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Maximum size : 15 cm

Glass Catfish - Kryptopterus vitreolus : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The Glass Catfish (Kryptopterus vitreolus), an enchanting freshwater ray-finned fish belonging to the Catfish family, captivates aquarists with its unique, translucent body that offers a fascinating glimpse into its internal organs and bones. Distinct from many typical Catfish that suction onto rocks and feed at the bottom, the Glass Catfish has evolved to embrace a free-swimming lifestyle, despite possessing barbels like its counterparts. Characterised by their peaceful and timid nature, Glass Catfish tend to keep to themselves and seek cover only when disturbed. Their harmonious temperament makes them an excellent addition to community tanks, where they coexist gracefully alongside other aquatic inhabitants.

Glass Catfish Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Regrettably, discerning between male and female Glass Catfish is not feasible due to the lack of distinguishable physical characteristics between the sexes. This presents a unique challenge for aquarists interested in understanding the gender dynamics within this fascinating and enigmatic species.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameKryptopterus vitreolus
Year Described2013
Other NamesGhost Catfish, Phantom Catfish
Max Size15 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan6 - 8 years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.5 - 7.5
GH1 - 12
KH8 - 12
75 - 81
23.9 - 27.2

Natural Habitat

Glass Catfish thrive in moderately moving waters with lush plant coverage for ample shelter. These intriguing fish can be found inhabiting the river basins of the Cardamom Mountains, as well as in rivers south of the Isthmus of Kra that flow into the enchanting Gulf of Thailand. Glass Catfish have a unique behaviour that sets them apart from other fish - they tend to stay in the middle of the water column, rarely straying too far from the safety of the river bed. Their translucent bodies make them a sight to behold as they glide gracefully through the water, creating a mesmerizing spectacle. If you're seeking a captivating addition to your aquarium, look no further than the Glass Catfish - a true treasure of the exotic waters of Southeast Asia.


Breeding Glass Catfish remains an elusive endeavor, with limited information available and only a few reported instances of success in certain Far East farms. In their natural habitat, these fish are known to breed during the rainy season. To replicate these conditions within a home aquarium, one could simulate the rainy season to encourage breeding behavior. Additionally, providing an abundance of live food may stimulate females to scatter their eggs onto the plants within the tank. If successful, the eggs are expected to hatch within 3-4 days. Despite these suggested methods, breeding Glass Catfish in a home aquarium remains a challenging and largely unexplored undertaking.

Diet & feeding

The Glass Catfish has a diverse appetite and readily consumes a variety of food options, provided they are appropriately sized for their small mouths. These include flakes, granules, and pellets. However, Glass Catfish demonstrate a preference for live foods, such as tubifex, bloodworms, and white worms. They are also partial to frozen foods like brine shrimp, mysis, and daphnia. Catering to these dietary preferences ensures that the Glass Catfish receives adequate nutrition for maintaining its health and well-being in the aquarium setting.

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