Glass Catfish: Full Care Guide

Glass Catfish are also referred to as Ghost Catfish. They are very popular among aquarists for their transparent body. You can clearly see through their body. Their transparent body is the reason why they are so popular in the aquarium hobby.

They are easy to care for, If you know the basics it’s not that challenging to care for them. In this care guide, we will discuss how to care for them, tank condition & set up, water parameters, tankmates, food & more…

Care Level:Moderate.
Color Form:Transparent.
Lifespan:7-8 Years.
Size:5 Inches.
Minimum Tank Size:30 Gallons.
Tank Set up:Planted.
Compatibility:Community Tanks.

Overview of Glass Catfish

The Glass Catfish is also known by other names like Gosht Catfish or Phantom Catfish. At first, they are the most popular species of this family known as the Kryptopterus bicirrhis. But it was a misidentification. The species for aquariums are now known as the Kryptopterus vitreolus.

The Glass Catfish are native to Thailand. You can find them in the rivers of the Gulf of Thailand. They live in rivers and streams where the water has an average rate of flow (not too fast, not too slow).

When you hear the word Catfish, the first image that comes to mind is a larger freshwater fish, which spends most of its time sucked onto the rocks or feeding the bottom.

The Glass Catfish are not bottom dwellers like other aquarium catfish. They like to swim in the middle of the aquarium. Though, they have barbels like other catfish.

You should not put one Glass Catfish in your aquarium. They don’t do well when kept alone, always keep 5 or more in your aquarium. They will school together. They are timid and peaceful in nature.

When you first introduced them to your aquarium they will be very timid. After a few weeks, they will swim in the middle part of the aquarium. You should plant live plants and make some hiding place for them.

They can be live up to 8 years. When buying fish buy from reputable sellers.

The Appearance of Glass Catfish

The first thing you will notice about those fish is they are totally translucent. You can see their bone and organs. You can see their ribs and spine. When I first saw them swimming in an aquarium, my first thought was, where the hell is their fins and how are they swimming. Pretty funny though. At a closer look, I can spot their fins.

Their fins are all most invisible when swimming. They have forked caudal fins and no dorsal fins. Similar to ghost shrimp, their clear color helps them to hide from predators.

Like other catfish, the Glass Catfish also have barbles.

Size of the Glass Catfish

They can grow up to 4-6 inches in length. Their length can be impacted by the quality of care you gave them.

The Behavior of Glass Catfish

Unlike other catfish, they don’t spend much time near the substrate or on the rocks. They are active swimmers. They will investigate in the middle of the tank. When they are disturbed, they will hide or cover behind something.

They will school together. Seeing one far away from the others is very uncommon. This is why you should keep at least 5 of them together.

The Tank Requirements of Glass Catfish

They are native to Thailand. They inhabit moderate moving rivers and streams. They tend to stay in the middle of the water column.

They are not so hardy fish like some other freshwater fish. So keep in mind that they may not tolerate a quick change of water chemistry. If you are a beginner, I would recommend you keep some hardy fish first couple of months. This will help you to understand the water chemistry much more.

You should perform regular tests to be sure water parameters are stable.

Tank Size

The minimum tank size should be 30 gallons. You can keep 5 of them in the 30 gallons tank. This will give sufficient space to swim around. You can keep 1 fish per 5 gallons.

Water Parameters

Like I said earlier in the tank requirement section, the water parameters should be stable.

  • Water Temperature: 75oF-80oF
  • Water hardness: 8-10dGH
  • pH Levels: 6.5-7.0
  • Water flow: Moderate.


For substrates, you can use gravel or sand. Plants will help them to clean the water and also provide hiding places for them. You can use plants like Java Fern, Java Moss, or Hornwort.

Water Flow

You can’t have static water flow in your Glass Catfish aquarium. They need somewhat water flow. They don’t need high water flow. So any average flow setup will work fine.

Diet of Glass Catfish

They are omnivores, which means they will eat both meat and plants or vegetables. In the wild, they will eat small worms or invertebrates.

In the aquarium, you can also feed them with live or frozen foods.

Live or frozen foods:

  • Grindal worms.
  • Daphnia.
  • Brine Shrimp.

They will also eat pellets or flakes. Feed them once or twice a day. Feed them as much as they can eat in a couple of minutes. Overfeeding will harm the overall tank environment.

Tankmates for Glass Catfish

They are peaceful fish. You can keep them 5 fish in the same tank. You should not put bigger fish because they can eat your glass catfish.

Here is the list of tankmates that are great for

  • Kuhli Loach.
  • Cory Catfish.
  • Moly fish.
  • Swordtails.

You can also find other tank mates that aren’t listed above. Feel free to explore and search for new tank mates.

Hey, I am Shuvradeb Biswas a content writer. Fishkeeping is my hobby. There are many problems I faced during my first fishkeeping. So, I made the blog to help new fishkeepers.

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