Synodontis Fish Facts
Synodontis Fish belong totally in the fish tank.
You could probably keep it in a pond but why obscure the spectacle of this interesting fish?
Fish Farming Potential?
This is not a common food fish. It is, however, fairly important for the aquarium fish trade.
Synodontis are pretty harmless, definitely not a predator at all.
In fact they dont really bother other fish and other fish dont bother them. They do bother their own kind once in a while, nothing nasty but thats about it.
You can generally buy this fish in small sizes from the pet store. Probably the size of your little finger. Be prepared though, as they are long lived ( > 5 years easy, with many accounts of > 10 years) and will grow to the size of your hand or so, depending on the species.
In the beginning when small, I swear I have no idea what they eat! I imagine they do eat floating pellets when small but I have the feeling they are quite the 'trash' keepers as well if you know what I mean. As they grow bigger though, you can visibly see them congregate at the surface of the water, often upside down of course, and consuming the floating pellets. They are catfish though, so anything that falls to the fish tank floor such as sinking pellets, bloodworms (frozen or live), tubifex worms and the like will be gobbled up readily as well.
Aquarium Fish Disease?
These guys are quite hardy and do not succumb to the usual aquarium fish diseases.
What I have seen though is a 'belly bulging' phenomenon where their bellies become really huge! You have to be a bit vigilant when you see this happen.
I in fact just lost one a few days ago after 5 years at least. One day the bulging belly disappeared but the fish itself was pretty weak and died the next morning.
It was the pair to another Synodontis I used to call 'Big Daddy Kane' because he/she was the fish of the tank. Big Daddy Kane also had the belly bulging thing (as you probably can see from the picture below), but the first time he/she was okay, the belly became small again and it lived for quite a while after that.
A second occurrence happened later on, and after that, sadly, that was it.
So what is this phenomenon about? Well the community seems to be split on whether its some sort of swim bladder disease/infection or simply pregnancy!? I think its the latter. Possibly, its a salmon like thing, you know lay your eggs and die and complete the natural cycle? Still, I have 2 more Synodontis, different species I believe, and they havent had this at all.
When small, Synodontis are perhaps cheap to medium cost. As they get bigger though, their price can be medium to expensive. Not exorbitantly expensive though like Koi.
Aquarium Fish Compatibility?
This fish is an ideal fish for your community aquarium. It doesnt bother other fish and neither do other fish bother it. Once in a while, if you have a few of them, they may chase each other around but nothing bad will happen. Just your usual hierarchy setting within the species thing. Their ability to swim upside down is a treat to watch as well (I wonder if the other fish are watching and wondering too sometimes!?)
Common Fish Names?
Commonly known as upside-down catfish or simply upside down fish, due to its habit of swimming upside down. Its a really totally cool ability.
Freshwater or Saltwater?
Little known fact?
They are one of those fish that you can go near the fish tank where its at, and it wont necessarily run away. It gives you an impression that perhaps they 'know' you are there or even that they 'know' you specifically and in a sense then 'know' you are the master and mean it no harm. I can vouch for that with Big Daddy Kane for sure. He would chill wherever he was and look at me and we'd just look at each other for a bit (see my main page :D). And just in case you were wondering? We were both right way up!
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