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Main Index > Synodontis Catfish, Family Mochokidae
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Overview:

    The Mochokidae are a family of catfishes (order Siluriformes) that are known as the squeakers and upside-down catfish. There are 10 genera and about 188 species of mochokids here I will just deal with the most popular genera, the Synodontis catfish. They are Becoming more popular as availability increases, the Synodontis are an interesting addition to any aquaria. Their native ranges are the rivers and lakes of Africa south of the Sahara desert. All the family members are found only in Africa. In the home they are most commonly seen in African Cichlid tanks fulfilling the role of scavengers. To view some statistics on many individual fish, just click on any picture.
Africa

     

    General family statistics River species
    Size Medium to large, usually under 12" (30cm)
    Aquarium Depends on species, minimum 20 gallons.
    Strata Bottom
    PH 6.0 to 7.5
    Hardness Soft to medium 4-15 dH
    Temperature 72-82F (22-28C)
    Food Frozen, live , flake and tablets, some vegetable based.
    Compatibility Medium to large tankmates overall peaceful.

     

    decorated Synodontis
    Decorated Synodontis

    General family statistics Rift lake species
    Size Medium to large, usually under 12" (30cm)
    Aquarium Depends on species, minimum 20 gallons.
    Strata Bottom
    PH 7.0 to 8.5
    Hardness Medium to hard 10-30 dH
    Temperature 72-82F (22-28C)
    Food Frozen, live , flake and tablets, some vegetable based.
    Compatibility Medium to large tankmates overall peaceful.
Distinguishing traits:

 

    They are similar in shape to the Armored Catfishes, but they are scaleless with no boney plates. Synodontis grow to be quite large. They have a large Adipose fin with spiny dorsal and pectoral fins. Their face has three sets of pairs of barbels. The upper jaw pair are the longest, with the other two pairs being shorter and smooth. Most members are brightly colored when young, but tend to fade with age.

 

Synodontis decorus
Synodontis decorus

Synodontis njassae
Synodontis njassae

Care:

    The Synodontis are a hardy fish very active in their search for food. As I said they can become quite large so a big tank is in order. As the fish are twilight feeders the tank should have subdued lighting. Too much exposure to bright light, the fish will become shy and hardly be seen. The tank should be decorated with rock-caves or large driftwood and the substrate be of a fine texture.

    In the aquarium they are easily kept and will accept any kind of stock fish food. Some addition of a plant based supplement food is beneficial.

Water:
    They require water with a higher pH than neutral and a high hardness (gH) level. The water temperature should not fall below 68f
Behavior:
    In the wild the Synodontis live in lagoons and other slow-flowing waters, often forming good sized groups. They are fish of the twilight and darkness and spend much of the day hidden under submerged tree trunks or riverbanks.

Communities:

    They are a nonaggressive fish, which will get along well with other fish, although they have a habit of constantly touching the fish with their Barbels. All members live a long time.

 

schoutedeni
Synodontis schoutedeni.

Breeding:
    Very little is known of their breeding habits. Recently a number of hobbyist have been successful.
Synodontis nigriventris
Synodontis nigriventris

 

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