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Glass catfish (Kryptopterus vitreolus) – content, dilution

Glass catfish (Kryptopterus vitreolus) NG KOTTELAT, 2013.

Previously mistakenly identified as (Kryptopterus bicirrhis).

Kryptopterus: from the Greek Cryptos, the meaning of ‘hidden / invisible’ and pterus means a fin (or wing), with reference to a decrease or absence of the dorsal fin in representatives of this genus.


This species was finally described in 2013 after several years of misidentification.

Glass Somik or “Indian Glass Somik” one of the most unusual and mysterious aquarium fish. In 1934, he came to decorative home aquariums from south-eastern Asia, but even now little is known about him.

Habitat: river systems with dense vegetation in the south-east of Thailand.


Glass Soma (Kryptopterus) are from the south-east of Asia.

Description: the trunk is elongated and flattened from the sides. The dorsal fin with one ray is located immediately behind the head, it is very small in size and is almost always pressed to the body.

Transparent anal begins at the head and stretches to the caudal fin bifurcated and also transparent. Adipose fin absent.

A long pair of antennae is located on the upper jaw.

This species lacks pigmentation of the body and scales, with the result that the body becomes transparent. The internal organs and the spine are clearly visible.

The color of the body of the glass catfish led him to another name “ghostly / phantom”. The body of the fish is so transparent that through it you can see not only its internal structure, but also the aquarium landscape.

With different lighting somik gets different rainbow shades with a metallic sheen, while remaining transparent.

Females are larger and fuller than males, but fish can only be distinguished after puberty.

In aquarium conditions rarely reach a length greater than 80 mm.

Arrangement and parameters of the aquarium: gregarious and sociable fish, so it is better to keep from six or more individuals, otherwise catfish can feel bad. For such a number of glass soms you need a capacity of 70-100 liters and basic dimensions of at least 90 * 30 cm.

Equipping the aquarium, you should create as close as possible to the natural habitat: plant a large number of plants, leaving free areas for the movement of fish. Floating plants that scatter the upper light, help catfish feel safe, but are not mandatory. You can create a moderate flow of water in the aquarium.

Fine gravel or sand of dark shades will be suitable as a soil, and snags from natural decorations.

The lighting should be dim and diffuse, glass catfish feel more confident in the shaded areas of the aquarium.

Water parameters: 21-27 ° C, pH 5.5-7.0, dH 4-15.

Do not allow sudden changes in temperature.

Effective filtration with aeration and regular replacement of a quarter of water with fresh water are necessary, as the fish are sensitive to the purity of water, as well as to the content of nitrates and ammonia in it.

Glass catfish (Kryptopterus vitreolus) they are very peaceful and even a little shy, so their neighbors can only be the same peaceful and small fish with a calm disposition: guppies, danios, rasbora, corridors, various types of haracin and labyrinth, dwarf cichlids.

Content with large and aggressive fish is contraindicated.

Do not sit in a biologically immature aquarium, are sensitive to fluctuations in the chemical composition of water.

Nutrition: It is desirable to diversify their diet, they love live and frozen food very much: Artemia, pipe worker, daphnia, bloodworms, and corret. Dry food is good to be taken in the form of sinking flakes and pellets, but it is important that they are small, as the fish have a small mouth.

The main difference between ghost catfish and all other catfish is that they do not take food from the bottom, preferring to gather it in the water column or on the leaves of plants.

Reproduction: Breeding is rare and usually random. Almost all the fish that go on sale, caught in natural waters or grown on special farms in the south-eastern part of Asia.

However, there are still cases of successful breeding in captivity.

First of all, it is necessary to prepare manufacturers, it is necessary to provide somics with good nutrition with live food. In nature, they breed in the rainy season, so in the aquarium you need to create an imitation of rain to stimulate spawning, a daily water change of 1/4 of the volume of the aquarium. Reduce the water temperature to 22-24 ° C and reduce the water level to half the normal.

Every day, add a small amount (5% of the total) of soft water to the aquarium.

Water parameters in spawning: 20-24 ° С, pH 6.8-7.0 (?), DH up to 5-6.

Glass catfish usually spawn in flocks, but pair spawning is also possible. The female lays several hundred eggs, usually on the leaves of plants.

Then adult individuals settle out from spawning. After the end of the incubation period lasting 5-7 days, the fry begin to swim and take live dust.

Start feeding the fry from the newly hatched / nauplii brine shrimp.

They become sexually mature in 1.5-2 years.

In captivity longevity Glass Catfish / Ghost Catfish (Kryptopterus vitreolus) is about 5 years old.

Information for curious:

The last few decades of aquarium glass catfish are usually referred to as Kryptopterus bicirrhis in the scientific literature, but a new (2013) article (http://zoobank.org/urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:EC31E0FE-4F26-441A-A1E9 -2A9081102ED9) published in the journal “Zootaxa” by Dr. Ng Heok H. and Maurice Kottelat shows that this popular species, in fact, was called / identified erroneously for more than eighty years.


Pseudo Glass Catfish (Kryptopterus bicirrhis ).

This species of Kryptopterus bicirrhis is a rarity in the aquarium trade. These two (authors) say that K. bichirris does not have a transparent body. This fish grows much larger (up to 245 mm).

It is possible that at some point in the past 30 years or so, K. bicirrhis was fish imported for trade, like glass Somiki.


Glass Cat (Kryptopterus vitreolus) 2013

Now that same Glass Cat, which falls into our aquariums under the name Kryptopterus bicirrhis, has the official scientific name – Kryptopterus vitreolus. Its specific name is derived from the Latin vitreus, which means “glass”.

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