Glass Catfish

Species NameKryptopterus bicirrhis
Common NameGlass Catfish, Ghost Glass Catfish
Care LevelIntermediate
Lifespan7-8 years
Adult Size4-6 inches (10-15 cm)
Minimum Tank Size30 gallons (115 liters)
Temperature75°F – 80°F (24°C – 27°C)
Water ConditionspH 6.8-7.5, Soft to Medium hardness

About the Glass Catfish – Species Summary

The Glass Catfish, scientifically termed as Kryptopterus bicirrhis, is a captivating aquatic creature renowned for its transparent body, enabling enthusiasts to see straight through to its skeleton and internal organs. This fish hails from the slow-moving and densely vegetated waters of Southeast Asia. Its unique appearance combined with its calm temperament makes it a preferred choice for many aquarium hobbyists, though it does require specific care to thrive in captivity.

Glass Catfish Lifespan

The Glass Catfish boasts a lifespan of approximately 7-8 years in well-maintained aquarium conditions. Regular care, optimal tank conditions, and a balanced diet are critical factors that can determine the longevity of this fascinating fish.


Undoubtedly, the most remarkable feature of the Glass Catfish is its near-complete transparency, which provides an uncanny view of its insides, including its vertebrae. This unique trait acts as a natural camouflage, protecting it from predators in the wild. When in the best health, a silver-hued stripe runs along its body from the head, tapering off near the tail.

Average Size

Generally, the Glass Catfish attains an adult size ranging between 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm).

Glass Catfish Care

Tank Size

Starting with a minimum of 30 gallons (115 liters) is recommended for housing Glass Catfish. Due to their schooling nature, it’s crucial to house them in groups, ideally six or more, which demands a spacious tank environment.

How To Set Up Their Tank

Replicating their natural habitat should be the aim when setting up the tank. The ideal environment would include subdued lighting, a soft substrate, numerous hiding spots, and thick vegetation. Plants like Java moss, fern, and Anubias can offer these shy fish the privacy they need.

Lighting Requirements

Glass Catfish are particularly sensitive to bright lights. Therefore, low to moderate lighting, supplemented with plenty of floating plants to diffuse direct light, is ideal.


Maintaining a pH level within the range of 6.8 to 7.5 is conducive for Glass Catfish.


An optimal water temperature range for the Glass Catfish is between 75°F and 80°F. Stability is paramount as abrupt temperature fluctuations can stress the fish.

Water Parameters

Water hardness ranging from soft to medium is appropriate. Regular monitoring of ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates, and consistent water changes will ensure a healthy environment.

Disease Potential

Glass Catfish can be susceptible to common aquatic diseases, especially if water conditions deteriorate. Watch out for signs of ich, fungal infections, or other abnormalities. Their transparent nature often aids in early disease detection.

Food & Diet

Being omnivorous, Glass Catfish benefit from a varied diet. Quality flake food, pellets, along with supplemental offerings of live or frozen delicacies such as brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms, are ideal.

Behavior and Temperament

Glass Catfish are peaceful and thrive best in schools. Their schooling nature provides them with security and is a vital element in their behavior. It’s not uncommon to see them swimming in synchrony, which can be a delightful sight.

Tank Mates

Considering their peaceful demeanor, Glass Catfish can be paired with other non-aggressive species of a similar size. Suitable companions include tetras, rasboras, and mollies. However, larger or predatory species should be avoided.


Breeding Glass Catfish in domestic aquariums is a rare feat. While they spawn in the wild during the rainy season, mimicking these conditions at home proves challenging. Few hobbyists have succeeded, and those who attempt to breed them need to provide soft, acidic water, and live foods to potentially stimulate spawning behavior.

Glass Catfish FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)