Eigenmannia virescens, also known as Glass Knifefish, are unique transparent freshwater fish native to tropical South America. Their unusual form and figure, coupled with their peaceful nature, make them a delightful pet for fish enthusiasts.
If you are passionate about fishkeeping and want to learn everything about Eigenmannia virescens, then you have landed on the right page.
Read on to learn all about these exceptional fish.
Where Are Glass Knifefish Found: Natural Habitat
Glass Knifefish are found in abundance throughout the Amazon River basin and are widely distributed from the Rio Magdalena drainage in Colombia to the La Plata River basin in Argentina. Most Glass Knifefish sold are sourced and exported from Colombia. Apart from Colombia and Argentina, Glass Knifefish are also found in Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay, and Guayana.
Eigenmannia virescens’ natural habitat is made up of freshwater bodies such as ponds, creeks, and floodplains. These freshwater aquarium fish usually make their home in deep, moving water to which they have adapted by mastering the ability to move vertically.
That is why you can find them in abundance in deep ponds rich with nutrition from plant debris or under clusters of floating pastures in floodplains.
Glass Knifefish Description: Shape, Size, Behavior
Named after the shape of their body, Glass Knifefish are flat and elongated, resembling a knife’s blade. They boast completely transparent fins and a primarily transparent figure, making them stand out in a group of other fish.
If you observe these translucent freshwater fish closely, you can see their internal organs bundled together toward the beginning of their body. Some Glass Knifefish also have a subtle tint of green on their body. Hence, they are also sometimes referred to as “Green Knifefish.”
Eigenmannia virescens are medium-large fish, but their size differs based on their sex. Female Glass Knifefish are no longer than 8 inches, while the male Glass Knifefish grow to be twice as big.
Because of their unusual form and transparent figure, Glass Knifefish are also significantly different from other knife fish. Unlike other’s tubular and elongated snout, Eigenmannia virescens have a relatively smaller snout with larger eyes. This difference makes them distinct and easily identifiable from the rest.
This transparent aquarium fish also has a distinct swimming style, making it appear to be propelled by a jet while moving forwards. For backward swimming, Glass Knifefish simply reverse their rippling motion, allowing them to swim backward effortlessly. Watching the effortless movement of Eigenmannia virescens is quite a pleasure, and you find yourself in awe of their graceful motion.
The average Eigenmannia virescens lifespan is between three and six years. If they are well taken care of, they live longer and grow to their maximum potential, i.e., about 16 to 17 inches.
A fun fact about Eigenmannia virescens is that their behavior might lead some to view them as dull or even nervous. However, the truth is that they are nocturnal. Hence, they are not very active during the day and operate mostly at night, making it seem like they are not that energetic or shy. Therefore, Glass Knifefish are not shy at all.
In reality, they are very friendly with other fish of the same kind. If you keep them in a tank with many plants and places to hide, you can watch them having fun during the day.
How to Care for Eigenmannia virescens: Feeding Habits and Aquarium Set-Up
If you have set their living area up correctly and understand their feeding requirements, there is little more that you need to worry about.
Eigenmannia virescens are sensitive freshwater fish. This means that the water condition of their aquarium must always be soft and only slightly acidic. Glass Knifefish respond quickly to the changes in the water condition. Therefore, you will need a high-quality filter to keep the water of their aquarium fresh.
Any type of effective filter is suitable to keep the water clean. But because Eigenmannia virescens are native to moving bodies of freshwater, we suggest you use a filter with a powerhead as the extra current will replicate their natural living conditions.
It is recommended that you perform frequent tests on the aquarium water and monitor the pH levels remain between 6 and 7 regularly. A 30 – 50 percent of water change every week is also very strongly suggested as it will help keep the water conditions conducive to Glass Knifefish’s growth and wellness.
Objectively, the aquarium’s water temperature must be within the range of 73.4 to 82.4 degrees Fahrenheit and should not drop beyond 164.4 degrees Fahrenheit at the minimum.
In terms of Eigenmannia virescens’ tank size, it is important to remember that these are medium-large fish and can grow up to 17 inches. For smaller groups of Eigenmannia virescens, you should arrange for a tank that is at least 36 inches long and 15 inches in height and width.
Initially, when the Glass Knifefish are small, 55 gallons of water would be enough. But as they grow, they will require at least 100 gallons of water in the tank.
Eigenmannia virescens derive a sense of security from thick vegetation covers and prefer places where they can hide. Therefore, we recommend having lots of aquarium plants or clear aquatic tubes in the tank.
Since Glass Knifefish have poor vision and use electrical signals to navigate their way through the tank, they will perceive the tube as a place where they can find cover while you will also be able to see them through it.
You should also remember that Eigenmannia virescens are nocturnal creatures, so the tank should receive only subdued light. If possible, keep them in a dark location. You can also create suitable conditions by providing lots of floating plants that provide cover and shady places for these beautiful transparent fish to hide in.
Glass Knifefish are carnivores but not fully-fledged predators that cannot be kept in a tank with other fish. They have small mouths, so they pose no threat to anything larger than insect larvae and crustaceans, both of which happen to be their favorite foods. When living in their natural habitat, they also like feeding on small fish.
Given their carnivorous nature, you would need to feed your Eigenmannia virescens small meaty meals. These include small-sized crustaceans, small fish, brine shrimp, and snails. You can give them fresh or frozen meat at your convenience. Eigenmannia virescens also occasionally enjoy eating flake, granular foods, and freeze-dried food, so those also remain an option.
When it comes to eating habits, due to their nocturnal nature, Eigenmannia virescens only actively eat at night. But if you prefer to feed them during the day, you can train them to do so too. However, that will require some time and effort on your part.
Eigenmannia Virescens Tank Mates: Suitable Companions in the Aquarium
Glass Knifefish are neither aggressive nor fighters. Rather, they are coy and fearful. They are also neither huge nor very small. In fact, Eigenmannia virescens’ size is approximately 17.7 inches on average.
Therefore, when it comes to tank mates for Glass Knifefish, you should keep them in a community of similarly sized, peaceful fish. Potential tankmates include, but are not limited to, gouramis and loricariids as they have similar size and friendly temperaments.
When considering setting up an aquarium with Eigenmannia virescens, you need not worry about their predatory behavior. In addition to being non-aggressive, these transparent freshwater fish can only eat significantly smaller fish due to their small mouths. Hence, Glass Knifefish are incapable of posing a threat to your other pet fish, given you don’t put them in a tank with tiny ones.
With that being said, it is also worth noting that the most suitable tank companions for Glass Knifefish are other Glass Knifefish. So if you want your pet Eigenmannia virescens to thrive, put them together in groups of five or more. They will automatically structure their community into a hierarchy without posing any harm to each other.
Glass Knifefish are friendly and communicative amongst the very few types of fish that actually thrive with their own kind. They might occasionally indulge in destructive behavior with each other, but it rarely ever results in injury. So overall, Eigenmannia virescens are peaceful, friendly, and happiest with their own kind.
Watching Glass Knifefish communicate with each other and live in a community can be an absolute delight, making them all the more desirable as pet aquarium fish.
How Are Eigenmannia Virescens Grown in Captivity: Breeding Process
Eigenmannia virescens are bred in captivity by creating rainstorm-like conditions of their natural habitat in the tank. This is done by raising water levels and lowering the pH and temperature of the water.
Glass Knifefish communicate via electrical signals. These pulses of electricity are emitted by the male Glass Knifefish and identified by the females. There have been experiments in which these electrical pulses are stimulated to trigger the courtship behavior of female Glass Knifefish.
When it is time to reproduce, female Glass Knifefaish lay 100-200 eggs on plant surfaces. These eggs are then fertilized by male Glass Knifefish, with more dominant males fertilizing eggs from multiple female Glass Knifefish.
Once their eggs hatch, it is important to separate the fry from the parents to maximize their chances of survival.
Eigenmannia Virescens Stats: Quick Summary
We have talked about every aspect related to Eigenmannia virescens fishkeeping.
Let’s quickly go over the most critical bits covered in this article:
- The common name of Eignemannia virescens is Glass Knifefish.
- Glass Knifefish are found in freshwater bodies in tropical South America.
- Glass Knifefish are nocturnal creatures.
- Keeping Glass Knifefish in tanks is easy as they are peaceful and do not display typical Knife fish predatory behavior.
- Glass Knifefish are carnivores.
- With proper care and ideal living conditions, Glass Knifefish can live up to six years.
Eigenmannia virescens make delightful pets and are easy to keep. Whether you are starting with an empty tank or already have a few fish, this transparent freshwater fish will be an excellent addition to your aquarium. So without further ado, get yours now!
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