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How to Care for a Pregnant Glass Catfish!

Introducing a glass catfish to your freshwater tank is an excellent idea, but never remove them from the wild for captivity. Instead, work with a reputable and qualified vendor that can provide all that you need for these tropical freshwater fish.

These fish originate from warm rivers in Africa and Asia, thriving in water around 75 to 80-degrees F, and typically grow up to around sixinches long.

It is the unique look of the glass catfish that make it so popular among aquarists and enthusiasts widely. The fish appears to be see-through, transparent, so you can visually observe its skeleton and organs. It is quite an amazing sight.

The glass catfish has two whiskers on each side of its face which are actually barbels that help the fish navigate its way around the environment. It is these ‘whiskers’ that give the fish its catfish moniker.

When it comes to breeding this species, there are some things to know about the care and habitat of a pregnant glass catfish. Again, a pregnant fish should not be removed from its natural habitat for captivity. Taking a species out of nature is cruel- and may be illegal in many areas.

How Long Are Glass Catfish Pregnant?

The pregnant glass catfish female begins to appear pregnant at 20-40 days. Keep in mind that wild fish species have ample food supplies this time of year- so they have the fuel and stamina for spawning.

After spawning, the female will spread the eggs around the plants on the floor of the river- or aquarium- until they hatch, typically three or four days later.

Unless you have experience with pregnant catfish, you could mistake a pregnant glass catfish with a chubby male.

The key lies in where their protruding belly is located: an expectant female catfish displays a bulge in the abdomen that is round or even boxy in appearance, whereas a chubby catfish may have a bulging chest.

Furthermore, a pregnant catfish has a telltale spot near the back of their abdomen and a bulge that becomes darker and more pronounced the further along they are.

In addition to these signs, there are others that will point toward the glass catfish being pregnant. Some pregnant catfish may struggle a bit simply swimming- don’t try to render aid, just leave her be.

Expectant mothers also nest, which means the fish will prepare a place for her babies in the habitat which means she is close to giving birth. Another sign that a female in the tank is pregnant is an increase in attention from the male fish in the tank.

“Glass Catfish” by MacAnthony is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Do Glass Catfish Lay Eggs?

Glass catfish lay eggs that they spread and hide in the vegetation on the floor of their habitat. This species typically spawn in spring and summer, when the water reaches temperatures between 75 and 80-degrees F.

Glass catfish are particularly elusive during spawning season, as they hide and nest before laying their eggs in the cracks and crevices of their surroundings. Most catfish prefer to lay eggs around rocks, by banks or beds, and in old logs.

The glass catfish mate during the cooler, rainy season, and they use their ‘whiskers’ or barbels to identify predators and keep trouble at-bay.

This is critical given the murkiness of the deep water that they prefer. As soon as the female finds just the right spot, she will lay her eggs and the male then comes closer to fertilize the eggs.

At this point, the male glass catfish is charged with protecting the eggs and keeping them safe from predators. The male also helps ensure the eggs don’t become buried and lost in the soft sediment of water’s bottom. The female leaves after the eggs have been fertilized.

How Often Are Glass Catfish Able To Produce Eggs?

The Glass catfish is able to produce eggs once a year during spawning season, just like all other species of fish. Again, these fish tend to mate during the heaviest rainfall seasons, and there is a science to breeding these fish in captivity.

In the wild, the female departs after fertilization, and in aquariums, you need to keep males and females in separate tanks to nudge the fish to breed. After the female has laid eggs, the male can be introduced to fertilize them and take things over from that point.

The female is done with the breeding process as soon as the male steps in to fertilize the eggs. She typically will lay low, hiding out in the vegetation at the bottom of the habitat. She can be prone to biting and aggressive behavior after spawning, so if you have glass catfish, be wary.

If you are trying to breed glass catfish, remember to increase their nutritional intake during spawning season to ensure they have the strength and fuel needed for the task ahead. It helps to provide plenty of protein via live sources, when possible, to help keep them strong and virile when you are waiting for them to lay their eggs.


Thinking of breeding pregnant glass catfish? There is a lot to know about this unique species that merit some research and guidance. Remember that in nature, the fish spawn at a time when food reserves are abundant, thus providing them with the strength they need.

Also, the male will take over the tank and caring for the young after fertilization; in essence, the male of the species will reject the female after she lays the eggs, sending her into hiding and often to the floor of the habitat. Use these tips to care for your pregnant glass catfish- talk to exotic pet supplier and aquarium retailers to learn more!