Maximum size : 10 cm

Humphead Glassfish - Parambassis pulcinella : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

Table of contents


The Humphead Glassfish (Parambassis pulcinella) is a distinctive and visually captivating species within the world of freshwater aquarium fish. This fish is known for its alluring appearance, marked by a striking hump-like cranial feature and translucent, glass-like body, which lends it an appearance of uniqueness and charm. While it may be considered a somewhat uncommon choice in the aquarium trade, its tranquil demeanour, adaptability to various water conditions, and aesthetic appeal make it an enticing option for aquarium enthusiasts seeking to introduce a touch of elegance and intrigue to their aquatic collections.

Humphead Glassfish thrive when housed in groups of eight or more, ensuring their social well-being and minimising potential territorial disputes. When considering tankmates, it is essential to select robust species of similar size, as smaller companions may become prey. Suitable tankmates encompass medium-sized Barbs, Characins, Botiid Loaches, and Loricariid Catfish.

Creating an ideal home aquarium for these moderately sized, active swimmers necessitates ample space, robust filtration, and areas with a strong water current to simulate their natural habitat. Ensuring a high level of oxygenation within the water is imperative. Decorative elements such as driftwood and smooth, water-worn stones, boulders, cobbles, and pebbles can be strategically arranged to establish eddies and pockets of slightly calmer water.

To mitigate occasional male aggression and territorial behaviour, visual barriers should be incorporated within the aquarium décor. This becomes less of a concern when maintaining large groups of Humphead Glassfish within a spacious environment with ample hiding spaces. Regular partial water changes are essential to prevent the accumulation of nitrogenous wastes in the closed system, given the species' sensitivity to water quality.

Beyond their distinctive cranial humps, Humphead Glassfish largely conform to the typical Glassfish morphology. They exhibit a captivating golden sheen that immediately captures the observer's attention. Notably, their dorsal and anal fins are accentuated with smoky grey or black outer edges. These fins feature a row of dots towards the body, while both lobes of the forked caudal fins are adorned with black stripes. A small black spot at the base of the first dorsal fin extends into a black stripe towards the head, adding to their striking visual appeal.

Humphead Glassfish Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between male and female Humphead Glassfish is a straightforward process. Among individuals of equivalent age, males typically exhibit a notable size advantage, presenting as larger specimens. Moreover, a conspicuous disparity in the size of the cranial hump, with males showcasing a considerably larger cranial hump compared to their female counterparts, serves as a reliable indicator of gender differentiation.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameParambassis pulcinella
Year Described2003
Other NamesHumphead Perchlet
OriginsMyanmar , Thailand
Max Size10 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 8+
Diet & FeedingOmnivore
LifespanUp to 8 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
pH 7.0 - 7.5
GH 5 - 15
Ideal Temperature
74 - 81
23 - 27

Natural Habitat

The Humphead Glassfish, native to the Ataran Basin situated within the Salween Basin of Southeast Asia, specifically in southeast Myanmar and western Thailand, is subject to a distinct geographic range. In its natural habitat, this species has been consistently observed inhabiting expansive watercourses characterised by clarity and a high degree of oxygenation, often in close proximity to turbulent rapids and substantial riffles. The substrates prevalent in these ecologically defined biotopes typically consist of smooth rock formations and a variety of boulders, contributing to the species' distinctive aquatic surroundings.


Humphead Glassfish, much like other members of the Glassfish family, have yet to be successfully bred in a home aquarium setting. These fish exhibit an egg-scattering breeding behaviour, suggesting that their reproduction in captivity would likely follow a similar pattern.

To encourage the potential spawning of well-conditioned fish, a substantial water change conducted in the evening may serve as a triggering event. Typically, spawning occurs the following morning, coinciding with the arrival of the first rays of sunlight on the aquarium glass. The presence of abundant aquatic plants or dedicated spawning mops is essential to intercept and secure the scattered and fertilised eggs.

Once the spawning process concludes, it is advisable to promptly remove the adult Humphead Glassfish, as they tend to prey upon their own eggs. Glassfish eggs are notably delicate and prone to fungal infestations, prompting some aquarists to consider the introduction of a mild methylene blue solution to the breeding aquarium as a preventive measure against fungal issues.

Diet & feeding

Similar to their Glassfish counterparts, Humphead Glassfish exhibit discerning dietary preferences. During the initial phases of acclimatising these wild-caught specimens to captive conditions, a regimen primarily consisting of live and frozen fare is imperative. Among the favoured food sources are earthworms and river shrimps, with an evident penchant for midge and mosquito larvae. Additionally, smaller fish of the species display an appetite for Daphnia and brine shrimp.

As they gradually adapt to their new environment, Humphead Glassfish typically accept frozen sustenance, such as bloodworms, without reluctance. While some well-adjusted individuals may incorporate flakes into their diet, augmenting their nutrition with supplementary elements like diced squid and prawns is advisable to ensure a balanced intake.

It is crucial to remember that all Glassfish, including the Humphead variety, are opportunistic predators, boasting a deceptively expansive oral cavity. Consequently, smaller fish species such as guppies, danios, and Neons may be perceived as delectable prey. This same fate could befall diminutive shrimp varieties such as Cherry and Amano, underscoring the importance of mindful dietary considerations in their care.

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