Agassiz's Glassfish, Ambassis agassizii Steindachner 1867

Other Names: Agassiz's Chanda Perch, Agassiz's Chanda-perch, Agassiz's Perchlet, Chanda Perch, Doody, Glassy Perchlet, Inland Chanda Perch, Olive Perchlet, Pale Perchlet, Silver Spray, Von Mueller's Perchlet, Western Chanda Perch, Western Olive Perchlet

Agassiz's Glassfish, Ambassis agassizii. Source: Gunther Schmida. License: All rights reserved


A small silvery-yellow to semi-transparent glassfish often with a darker olive-brown hue above, dusky scale margins forming a network pattern, and often broad dusky margins on the dorsal, anal and pelvic fins. Agassiz's Glassfish occurs in a variety of freshwater habitats in the Murray-Darling basin, although the species is naturally extinct in South Australia and Victoria.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Thompson, V.J. 2024, Ambassis agassizii in Fishes of Australia, accessed 19 May 2024,

Agassiz's Glassfish, Ambassis agassizii Steindachner 1867

More Info


Historically found throughout the entire Murray-Darling Basin, but now extinct in Victoria and South Australia. Known from Rockhampton, Queensland, to Lake Hiawatha, New South Wales, with a translocated population in Swan Reach, South Australia. The species is thought to be naturally extinct in South Australia and Victoria.

Agassiz's Glassfish inhabits lakes, creeks, swamps, wetlands and rivers. Small schools are often seen around the vegetated edges of water bodies in areas of low flow.


Dorsal fin VII + I,7-9; Anal fin III,7-9; Pectoral fin 11-13; Caudal fin 14-15; Pelvic fin I, 5; Gill rakers 15-18 (lower limb first arch)

Body laterally compressed, elongate-oval shaped; greatest body depth 33.8 to 43.6 % SL; head length 35.1 to 40.4 % SL; snout length 7.1 to 9.6 % SL; eye large, diameter 11.6 to 14.8 % SL; mouth large, oblique; reach edge of jaw reaching to front of eye; teeth conical in jaws, on vomer and palatines; head with small spines; lateral line incomplete or in two sections, first dorsally to below spinous portion of dorsal with 0-11 tubed scales, second midlaterally on caudal peduncle with 0-15 pored scales.

Scales are cycloid and large, present on head; horizontal scale rows 10-12; vertical scale rows 24-27; cheek with 2 transverse scale rows.

Dorsal fin deeply notched, origin forward of pelvic fins; first dorsal spine small, projecting forward; anal fin below soft rays of dorsal fin; height of first dorsal fin 18.4 to 27.6 % SL; second dorsal spine longer than third dorsal spine or these spines about equal; third anal spine longer than second anal spine; anal and dorsal fins with scaly basal sheath; pectoral fins of moderate size; ventral fins large; caudal fin forked with rounded tips.


To 7.6 cm SL


Olive to semi-transparent with dusky scale margins forming a network pattern; a thin black line along middle of side, particularly evident on posterior half; fins mainly translucent except membrane between second and third dorsal-fin spines frequently blackish, and often a dusky, blackish blotch or vertical band on posterior portion of soft dorsal and anal fins, and similar marking on anterior part of pelvic fins.


Feeds on mostly on small insects and crustaceans.


The entire life cycle is completed in freshwater, and males and females mature at 1 year of age. Spawning occurs from September to December amongst aquatic vegetation in water temperatures between 23-25 C. Females lay small adhesive spherical eggs (0.7 mm diameter) that attach to aquatic vegetation and rocks on the bottom.

Larvae hatch after 5-7 days at 22ºC at a length of 3 mmTL. Swimming and feeding commences after 4-5 days (up to 9 days). Larvae school at the surface for around a month.


Sold in the aquarium industry.


  • IUCN Red List : Least Concern
  • This species has undergone a significant decline in most of the Murray Darling Basin, and is naturally extinct in South Australia and Victoria.

    Although the reasons for this decline are largely unknown, habitat degradation, predation by introduced species (especially by Eastern Gambusia and Redfin Perch), and river regulation are be contributing factors.

    Similar Species

    Ambassis agassizii is similar in appearance to Ambassis sp. (Northwest Glassfish) of north-western and central Australia but differs in having a shorter spinous dorsal fin and fewer scales in a complete row around the caudal peduncle (=14 versus 15-16 in A. sp.)


    Species Citation

    Ambassis agassizii  Steindachner, 1867, Sber. Akad. Wiss. Wien 55(1): 9. Type locality: Fitzroy River, Queensland.


    Bray, D.J. & Thompson, V.J. 2024


    Atlas of Living Australia

    Australian Faunal Directory

    Catalog of Fishes

    Agassiz's Glassfish, Ambassis agassizii Steindachner 1867


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    Steindachner, F. 1867. Über einige Fische aus dem Fitzroy-Flusse bei Rockhampton in Ost-Australien. Sber. Akad. Wiss. Wien 55(1): 9–16 figs 1–2  

    Unmack, P.J. 2001. Biogeography of Australian freshwater fishes. Journal of Biogeography 28: 1053-1089.

    Quick Facts

    CAAB Code:37310009

    Behaviour:7.6 cm SL

    Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

    Fishing:Aquarium fish



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