When we speak of catfishes, we usually think of the large and usually mud-covered freshwater fish usually found on the bottom of a body of water hiding in the mud or inside big hollowed-out roots. There is, however, a kind of catfish that also has the whiskers but is more pretty to look at. This catfish also makes for a popular option for aquarists – the glass catfish.
Unfortunately for aquarists and breeders everywhere, glass catfish are notoriously difficult to breed. Even if you have many of them in the same tank, getting pregnant glass catfish is close to impossible.
In this article, we’ll talk about the glass catfish, how to tell a pregnant glass catfish and everything else you need to know!
What is a glass catfish?
Glass catfish, unlike other catfishes that prefer to stay at the bottom of the aquarium albeit energetically, enjoy swimming around the tank.
As its name implies, the glass catfish is as transparent as glass. Its body is completely transparent, revealing everything inside its body from its bones to its internal organs. With this feature alone, the glass catfish makes for a very interesting aquarium pet.
The glass catfish, also called ghost catfish or phantom catfish, originally came from Southeast Asia, specifically Thailand. It finds its home with other peaceful animals as reflective of its natural habitat. The calm nature of the glass catfish and the subsequent calm environment they create is very good for relaxation.
But the name glass catfish refers to many different species of the skeleton catfish. Did you know that the most popular species of glass catfish was initially misidentified with a different scientific name? It was actually for a more aggressive species that is also larger in size.
But the common and popular species of glass catfish is the one with a peaceful nature and has the scientific name Kryptopterus vitreolus.
How do glass catfish breed?
Glass catfish has a great sense of community. Thus, they make for great housemates, or aquarium-mates rather. Because of their peaceful nature, they get along well with other kinds of fishes without biting each other’s tail fins. You can put them in a community tank with fishes like swordtails, mollies, and the celestial pearl danios.
They also enjoy an active social life. They usually band together in schools and swim around the tank so you are privy to a front seat show of a school of skeletons swimming around. Since glass catfishes form tight friend circles, it’s important to have more than one in the tank as keeping only one will stress out that single glass catfish.
And more importantly, because of this, glass catfish absolutely need to have a mate.
Glass catfish typically spawn during the rainy season. In Southeast Asia, this is a season of heavy rains, low temperatures, and in the case of the natural ecosystem, an abundance of food.
To make your glass catfishes believe it is the rainy season and therefore the time to breed, you have to maintain a water temperature of around 73°F. You can add small amounts of freshwater every day to simulate the rains. You also have to feed them with high levels of live food to give them the energy to spawn.
If you see two glass catfishes face to face and reaching out to the other with their barbels, then this is a good sign that you possibly succeeded in breeding glass catfish.
How to tell if you have a pregnant glass catfish?
First, you have to differentiate between male and female glass catfish. The female ones are usually larger because they need bigger stomachs for pregnancy.
If you look closely at your female glass catfish and see that their belly seems extended, look more closely. Check for tiny, round objects inside the glass catfish’s stomach. If you see some, then those are the eggs. It means that your breeding efforts were successful.
How long are glass catfish pregnant?
Take note, glass catfish aren’t livebearers. They don’t give birth to little catfish. Instead, they lay eggs.
Once you see eggs inside the stomach of the pregnant glass catfish, it won’t be long until they lay their eggs on the leaves of plants. After that, it’s just a matter of waiting for 3-4 days before the eggs hatch and the little glass catfish fry come out.
Do glass catfish lay eggs? Where do pregnant glass catfish lay eggs?
As mentioned above, yes, glass catfish lay eggs. The female will usually lay the eggs on the leaves of plants inside the aquarium. Be sure to continue mimicking the rainy season while the eggs are yet to hatch. You can wait three to four days for the eggs to hatch and welcome the newly hatched fry to the family.
Glass catfish breed abundantly in the wild but there are only a few documented instances of glass catfish breeding in aquariums. While it is possible to breed glass catfish in captivity, the temperature and freshwater conditions of the wild in addition to the abundance of food, are difficult to mimic in a tank.
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