Catfish-cionado #4

The Glass Catfish – Kryptopterus bicirrhis

By Tony Kroeger

TFCB September, 2015 

Glass catfish!  Every catfish-cionado keeps these fish sooner or later.  This fish is commonly available.

Usually exported from Thailand this catfish which grows to 3-4” is completely transparent except for the body organs which are enclosed in a silver sac.  You can see its spine and all the other bones.  The eye is black.  Under natural sunlight the catfish shows a rainbow colored metallic shine.  The colors change as the fish moves in relation to the light source.

The glass catfish tolerates most tap water.  I keep mine in soft water, neutral 7.0 pH, temp 76-80 F.

Glass catfish have only one spine for a dorsal fin.  This is offset by a very long anal fin that runs ¾’s the length of the fin.  It has 2 long whiskers.

Initially acclimating and getting the glass catfish to feed is tricky and problematic.  Glass catfish do not like to be moved once established.

As an importer I receive them in bags of 100.  Each bag usually has about 20% of the fish in it either curled/curved in balls or with damage/kinked spines.  Such fish do not survive and must be destroyed.

Glass catfish suffer high losses in shipping and are difficult to ship.  Always buy specimens locally if possible and save yourself a lot of headaches.

Glass catfish are light sensitive during acclimation.  Always turn your aquarium lights off prior to acclimating your glass catfish and leave them off the rest of the day.

Glass catfish are slow to feed initially too.  Try tempting them with frozen brine shrimp and bloodworms at first.  I start mine on live blackworms them switch to frozen followed by micropellets and finally flake food.

Glass catfish are a peaceful, schooling catfish.  Always keep them in schools of at least 3-6.  They are active all day but swim holding a stationary position off the bottom for long periods of time.  A glass catfish that stays on the bottom is sick.  Glass catfish will rest on plant leaves.  They are great community tank fish.  Do not keep them with fin nippers like tiger barbs or serpae tetras.

Glass catfish are very sensitive to ick.  Keep them warm.  Do not use bye medications if they fall ill.  Simply raise the heat to 88F gradually.  They also tolerate ½ the recommended dose of copper.

Glass catfish are really unique, readily available and a joy to watch.

Until next time “Catfish Dreams”