There comes a time in everyone’s life when you need to change something. Even a small change can make a difference. You become bored with the display of your tank which used to be beautiful. You feel like you can improve it or simply change something and make it look different. You are not satisfied with changing the arrangement and setting it up differently, you’ve done it many times. The next level is bringing in a tank mate. And instantly you are no longer bored, you start thinking which one can be a good choice for your Betta. Betta’s temperament stands as an obstacle, but there are options if you get well informed.
You start thinking about a glass catfish and here we will tell you all you need to know about them and Bettas in the same environment.
In this article:
Water Conditions For Glass Catfish And Bettas
Ghost catfish or more popularly glass catfish is one of the most famous among aquarists and certainly is a jewel in your tank. It will surely make a change that you need but you need to do certain things since it is not going to be alone in your aquarium.
Now we will introduce the water requirements and level them for a Betta and a glass catfish that are not that demanding. One of the basic problems with a glass catfish that can happen is stress and this issue stands with Bettas too. If water conditions are not satisfied for a glass catfish they get stressed and that targets the immune system which weakens and leads to disease. This also happens to a Betta so this is the first match- avoid stress providing basic needs connected to water parameters.
Let’s begin with the tank and setting it up. Glass catfish like their water warm and so do Bettas. The range of the temperature for a glass catfish is between 75- and 80-degrees F and Bettas ideal number is 78 F so the ideal Betta’s is just perfect for glass catfish. Now the PH of the water for Bettas range between 6,5 and 7,5 as long as we keep it within these borders and stable both fish will be fine.
The only thing you need to be careful with is using salt because it is extremely harmful to glass catfish and they are very sensitive to it. If there is a need for a Betta to be treated with aquarium salt the best option is to remove it from the tank until the treatment is over. Ammonia, nitrates and nitrite levels are supposed to be at 0 ppm.
Now let’s discuss the hardness of the water for a glass catfish should be in the range of 8 to 12dKH and Bettas prefer soft water less than 25 dKH. You need to level this parameter if you want it to suit both fish.
Once you have set the water you need to take care of the bottom of the tank and the best option is sand or gravel.
When it comes to water flow, they are very compatible. Both kinds like it slow, if the water flow is strong, it will provoke trouble when swimming and will cause stress. We have already mentioned that stress is very harmful to both kinds and all the stressors should be excluded.
As for the space, glass catfish need space to swim, they do love plants and hiding but they also like swimming around the tank. Here the main role falls to the size of a tank. A Betta could survive and live in a 5-gallon tank but a shoal of glass catfish, at least six, need more space if you arrange the tank the way you are supposed to. The size of a tank needs to handle a Betta, a shoal of glass catfish, all the plants and decoration, bio-load produced by all the fish and still plenty of room for swimming. The best size for a Betta and a shoal of glass catfish is 30 gallons and if possible, more. Now after all the facts provided you are ready to start setting and arranging the tank.
Glass Catfish Behavior
Glass catfish can be surprising when it comes to behavior and temperament. By nature, they are nice and peaceful and usually mind their own business. On the other hand, they are extremely active swimmers. They hardly ever rest and most of the time spend swimming in the school around the middle of the tank rather than ducking in the sand.
But joining any fish with a Betta and how they make along will mostly depend on Betta’s temperament. They tend to harass other fish, find nip and bite so if they are not occupied with something else in the tank they will go after glass catfish. If they are attacked glass catfish won’t fight back because it is in their nature. If this occurs, the only solution is a tank divider or to separate them permanently in another tank or they will not survive. If you provide enough hiding places, heavily fill the tank with plants there is a good chance that this unpleasant situation never happens. We hope that a Betta will stay around the top and somewhere at the upper middle of the tank and let a shoal of glass catfish freely swim.
Another important thing about their temperament is that they will hardly survive alone. Glass catfish are schooling fish and the least number is three but they will only thrive in a shoal of ten to twelve. In a shoal this big they will be more confident and swim freely so you will enjoy them entirely.
Can Glass Catfish Eat Betta Food?
When it comes to food and diet you also need to pay attention if you join two different kinds. Food is like water essential for the well being of any fish and your fish needs the best diet possible.
Let’s talk a bit about what glass catfish eat in their natural habitat. While in the wild glass catfish feed on invertebrates, small worms, zooplankton, mosquito larvae but also on small fish. It is not that difficult to replicate this in a tank.
Like with many other kinds, keep the rule of two to three minutes feeding, meaning that you give them the amount they can eat in a couple of minutes. Overfeeding will produce waste that can harm the tank. If you feed them in the morning and in the evening your fish will be fine.
Luckily both kinds, glass catfish and Bettas share a similar diet so it will not be hard to feed them. Pellets and flakes are a great option to be served daily. You can introduce brine shrimps, bloodworms and Daphnia but also a bit of plant-based food. As long as you serve sources high in proteins they will be satisfied.
The only thing you need to worry about is that they get enough food meaning that a Betta doesn’t become greedy and aggressive and scare off the glass catfish when the feeding time comes. If you want to overcome this, try feeding a Betta at one end of the aquarium and glass catfish on the other.
Hopefully, the food you provide for glass catfish will sink in time for glass catfish to eat while a Betta is occupied with its meal. If this doesn’t work you can net a Betta while glass catfish eat but keep in mind that this can stress out your Betta pet. It is possible that both kinds will keep to their meal without disturbing the other and that would be the best option.
How To Choose A Glass Catfish?
One of the main issues you are dealing with when you decide to go with a new kind of fish is how to choose the right and healthy specimen. Firstly, you need to know what to look for when you find a reputable breeder.
Let’s discuss their appearance first. They do look translucent but amazing with not only their transparent bodies but their fins too. You can entirely see their organs and bones. As they belong to a cat family, they have barbels on their head that remind them of whiskers. These barbels that grow straight out, serve as an alarm to inform them of any changes, even vibrations in the surroundings. Vertical ribs and spinal columns are visible along the body. Their dorsal fin is a bit raised while the tail fin is almost invisible. Pectoral fins help them to swim quickly up and down. Their body is slim and they grow up to 5 inches. Their size mostly depends on the care they get, the diet you provide and genetics. They are not easily visible, sometimes hard to notice which helps them avoid predators.
How Many Glass Catfish Can I Keep With My Betta?
Talking about the number of glass catfish in your tank firstly you need to know that they come in shoals. A single glass catfish cannot survive so you need to have a minimum of five to six if you want them happy. They will thrive only in a shoal of ten to twelve but that would require a very big tank. On one hand, your Betta will do well in a 5-gallon tank but on the other hand, if you intend to add a shoal of six glass catfish you will need a tank that is a minimum of 3o gallons. That way you will have room for all the fish, decorations, plants and enough swimming places.
You can guess by now that a Betta and glass catfish can live together in the same aquarium. They share similar water conditions and similar diets which is the basis of their existence. There is always the matter of your Betta’s temperament but you will know better if that can cause problems. If the temperament of your Betta allows a tank mate and you decide to go with glass catfish this is what you need to remember:
- By nature, glass catfish are peaceful and they never attack, bite or fin nip
- Glass catfish require a lot of hiding places which you can provide with plants, caves and decoration
- Glass catfish also need a lot of places to swim freely
- You should have a shoal of at least six, a single glass catfish cannot survive alone
- You need at least 30 gallons tank for a shoal of six glass catfish and a Betta if you want them healthy and happy
- Water parameters for both fish need to be constant or they will become stressed and that would lead to illness
- Both kinds need a varied diet to thrive and grow, the base should be meat but surely add plant-based ingredients too.
- Feed them twice a day at different parts of the aquarium to avoid provoking your Betta. If your Betta starts attacking glass catfish you will have to use a divider or put them in a different aquarium.
We hope that we have helped with the information we provided and now it is on you to decide whether to put or not these two kinds in the same tank.