Beautiful Glass Catfish Info

Image of Glass Catfish

Gass catfish is an exceptionally eye-catching aquarium fish among the pet fish keepers because of its glass-like fleshy body. This amazing fish was first discovered by well-known ichthyologist, Dr. Tyson Roberts in 1989.

It is a ray-finned fish of Siluridae family under order Siluriformes of class Actinopterygii (=Osteichthyes). The genus name ‘Kryptopterus’ came from Greek, kryptos meaning hidden and  Greek, pteron meaning wing or fin. 

This fish species is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List Book due to over-exploitation for the aquarium fish and habitat loss.

Systematic Position

  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Sub-phylum: Vertebrata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Siluriformes
  • Family: Siluridae
  • Genus: Kryptopterus 
  • Species: Kryptopterus minor

Habitat and Distribution

It is distributed in the Great Sunda Islands, Borneo, Java, and Sumatra. It is additionally found in the streams of Thailand and Viet Nam. It prefers to live in stream and waterways where water ebbs and flows are slow to moderate.

Common Names

It is also referred to as transparent catfish, X-ray fish, Phantom Glass Catfish, Ghost Fish, and Ghost Catfish etc.

Body Shape and Colors

Body is extended and along the side compressed with profoundly forked caudal fin. It has a transparent body with gleaming head. This type of fish does not bear any pigmentation on the body.

If we see from the side, the spinal cord and inside organs are seen because of its transparent body. The anal fin is long which stretches out up to the base of the caudal fin.

The dorsal fin is absent and the whole body is scaleless. A couple of long barbells are available around the mouth.

Size and Lifespan

It is generally medium sized fish which can grow up to 10 cm long and can live up to 8 years or more if you take appropriate care under captive condition.

Quick Glass Catfish Facts

  • Scientific Name: Kryptopterus minor
  • Origin: Southeast Asia
  • Grown-up Size: 10 cm in length
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Tank Level: The Middle position of the tank
  • Minimum Tank Size:  30 gallons
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Breeding: Egg-layers
  • Water pH: 6.5-7.5
  • Water Hardness: 8-12°dGH
  • Water Temperature: 75–82°F (24-28 0C)
  • Lighting condition: Moderate - normal lighting
  • Care level: Moderate
  • Lifespan:  8-10 years

Food and Feeding Behavior

It is an omnivorous fish and in nature, its nourishment comprises of different zooplankton species, guppy fish hatchlings, mosquito hatchlings and other invertebrates.

In captivity, it takes flake and pellet foods, vegetables, bloodworm, Artemia, Daphnia, Moina and so on. To keep your fish sound and cheerful feed should be given couple times daily.

Housing and Care Facts

It is an extremely good-looking fish among the aquarium lovers and it requires no less than 30 gallons tank yet bigger is prescribed. The tank should have great water quality with a completely cycled aquarium to limit abnormal state of nitrates.

It needs plenty space for swimming with bunches of concealing spots. To make a hiding spot for them, aquarium plants, for example, Blue Stricta, Pennywort or Anubias with a few rocks should be used.

To keep your tank condition sound, 20-25% water changes should be done on regular basis.

This fish is very sensitive to water quality parameters. In this case, pH should be maintained between 6.5-7.5 with a hardness of 8-12° dGH while the water temperature should be ranged from 75–82°F (24-28 0C).


It needs peaceful tank mates with a school of at least 6 individuals. Suitable tankmates include barbs, Hatchetfish, larger gourami, danios, Corydoras, tetras, Platies, silver dollars, Kribensis, Red-tailed Shark, dwarf gourami, dwarf cichlids, Loricarids, Loaches, and angelfish.

If you keep this fish with aggressive tank mates, it`s body becomes white in color due to heavy stress.

Breeding Behavior

It is very difficult to breed in captivity. But in Thailand or other South Asian countries, some breeding centers are found for the aquarium trade.

Male and Female Sex Differences

It is extremely hard to recognize the male and female glass catfish by observing externally. Male is littler than the female of a similar age. But the mature female bears eggs in her belly during spawning season.

Concluding Remarks

Glass catfish is extremely charming fish because of its  transparent fleshy and see-through body. It is exceptionally sensitive fish, however, some of the time it is susceptible to itch because of improper support of tank condition.

To keep your fish cheerful, great water quality with appropriate eating routine should be kept up. If you keep this awesome fish in your aquarium, it will make your aquarium more attractive. It's also important to know how to take care of fish in your fish tank.

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