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The GloFish®: Genetic goodness for your aquarium


What is a GloFish®?

Can you spell “Bioluminescence”? That’s exactly what makes GloFish® so special and so beloved by aquarium enthusiasts around the world.

Possibly the most important fact about GloFish® is that they are not a naturally occurring species, like most others discussed in articles. GloFish® are genetically engineered fish. These fish are nothing more than common species modified genetically to create their signature fluorescent color. A common misconception is that these fish acquire their fluorescent attributes through injected dye or artificial coloring, which isn’t true. Rather, their colors are genetically inherited from their parents, even though human intervention certainly plays an important part in the final color manifestation.


GloFish® are available in a myriad of colors, mainly red, orange, green, blue, pink, and purple. But just like how GloFish® are a bit “extra” in their own way, so are the official designations for their colors, namely, Starfire Red, Electric Green, Sunburst Orange, Cosmic Blue, Galactic Purple, and Moonrise Pink. Fancy, right?

How did GloFish® come to be?

Bioluminescence is a subject that scientists around the world have been widely fascinated by. For many years, enthusiasts and scientists have dedicated themselves to studying and attempting to manifest said bioluminescence in a myriad of ways. The GloFish® is one such example. Scientists in Singapore were among the first to crack the code, wanting to develop a species that could help them identify toxins in polluted waterways.

However, while Singapore may have taken the first steps towards these fluorescent favorites, Texas made them commercially available for purchase. Alan Blake, co-founder, and CEO of Yorktown Technologies acquired the license for permanently fluorescent fish and then proceeded to bring the first ever fluorescent fish to the market, the Starfire Red Danio. This was way back in 2003. Fast forward to 2022, the GloFish® is available in 12 different species, as well as the 6 striking colors mentioned above. Some of these species include tetras, barbs, and zebra fish.

Tank conditions for GloFish®


These fluorescent curiosities might be completely different in color to most other species usually found in aquariums, but their tank conditions are fairly simple. A luminescent Tetra is still a Tetra, so the same conditions required for your average Tetra will apply to the GloFish® variant as well. Routine maintenance, as well as checking up on your water levels to replace the water lost through evaporation is important, as is maintaining the temperature of the water between 72 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tankmates for GloFish®

GloFish® do fine with other peaceful and mild-mannered species, and just like their non-luminescent counterparts, they are a schooling species who appreciate being in the company of their own, with 5 or more.

Be mindful of the individual needs of different species to avoid territorial aggression. Research showed that GloFish® were twice as vulnerable to predation as compared to their non-luminescent varieties. This fact makes it all the more important that GloFish® only have peaceful and non-carnivorous tankmates.

What do GloFish® eat?

Simple: Treat them like any other freshwater species within your aquarium; a regular diet for a not so regular GloFish®. Small amounts of food once or twice per day works just fine, but only so much they can consume within 5 minutes.

High quality tropical fish food is preferred, and as any veteran aquarist will tell you, the higher the quality of food given to fish, the more vibrant their coloring will be, which is all the more important where GloFish® are concerned.

Supplement their standard diet with live, frozen, or freeze-dried foods frequently throughout the week to complete their dietary requirements and you should have yourself happy GloFish®.

Different Types of GloFish®








Longfin Tetra's


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