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African glass catfish

The Majestic African Glass Catfish

The African Glass Catfish, more commonly referred to as the African Clown Catfish, is a unique and majestic species of catfish. With their large eyes, transparent body, and speckled patterns, they stand out among other species. Native to West Africa and Cameroon, and a popular dweller of home aquaria, the African Glass Catfish has become an iconic species due to its unique features.

A Transparent Delight

Arguably the most striking aspect of the African Glass Catfish is its transparency. When first born, they are quite clear with only their eyes being the only easily visible organ – giving them the moniker of The Ghost Fish. This transparency makes them a pleasure to admire as you can view their internal organs, veins, and muscles even without the use of microscope. This transparency transforms as they age, however, as their body becomes speckled with grey/brown spots, and their fins become patterned with light pink and blue.

A Divided Living Space

Unlike many other species of fish, African Glass Catfish prefer to live separately from one another. This is due to their territorial nature; when two African Glass Catfish find themselves in the same tank they will fight and chase each other in a desperate attempt to claim the tank as their own. This can lead to stress and physical damage to the fish, so it’s important to give the African Glass Catfish a tank of its own. That is not to say they should be kept alone; you simply need to provide a sizable tank so they have enough space to claim their own spot without conflicting with their tank mate.

A Nocturnal Nature

African Glass Catfish are nocturnal, and shy away from light during the day. During this time they will hide in dark crevices, sunken trees, or even suspension. If a fish is exposed to sunlight for too long, it will get stressed out, so it’s important to give these fish a dark and quiet refuge where they feel safe and can complete their daily habits.

African glass catfish two

Hunting Habits

African Glass Catfish are predators and they enjoy hunting smaller fish like mosquito larvae. They have an uncanny ability to sense the movements of their prey, this combined with their stocky body shape and instinct allows them to quickly Zero in on their prey and ambush them. To supplement their diet you can offer them bloodworms, meals worms, chopped krill, as well as other suitable sized fish foods.

Care and Maintenance

When caring for African Glass Catfish, there are a few things you must take into account. The first is that the water must be clean and of high quality, as water with a high nitrate and ammonia count can be lethal to these fish. The second is that the tank must be heated appropriately, with temperatures ranging from 22 – 26 degrees Celsius being ideal. Lastly, the tank should be kept in low light, having weak LED lights or dark substrate will create a good environment and help the fish stay stress free.


The African Glass Catfish is one of the most unique species of catfish, and to have one swimming around in your aquarium certainly makes it stand out and makes it a talking point. Though they have very specific requirements and can be a bit territorial, if you can meet their needs African Glass Catfish can be a great addition to any tank.

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