the miracle of life occurred right in my living room, and i didn’t notice for weeks.

to be fair, it wasn’t a particularly obvious event – the offspring in question is less than an inch long and pretty much completely transparent.  so, obviously not my cat, who’s neutered anyway.

i was cleaning the under-gravel filter in the fishtank (tropical freshwater), moving all the logs and plants over to one side and shooing the nervous fish away from the siphon hose, when something darted away over the gravel.  it was too small to be any of the intentional inhabitants – even the smallest tetras are pretty obvious.  my first thought was that one of the zebra danio fry i’d had in a breeder net a few months back had escaped, survived, and lived undetected in the tank for a while.

but oh no.  closer inspection proved that this wee survivor was none other than a glass catfish, Kryptopterus bicirrhis,  of which we have five.  these guys are my favorite in the tank, although the loaches (zebras and kuhlis) are pretty cool too.  once i was sure what i was seeing, i called the pebbles over to confirm i wasn’t hallucinating.  i wasn’t.

so i went online to find out about breeding behavior in glass cats.  turns out – they pretty much don’t, in captivity anyway, which means that in researching which species we wanted to get, that very important little bit of information slipped through the cracks – we tried not to get fish that were likely to be wild-caught.  i guess we know for the future.

but the fact remains that baby G was not a figment of my imagination (unless we had a mass hallucination of two… maybe i should ask the cat if he saw it too).  given his size, he has to have been living in the tank unnoticed for weeks… or else glass cats give birth to very large offspring, which seems unlikely since you’d see any eggs or fry developing inside them pretty early on.  it may be (a reliable source tells me) that our frequent water changes a few weeks back triggered spawning, although who knows what turns a glass cat on?  seems unlikely that the human race would have been quite as reproductively successful as we have been if our tissues were transparent, with our digestive systems on display for all to see.  but then, the glass cat’s eye is bigger than its brain.

i haven’t seen baby G since his sudden debut – and not for lack of trying.  but if he’s been sneaky enough to live unnoticed for a few weeks, i suppose i shouldn’t worry too much about not being able to find him.  tonight i plan to finish the filter-clean and put the tank back in order, so maybe he’ll turn up again.  fingers crossed!  we’re glad you’re here, little guy.

 

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