The Synodontis fish is upside down indeed, but right way up in character!

Anecdotes and Behavior

The Synodontis fish is made up of a few species obviously. Yet its distinctive feature is that it loves to leisurely swim upside down from time to time leading to its commonly used name of 'upside down catfish'.

This ability by itself is truly amazing. All you fish enthusiasts out there, or budding enthusiasts, will know that in general if a fish is upside down then you are in big trouble. Most fish need to be right side up to function normally and so if they are upside down, it is likely its on the verge of death unless you have some extraordinary first aid ability or perhaps even some innate skill like Reiki.

So here is a fish that defies the normal rules of tropical fish and really fish in general. It swims upside down from time to time and truly loves it!

Now again, some species do it more often than others. I have had the pleasure of keeping 2 species, one a darker type and the other a lighter spotted type. The darker variety grows faster and larger than the other one and I think its also the more interesting of the two as well.

It was from this variety, that I named one Big Daddy Kane.
So why did I call this Synodontis fish Big Daddy Kane you ask?

Well firstly of course its because he/she was the biggest fish in the fish tank at the time. I bought Big Daddy Kane as a wee fella, probably the size of my little finger or so and it grew to well about the size of my hand. Big Daddy Kane grew rapidly, and as I described in the fish facts page, for a long while it looked as if all the Synodontis Fish were happy to eat whatever fell to the fish tank floor and I mean whatever!

Over time, I could see that they would congregate to the floating food pellets and consume large quantities of that, almost depriving the other fish, but as we all know, less food is better than more food so it worked fine all round. The Synodontis fish grew rapidly and so Big Daddy Kane was born.

Big Daddy Kane (BDK) was not only large but as any large fish would, BDK would assert its dominance among the other Synodontis fish and also the other fish in the fish tank. BDK did this though without much aggression, I suppose the rest knew BDK was bigger and that was enough. There were chases that happened now and then but nothing untoward happened.

The thing about BDK, not only did BDK do the usual, swim upside down, hang out at the bottom and chase other fish around, gobble up a lot of the food but BDK also had character. That's right, this guy is one that sees you and literally takes you on.

Most fish, scuttle about at the very sight of a human being, let alone their master. I suppose in their eyes, its something huge coming their way and instinct takes over which means swim to the other side or just generally go slightly nuts since there is not much place to swim away to.

Not BDK.

BDK, would come to where you are, or if you went to where it was hanging out, BDK would hardly move. In fact, often times BDK would turn and confront me and there we will look at each other for a time and just chill!

Often I would be the one speaking (obviously) and it would seem like a one way conversation would be happening. At the same time BDK specifically, and the Synodontis fish in general have a true 'regal' feel about them. Perhaps, its because when they are healthy, their fins are up in full array and their leisurely ability to chill, either at the bottom or upside down, gives a feeling of presence.

This ability, to sit and watch (and talk) to your regal pet fish is something not at all usual. I wrote about this in the Snakehead fish section as well and so these 2 are basically 2 in a thousand.

The Synodontis fish grows fast and lives long. BDK lived for many years in my fish tank and you can find all over the web as well, many accounts that they will live to well over 10 years, of course given that they are provided with optimal surroundings.

This is a wonderful fish for your community fish tank, in more ways than one and probably in more ways that only you alone can personally discover.

Fish Satisfaction Index (FSI)

That's right, I came up with my own criteria on how satisfying a fish is in some way, I am calling it FSI. How?

Well in the following way:

Easy care?
This fish is really easy to care for. As long as you ensure your filtration system is optimal, so you dont run into bad quality water, then the Synodontis Fish will thrive. Its quite hardy, hardly running into the usual tropical fish diseases. It feeds off the fish tank floor and readily takes floating food pellets. All round, quite easy fish to keep.

Nice colors?
There are a few species around, mostly darkish, greyish and brownish. some with spots and some with lines. They are not the prettiest of fish in that sense but as I said, they have some sort of character about them.

Fishing/Reeling satisfaction?
The Synodontis Fish is an aquarium fish so not one for the fishing enthusiast.

Overall FSI?
8/10 - I give the Synodontis Fish an 8 out of 10 simply because its easy to care for, they dont cause trouble and generally is cool to watch. They arent that pretty and hence the lost in some points but overall, I would recommend them for any community fish tank for sure.

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