Matt Clarke looks at one of the larger glass fishes, Parambassis wolffii.
Common name: Thai chandid
Scientific name: Parambassis wolffii (Bleeker, 1851)
Origin: Museum records show that the species has been collected from Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia and Brunei Darussalam. The fish is known from the Maeklong, Mekong and Chao Phraya basins.
Size: One of the largest Parambassis species at up to 20cm/8".
Diet: Stomach analyses show that these eat insects, crustaceans and small fishes. Captive fish usually accept frozen bloodworm, brineshrimp and mysis, but may be initially reluctant to take dried foods.
Water: Some books suggest placing this species in brackish water, presumably because the most common Parambassis, P. ranga, sometimes lives in brackish water. However, to the best of my knowledge, like the related P. pulcinella, this is actually a true freshwater fish. PFK contributor Dr Neale Monks says it is debatable that any of these species need salty water, contrary to popular belief.
Aquarium: Given the large size of this ambassid, it's best kept in a very spacious tank of, say, 120cm/48" at least. They are generally relatively peaceful fish and mix well with barbs, loaches and Devario.
Identification: The short, deep body is characteristic of the species. The second anal fin spine is also enlarged and there are 43-46 scales in the lateral line series.
Notes: Originally described as Chanda wolfii, this glassfish is one of the largest members of the Parambassis genus. The species name has previously been incorrectly spelt wolfii. The genus contains around 14 species, including: P. altipinnis; P. apogonoides; P. confinis; P. dayi; P. gulliveri; P. lala; P. macrolepis; P. pulcinella; P. ranga; P. siamensis; P. tenasserimensis; P. thomassi; P. vollmeri and P. wolffii.
Availability: This species is not seen very often, especially at this size. These ones were on sale at Wildwoods in Middlesex in January 2006.
Price: Usually £5-10.