Indian Glass Fish (Parambassis ranga)

Indian glass fish

Last updated on August 21st, 2022 at 02:48 pm

The Indian glass fish, also known as Parambassis ranga, Indian glassy perch, Indian glassy fish, or Indian X-ray fish, is one of the more colorful members of the Betta family, and it’s also one of the most popular aquarium fish worldwide.

This hardy species has a reputation for being easy to care for, and it can be an excellent choice if you want to set up your first fish tank or add some variety to your current one. Like many types of tropical fish, Parambassis ranga can live in almost any water condition, so all you need to do to keep this species healthy is change its water regularly and feed it well every day.

The Indian glass fish is an ornamental freshwater tropical fish native to India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal. Its appearance has earned it the nickname sphinx of the water because its face looks like the Egyptian sphinx. The Indian glass fish has a long slender body that can grow up to 12 inches in length and lives in clear lakes and ponds with the little current that are deep enough to allow it to reach its maximum length.

Origin and description

Indian glass fish, also called the Indian glassy fish or Indian X-ray fish, is a large sized tropical freshwater fish belonging to the family Ambassidae, from the genus Parambassis. It is one of largest species of freshwater fish found in India and it can be bred easily at home.

The origin of its name is uncertain but some believe that its X-ray appearance gave rise to its other common names. Another interesting fact about Indian glass fish is that, unlike most fishes, they are transparent with internal organs visible through their body wall. However, they are not completely see-through because their bones are white while all other organs are yellowish to reddish-brown.

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Species profile

Indian glass fish

Indian glass fish belongs to the family Ambassidae of the genus Parambassis. It is an Indian native species that has been widely cultivated and exported worldwide. The name Indian glassy fish was given because of its transparency and is also known as Indian X-ray fish or Indian glassy perch.

It can be found in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar. Indian glass fish is a popular aquarium fish.

Common names

Indian glass fish, Indian X-ray fish, Indian glassy fish, Indian glassy perch, glassfish fish, Indian glassfish, or just glass fish.

Scientific name

The scientific name for Indian glass fish is Parambassis ranga.


Indian glassy perch are usually found in slow-moving rivers with low current speed. They are freshwater tropical fishes and live in temperatures ranging from 20 to 28 degrees Celsius.

In general, they prefer shallow water with muddy bottoms but they have been reported at depths up to 2 meters deep near shorelines. They are omnivorous, feeding on small crustaceans, worms, insects, and plant matter such as algae.

Indian glass fish size

These fish species can grow up to a maximum size of 3.1 inches (8 cm) in length.

Tank size

A single Indian glass five will need a minimum tank size of 15 gallons (57 liters), but because it is a shoaling fish species, they are best kept in groups of at least five to keep your fish active, hence, an aquarium size of at least 30 gallons (114 liters) will be required as the minimum to keep them in the group.

Tank mates

Parambassis ranga is best kept in a species tank, since other fish may be aggressive towards it. Its best kept with other community fish that won’t outcompete it for food.

Some good tank mates are tetras, guppies, corys, loaches, and rainbowfish.


Indian glass fish

The aquarium trade does not often breed glass fish because it is difficult to keep the fry alive. When the male fish develop darker colors, you know that they are about to breed. You can now remove the male and a few females to a separate aquarium with extensive plantings.

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Make sure to do a large water change at night with warmer water about 82 degrees Fahrenheit (27.7 degrees Celsius). After spawning, the females will deposit up to 200 eggs on the vegetation the next morning. In order to prevent the adults from eating the eggs, it is best to remove them now.

Therefore, it is recommendable to preemptively treat the water for outbreaks if there is a possibility of fungus growing on the eggs. Hatching will occur within 24 hours, and the eggs will become swimming in 3-4 days. The majority of breeders struggle to get their fish to eat since they do not actively search for food and wait for it to come to them. Large amounts of food or target feeding might be the solution to this problem.

Introducing them back to your tank or giving them to another hobbyist should be done when they are of a size that will not be eaten by other fish.

Are they aggressive or peaceful?

Indian glass fish are usually peaceful, except during mating. Mature male Indian glass fish are especially aggressive during mating season and will attack other males. Therefore, it is best to keep just one male with several females at a time. They should be kept in groups of one male and three or more females for optimum breeding results.

Indian glass fish care

Indian glass fish

This shy species will be less nervous on a dark substrate and will display its best colors. You should plant a few areas of the tank densely, along with some floating vegetation to provide cover for the fish. You can also use rocks and driftwood. You can keep fish in both fresh and brackish water.

The fish needs to be kept in a 15-gallon tank that is fully cycled and has plenty of swimming room. Since it is a tropical species, it prefers temperatures between 76 degrees and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. The water should also contain 5 gallons of saltwater per gallon of freshwater to create a brackish environment for breeding purposes.

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While it can survive in both freshwater and saltwater environments, it prefers to live in brackish water. However, its ability to thrive in both fresh and saltwater makes it a popular choice for aquarium owners.

What they eat

The Indian glass fish is an omnivore, with a diet composed of algae, insects, crustaceans, and worms. It will occasionally nip at plants as well.

In nature, these fish feed on tiny insects and larvae. They enjoy eating flakes, algae wafers, bloodworms, and other brine shrimp.

Tank requirements

The Parambassis ranga is a species of freshwater fish which is native to India. It lives in a tropical climate and prefers water with a 6.0 – 7.5 pH, a water hardness of 5 – 19 dGH, and a temperature range of 68-75 degrees Fahrenheit.

The fish will live well in a tank that is at least 15 gallons, and ideally larger tanks. The tank should be decorated with a combination of living plants and rocks or driftwood. Rocks placed on one side of the tank help maintain water temperature because they create areas of different temperatures.

If you’re using driftwood or rocks, make sure to seal any open holes with aquarium sealant to prevent your fish from escaping. A heater can also be used to keep water temperatures stable. Indian glass fish prefers tanks with plenty of hiding places, so decorate your tank accordingly.

You can use artificial plants as well as plastic and real plants for decoration; just make sure all decorations are firmly secured so they don’t become hazards for your fish. Because Indian glass fish prefer cooler water, choose plants that require low light and won’t grow too large.

Java ferns, anubias, and java moss are good choices for small tanks. In addition to decorations, provide a substrate such as sand or gravel on which your fish can lay eggs. This is important if you want to breed your fish.

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To ensure healthy breeding, keep only one male per tank unless breeding them in pairs. Male Indian glass fish tend to be territorial, so keeping only one male per tank prevents excessive fighting over territory and spawning sites.


They can live for 3-4 years

Parasites and diseases

Most of your fish’s diseases are caused by parasites. If a fish is kept in good conditions and these parasites remain at low levels, there is little reason to treat them with medication. However, if their numbers increase, such as in overcrowded tanks or tanks that contain stressed animals, then you may have to treat them with medicine.

One way you can prevent disease outbreaks is by performing regular water changes. Do not add new fish to an aquarium unless it has been set up for several weeks. You should also quarantine new arrivals for about two weeks before adding them to your established tank.


The Indian glass fish doesn’t have any specific predators. However, larger predators such as barracudas and even other species of fish eat these beautiful creatures. It is advised that you keep your glass fish in a large aquarium with other species of fish to reduce their vulnerability. If you have predatory fish in your aquarium be sure they are fed properly so they will not bother you or your other smaller tank mates.

Do they make good pets?

Yes! Indian glass fish, or parambassis ranga, are hardy and colorful. They make beautiful additions to a community tank but are also generally peaceful enough that they could live in an aquarium by themselves. However, when kept alone, these fish will often turn on each other and kill their own kind, so it’s best to keep them in a group of three or more. Luckily for them, these are small fish and won’t eat most of your tank mates!