AquariumFreshwater Fish

Glass Catfish | A Complete Guideline for your aquarium collection

Glass Catfish Are you fond of keeping fishes in your aquarium? Or looking for some of the good collections? Well, you have to go through a lot of research to get information on a variety of fishes available for your water tank.

In this article, we will discuss Ghost catfish in detail. This article is comprised of all the answers you are looking for.


Glass Catfish, kryptopterus vitreolus (the scientific name), also known as Ghost catfish or Phantom catfish. They are medium-sized fishes with a subterminal mouth. Their body is transparent due to which their internal organs are visible. Yet, they have a strong and protective lower jaw.

According to their size, they are categorized into two types. The one with the smallest size, i.e. 2.5 inches is Kryptopterus vitreolus while the largest size, i.e. 6.5 inches, is Kryptopterus Bichirris.

This fish is considered to be a peace-loving spice that makes them ideal for keeping them in your home aquarium. Although they may be tough for beginners, they soon settled down with other fishes as well.

They are active swimmers and love to swim in vegetation and plenty of areas of plants. They shouldn’t have kept them aggressive nature fish; otherwise, they will die out of stress or hungry.

They are picky eaters but also eat small invertebrates and always prefer to stay acidic to alkaline water. They can even grow to 8 cm, and the life span can be 8-year years if they live with great care.

Quick Stats:

Scientific NameKryptopterus vitreolus
Common NamesGhost Catfish, Glass Cat, phantom Fish
OriginFar East
Temperament / BehaviorPeaceful, Timid.
Color FormTransparent
Care Level Moderate
Size2.5 – 3″ (8 cm)
pH6 – 7
Temperature70 to 79°F (21 – 26°C)
GenderSexing is unknown
Lifespan7 to 8 Years
BreedingIt is difficult to spawn in the home aquarium.
Tank Size30 Gallons minimum
Tank MatesBest kept with  peaceful tank mates
Tank Set-UpPlanted Community
CompatibilityCommunity Tanks


Glass catfish (which is also known as phantom fish) are originated from the brackish waters of Thailand, even in Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, or Cambodia. They prefer to stay in streams and rivers and flow with other fish inhabits in a school. They rarely go far away from their safety level.


It is a common observation that the word glass or ghost indicates the appearance. Most of the creatures with this word have a transparent or visible body.

While talking about the catfish, its most organs are located near its head. Their transparent body allows you to see their organs and spine. You can even notice the heartbeat if you observed.

As there are no pigments on their body, this catfish is more secure from its predators. But it’s also true that their “clear” bodies make them difficult to see even for a human being.

Although it may seem that the catfish have no dorsal fin, but, if you look a little bit closer, you can see a small fin behind the head of the fish.

Their Behavior

They are a great addition to your water tank because of their peaceful nature. You will find them quite energetic and free swimmers. Unlike other species, they usually swim around the middle of the tank. They also try to hide between plants located in your tank to avoid sunlight.

How to care for a Glass catfish?

They are very easy to keep because of their peaceful nature. They do not need extra care or attention, but a moderate level of care is enough for them. It is best to keep them in a school of 6 other spices.

Before introducing new members into the water tank, make sure to check they should not be sick before. The biggest challenge you can face while keeping ghost catfish to make them alive for 7-8 years.

With consistent changes of water in a week, you can avoid some susceptible issues that most of the aquarium fish faces like ich, dropsy, fungus, or lice.

Important care Tips:

Here, we have made a list of some care tips for a catfish in your home aquarium:

  1. Choose a water tank with the capacity of stock of at least six spices. The best is to have kept them with peace-loving mates. The species should not be more than 6 in numbers.
  2. The suitable temperature of the water in a water tank should be around 70 to 79°F (21 – 26°C).
  3. The least amount of water in the water tank should be around about 30 Gallons least or more. The less quantity of water can disturb the fishes, and they can refuse to eat.
  4. In the start, quarantine ghost fishes alone and avoid keeping them with other fishes. As there might be the possibility of any parasite or harmful diseases with them.
  5. It will be desirable and best if the natural environment (wild plants and streams) should be made stimulated. The ghost fishes love this kind of habitat, and they will be happy.
  6. This fish is very sensitive to brightness or lighter area; therefore, they like to hide beside the shaded parts of the water tank.
  7. Water should be renewed regularly. Otherwise, they pine away or become infected due to any issue caused by water impurities.
  8. In the case of food, they are picky eaters. Thus, frozen Mysis, daphnia, and brine shrimp are the perfect food for them. They will happily eat all.

What Do Glass Catfish Eat?

Being a selective feeder and shy in nature, special care and attention are needed to feed them. Most of these catfishes eat zooplankton and other small worms. They are also known to eat baby guppies (small fish).

However, in the water tank, their food is replicate by a wider variety of food such as frozen or flake food. They should be treated by frozen brine shrimp, Daphnia, or Moina.

If you are looking for a catfish who is trained to eat flakes and freezer food, then local fish stores are ideal for that.

Now the question that arises is, how much food is required in a single day? Feeding a maximum of two times a day is ideal for them. Make sure to put a reasonable quantity of food in the water tank. Otherwise, it will spoil your tank and also can cause algae and bacteria in them.

Catfish are shy, which can sometimes cause doubt for them. When feeding the fishes in the water tank, some species are very active, and that’s the reason, they eat the food first. But glass catfish remain unfed.

To make sure that all the fish have food, you must feed the active fish first and keep an eye on any doubt, making fish.

The ideal water tank conditions:

Well, these fish are sensitive to even a small fluctuation in temperature, pH, or other changes. Even slight changes in water parameters can cause the death of these fish.

Below are some points to follow. Keep in mind, and it varies from tank to tank since you know better about the species you put in a tank. If you don’t follow these points, then your fish is already at risk:

  1. The water temperature for an aquarium should be maintained at:
  2. 75- 80 degrees Fahrenheit,
  3. PH 6.5 to 7 and
  4. Have a very moderate water flow.
  5. The bigger the aquarium is, the more a catfish will feel safer and happier. So, the recommended quantity of water is at least 30 gallons per tank.
  6. Make sure the tank is well planted. They will help catfish to hide and also help to clean the water tank. You can add common plants like Java Fern, Java Moss, and Hornwort to the water tank.
  7. Don’t overcrowd the tank with more species as it can pop up different diseases and other health risks.
  8. You should control the level of ammonia and nitrates in a water tank as they are dangerous for glass catfish. For water purification, the water filtration system should be efficient and renewed
  9. You are in a problem if you set up your aquarium but couldn’t set up the filtration system. The bigger is the water tank, the bigger the filtration system will take care of your fish.
  10. Always check the level of ammonia, nitrate, pH level before introducing new fish into your aquarium.

Life Span

If they fed with premium food and kept with the right water conditions, then they can easily survive up to 8 years.

Best tank mates for your Glass Catfish

Now the question is, can we keep catfish with other species in the same water tank?

They can keep with similar-minded mates like Swordtails, Celestial Pearl, Mollies, Corydoras, Kribensis, etc.

They are all peaceful fish that live together and don’t attack each other.

Keeping fish together is also important because they will lead to a strong social group; however, they shouldn’t keep with aggressive mates. In case, if you kept them with aggressive fish, they would die due to stress or non-compatibility.

Some of the aggressive fish include Oscars, Tiger Barbs, Cichlids. Avoid keeping these mates as they can be dangerous for your class fish. They can even attack them or can also eat them.

You can add friendly fish with catfish and then gradually can add more fish once you see they are ready to accept more.

Glass Catfish Breeding

In their native habitat, they usually breed in times of heavy rainfall. But breeding in a water tank is still unknown and remains a mystery. But it is reported that some people are successful in breeding them in their aquarium.

For this, you must have at least one of each sex. Another challenging thing for you is to point out gender differences, i.e. male and female. Female fish have larger bellies and a larger stomach.

The best way for breeding is to create a natural environment in a tank. The temperature should be about 23 degrees Celsius and keep adding fresh water every day.

This lowest possible temperature and freshwater will help in breeding, while special attention is to be paid to the abundant supply of food to them. In this period, they need more energy to spawn.

If you don’t get success, then the female fish will lay their eyes on the aquarium plants which will hatch after 3-4 days. These hatched baby glass catfish will be capable of eating baby brine shrimp.

Challenges of keeping Glass catfish

It is challenging for a beginner to keep catfish because of its sensitive and shy nature.

Following are some of the challenges you can face:

  1. You should create a natural environment like streams, plantations, flowing water for them.
  2. Make sure to check all the parameters of the aquarium as they are prone to diseases.
  3. Change the water often so that the catfish must feel safe and happy.
  4. They are free swimmers, add some plants inside the aquarium.
  5. They feel more comfortable in the middle layer of the water tank. So, the temperature wouldn’t be less than 26-degree Fahrenheit.
  6. Don’t panic if they found at the bottom of their new tank, and they will get up and swim later. They are doing so because of the little stress of a new home.
  7. The best way is to put the food near a current to feed them the food.

Some cool facts about Glass catfish

Here is a list of some cool facts about Ghost catfish which you will shock to learn:

  1. Some of the catfish can even detect electromagnetic waves. This is the reason scientists are trying to understand how this thing can benefit patients of Parkinson and Epilepsy.
  2. The Ghost catfish is also known as Glass catfish, X-ray fish because of their transparent body.
  3. Their transparent body helps them to save from predators.
  4. Another cool fact is that they will show no appetite when they are alone. But you will find them much active and happier with their similar-minded species.
  5. This delicate catfish can live up to 7 to 8 years with proper care and attention.


Keeping an attractive catfish requires a lot of good research before opting for them. If you are a beginner or want to do this job as a hobbyist, then you should make sure to follow instructions. Act on the care instructions mentioned above. Keep in mind that you should keep giving positive vibes to these aqua pets. Otherwise, they will not feel comfortable or happy. If you think you can accept the challenge of pleasing them as an extra species in your tank, then do it.

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