Ghost Catfish

The Ghost Catfish, or Glass Catfish, is known for their transparent body, which gives them the appearance of a ghost or as if they are made out of glass. In this article, we will explore the various aspects of the Ghost Catfish, including its size and appearance, region, behavior, diet, and how to keep them at home.


The Ghost Catfish is a relatively small fish species, with a maximum size of 10 centimeters (4 inches) in length. They have a long, slender body and a transparent appearance that makes them a unique addition to any aquarium. The head is relatively small and pointed, with large eyes that are positioned towards the top of the head. A clear feature of these remarkable fish are their barbels on their head, most catfish have these to some extent. They point out from their nose. Hence their name catfish, as it looks like they have whiskers. These make them extremely sensitive to changes in their surroundings and some can even detect electromagnetic waves. Scientists study this magnetic gene in fish as they believe someday it might help in fighting Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy in human beings.


The Ghost Catfish is native to Southeast Asia, specifically the Mekong basin in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. They are typically found in shallow, slow-moving rivers and streams, particularly those with sandy bottoms and plenty of vegetation.


Ghost Catfish are a peaceful fish species that prefer to live in groups of at least 6 individuals. Most catfish are energetic, but prefer to stay on the bottom of the tank. Glass Catfish are exceptional as they enjoy swimming around. They are not aggressive towards other fish, but they can be easily intimidated by larger, more aggressive species. They use their barbels to navigate as the water visibility in their natural habitat tends to be low. These are real sensory organs important for their survival. The see-through, glass-like ghost appearance is another survival technique for these unique fish. In their natural habitat water visibility conditions are poor and these catfish look just like debris floating around in the water making them nearly invisible for potential predators.


The Ghost Catfish is an omnivorous species that feeds on a variety of small invertebrates, including insects, worms, and crustaceans. In captivity, they can be fed a variety of frozen or live foods, including brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia. They can also be fed a high-quality pellet or flake food designed for catfish. During feeding keep an eye on them as these shy fish are sensitive to bullying from other ‘faster’ fish and make sure they are actually getting to the food you feed them. Feed them twice a day to keep them well fed, healthy and happy.

Keeping a Ghost Catfish at home

This species is very sensitive to water condition changes, they do not respond well to changes in temperature, pH or other parameters. They require a tank that is at least 76 liters (20 gallons), with plenty of hiding places such as live plants or rocks. The bigger the tank, the better as it’s easier to keep water parameters stable in a larger tank. The water temperature should be kept between 22-28 °C (72-82 °F), with a pH between 6.0-7.5.

Ghost Catfish prefer to live in groups of at least 6 individuals, so it is important to provide enough space for each fish to swim and hide. They are sensitive to high levels of nitrates and other toxins, so it is important to maintain a regular cleaning schedule and keep the water quality high.

In conclusion, the Ghost Catfish is a unique and fascinating fish species that is native to Southeast Asia. They have a distinctive appearance, with a transparent body that gives them the appearance of a ghost when swimming. They are sensitive fish, therefore it is important to provide them with enough space and high-quality water conditions to ensure they thrive in a home aquarium.

Scientific nameKryptopterus vitreolus
Type of aquariumFreshwater
SizeUp to 10 cm / 4 inches
RegionNative to Southeast Asia, specifically the Mekong basin in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia
Ideal tank size76 liters / 20 gallons
Ideal water temperature22 – 28 °C / 72 – 82 °F
pH6.0 – 7.5
DietOmnivorous, feeding on small invertebrates such as insects, worms, and crustaceans; can be fed frozen or live foods, as well as high-quality pellets or flakes
Life span5 to 8 years in captivity
SchoolingPrefers to live in groups of at least 6 individuals

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