Ghost Catfish

Species NameKryptopterus vitreolus
Common NameGhost Catfish, Glass Catfish
Care LevelIntermediate
Lifespan5-7 years
Adult Size3 inches (7.5 cm)
Minimum Tank Size20 gallons (76 liters)
Temperature72°F – 80°F (22°C – 27°C)
Water ConditionspH 6.5-7.5, Soft to Medium hardness

About the Ghost Catfish – Species Summary

The Ghost Catfish, scientifically known as Kryptopterus vitreolus, is an ethereal presence in any aquarium due to its translucent body, which is where its name originates. Hailing from the freshwater rivers of Thailand, they are a species of “glass catfish” which are known for their nearly transparent bodies. Their fascinating appearance and relatively peaceful nature make them a favorite for many aquarium enthusiasts, but their care requires a keen eye and understanding of their natural habitats.

Ghost Catfish Lifespan

When maintained under optimal conditions, Ghost Catfish have an average lifespan of 5 to 7 years. Their life expectancy can be influenced by various factors such as diet, tank conditions, and the overall environment.


The Ghost Catfish’s most striking feature is its translucent body, which allows one to see its bones and internal organs. This transparency serves as camouflage in their native river habitats. When healthy, they exhibit a silver band running from their head to the base of their tail.

Average Size

Typically, the Ghost Catfish reaches an adult size of about 3 inches (7.5 cm) in length.

Ghost Catfish Care

Tank Size

A minimum of a 20-gallon tank is recommended for the Ghost Catfish. Since they are schooling fish, they should be kept in groups, preferably of at least 5 or 6, necessitating a reasonably spacious environment.

How To Set Up Their Tank

Ghost Catfish prefer tanks with subdued lighting and plenty of hiding places. A darker substrate, along with live plants and driftwood, can provide the shelter and security they seek. Floating plants can also be used to diffuse overhead lighting.

Lighting Requirements

Given their preference for subdued lighting, opt for lower-intensity lights or use floating plants to diffuse brighter lighting, protecting the catfish from stress.


A pH level between 6.5 to 7.5 is ideal for the Ghost Catfish.


The water temperature should be maintained between 72°F and 80°F. Consistency is crucial as sudden changes can be stressful for the Ghost Catfish.

Water Parameters

Soft to medium water hardness is suitable. Regular water changes and monitoring for ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites are essential for their well-being.

Disease Potential

Ghost Catfish can be prone to common freshwater diseases if the tank isn’t maintained. Regularly check for signs of ich, fin rot, or fungal infections. Their transparent bodies often make it easier to identify internal parasites or problems.

Food & Diet

Being omnivores, Ghost Catfish consume both plant-based and meat-based foods. Feed them a balanced diet of high-quality flakes or pellets, combined with live or frozen foods like brine shrimp or bloodworms.

Behavior and Temperament

These fish are relatively peaceful and are best known for their schooling behavior. In the wild, they rely on their group for navigation and protection. In an aquarium setting, they can become stressed or disoriented if kept alone.

Tank Mates

Ghost Catfish can coexist with other peaceful, non-aggressive fish of similar size. Tetras, rasboras, and certain types of gouramis can make suitable tank mates. However, avoid keeping them with larger or aggressive fish that might view them as prey.


Breeding Ghost Catfish in a home aquarium is challenging and rarely documented. They require specific conditions, including soft, acidic water and live foods, to trigger spawning. Even with these conditions met, success is not guaranteed, making them one of the more elusive species to breed in captivity.

Ghost Catfish FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)