- Scientific Name: Kryptopterus bicirrhis
- Family: Siluridae
- Size: 2½ inches
- Temperature: 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
- Alkalinity: Neutral to acidic, moderately soft
- pH: 6.8 to 7.2
- Origin: East Indies (Indonesia) to Thailand and Cambodia
The glass catfish is one of the most unusual fish commonly kept in the hobby, and it is certainly the most transparent. All of the bones and the sac that holds the internal organs are clearly visible through the transparent flesh of the glass catfish. Fortunately, the glass cat is delicate enough that it cannot be abused by being dyed different colors as has been done with the common glassfish.
The glass catfish is relatively difficult to keep, but if its basic conditions are met this fish makes an interesting addition to a community tank — or alone in a single species tank. The biggest problems are that the glass cat absolutely must be kept in groups of at least six, and the fish must be fed frozen (or live) foods, at least to begin with. If you purchase only two of them and toss them into a tank with active fish, they almost certainly will not survive. This fish seems to have a decided preference for worms, and should be started out on bloodworms (frozen or freeze-dried) and freeze-dried Tubifex worms. With the glass cat in a community tank, be sure to observe at feeding time to make sure this fish gets some food.
The other problem with this fish is its high susceptibility to a bacterial infection, which shows up as a blotchy, opaque place on the fish’s body. Once this starts it is very difficult to cure, so it is better to keep the conditions optimal to avoid contraction of the disease. If there ever was a fish that really cries out for a quarantine tank, the glass cat is that fish. Even a 5-gallon tank will suffice. Quarantining this fish for two or three weeks will help you ensure the fish is feeding properly and you can also watch for blotchy disease so it can be treated early. A quarantine tank should be used for all new fish you plan to introduce into an existing tank, but for the glass cat it is an absolute must.
The glass cat has never been bred, even though there have been some undocumented claims of this being done.