifespan & More!
- by Millie Sheppard
- Updated: July 1, 2023
- 74.5K views
- 4 shares 0 4 0
The glass catfish (sometimes referred to as ghost catfish) is one of the more interesting little critters you can get for your tank.
Due to their completely see-through bodies, they’ve become a sought after freshwater fish for anyone looking to add something a little different to their aquarium.
Glass catfish are also pretty easy to care for. As long as you know the basics it’s not that challenging to keep these fish happy and healthy.
In this guide we’ll give you the complete rundown on glass catfish care and what you need to know. We’re talking food, tank mates, lifespan, and more.
It’s all in here!
Table of Contents
Water parameters, what to put in their tank, common possible diseases, food & diet, behavior & temperament, the importance of a school, species summary.
The glass catfish (scientific name: kryptopterus vitreolus ) is a freshwater fish that is native to Thailand. There have been some reports of these fish being found in Malaysia and even Cambodia, but the validity of these claims is iffy.
Rivers that feed into the Gulf of Thailand are where you can usually find them, but there is also a condensed group of them that dwell in the river basins of the Cardamom Mountains.
These rivers and streams are usually fairly open with an average rate of flow (not too fast, not too slow). While they’re not as effective at navigating murky waters as some other aquarium catfish , they still have barbels that they use to get a feel for their surroundings.
One thing that makes glass catfish unusual compared to many other catfish is that they aren’t bottom-dwelling fish . These fish spend most of their time swimming and exploring the middle areas of the water instead of camping out at the bottom.
This makes them a very fun fish to own because they’re a bit more active and spectactor-friendly than most catfish. This is great because it gives you more time to observe and enjoy their interesting appearance as an owner!
The average glass catfish lifespan is between 7 and 8 years. This is a solid amount of time that really lets you enjoy and bond with these fish.
Their lifespan can be shortened significantly if you don’t provide them with the proper tank conditions. Make sure you stay consistent and follow the recommendations in this guide if you want to ensure that they live as long as possible.
Author Note: The genetics and state of the fish when you purchase them will also impact their lifespan. If you buy a fish that grew up in subpar conditions the best care in the world might not get them to the 7-8 year mark. Always buy from reputable sellers.
The main draw of the glass catfish is the unique appearance. As their name suggests, these fish are totally translucent.
The benefit of this is primarily to make them more difficult for predators to find (just like the ghost shrimp ).
They are so see-through that it’s almost shocking at first. You can clearly see their internal organs and everything that’s going on in their system!
One of the things that stands out the most on these fish is their spine. Because they’re so clear, you can view their entire spine which runs from their head to the base of their caudal fin.
Their fins are almost impossible to see while they’re swimming around. Looking at pictures is a better way to get an idea of their structure.
Ghost catfish have forked caudal fins and no dorsal fin. Their small pectoral fins give them most of their vertical mobility and if you look closely you can see them moving quickly while they swim!
Their organs are also quite visible. They sit behind their eyes near the base of their pectoral fins and for the most part look like a dark silvery mass.
Glass catfish have barbels that extend straight out from their heads unlike some other catfish whos barbels droop back behind them while they swim.
The average glass catfish size is 4-6 inches in length. This is larger than a lot of aquarists think, maybe because a lot of translucent fish are on the smaller side.
Their size is impacted by genetics and the quality of care they receive.
Glass Catfish Care
Glass catfish care is fairly simple once you know the basics. There aren’t any major hurdles you need to navigate. Instead, it’s all about being consistent and providing them with the right tank, water, and food conditions.
The rest of this guide will explore the essentials of glass catfish care and what you’ll need to know if you want yours to thrive.
Glass catfish do best with a minimum tank size of 30 gallons. This is assuming that you have around 5 of them in the same tank since they don’t do well when kept alone (we’ll cover that in more detail in the tank mates section).
This tank size will allow them to comfortably swim around and have the necessary social engagement and safety that a school provides. We don’t recommend going with a smaller tank because that would require you to keep less of them together (which comes with other disadvantages).
While glass catfish care is very straightforward, their strict required water parameters are definitely something you need to take seriously. The acceptable windows in these levels is not wide at all, which means the margin for error is slim.
This requires you to have a strong understanding of these fish in general, and familiarity with adjusting levels on the fly. While this might sound intimidating at first, it’s something you’ll get better with over time.
If you don’t think you’re ready for that yet it might be a good idea to try keeping some hardy fish for a while longer. This is a good way to practice maintaining and adjusting levels without risk.
- Water temperature: 77°F is the perfect target, but don’t let the water shift outside of the 75°F to 80°F range.
- pH levels: 6.5
- Water hardness: 8-10 dGH
Author Note: It’s important that you perform regular tests to be sure everything is stable. Any shifts you notice need to be met with immediate correction.
When putting together the ideal habitat for ghost catfish you’ll want to consider their natural environment so you can mimic it as best as possible.
Their tanks should have plenty of open space where they can swim freely. Too many obstacles or obstructions will hinder this, so make sure they don’t feel too cramped.
You’ll also want to make sure there are some plants in their aquarium as well. The waters that ghost catfish come from have plenty of plant life that they can use for hiding spots.
Replicating this in their tank will give them a sense of comfort and safety since plants are something they’re familiar with using for shelter. Try plants like hornwort or java moss for starters.
A soft substrate is another thing you’ll want to use when setting up a tank for glass catfish. These fish aren’t as durable as many other catfish so anything that can cut them, likely will. Keep them safe and reduce the risk of infection by providing them with a nice sandy substrate if possible.
Lastly, you’ll want to consider water flow too. You don’t need to do anything special to give them the right amount of current, just know that they can’t have static water. The currents in their natural habitat are on the moderate side of things, so any average flow setup will work fine.
Glass catfish care can seem a little intimidating if you just look at their recommended water parameters, but it’s all downhill from there. There aren’t any species-specific diseases that you need to worry about when it comes to these fish.
Just make sure to give them a balanced diet of high-quality food and maintain the quality of their water. If you do this you’ll greatly reduce the risk of them developing any of the common health issues that afflict freshwater fish.
Glass catfish food in captivity should mimic their diet in the wild as much as possible. This will be accomplished with a variety of food sources to achieve a balanced diet.
A strong flake or pellet food is a great place to start and it’s something you’ll be giving them every day. This food will serve as the backbone of their diet and ensure that they’re getting their essential nutrients.
Some high protein sources such as bloodworms , brine shrimp, and daphnia are all great additions as well. You don’t want to feed this to your ghost catfish too often, but a few times a week should be fine. This will make sure that they get additional enrichment from the variety (you can go frozen or live) and they’ll also never be in a protein deficit.
Author Note: Always keep an eye out for the possibility of over or underfeeding. The natural behavior of this fish means that it can be a little tricky to see if they’re eating or not. Monitor your glass catfish closely when you first get them to make sure they’re getting enough food.
The behavior of glass catfish is something that surprises many people at first. Unlike most catfish, these creatures are very active swimmers and don’t spend much time near the substrate at all.
Instead, they will gravitate more toward investigating the middle of the tank when they’re not ducking in and out of whatever plants you have in the aquarium.
Glass catfish are also very peaceful. Despite their fairly active nature, they’re fish that want to mind their own business and not start trouble with any other animals in the tank. This is great because it gives you a lot of options when it comes to finding tank mates (more on that in the following section).
Your glass catfish will also stick to their school, so it’s very uncommon to see one far away from the others. This is why it’s so important to keep them in a group of at least 5 if you want them to thrive.
Glass Catfish Tank Mates
The number of glass catfish tank mates you can choose from is quite high. These fish are fantastic in community tanks that can coexist with a variety of other animals.
The two things you’ll want to keep an eye out for when it comes to finding suitable glass catfish tank mates are size and aggression. Fish that are significantly larger can be a problem because they might view your glass catfish as a snack!
Aggression is also something you’ll want to avoid because the gentle temperament of ghost catfish will work against them. They simply are too peaceful to stand up for themselves.
Here are some great glass catfish tank mates to get you started:
- Kuhli Loach
- Cory catfish
This is by no means every possible tank mate option out there. Feel free to explore and search for other fish that might be compatible. There are tons of options!
The only absolutely necessary tank mate for glass catfish is more of their own kind. These are schooling fish which means they stick together closely for protection.
A glass catfish that’s all alone will live in a constant state of stress which can seriously impact their health and lifespan. Even though it might mean you can keep them in a smaller tank, it’s not fair to the fish.
Aim for a school of 5 or more to keep them happy and healthy. Smaller numbers can result in bullying among the fish or the feeling that they’re not safe.
Breeding glass catfish is something that’s not done very often in captivity. While it has been done successfully, it isn’t common and there isn’t very much information out there about the best approach for this species.
If you are going to attempt breeding glass catfish then a basic understanding of their natural breeding patterns is essential. You will need to use these as guidelines to follow due to the lack of documentation on the process.
The main thing you’ll need to do is condition the tank to encourage the process. Dropping the water temperature a few degrees is a great way to start because it will mimic the time of year when they normally spawn.
Some have recommended phasing in a little bit of freshwater into the tank during this period of time to replicate rainfall as well. While the efficacy of this hasn’t been proven, it’s probably not a bad idea to give it a try given how difficult this process can be.
If you successfully initiate the breeding process then you’ll witness some different interactions between the spawning pair. One of the reported behaviors is the pair getting face to face and touching each other with their barbels. If you see this it’s a good sign!
If breeding is successful you’ll see them deposit their eggs in some of the available plants in their tank (leafy plants are ideal). It should take no more than a few days for the eggs to hatch.
Once they’ve hatched you’ll need to feed them protein-rich foods to help them grow. A common recommendation is baby brine shrimp.
Glass catfish care is a fun and rewarding experience that all aquarists will enjoy. These fish are incredibly unique and enjoyable to watch and will add a totally different dynamic to whatever tank they’re in.
One of the most important things to remember when it comes to keeping ghost catfish alive and healthy is to take water parameters and levels very seriously. This should be your top priority when it comes to this species of fish. These fish are very sensitive to changes in water and are not hardy by any stretch of the imagination.
However, this is something that can be managed as long as you’re consistent and knowledgable about the process. That’s why we don’t consider glass catfish challenging to care for. Outside of the water parameters, they’re super low-maintenance!
They make great tank mates, look great, and have a playful and active nature that all aquarists will appreciate. There’s really no downside!
If you have any feedback about this care guide or suggestions you want to make we’re all ears. Providing the best info possible is all we care about, so any extra help is always welcome!
As an avid Aquarist, Marine Biologist, and PADI Diver, Millie is dedicated to exploring and preserving the wonders of our oceans. She is looking forward to create a career in the field of aquatic ecosystems based on a deep-rooted love for marine life and a commitment to environmental conservation. She is always eager to connect with fellow marine enthusiasts, scientists, conservationists, and publications seeking engaging marine-related content. Feel free to reach out to Millie to: [email protected]
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Resources » Freshwater Fish » Glass Catfish
Glass Catfish Care Guide & Species Profile
If you’re looking for a fish to add an element of surprise to your tank, look no further than the Glass Catfish. After one look at these transparent fish, it is clear why they have become so popular in the aquarium hobby.
Their clear bodies have been catching the attention of aquarists of all levels since they were introduced.
Originally, these fish are from South East Asia, they are at home in vegetated tanks full of peaceful fish like tetras . This setting reflects their natural habitat and creates a calm environment that mirrors their calm nature.
If you are thinking about adding these unique fish to your aquarium, this complete guide will take you through how to care for them, ideal tank mates, tank requirements, breeding, and much more.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Glass catfish facts & overview, habitat and tank conditions, is a glass catfish suitable for your aquarium.
The Glass Catfish has many names including Ghost Catfish or Phantom Catfish. All of these are common names that apply to several different species of skeleton catfish.
Initially, the most popular species of this family was known as the Kryptopterus bicirrhis . However, it was concluded that this was a misidentification and as such the popular species for aquariums are now known as Kryptopterus vitreolus .
The older title of Kryptopterus bicirrhis is reserved for the larger and more aggressive Glass Catfish. Fortunately, these are now very rare in the aquarium hobby/trade.
This guide will focus on the most popular species of Glass Catfish which is suitable for beginners; Kryptopterus vitreolus .
Glass Catfish got their name from their transparent body that lets you see their bones and organs. The scientific name comes from the Greek word kryptos, meaning hidden and pterýgio (fin). The name ‘hidden fin’ refers to the hardly visible tail fin.
When people hear the word catfish they tend to think larger freshwater fish that spend the majority of their time sucked onto rocks or feeding on the bottom. These fish defy that image to a certain point; yes, they do have the barbels that most catfish do, but they have chosen to leave the rocks in exchange for a free-swimming lifestyle.
These fish will school together. They are peaceful by nature and extremely timid, especially when they are first introduced into your tank.
After a few weeks however they will rise to the middle of the tank and swim actively, this brings amazing energy to the tank.
Plants are key for these fish as they will use them as hiding spots which help to block bright, direct light that they tend to avoid.
In terms of a Glass Catfish’s lifespan, you should expect a healthy one to live up to 8 years.
These fish will school together which makes for an incredible show; it is as if you have 5 or 6 skeletons swimming around in your tank!
Most catfish, while energetic, will stay on the bottom of the tank, whereas Glass Catfish are exceptions and enjoy swimming around.
They make great additions to peaceful community tanks and tend to keep to themselves, only ducking for cover when disturbed.
The first thing you will notice about these fish is their clear appearance. Their transparent skin lets you see their bones and organs.
All along the body, you can see their ribs vertically and a central spinal column. They do have a slightly raised portion of their back which is where their dorsal fin is. Their tail fin is nearly invisible, as is the ventral fin on their stomach. These two fins together allow for them to swim up and down in the water column.
Not only does this look amazing, but it also provides quite a bit of camouflage from predators. Their clear color means they are hard to see (which makes them harder to eat); similarly to the ghost shrimp .
Another big part of their appearance is the barbels on their head. This is something most catfish share to some extent.
They extend past their face, out from their nose. These are what give catfish their name as it looks like they have whiskers. They make them extremely sensitive to changes in their surroundings and some can even detect electromagnetic wave .
Scientists are fascinated by this and are attempting to understand how this can help patients with Epilepsy and Parkinson’s .
They only grow to about 5 inches and have a long, slender body.
Glass Catfish are originally from Thailand where they inhabit moderate moving rivers and streams. They mostly stay in the middle of the water column and rarely stray too far from the safety of the river bed.
Their barbels are used heavily as the water visibility tends to be low. Without these sensory organs, it would be much harder for these fish to survive in this environment.
Another adaptation for survival is the clear nature of the skin. When water conditions are poor, and visibility is low, having clear skin makes it nearly impossible to distinguish these fish from debris.
When being kept in an aquarium it is important to make sure they feel just as at home as they would in a river or stream.
Ideal Tank Conditions
When talking about tank conditions, they are just as fragile to water parameters as their name suggests. They don’t respond well to fluctuations in temperature, pH, or other chemical changes.
These numbers are not guidelines, but more of a must. If they begin to change, these fish will begin to die.
- Temperature: 75-80°F
- Hardness: KH 8-12
- pH: 6.5-7.0
- Water flow: Moderate
Due to the strict water parameters these fish require, they are harder to take care of than other easier beginner species .
They will thrive best in a tank that is 30 gallons or more. This gives them plenty of room to swim in the middle regions of the tank as well as plenty of space to hide if spooked. Make sure the tank is well planted.
Plants will not only help clean the water, but they will give hiding spots to these fish and feed other organisms in your tank. Think about adding common plants like Java Fern , Java Moss , or Hornwort which are all incredibly hardy.
Larger grained or sharper substrates can cause some damage to their barbels, so use small gravel or sand.
What Size Aquarium Do They Need?
Glass Catfish need a minimum of a 30-gallon tank. They need enough space to school and swim together as they please. Because they are so shy, the bigger aquarium gives them the ability to feel safer in their home.
How Many Can Be Kept Per Gallon?
Due to their schooling nature, having around 6 in the 30-gallon tank is best. This means keeping 1 Glass Catfish for every 5 gallons.
You need to give them plenty of space because if not, health risks can arise.
Diseases and other growth defects can pop up if you overcrowd your tank. Sometimes having fewer fish can truly be better if all of them are happy in their community (more on this later).
These fish work perfectly in community tanks. For those that do not know what that means, community tanks are full of different species of peaceful fish that live well together and do not attack one another.
Fish such as Swordtails , Mollies , and Celestial Pearl Danios are perfect tank makes for Glass Catfish. They are all peaceful and will not bother or out-compete your catfish.
Not only are these fish easy to keep, but they will live nicely with Glass Catfish. This means you can start with them first and then add more fish once you think you are ready.
Fish competing is another thing to keep an eye on . Aggressive fish may attack the calmer and slower fish. This can lead to the death of the slower fish as they struggle to find food.
They shouldn’t be kept with any large or aggressive fish. This is why Tiger Barbs and Sharks are not going to work in your tank. You should also avoid keeping fish like Cichlids and Oscars because they are very aggressive and will attack and eat your fish.
Keeping Glass Catfish Together
Keeping these fish together is very important. They will form tight social groups like they would in the wild, so mimicking that is important. Having only 1 Glass Catfish will lead to that fish likely dying due to being stressed.
In the wild these catfish mostly eat zooplankton and other small worms or invertebrates. Whilst they do live in the middle of the water column, they are still selective feeders. They have even been known to eat small fish (baby guppies ) and mosquito larvae.
This can be replicated in an aquarium by using frozen or live food such as Grindal worms, Daphnia, Brine Shrimp, and Moina. But in your tank, they will eat a wide range of food that includes pellets or flakes.
Even consider making your own fish food to make sure they not only have the best diet , but you are feeding your fish nothing but the best ingredients.
Make sure to keep an eye on them as they eat to check that they are consuming the food that you are giving them. Also, make sure there are no fish that are bullying them and stopping them eating.
Feeding once or twice a day will keep these fish happy and healthy. Make sure to only feed them as much as they will eat in a couple of minutes. Overfeeding fish will lead to excess nutrients in your tank which can lead to large amounts of algae and bacteria.
Because of the shy nature of these fish, it is important to make sure that they are getting the food you feed them. Some fish of other species, even if peaceful, will be more active in getting food and can scare your Glass Catfish.
Once you find out which fish are more active when feeding, you can then feed your fish methodically to make sure all fish have food. Try feeding one side of the tank that has the fish which are more active before adding food on the other side.
This lets the more active fish eat first and then gives time to the slower, more shy fish.
The biggest problem when caring for these fish is changes in the water conditions. The main reason these fish are not the easiest to keep is because of how hard it can be for people to maintain the strict water parameters.
To limit the risk of harm to your fish, make sure that you are adding them to an established tank that has already been cycled.
As for diseases, there is nothing special that they can be infected with. All you must look out for are the general sicknesses that aquariums can be impacted with such as:
- Ich : White grainy sand-like substance on their skin, will also be seen gasping at the surface of the water.
- Dropsy: Bloating and protruding scales.
- Fungus: Gray/white growth on the fins.
- Lice: Restless fish, will usually rub themselves on surfaces to try and remove lice.
As long as you keep your water parameters within the levels mentioned, carry out regular water changes, and don’t overfeed them, it’s unlikely they will be exposed to any of these illnesses.
Another important point is to always quarantine any fish before you add them to your community tank; this way you can thoroughly observe them and check they’re not ill.
While these fish do breed in the wild it is currently unknown how exactly they breed in captivity. More research is being done but has been inconclusive so far.
There are a few reports of people being successful in breeding them in captivity.
In the wild, these fish spawn seasonally during times of heavy rain. In a tank setting, this means lowering the water temperature to around 73°F and adding small amounts of freshwater every day.
The lower temperature and freshwater will help to mimic the rainy season and make them believe that it is time to breed. It is also important to feed them high levels of live food. Wild fish have an abundance of food around this time which gives them the energy needed to spawn.
If you do have success in breeding these fish, then the female will spread the eggs on the aquarium plants . These eggs will then hatch after 3-4 days.
The newly hatched fry will be very small but large enough to eat baby brine shrimp.
Another challenge is determining which fish is male and female. Females are only slightly larger and have a slightly larger stomach for keeping eggs.
No matter what, do not let the appeal of the Glass Catfish fool you into thinking that they are the easiest fish to care for. They are going to require more work than other beginner fish.
The conditions of the tank must be within their preferred range or things will begin to go wrong. This can be a huge challenge for new aquarists, meaning these fish are not going to be right for you.
However, if you’ve already made all your beginners mistakes , and are up to the challenge, or are a seasoned aquarist then they will make a great addition to your tank.
The visual appeal of these clear fish is their biggest selling point. There are few fish that give your tank such a unique look.
Do you already keep Glass Catfish, or are you thinking of getting a school for your tank? Let us know why you decided to choose these swimming skeletons in the comments section below.
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I keep ghosts in my tank. The ones I have, have been in my tank about 2 years. For me, they have been hardier than my other fish. None of my other fish bother them any. My beta, african feather fin catfish, and upside down catfish all leave the ghosts alone. Sometimes, they will school together. All my fish recognise me and get excited at feeding time and will swim up to my hand when I clean the tank. Love my fish.
I’ve kept the type you mentioned before about 6in total&3 African3striped version…my only hesitation now is due they feed off the bottom at all,if so they would be perfect with khuli loaches,dogo loach,&hilstream loach as part of the hilstream cleanup crew for my 3o gallon or I might be looking at something like the rainbow/retail shark!
I have four in a 120 gallon tank with other larger fish. They stick together like glue and rarely move from their preferred spot in the tank.
I bought 8 glasscats 2 years ago now, I have them in an aqua one ufo 700 with corys, marble hatchets, and ember tetras this is a heavily planted tank with lots of drift wood causing my water to be very tannin coloured however this has allowed the glasscats to breed and I now have 15 (though I did lose 1 of the adults) i seam to get breeding behaviour every 6 months upon live food feeding I don’t know if I’m just lucky but if this helps other’s breed enjoy
Hi Lee, thanks for sharing your experience with us. Robert
one of my glass catfish is showing a solid whitish just behind the dark ‘neck’ part.The others appear normal.I don’t know if this is bad and I should quarantine the one catfish.
My ghost catfish just had babies. Do you know how long it will take for them to grow? One of my angel fish keep sucking the babies up and then spitting them out like its trying to clean them
Are you sure they are gohst cat fry¬ Angle fish fry?(fresh water Agel fish is actually a species of chiclid&chiclids tend to only care for their own fry.
I LOVE Glass Catfish SO MUCH!!!!! Good job with this!!!!
I have a school of glass catfish in a 100 gallon tank. Along with lemon tetras, bristle nose cats, a feather fin cat and a large angelfish. All get along with the glass catfish. Lower level lighting keeps them happy, brighter light at one end of the tank keeps the plants happy. Once the lights are dimmed at night they really come alive. They are lightning fast at this time and perfect time to feed them along with the feather fin cat who hides most of the day. Some will approach me at feeding time but during the day they stay in one area in a tight school. Not a good fish if you want to show off the tank’ occupants during the day, perfect for anyone observing during the evening.
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All About Glass Catfish – Care, Size, Tank Mates, Diet, And More
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These invisible, gentle freshwater fish are known as the ghost catfish or phantom catfish and are great in community tanks. To help you get started with their care we have put together this guide to glass catfish keeping so you can ensure your translucent beauties thrive! We will cover information on where they come from, what they look like, their diet requirements, and who should be kept alongside them for a harmonious aquarium environment. So let’s begin learning how to keep these enigmatic ghosts of the water happy and healthy!
- Glass catfish are peaceful and transparent fish native to Southeast Asia, with a lifespan of up to 7-8 years.
- A 30 gallon tank is needed for glass catfish care, along with live plants, soft substrate & hiding spots.
- Feed them a balanced diet & choose compatible species as tank mates. Breeding requires patience, but it can be done!
Glass catfish are a unique catfish species that is often seen inhabiting the community tanks of many hobbyists. With their almost transparent bodies and barely visible tail fin, these small cats have earned nicknames such as a skeleton or phantom catfishes – alluding to an elusive look! They remain peaceful additions among other fish varieties in most aquariums.
In this guide, we will cover glass catfish’s origin story, size, and lifespan while also providing proper care guidelines for them so you can confidently add them to your tank mates! Keep watch over its hardly-visible tailfin, which helps set it apart from traditional members of the Catfish family as well as enhance its distinctive “ghostly” aesthetic in any home freshwater aquarium.
Origins And Habitats
Ghost catfish, also known as phantom catfish, are highly sought after in the aquarium trade. They originate from Southeast Asia (namely Thailand), and they can typically be found residing within slow-moving rivers, river basins, or streams with dense vegetation for hiding spots and a calm aquatic environment. These aquarium fish have an extraordinary transparent body which allows them to blend into their surroundings while swimming freely, making it much easier to evade predators.
In freshwater tanks, glass cats make wonderful tank mates due to their peaceful behavior towards other fish species, such as being content simply swimming around actively together in schools throughout the middle of the aquarium. Nevertheless, one must take care that water parameters stay consistent so these sensitive critters do not suffer any distress caused by fluctuations in quality or temperature changes over time.
Overall ghost/phantom catfishes present an attractive addition to many home aquariums thanks to their beauty, activity levels & compatibility well alongside other small fishes, given proper consideration is paid when maintaining optimal living conditions.
A noticeable characteristic of glass catfish is their almost see-through body, which offers an ideal disguise from predators in the environment where they live. Their size can reach up to 3 inches, making them a suitable pick for most home freshwater aquariums. The barbels on the snout serve as sensory organs, helping them sense water pressure or changes around their natural habitat while missing out on having a dorsal fin yet featuring with a tail fin that gives Glass catfish unique swimming abilities.
Alongside this interesting feature are its pectoral fins which help it move upwards/downwards gracefully making themselves blend even better into hiding spots and other debris found in nature’s ecosystem.
It is essential to create a suitable living environment for glass catfish if you want them to achieve their full lifespan of 7-8 years. In order for these fish to stay happy and healthy, they need steady water parameters (such as temperature and pH levels ) within the recommended range, regular partial tank changes, plenty of hiding places in their habitat, an adequate diet suited to this species, and compatible tank mates.
Creating such conditions requires careful monitoring since fluctuating aquascapes can be detrimental not just to your pet, but also to other inhabitants. It goes without saying that proper care should include carrying out necessary measures like keeping the water clean at all times. Providing areas where it could seek refuge from any potential predators would greatly aid in making your catfish feel safe.
When it comes to keeping glass catfish, it is important to remember that they usually grow up between 2-3 inches. Factors such as genetics and quality of care are essential in determining their final size. To guarantee a more natural environment for them so they can reach their full potential, you should provide your fish with plenty of room for swimming and exploring when setting up its tank.
Glass Catfish Care Guide
When caring for glass catfish ( K vitreolus ), it is important to be aware of the basic needs such as tank size, decor, water parameters, and filtration in order to create a suitable home environment. The fish are also sensitive creatures who require strict maintenance with regard to their water quality, so regular water changes should be done.
Glass catfish need a tank of no less than 30 gallons in order to thrive. With enough space for them to explore and swim, having other fish species or even just a larger school requires an adequately sized aquarium. They are a social species, requiring a group of 6 Glass catfish in order for them to stay social. Overcrowding could also lead your fishy residents into stress or ill health due to stunted growth.
Decorations And Setup
When setting up a tank for glass catfish, it’s important to consider their natural habitat and provide them with hiding spots. When it comes to aquatic plants, consider ones such as:
To make sure your fish are comfortable and safe whilst exploring the bottom of the tank, you should use soft substrates like fine gravel or sand. Using other large or irregular substrates will increase the chance of damage caused by sharp objects that may be present in other textures.
For decorations, you will want to use driftwood and aquarium rocks . As you’ll notice in the next section, Glass Catfish prefer soft and acidic water. Driftwood will maintain these parameters, and so can the right rocks.
Manzanita offers it all. Great shape, low tannins, quick to water log and reasonably priced. It's the ultimate driftwood!
Water Parameters (Tank Conditions)
Glass catfish are not considered beginner fish. They are very sensitive to changes in their environment. The ideal temperature for these fish should be between 75-78°F and a pH range from the high 5’s to neutral. The tank should also maintain an optimal hardness level of 2 – 6 dKH. Monitoring all these values constantly and making adjustments accordingly will help keep stress levels low among your pet fish.
Outside of these parameters, you should also get a water test kit to monitor the following water conditions:
- Ammonia : 0 PPM
- Nitrites : 0 PPM
- Nitrates : 40 PPM
Always perform water changes to maintain your water parameters. Water changes can not only be helpful in reducing the three above parameters, but they can also help balance out pH and hardness. Consider purchasing a water test kit so you can constantly monitor your levels.
Best Aquarium Test Kit For Freshwater
With all the essentials and accurate testing, this test kit is the best one to get you started
Filtration And Water Flow
In order for a glass catfish tank to be healthy, it needs proper filtration and water flow. Power filters or canister filters are recommended as they help keep the tank clean by eliminating debris and by processing unhealthy nutrients through the beneficial bacteria it houses. Glass catfish should have moderate-leveled currents resembling those of their natural environment like rivers and streams. Too strong flows might cause stress on them, so finding the perfect middle ground must be taken into account.
In order to regulate flow in the aquarium, you will want to adjust the flow of your filters. Many higher quality filters will have the ability to adjust the flow. They are fast enough to not get sucked up by your intake, but you have to adjust the flow as they are timid by nature and will stress out when they are exposed to high flows.
The Best Aquarium Power Filter
The worlds best selling and most reliable power filter on the market. Unchanged for years because it's so reliable and versatile
Nutritional Needs And Feeding
For a glass catfish to remain healthy, it is important that its diet be both varied and nutritious. In this section, we will take an in depth look at what these unique fish feed on along with the frequency of feeding for them. A combination of high quality flakes/pellets combined with items like brine shrimp or freeze dried food should ensure your pet’s growth, coloration, as well as its healthiness overall.
Glass Catfish are omnivores, which implies they consume plant matter as well as animals items in the wild: things such as small fish, insects larvae, plus other tiny forms of protein sources all form part of their natural eating habits. You can provide pellets/flakes made exclusively out of these whole ingredients. Frozen or freeze-dried foods such as daphnia and bloodworms also help round up meals completely into more than just one type of dish per day!
Types Of Foods
In order to have a healthy and happy glass catfish, it is important to provide them with an adequately balanced diet. Let’s discuss the types of food and recommendations:
- Flake food – Look for fish flakes made of whole foods, high in protein, and with probiotics
- Pellet food – Whole formulas preferably with insects – bug bits are a great choice!
- Freeze dried food – Krill, Daphila, blackworms – use supplements like Vita-Chem to enhance
- Frozen – Brine shrimp, bloodworms
Even though live food can be great for providing your fish with protein-packed meals, you should make sure the critters are free of parasites before introducing them into the aquarium environment. The best way to introduce live foods to your glass catfish would be to cultivate your own. There are many videos online that explain this process. I’ve included one below from Hobby TV that will walk you through the process.
Creating variety when giving sustenance will promote both good physical health and well being within your glass catfish population. Try purchasing several types of food and mixing up the different types of food throughout the week to keep your fish’s diet balanced.
Feeding Frequency And Portion Sizes
Finding a balance between feeding your glass catfish enough and overfeeding them is important, which can lead to water quality issues. It’s best to give small servings 2-3 times per day that they must eat within minutes of being offered.
As these fish are selective feeders, it’s necessary to observe how much food they take in order to ensure their diet is balanced and the aquarium stays healthy. If there is an excess amount after every mealtime, then cut down on portion sizes accordingly. Maintaining a watchful eye during each feeding time will keep you from adding too many excessive nutrients via overfeeding while also keeping your fish well fed.
Tank Mates Selection
Having suitable tank mates for glass catfish is an essential part of setting up a successful community aquarium. As glass cats are passive and docile fish, they can be combined with other peaceful non-aggressive species to create a contented living environment that you and your fish will enjoy.
When choosing potential companions, it’s necessary to think carefully about the type of fish being added will not harass your glass catfish. The main thing to know about glass catfish is their fish. Because they only grow up to 3 inches in aquariums, they are going to be best suited with fish of similar size or nano fish . Any fish double their size is going to be questioned and may intimidate your glass catfish. Let’s dive into this further below.
Compatible Fish Species
When selecting tankmates for glass catfish, it is ideal to choose peaceful species such as:
- Tetra fish – Neons , Cardinals , Rummy Nose . Avoid large tetras that are known for being nippy
- Dwarf Gouramis
- Corydoras Catfish
- Rasbora fish – Harlequins are a great choice
- Celestial Pearl Danio
- Small loaches like Yoyo Loaches
To ensure the well being of your community aquarium inhabitants, research care instructions for each type carefully before bringing them together in one space. There are links to each of the fish listed above with our articles that will help you out.
Bad Tank Mates
When it comes to tankmates for glass catfish, it’s important not to include aggressive fish. Let’s look at a fish bad choices:
- Large cichlids
- Barb fish like Tiger barbs
- Large mostly peaceful fish like Severums – they will likely eat your catfish
These types of fish can potentially cause harm, stress, and lead to serious health problems from opportunist diseases or even death in your glass catfish. The best way to ensure a peaceful environment is by choosing suitable companions that will cohabitate with the group without competing too much over food resources. These should be carefully selected so they create a harmonious community tank for all inhabitants!
The Challenges Of Breeding
It can be a complicated task to reproduce glass catfish in captivity due to the meticulous care needed. Nevertheless, with enough patience and observation of their habits, it is possible for aquarists to breed these eye-catching fish and nurture their offspring successfully.
Although there isn’t much written on breeding glass catfish as they are rarely bred by hobbyist aquarium enthusiasts, if you observe them closely while attempting to replicate natural conditions that would enable successful spawning then this may increase your chances of having success raising fry from the species. That being said, I’ve only known of one documented case that was more of an accident published on Planetcatfish .
In the wild, these fish breed during heavy rainfall seasonality. To accomplish a similar environment, you will need to lower the temperature to the low 70s and add fresh water every day to simulate the rain. However, breeding is more realistic in commercial breeding environments and best left to those breeders.
Caring For Glass Catfish Fry
If you are able to successfully breed your glass catfish, the female will lay eggs on aquarium plants, and they should hatch in approximately 3-4 days. At first, the fry has to eat infusoria, then transition to baby brine shrimp because of their small size. Males can usually be distinguished from females since the latter tend to grow larger and show a noticeable stomach area due to egg carrying ability.
As it is necessary for proper growth and development along with fostering an eye-catching transparent look, feeding them protein-rich dishes like larval insects or micro worms combined with regular servings of brine shrimp should help raise healthy juvenile fish. With appropriate nutrition coupled with creating ideal conditions within the tank environment, you could observe fascinating experiences as those youthful Glass Catfish mature into adults before your eyes!
Common Health Issues And Preventative Measures
The health of glass catfish can be compromised if their habitat is not looked after properly. It’s important to maintain the water levels within a safe range and replace it with clean water on a regular basis for these fish, as they are sensitive to any changes in environmental conditions. In order to avoid diseases , consider quarantining new additions before putting them into your community tank set up along with other fish like tank mates. The most common disease you will come across will be freshwater ich .
Should you observe that one of your glass catfish has turned white, this could point towards poor health, stress or fungal infection – thus calling for immediate isolation followed by necessary treatment plans being administered accordingly.
If needed, steps are taken, such as providing secure surroundings (for example, through compatibility among the different types of fish) together with proper feeding and stable settings in general, which will help prevent potential medical issues from happening while also ensuring good health amongst the members inside the group.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are glass catfish hard to keep?
Not exactly. While not a beginner fish, Glass catfish, are relatively hassle-free to maintain in a tank environment. The main reason why they aren’t considered beginner fish is their timid nature and their ease of getting stressed out. As long as their basic needs, such as water temperature, comfortable community tank, and quality diet, are fulfilled, these fish provide plenty of enjoyment with minimal fuss.
How big do glass catfish get?
Glass catfish are an attractive option for any freshwater aquarium due to their colorful fins and elegant bodies. They measure 2-3 inches in length, with a lifespan of up to 8 years if properly taken care of. When kept in its natural environment or schooled together, they provide great visuals as well as long term companionship within the tank.
How many glass catfish should I get?
You should consider getting at least 6 to start. They are social creatures that prefer to hang out with their own kind. They can be combined with other schooling fish to make excellent compliments to planted tanks and community aquariums.
Are Ghost glass catfish aggressive?
Ghost Glass Catfish are great additions to a community aquarium due to their peaceful nature. They can be intimidated by more dominant fish yet typically move around the tank in harmony without any aggression toward other inhabitants. These peaceful creatures rarely cause issues and make for ideal companions in an aquatic home environment. You mostly have to worry about other fish harassing them then the other way around!
What is the ideal tank size for glass catfish?
It’s recommended that glass catfish have a healthy and contented life when they are placed in an aquarium no smaller than 30 gallons. Consider a larger tank if you want to keep them with other schooling fish. At least a 40 gallon aquarium would be recommended.
To sum up, glass catfish are an absolutely spectacular species to have in any freshwater aquarium. With their clear bodies and stylish swimming movements, they make a great visual impact as well as bring peace to the tank. If you follow this guide’s care instructions accurately, your fish will stay healthy for many years ahead while also being surrounded by suitable companions that contribute to its wellbeing.
Ever kept this fish in your aquarium before? Let us know in the comment section. We love to hear from our readers. Let’s start a conversation. Until next time!
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- May 4, 2023
- Fish of the Week
The Ghost Catfish, or Glass Catfish, is known for their transparent body, which gives them the appearance of a ghost or as if they are made out of glass. In this article, we will explore the various aspects of the Ghost Catfish, including its size and appearance, region, behavior, diet, and how to keep them at home.
The Ghost Catfish is a relatively small fish species, with a maximum size of 10 centimeters (4 inches) in length. They have a long, slender body and a transparent appearance that makes them a unique addition to any aquarium. The head is relatively small and pointed, with large eyes that are positioned towards the top of the head. A clear feature of these remarkable fish are their barbels on their head, most catfish have these to some extent. They point out from their nose. Hence their name catfish, as it looks like they have whiskers. These make them extremely sensitive to changes in their surroundings and some can even detect electromagnetic waves. Scientists study this magnetic gene in fish as they believe someday it might help in fighting Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy in human beings.
The Ghost Catfish is native to Southeast Asia, specifically the Mekong basin in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. They are typically found in shallow, slow-moving rivers and streams, particularly those with sandy bottoms and plenty of vegetation.
Ghost Catfish are a peaceful fish species that prefer to live in groups of at least 6 individuals. Most catfish are energetic, but prefer to stay on the bottom of the tank. Glass Catfish are exceptional as they enjoy swimming around. They are not aggressive towards other fish, but they can be easily intimidated by larger, more aggressive species. They use their barbels to navigate as the water visibility in their natural habitat tends to be low. These are real sensory organs important for their survival. The see-through, glass-like ghost appearance is another survival technique for these unique fish. In their natural habitat water visibility conditions are poor and these catfish look just like debris floating around in the water making them nearly invisible for potential predators.
The Ghost Catfish is an omnivorous species that feeds on a variety of small invertebrates, including insects, worms, and crustaceans. In captivity, they can be fed a variety of frozen or live foods, including brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia. They can also be fed a high-quality pellet or flake food designed for catfish. During feeding keep an eye on them as these shy fish are sensitive to bullying from other ‘faster’ fish and make sure they are actually getting to the food you feed them. Feed them twice a day to keep them well fed, healthy and happy.
Keeping a Ghost Catfish at home
This species is very sensitive to water condition changes, they do not respond well to changes in temperature, pH or other parameters. They require a tank that is at least 76 liters (20 gallons), with plenty of hiding places such as live plants or rocks. The bigger the tank, the better as it’s easier to keep water parameters stable in a larger tank. The water temperature should be kept between 22-28 °C (72-82 °F), with a pH between 6.0-7.5.
Ghost Catfish prefer to live in groups of at least 6 individuals, so it is important to provide enough space for each fish to swim and hide. They are sensitive to high levels of nitrates and other toxins, so it is important to maintain a regular cleaning schedule and keep the water quality high.
In conclusion, the Ghost Catfish is a unique and fascinating fish species that is native to Southeast Asia. They have a distinctive appearance, with a transparent body that gives them the appearance of a ghost when swimming. They are sensitive fish, therefore it is important to provide them with enough space and high-quality water conditions to ensure they thrive in a home aquarium.
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20 Best Glass Catfish Tank Mates
Home » Tank Mates » 20 Best Glass Catfish Tank Mates
This comprehensive guide explores a variety of fish species suitable to share an aquarium with the unique and fascinating glass catfish, ensuring a harmonious and visually stunning underwater environment.
Neon Tetras are small, colorful fish originating from the Amazon River Basin, known for their bright neon blue and red colors. They are popular among aquarium enthusiasts for their vibrant appearance and peaceful nature.
- Compatibility: 4/5
- Tank Size: 10-20 gallons (38-76 liters)
- Care Level: Easy
- Temperament: Peaceful
- Diet & Feeding: Omnivorous, feed on a variety of food, including flakes, pellets, and live or frozen food.
- Adult Size: 1-1.5 inches (2.5-3.8 cm)
Neon Tetras are shoaling fish and need to be kept in groups of at least six to thrive. Due to their peaceful nature, they make excellent tank mates for Glass Catfish, as they share similar requirements and enjoy swimming in different water levels.
Cardinal Tetras are striking, small freshwater fish native to South America, particularly the Orinoco and Negro River basins. They boast vibrant red and blue colors running the length of their bodies, making them a popular choice for home aquariums.
- Diet & Feeding: Omnivorous, they require a varied diet of flakes, pellets, and live or frozen food.
- Adult Size: 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm)
Like Neon Tetras, Cardinal Tetras are shoaling fish that thrive in groups of at least six. They get along well with Glass Catfish as they both appreciate similar water conditions and have calm dispositions. Keeping them together encourages natural behaviors and creates a visually stunning aquarium, as these fish enjoy occupying various levels in the tank.
Harlequin Rasboras are small, brightly colored fish native to Southeast Asia, particularly Malaysia, Singapore, and Sumatra. They are known for their distinctive black triangular patch near the tail and their vibrant orange-red bodies.
- Compatibility: 4.5/5
- Diet & Feeding: Omnivorous, they enjoy a varied diet of flakes, pellets, and live or frozen food.
- Adult Size: 1.5-2 inches (3.8-5 cm)
Harlequin Rasboras are social fish best kept in groups of six or more. They share a non-aggressive temperament with the Glass Catfish, making them ideal tank mates. Both species appreciate well-planted aquariums with similar water conditions.
They typically swim in the upper and middle areas of the tank, complementing the Glass Catfish’s preference for the lower levels. Their combined colors and interactions create a dynamic, engaging aquatic environment.
Cherry Barbs are small, colorful fish native to Sri Lanka, known for their vibrant red coloration, which is especially prominent in males. They are a popular choice in community aquariums due to their peaceful nature and adaptability.
- Tank Size: 20 gallons (76 liters) minimum
- Diet & Feeding: Omnivorous, they require a mixed diet of flakes, pellets, and live or frozen food.
Like Glass Catfish, Cherry Barbs appreciate a well-planted aquarium with hiding spots and plenty of swimming space. They are schooling fish, best kept in groups of at least six individuals.
Their non-aggressive, easy-going nature makes them great tank mates for Glass Catfish, as they both have similar water requirements and enjoy the same aquatic setup. Cherry Barbs tend to swim in the middle and upper regions of the tank, adding visual interest and balance to the underwater display.
Celestial Pearl Danio
Celestial Pearl Danios, originally discovered in Myanmar, are small, brilliantly colored fish with a captivating galaxy-like pattern of spots on their sides. They have gained immense popularity in the hobby due to their stunning appearance and peaceful temperament.
- Tank Size: 10 gallons (38 liters) minimum
- Diet & Feeding: Omnivorous, enjoy a varied diet of flakes, pellets, and live or frozen food.
- Adult Size: 0.8-1 inch (2-2.5 cm)
Celestial Pearl Danios are schooling fish that should be kept in groups of at least six. Their peaceful demeanor makes them a fantastic match for Glass Catfish tank mates. Both species appreciate a well-planted aquarium with adequate hiding spots, clean water, and gentle water flow.
Celestial Pearl Danios primarily swim in the middle area of the tank, complementing the Glass Catfish’s preference for the bottom levels. When combined, these two species create a visually captivating aquatic environment.
Ember Tetras are small, vibrant freshwater fish native to Brazil, especially the Araguaia River Basin. Their fiery orange-red coloration and peaceful demeanor make them a popular addition to community tanks.
- Diet & Feeding: Omnivorous, require a mixed diet of flakes, pellets, and live or frozen food.
Ember Tetras thrive in schools of six or more and happily coexist with Glass Catfish. Both species share similar water requirements and enjoy well-planted aquariums, making them excellent tank mates.
Ember Tetras occupy the mid-water region, while Glass Catfish prefer the lower levels, creating a balanced and visually appealing display. Their combined activity and striking colors greatly enhance the tank’s overall aesthetic and promote a harmonious, thriving environment.
Honey Gouramis, native to South and Southeast Asia, are small, peaceful fish with a stunning golden-yellow color, often featuring an orange stripe along their bodies. They are a favored choice for a peaceful community tank, especially for beginner aquarists.
- Diet & Feeding: Omnivorous, prefer a varied diet of flakes, pellets, and live or frozen food.
Honey Gouramis are compatible with non-aggressive tank mates like Glass Catfish, as they share similar water parameters and tank setup requirements. Both species appreciate well-planted tanks with hiding spots and a gentle water flow.
While Glass Catfish tend to swim at the lower levels of the tank, Honey Gouramis prefer to explore all areas of the aquarium, creating visual variety and harmony for an engaging, vibrant display.
Corydoras Catfish are small, bottom-dwelling fish found in South America’s freshwater habitats, widely admired for their distinctive armored appearance and social nature. They are a popular choice for community tanks due to their peaceful disposition.
- Compatibility: 5/5
- Diet & Feeding: Omnivorous, eat sinking pellets and enjoy scavenging for leftover food on the substrate.
- Adult Size: 1-3 inches (2.5-7.6 cm), depending on species
Corydoras Catfish are schooling fish, best kept in groups of at least six. They thrive in similar water conditions and tank setups as Glass Catfish and make excellent tank mates because of their peaceful nature.
Both species enjoy exploring the bottom of the tank, which offers a great opportunity to observe their fascinating interactions and create a harmonious underwater environment.
Black Neon Tetra
Black Neon Tetras are small, striking fish originating from the Paraguay River Basin in South America. They feature a striking black and white horizontal stripe along their bodies, giving them a unique and eye-catching appearance.
Like other Tetra species, Black Neon Tetras are schooling fish that should be kept in groups of at least six. They have a peaceful nature, making them suitable tank mates for Glass Catfish.
Both species appreciate well-planted tanks with similar water conditions and are compatible in terms of temperament and habitat preferences. Black Neon Tetras typically swim in the mid to upper regions of the tank, creating an attractive visual contrast with the bottom-dwelling Glass Catfish.
Glowlight Tetras are small, colorful fish native to South America’s Essequibo River Basin. They catch the eye with their vibrant reddish-orange stripe against a silver body, making them a popular choice in community aquariums.
- Diet & Feeding: Omnivorous, require a varied diet of flakes, pellets, and live or frozen food.
Glowlight Tetras are schooling fish that thrive in groups of six or more. Their peaceful nature and shared water requirements make them suitable tank mates for Glass Catfish. Both species appreciate well-planted tanks with hiding spots and gentle water flow.
Glowlight Tetras usually swim in the mid to upper regions of the tank, providing a visually captivating contrast with the Glass Catfish’s preferred lower levels and adding balance to the aquarium’s overall appearance.
Guppy Fish, native to South America and the Caribbean, are small, livebearing fish celebrated for their vivid coloration, diverse patterns, and hardy nature. They are a staple in the aquarium hobby, particularly for beginners.
- Compatibility: 3.5/5
- Diet & Feeding: Omnivorous, thrive on a diet of flakes, pellets, and live or frozen food.
- Adult Size: 0.6-2.4 inches (1.5-6 cm), depending on sex and strain
Guppies can coexist with Glass Catfish under specific conditions. Ensure the tank has ample hiding spots to accommodate both species’ need for shelter. Guppies benefit from a planted tank and appreciate swimming in the upper and middle areas, balancing the Glass Catfish residing in the lower regions.
Compatibility is generally good, but caution should be exercised with larger guppy strains and tiny Glass Catfish. Observing their interactions and intervening if necessary will ensure a harmonious aquatic environment.
Rummy-Nose Tetras are small, attractive fish native to South America, primarily found in the Amazon River Basin. They are known for their unique red “rummy” noses and the striking black and white patterns on their tails.
- Tank Size: 20-30 gallons (76-114 liters)
- Care Level: Moderate
- Diet & Feeding: Omnivorous, prefer a balanced diet of flakes, pellets, and live or frozen food.
Rummy-Nose Tetras are schooling fish that thrive in groups of six or more. Their peaceful demeanor and shared water requirements make them excellent tank mates for Glass Catfish. A well-planted aquarium with hiding spots and a gentle water flow is enjoyed by both species.
Rummy-Nose Tetras typically swim in the middle and upper regions of the tank, providing a dynamic and visually engaging contrast with the bottom-dwelling Glass Catfish, resulting in an appealing and active aquatic environment.
Swordtails are vibrant, livebearing fish native to Central and North America, named for the distinctive elongated “sword” on the tails of the males. Their hardy nature and colorful appearance make them popular in community aquariums.
- Tank Size: 15-20 gallons (57-76 liters) minimum
- Temperament: Generally peaceful, some occasional aggression
- Diet & Feeding: Omnivorous, appreciate a varied diet of flakes, pellets, and live or frozen food.
- Adult Size: 4-5 inches (10-13 cm), including the “sword”
Swordtails can coexist with Glass Catfish but require careful monitoring due to their potential for occasional aggression. A heavily planted tank with multiple hiding spots will help ensure a harmonious environment.
Swordtails typically swim in the upper and middle areas of the tank, while Glass Catfish inhabit the lower levels. When accommodated properly, these fish can create a dynamic and colorful underwater community. Observing their interactions and managing any aggressive behaviors will maintain a peaceful and thriving aquarium.
Platies, native to Central and North America, are small, livebearing fish loved for their hardy nature and vibrant colors. Their adaptability and peaceful temperament make them an ideal choice for community aquariums, particularly for beginners.
- Diet & Feeding: Omnivorous, enjoy a mixed diet of flakes, pellets, and live or frozen food.
- Adult Size: 1.5-2.5 inches (3.8-6.4 cm)
Platies can comfortably coexist with Glass Catfish in a planted tank with plenty of hiding spots. As both species are livebearers, they may prefer slightly harder water than other fish on this list.
Nonetheless, they share similar water requirements and should not present compatibility issues. Platies generally swim in the middle and upper areas of the tank, while Glass Catfish explore the bottom levels, ensuring a visually engaging and harmonious aquarium environment.
Dwarf Rainbowfish, found in Australia and New Guinea, are small, colorful fish known for their shimmering iridescence and active nature. Their striking appearance and engaging behavior make them a popular choice in community aquariums.
- Diet & Feeding: Omnivorous, appreciate a balanced diet of flakes, pellets, and live or frozen food.
- Adult Size: 1.5-3 inches (3.8-7.6 cm), depending on species
Dwarf Rainbowfish can thrive alongside Glass Catfish if provided with a well-planted tank and adequate swimming space. Their peaceful temperament and similar water requirements ensure compatibility between the two species.
While Glass Catfish predominantly swim at the bottom levels of the tank, Dwarf Rainbowfish occupy the middle and upper areas, showcasing their vibrant colors and creating a dynamic and visually appealing aquatic environment.
Zebra Danios, native to South Asia, are small, active fish with distinctive horizontal stripes along their bodies, resembling the patterning of a zebra. Their hardiness and energetic nature make them a popular addition to community tanks.
- Temperament: Usually peaceful, may become nippy if kept in small groups
- Adult Size: 2-2.5 inches (5-6.4 cm)
Zebra Danios can be compatible with Glass Catfish, but they require larger shoals of at least six to minimize potential nipping behavior. Both species appreciate a well-planted tank with plenty of swimming space.
Zebra Danios typically swim in the upper and middle areas of the tank, adding visual diversity and activity to the aquarium while the bottom-dwelling Glass Catfish explore the lower levels. Observing their interactions and intervening if necessary will ensure a harmonious aquatic environment.
Kuhli Loaches, native to Southeast Asia, are small, eel-like fish known for their unique appearance and nocturnal behavior. Their peaceful nature and reclusive tendencies make them an interesting addition to community tanks.
- Diet & Feeding: Omnivorous, prefer sinking pellets and scavenging for uneaten food on the substrate.
- Adult Size: 3-4 inches (7.6-10 cm)
Kuhli Loaches coexist well with Glass Catfish, as they share similar water parameters and appreciate well-planted tanks with hiding spots. They primarily inhabit the bottom levels of the tank, exploring and scavenging for food while Glass Catfish swim higher up.
Due to their nocturnal nature, Kuhli Loaches are most active during twilight and night hours, providing an intriguing contrast to the Glass Catfish’s daytime activity. Together, they create a harmonious and engaging underwater environment.
Lemon Tetras are small, brightly colored freshwater fish native to South America, particularly the Amazon River Basin. Their vibrant yellow hue and peaceful demeanor make them a popular choice for community aquariums.
Lemon Tetras are schooling fish that should be kept in groups of at least six. They share a peaceful temperament and similar water requirements with Glass Catfish, making them excellent tank mates.
Both species appreciate a well-planted aquarium with hiding spots and gentle water flow. Lemon Tetras typically swim in the mid to upper regions of the tank, offering a visual complement to the Glass Catfish’s preferred lower levels and creating a harmonious and colorful aquatic environment.
Silver Hatchetfish, originating from South America’s Amazon River Basin, are small, unique fish characterized by their distinct hatchet-like body shape. This unusual appearance and peaceful temperament make them an intriguing addition to community tanks.
- Tank Size: 15 gallons (57 liters) minimum
- Diet & Feeding: Carnivorous, prefer a diet of live or frozen food such as brine shrimp and daphnia.
Silver Hatchetfish are schooling fish that should be kept in groups of at least six. They comfortably coexist with Glass Catfish, as they share peaceful temperaments and similar water parameters.
Silver Hatchetfish primarily inhabit the upper levels of the tank, providing an engaging visual contrast with the bottom-dwelling Glass Catfish. A well-planted tank with a tight-fitting lid is essential, as Silver Hatchetfish are known to be skilled jumpers. Together, they create a captivating and harmonious aquatic display.
Otocinclus Catfish, native to South America, are small, bottom-dwelling fish known for their effective algae-eating abilities and peaceful disposition. They are a popular addition to community tanks and provide natural algae control.
- Diet & Feeding: Herbivorous, primarily feed on algae; supplement with vegetables and algae wafers.
Otocinclus Catfish are an excellent match for Glass Catfish tank mates, as they share similar water requirements and exhibit non-aggressive behavior. Both species appreciate a well-planted aquarium with hiding spots and gentle water flow.
The Otocinclus Catfish’s effective algae-eating abilities will help maintain a clean tank environment beneficial to all inhabitants, including the Glass Catfish. Their interactions create a fascinating and harmonious underwater community.
In conclusion, there are numerous options for choosing the perfect tank mates for your Glass Catfish. Selecting the right species ensures a harmonious, visually captivating, and thriving aquatic environment. Do you have experience keeping Glass Catfish with any of these tank mates? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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Ghost Glass Catfish – Detailed Guide: Care, Diet, and Breeding
Kryptopterus vitreolus, commonly known as the Ghost Glass Catfish, is a fascinating fish species that has gained some recognition in the fish-keeping hobby. Despite its relative popularity, this fish is not widely distributed, making it a unique addition to an aquarium collection.
This species is not particularly demanding in terms of care requirements and can be recommended even for beginners. However, it is important to note that the Ghost Glass Catfish’s shy nature and calm behavior may not be suitable for every aquarist.
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced aquarist, in this article, you will find comprehensive information about Kryptopterus vitreolus that will provide you with the necessary knowledge to successfully keep and care for this intriguing fish species.
Interesting fact : The natural transparency of Kryptopterus vitreolus made it popular as an experimental subject in science. These fish are often used as in vivo models for studies involving circulation, muscle function, pigment migration, neural regeneration, transplantation, visual processing, and even DNA immunization.
Quick Notes about Ghost Glass Catfish
Taxonomy of ghost glass catfish.
The genus Kryptopterus contains several small catfish that exhibit similar morphologies.
In fact, in the early 2000s, there was some taxonomic confusion surrounding Kryptopterus vitreolus and other closely related species, Kryptopterus minor and Kryptopterus bicirrhis. Initially, all these species were misidentified and considered Kryptopterus bicirrhis or synonymous in the past.
In 2013, this long-standing misidentification was resolved when Ng and Kottelat introduced the glass catfish as a distinct species, known as Kryptopterus vitreolus.
Etymology of Kryptopterus Vitreolus
The genus name, Kryptopterus, is derived from the Greek words ‘Kryptos’, meaning ‘Hidden or concealed’, and ‘Pteron’, meaning ‘Fin’.
The species name ‘Vitreolus’ is derived from the diminutive form of the Latin adjective ‘Vitreus’, meaning ‘Made of glass’, in reference to its transparent body.
This name refers to the scale-less and transparent appearance of the fish, which also gives it the impression of having hidden or invisible fins.
Distribution of Ghost Glass Catfish
It occurs in rivers that flow into the Gulf of Thailand and river basins in the Cardamom Mountains. However, due to intra-species confusion, the precise distribution range of this species requires further clarification. For example, there are also unconfirmed reports that his species was found in Malaysia (Penang region).
Habitat of Ghost Glass Catfish
In nature, The Ghost Glass Catfish can be found in a variety of habitats, including stagnant, slow, and fast-moving rivers, as well as murky or turbid waters filled with all types
of aquatic plants.
Description of Ghost Glass Catfish
Distinguishing characteristics of Kryptopterus vitreolus :
- Body shape. It has a laterally compressed, elongated, slender body, and slightly curved tail.
- Color. This species is scaleless. It has a transparent body except for the head. Almost all internal organs are located in the head. Dorsal surfaces of the head and body often contain a yellowish tint. The spinal cord is visible as a distinct dark longitudinal line.
- Barbels . Maxillary barbels on its upper jaw reach beyond the base of the first anal-fin. They act as antennae and help it locate food.
- Barbels . There are two long barbels on its upper jaw (reaching to the 5 th anal fin ray) and short mandibular barbels (about ¼ of eye diameter). Mandibular barbels are very short, approximately one-quarter of eye diameter.
- Snout . Snout length is about 29-35% of the head length.
- Eyes . The fish has relatively large eyes that contribute to its sensitive nature. The eye diameter is about 28-34% of the head length. They are located in the middle of the head, eyes are also visible dorsally and ventrally.
- Fins . Fins are transparent as well. Ghost Glass Catfish does not have a dorsal fin, but a single spine-like ray can be observed as a vestige of the dorsal fin. In contrast, the anal fin (48-55 anal fin rays) is elongated and extends from the pectoral fins to the tail. The caudal fin is strongly forked.
Interesting facts :
- According to the study , the fish shows flickering iridescence throughout the transparent body. When light passes through the tightly packed layers of muscle fibers, it creates a diffraction effect that produces a shimmering appearance.
- Ghost Glass Catfish are very good at sensing magnetic fields. It was shown that they have a specific ampullary organ for that.
Difference Between Kryptopterus vitreolus, Kryptopterus bicirrhis, and Kryptopterus minor
As I have already mentioned, the history of the taxonomy of Kryptopterus species involves a combination of morphological observations, geographic distribution analysis, and molecular studies to clarify its classification and relationship to other species.
Lifespan of Ghost Glass Catfish
Currently, there is no data available on the maximum lifespan for Kryptopterus vitreolus in the wild.
However, if appropriately cared for, these fish can live up to 5 years on average.
Their lifespan greatly depends on the conditions they are kept in, how well you feed them, and how stressful your aquarium environment is for them.
Typical Behavior of Ghost Glass Catfish
The Ghost Glass Catfish are generally known to be peaceful fish. They have a calm temperament and are not known to be aggressive or prone to nipping at other fish.
So, having a group of Ghost Glass Catfish in the aquarium can be beneficial for their well-being. It is generally recommended to keep them in groups of at least 6 or more individuals.
Keeping them in a group allows them to behave more naturally and reduces stress levels. They will feel more vulnerable and behave less actively and socially when kept in smaller groups or alone.
Generally, Ghost Glass Catfish are very calm and not active fish. They will not dart around the tank instead they usually gather together in a tight-knit group around their favorite spot in the tank, minding their own business and not disrupting the movement of other fish.
They also do not exhibit typical catfish behaviors – they don’t dig or uproot what they can.
Ghost Glass Catfish are more active in the dark . However, in the daytime, they are very shy and skittish , especially, in the beginning. Once they are scared, they scatter and then return to schooling. They often hide in the plants or stay behind the driftwood and rarely come out unless it is a feeding time.
Note : Stressed fish may lose its transparent camouflage and become opaque.
At the same time, once accustomed to the aquarium conditions, when kept in a suitable group, their calm behavior can quickly change to highly active during feeding time.
Placement in Tank:
Ghost Glass Catfish usually stay in the top and middle areas of the tank.
- Social: Yes
- Activity: Low
- Placement: Top and middle dwellers
- Peaceful: Yes
- Nippers: No
- Jumpers: Yes
Feeding Ghost Glass Catfish
In the wild, this fish is a micropredator that feeds on small invertebrates and other types of zooplankton.
Like many catfishes, K.vitreolus is not picky when it comes to feeding and readily accepts
most foods given to aquarium fishes
In an aquarium, they will usually accept food of all kinds (live, dry, or freeze-dried) as long as it is adapted to their mouth size. A varied and balanced diet is always recommended.
Ghost Glass Catfish are not picky eaters, they will eat live food :
- brine shrimp (artemia salina) ,
- artemia nauplii ,
- fruit flies,
- mosquito larvae ,
- detritus worms
- vinegar eels ,
- grindal worms , etc.
They also accept frozen and commercial food as well, such as ( links to Amazon ):
- Fluval bug bites ,
- Hikari first bites ,
- TetraMin Crisps ,
- any kind of really small crushed-up tiny flake food.
Some Feeding Tips:
Although Ghost Glass Catfish can adapt to feeding during the day, observation of their behavior has shown that these fish become more active during the dark hours. Therefore, an ideal approach would be to feed them at least in the late evening . This is their time.
Use the « five-minute rule ». They are not prone to gluttony and quickly satisfy their appetite.
The main drawback of this feeding habit is that any food that falls to the bottom is rarely picked by them. Thus, if there is no cleaning crew (such as snails or shrimp) it can lead to ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate buildup in the tank. So, do not forget to regularly clean the substrate.
- Diet Type: Omnivore
- Food Preference: Meat
- Feeding Frequency: Daily
Are Ghost Glass Catfish Plants Safe?
Yes, Ghost Glass Catfish are completely plant safe. They will not eat any healthy plants in the tank. This specie does not eat living plant material.
Keeping and Caring for Ghost Glass Catfish
To keep Ghost Glass Catfish healthy and happy, we need to understand their requirements and mimic their natural habitat. Stress will significantly reduce their lifespan.
While this species does not demand overly intricate care requirements, there is one thing to remember – these fish do not tolerate ammonia , nitrites , or nitrates really well.
So, it is still recommended to refrain from introducing them as the first occupants immediately after completing the aquarium cycling process . Wait for at least a couple of weeks until the balance is completely established.
The small size and relatively passive behavior of this fish should not mislead you when choosing a tank size for them.
Ghost Glass Catfish require a large tank, and there are a couple of important reasons for that, such as:
- it is easier to maintain water balance and parameters in larger aquariums.
- it is crucial to provide both hiding places and open areas without vegetation, driftwood, or other decorations for these fish.
Therefore, for a small group of 6-8 fish, you will need at least a 20-gallon (80 liters) tank. One Ghost Glass Catfish for every 2 – 3 gallons.
Important: Ghost Glass Catfish are jumpers! So, it is imperative to take measures, for example: using a tank cover, lowering the water level, and using floating plants, which is essential to ensure their safety.
Temperature : Ghost Glass Catfish prefer water temperatures ranging between 7 2 to 79 °F (2 2 °C to 2 6 °C) .
pH : The ideal pH range is 6.5 to 8 . 0 .
Hardness : The recommended general hardness (GH) range for these fish is 3 to 15 dGH . The recommended carbonate hardness (KH) range is 2 to 10 dKH .
Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate : It is important to maintain the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels at 0 ppm, 0 ppm, and below 40 ppm, respectively.
Monitor the water parameters regularly and do water changes every week.
When the light hits them and they turn iridescent, it makes them look really cool. Unfortunately, Ghost Glass Catfish do not like bright light, it makes them stressed and they start hiding.
These fish enjoy remaining still in areas near the surface with dim lighting .
Decorations and Plants:
Ghost Glass Catfish are shy and will appreciate plenty of hiding places, such as caves, driftwood, tall plants, and floating plants. They may retreat to these hiding places if they feel threatened or stressed.
Note : Dwarf water lettuce , Frogbit , Duckweed , and other floating plants are excellent at hiding light and providing these fish with the lighting they prefer.
- Top 7 Floating Plants for Beginners
- Aquarium Floating Plants. Pros and Cons
Breeding Ghost Glass Catfish
Kryptopterus vitreolus is rarely bred in home conditions, to be more precise, there are only a few documented cases of successful breeding them in aquariums.
Almost all fish sold in stores are caught in the wild. For example, Volume of the glass catfish exported
in 2016 was 2,494,033 fish. So, there is a potential risk for populations of this species to become diminished in the future.
Note: Scientists have achieved success in breeding them artificially under laboratory conditions by using hormones to enhance oocyte maturation, followed by ovulation and spawning of fish in captivity.
Ghost Glass Catfish do not have parental care or mate selection or anything.
The females are identified by large abdomens and red sex papillae.
According to some sources, the sexual identification of an individual can be also determined by its size (males are slightly smaller than females), although there is considerable disagreement regarding the accuracy of this method.
It can be presumed that they are seasonal egg scatterers like most other tightly-schooling fishes.
- the fertilized eggs of Ghost Glass Catfish are adhesive eggs,
- the diameter of eggs ranges from 0.75-0.85 mm.,
- all eggs are round in shape and bright yellow in color.
These fish are prolific breeders. Each female can carry from 100 to 700 eggs.
The incubation period for fertilized eggs to hatch is around 21.30 h at 77 – 79°F (25 – 26°C) water temperature.
The newly-hatched larvae are about 2.5 mm in length. For the first 3 days, larvae consume the yolk. They grow pretty fast.
Ghost Glass Catfish and Suitable Tankmates
The Ghost Glass Catfish are peaceful and delicate fish. It is important to choose tankmates that are compatible in terms of size, temperament, and water parameters. Here are some suitable tankmates for Ghost Glass Catfish:
If you still decide to keep this species in community tanks , some good options include: Platies, Neons , Endlers , Pygmy Cory , Danio Rerio , Guppy, Harlequin Rasboras , Dwarf Chain loaches , Swordtails , Mollies, etc.)
At the same time, it is important to understand that this species is a micro-predator, and it is not advisable to keep them in an aquarium with other fish that may have fry, as the catfish will prey on them. For instance, in one aquarium, Ghost Glass Catfish nearly wiped out all the guppy fry.
It is not recommended to keep Ghost Glass Catfish with dwarf shrimp . These fish will leave alone adult shrimp but they will definitely hunt for shrimplets .
Ghost Glass Catfish will not bother snails.
In fact, freshwater snails can make good tankmates for this species, as they help keep the tank clean by consuming uneaten food and algae.
- Large and/or aggressive, and/or boisterous fishes.
- Keep them away from all types of crayfish and most types of freshwater crabs .
- Can You Keep Crayfish With Other Fish?
- Aquarium Crabs and Tankmates. Possible or Not?
The Ghost Glass Catfish are one of the most unusual members of the catfish family. They have a truly fascinating appearance, making them a mesmerizing sight in an aquarium.
However, if you are fond of colorful and active fish that strive to always be in sight, this particular species may not be suitable for you.
Ghost Glass Catfish are very calm fish that more closely resemble ghosts hiding in a corner than vibrant and boisterous fish.
- London, Sydney, and Helene Volkoff. “Cloning and effects of fasting on the brain expression levels of appetite-regulators and reproductive hormones in glass catfish (Kryptopterus vitreolus).” Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology228 (2019): 94-102.
- London, Sydney. “The neuroendocrine control of feeding and reproduction in zebrafish (Danio rerio) and glass catfish (Kryptopterus vitreolus).” PhD diss., Memorial University of Newfoundland, 2018.
- Ng, Heok Hee, and Maurice Kottelat. “After eighty years of misidentification, a name for the glass catfish (Teleostei: Siluridae).” Zootaxa3630 (2013): 308-316.
- Khunjaroenrak, Waranyu, and Supat Ponza. “Embryonic and larval development of glass catfish Kryptopterus vitreolus (Ng and Kottelat, 2013).” Journal of Agricultural Research and Extension37, no. 1 (2020): 29-39.
- Khunjaroenrak, Waranyu, Pattreeya Ponza, and Supat Ponza. “Induced Breeding of Glass Catfish, Kryptopterus vitreolus (Ng and Kottelat, 2013).” Journal of Fisheries and Environment43, no. 3 (2019): 19-29.
- Ng, Heok Hee, and Maurice Kottelat. “A name for the glass catfish (Teleostei: Siluridae) revisited.” Zootaxa3640, no. 2 (2013): 299-300.
- Hunt, Ryan D., Ryan C. Ashbaugh, Mark Reimers, Lalita Udpa, Gabriela Saldana De Jimenez, Michael Moore, Assaf A. Gilad, and Galit Pelled. “Swimming direction of the Glass Catfish, Kryptopterus bicirrhis, is responsive to magnetic stimulation.” bioRxiv(2020): 2020-08.
- Fan, Xiujun, Xuezhi Zheng, Tong An, Xiuhong Li, Nathanael Leung, Bin Zhu, Tan Sui, Nan Shi, Tongxiang Fan, and Qibin Zhao. “Light diffraction by sarcomeres produces iridescence in transmission in the transparent ghost catfish.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences120, no. 12 (2023): e2219300120.
Common Names: Glass Catfish, Ghost Catfish
glass catfish’ or ‘ghost catfish’
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Glass Catfish Care, Size, Tank Mates & Diet
Glass Catfish are very good at making themselves invisible.
This ghostly looking fish looks like a creature from another planet. If you look very closely you can see their internal organs through their clear skin!
Even though they are difficult to spot you might catch just a glimpse of their glittering scales as they swim in your aquarium.
There is so much to know about the Glass Catfish before you give them a home in your tank.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about keeping this strange and sensational little critter…
Table of Contents
Habitat and Aquarium Set Up
Breeding glass catfish, history and first sighting, frequently asked questions.
There are several different species that are known as Glass Catfish but the Kryptopterus vitreolus is the most common . This is the fish that we will be discussing in this article.
Glass Catfish are endemic to Thailand and are also known as the Ghost Catfish or Phantom Catfish.
They are the most beginner friendly catfish and are well known for their eye catching appearance and timid personality. These catfish grow between 4-5 inches long and can live for up to 8 years.
Although they are starting to become more popular, they are still quite an uncommon find. You will almost certainly have to purchase them online and most places will label them as a Ghost Catfish.
Expect to pay around $10 for a group of 5.
However, the most difficult part about purchasing these fish is correctly identifying them!
The African Glass Catfish ( Parailia pellucida ) looks very similar in both appearance and size. However, P. pellucida has a black spinal cord and K. vitreolus has a translucent white one.
Juvenile Kryptopterus bicirrhis may be sold as K. vitreolus but they will turn white when they reach adulthood. Real K. vitreolus remain transparent their entire life.
- Experience Required: Aquascaping and schooling fish.
- Nicknames: Ghost Catfish or Phantom Catfish.
- Color Forms: Transparent.
- Size: 4-5 inches.
- Tank Size: Minimum 30+ gallon.
- Tank Temperature: 75°F to 80°F.
Glass Catfish Care Sheet
These Catfish have a very low tolerance for changes in water quality.
Unstable water parameters also increase the risk of diseases (particularly bacterial infections and dropsy).
A fish with dropsy has a visibly distended abdomen and will be very sluggish as they try to keep up with the others in their school. Most of the time dropsy can be treated by adding marine salts to the tank but this is risky for a fish that is so sensitive to changes in salinity. You will likely need to use an antibiotic treatment.
If they are isolated from their school for any reason then they are likely very sick. They do not willingly separate from the group so you should be concerned if you see one off on their own.
When they are kept in consistent water parameters they are fairly hardy.
Also you should know that these fish must be acclimated at the same time using the bag method .
Unfortunately, it is common for this fish to have difficulty acclimating to their environment and failure is most likely if the water parameters are unstable.
Although these Catfish are omnivores they prefer to eat meaty prey over plants and vegetables.
In the wild they will eat tiny prey that they find in the water and the substrate. These include zooplankton, insects, brine shrimp and small worms.
In the aquarium, a high protein diet is the right way to go.
You can use fish flakes that are specially made for Catfish, along with frozen worms and shrimp. Your fish will also want to hunt for live prey just like they do in the wild. The best options for live prey are: water fleas and other zooplankton, brine shrimp, mosquito larvae, grindal worms and bloodworms.
These fish will not eat plants or algae on their own.
However you can encourage them to eat a balanced diet by giving them flakes or pellets which contain algae.
You can feed them:
- Brine shrimp
- Grindal worms
- Mosquito larvae
- Dried worms
- Dried shrimp
Feeding these fish is not always easy.
There are times when they will be too anxious to come out for food so you will need to feed them just outside of their hiding spot.
It is also important to make sure that there is enough food for every fish in the school. They do not eat much but still must be fed once every day. Feed them at a separate time from your other fish so that they will not be disturbed. Do not be afraid to add a little more than you think they might need.
Glass Catfish are very elusive fish that prefer to stay out of the way as much as possible.
They will swim together in a school and even feed together.
In the wild this can confuse predators and help them to survive as swimming in a group can make small fish look much larger.
These fish are very good at turning invisible but you can see them during the quiet hours when they are unlikely to be disturbed by the other fish. You will spot them shimmering around the middle levels of the tank. They will spend a lot of time weaving in and out of plants and decorations.
The larger your school the more active your fish will be.
They will not interact with other fish outside of their school.
In the wild these Catfish live in areas that they can blend into.
They are often found in slightly turbid waters with enough light to let plants grow.
In areas with a lot of leaf litter, a predator may mistake them for leaves or debris floating in the water. Underwater vegetation grows densely in these areas which provides a place to hide when things get scary.
They inhabit the mid-river areas where there is enough space for their whole schools. These areas experience moderate currents and flooding during the rainy season.
To keep these fish you will need a 30 gallon tank.
This will be large enough for a school of 5 (which is the minimum acceptable group size). You should add 5 gallons for each new addition to the school.
The most important part of keeping these fish is maintaining stable water parameters.
Do not allow your temperature, salinity, or pH to rise or fall.
You should keep the water temperature between 75-80°F, ph 6.5-8.0 and water hardness 8-10 dGH.
For substrate you can use soft sand or mud that is enriched with leaf litter and other organic debris.
A moderate current is needed to simulate the fish’s natural environment and this can be achieved by using an external filter. External filters are also quieter and less distressing for them.
When picking out your aquarium lights you should pick an intensity between 3 and 5 watts per gallon.
For decorations you can scatter pinecones, twigs and wet leaves around your tank to match your fish’s natural environment. Plants are the most important decorations and you will want to include a lot of them in this setup. Use middle, background and edge plants to keep the foreground open for schooling.
Glass Catfish Appearance
It is important to know exactly what K. vitreolus look like, so you can make sure you are not purchasing a different species.
Glass Catfish will range from 4-5 inches once fully grown.
Their body is long and slender and looks like a leaf. It is completely transparent but it does shimmer when the light hits it.
When you take a close look at this remarkable little fish you can see their bones and all of their internal organs . All of their internal organs are clustered near their head. You can see the brain, heart, stomach, liver and kidneys.
They do not have scales but you can see the thin outlines of every bone in their body. Their visible spinal cord is white and travels from their head all the way to their tail. The intestine is parallel to the spinal cord, on the ventral side.
Catfish have very small head and a pointed snout. Long, filamentous barbels on their snout help them detect water pressure and even magnetic activity .
They only have 4 fins – a very tiny pair of clear pectoral fins, a V-shaped caudal fin, and a long anal fin that travels down the length of their body.
While it may appear they change colors in certain lights, they do not.
These fish only come in transparent.
There are many copycat species that are often misidentified so we have provided a description of some of the most common:
- Kryptopterus minor: This species is identical to K. vitreolus except for their size. K. minor only grows up to 3 inches and has a slightly rounded snout.
- Kryptopterus bicirrhis: The Indian Glass Catfish is slightly larger than K. vitreolus , and is only transparent as a juvenile. It grows up to 6 inches long and turns white or grey when they reach adulthood.
- Parailia pellucida: The African Glass Catfish grows up to 6 inches in size and has a black spinal cord instead of a white one.
These are schooling fish so they must be kept together.
You can keep them with a school of at least 5, but it is better to aim for a group of 7-12.
Never keep these fish in a group of less than 5. A small group size leaves them vulnerable to anxiety and shock which can lead to death.
These fish are very docile and do not interact with other fish outside of their schools.
Because of this they can get along well in freshwater communities.
In the wild they can be found with Harlequin Rasboras, Kuhli Loaches and other Thailand natives. Fortunately, many of these are available for the aquarium too.
The following fish make great tank mates:
- Harlequin Rasboras
- Kuhli Loaches
- Zebra Danios
- Celestial Pearl Danios
- Dwarf and Pearl Gouramis
- Cory Catfish
- Mystery Snails
- Rabbit Snails
- Bamboo Shrimp
However you should be careful with small invertebrates.
These fish are likely to try and eat them.
You should also watch out for small minnows like Chili Rasboras and small Tetras .
Tiger Barbs and other rambunctious Barbs should be kept away. Their boisterous antics are likely to frighten these peaceful Catfish.
There is no real safe Cichlid species to keep either.
While some will recommend the Angelfish or Kribensis, it is better to leave all Cichlids out of this setup.
Unfortunately Glass Catfish have only been bred in home aquariums a few times.
Most of these successful attempts have been achieved by hormone injections and artificial fertilization.
It is very difficult to do.
Their reproductive habits in the wild are not well researched but we do know that they breed during the wettest part of the year.
You can simulate flooding in your tank by adding small amounts of dechlorinated water and gradually lowering the water temperature from 77-74°F. You should include aquarium plants in your breeding tanks such as Java Ferns and Hornwort.
When getting your fish into breeding condition you should feed them live prey up to 3 times a day.
Males and females will rub their barbels together when they are about to pair off. After this the female scatters tiny clusters of eggs under your aquarium plants.
The eggs take up to 4 days to hatch and the hatchlings will emerge ready to eat small live prey. Unlike most larval fish they do not have a yolk sac after hatching. You should fill your tank with brine shrimp for the fry to eat. As they grow larger you can feed them insect larvae and microworms.
It is unknown exactly how long it takes these fish to reach maturity.
But you can add them to your community tank when they reach around 3 inches in size.
The Glass Catfish has a rather confusing history.
This is because there are several similar species that share the same name and family (Siluridae) .
Way back in 1934 mature K. vitreolus were often confused with juvenille K. bicirrhis .
They were believed to be the same fish and were introduced to hobbyist at the same time.
As the species gained popularity some hobbyist began to notice that some of their Catfish turned opaque as they got older, and others did not.
It was not until 2013 when ichthyologist Maurice Kottelat found the answer.
The transparent adult Catfish were recognized as an entirely different species and an identification key was drawn up in order to tell the two species apart.
After their official classification in 2013, K. vitreolus became the most common Glass Catfish species in freshwater aquariums.
How big do glass catfish get?
Glass Catfish will grow up to 5 inches in size.
Can glass catfish live alone?
A single Glass Catfish cannot survive for very long.
These fish are simply not meant to live on their own and need to be kept in groups of at least 5.
When kept alone they are extremely anxious and the stress could eventually kill them.
Are glass catfish actually catfish?
Glass Catfish are true Catfish although they may not look like regular Catfish.
They belong to the order Siluriformes which includes all freshwater and saltwater Catfish.
Why is my glass catfish turning white?
Glass Catfish turn white when they are sick.
You should isolate them until the cause is determined. White spots or lesions over their body can indicate ich or a fungal disease. If this happens then you should immediately quarantine and medicate the affected fish.
A school of Glass Catfish offer a unique opportunity to observe some fascinating group dynamics.
If you keep them in a group of 5 or more and build a safe environment then these fish will get along just fine in your freshwater aquarium.
They are almost otherworldly in their appearance and nothing like anything you have ever seen before.
Do your Glass Catfish show themselves often?
Let us know in the comments section below…
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