Giant Glassfish, Parambassis gulliveri (Castelnau 1878)

Other Names: Chanda Perch, Giant Perchlet, Gulliver's Perchlet

Giant Glassfish, Parambassis gulliveri. Source: Gerald R. Allen / Western Australian Museum. License: All rights reserved

The Giant Glassfish is a tropical species found in large rivers of northern Australia. This species is easily distinguished from other Australian ambassids by its large size, humped forehead and pattern of narrow black stripes on the side of the body.

Video of Giant Glassfish in the Territory Wildlife Park, NT

Cite this page as:
Vanessa J. Thompson, Parambassis gulliveri in Fishes of Australia, accessed 04 Dec 2021,

Giant Glassfish, Parambassis gulliveri (Castelnau 1878)

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Known from a few large rivers of northern Australia including Ord River, WA (128º35´E), Victoria River, NT (129º57´E), Flinders River (140º46´E) and Norman River (141º02´E), QLD. Also occurs in New Guinea. Tropical, inhabiting large freshwater rivers and waterholes usually with high turbidity.


Dorsal fin VII, I, 10-11; Anal fin III, 9-10; Pectoral fin 16-17.

Body compressed, deep, greatest body depth 42.0 to 47.5% of SL; head length 37.9 to 39.3% of SL; snout length 8.1 to 8.7% SL; eye diameter 10.3 to 13.3 % head length; forehead humped in profile; mouth relatively large; gill rakers well developed; supraorbital spines 1 or 2 (rarely none); nasal spine absent; preorbital ridge usually smooth; suborbital smooth; preorbital edge with 7 to 15 serrae; preopercular ridge with 3 to 13 serrae on lower limb, vertical limb mainly smooth; lower edge of preoperculum with 7 to 28 serrae, hind margin smooth; interoperculum with 4 to 14 minute serrae.

Scales relatively small, cycloid; cheek scale rows 4; vertical scale rows in excess of 35; lateral line with 37 to 42 scales, usually continuous throughout its length or occasionally interrupted in middle portion by a few tubeless scales

Second dorsal spine longer than third dorsal spine; second anal spine longer than third anal spine.


Silvery overall series of narrow dark stripes present on side (sometimes only on the upper portion); anal and ventral fins yellowish; dorsal, pectoral and caudal fins dusky.


Carnivorous feeding on small fishes and crustaceans.


Spawning occurs during June to July but little else is known of the reproductive biology of this species.


Used in the aquarium trade.


The striped body pattern is generally not evident in juvenile specimens.

Similar Species

Parambassis gulliveri is distinguished from all other Ambassids by the possession of four scale rows on the cheek, a vertical scale row count in excess of 37 and its greater size.


Parambassis comes from the Latin par meaning similar and Ambassis from the Greek, ambasis, -ios, anabasis meaning climbing up.

Species Citation

Acanthoperca gulliveri Castelnau, F.L. de (1878). Notes on the fishes of the Norman River. Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W. (1)3(1): 41–51 [45]. Norman River, QLD.


Vanessa J. Thompson

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37310017

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Large coastal freshwater rivers

Max Size:32 cm TL

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