his months factsheet effort concerns one of the more aggressive
species of the Mochokidae familly and as such ranks alongside the
even more aggressive Synodontis schall as the 'Bonnie and
Clyde' of the Synodontis world.
is found in the rivers of the Congo basin of Africa in the country
of Zaire which is now renamed The
Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was first discovered by Boulenger
in 1899 in Boma, Leopoldville, just south of the capital Kinshasa
on the Congo River near the confluence with the South Atlantic
ocean in the aforementioned country. The Holotype resides in the
Natural History Museum, London.
One identifying feature of this Synodontis
is the humeral process (the bony protrusion leading out from the
bony head shield) which is long, pointed and curves out at the end.
On adult specimens the tip of the humeral process is adorned with
spines (see above image) which makes it look ragged looking. This
is a good identifier for this species.
As mentioned previously this is quite an aggressive Syno and can
grow quite large. Its certainly not in the same league as S.schall
but never the less still a bit of a 'grump' when housed especially
with its own kind.
Although it will grow
to around the 12¼" mark (30.5cm) in the aquarium
it is reported to grow to twice this size in its natural
The genus Synodontis sports three pairs of barbels
1pair: maxillary, 1 pair: outer mandibular and one pair
of inner mandibular barbels that are branched (filaments).
There are only three species that have filaments on their
maxillary barbels as well as the mandibular, and they
are, S. clarias,
All in all not a beginners
fish, not in the sense of managing to keep them, but of
their aggressive behavior towards other inhabitants in
the community tank. Best left to catfish enthusiasts who
know the nature of this animal and can spot problems and
are on hand to remedy them, such as moving from the tank
any fish that is getting bullied. I am not being pessimistic
here as I think that the genus Synodontis is a
fascinating group of fish and my tanks have always housed
one or two as their interaction in the tank when feeding
or just going about their business is worth it alone in
The side map shows where the first discovery of Synodontis
acanthomias was made by Boulenger in 1899.
Dorsal 1/6. Humeral process, long, pointed
and curved out at the end. Deeply forked caudal fin with extension
to top lobe.
Black spots on a grey/brownish body. Spotted
to some extent in the belly region.
A better environment for it would be with
large Cichlids and even a Lake Tanganyika tank setup would do fine
as S. acanthomias is very tolerant of different water conditions
and so a higher p.H.factor would not faze it too much. If housed
with other Synodontis I would give it a large tank (4ft or
above) and give them plenty of shelter from each other and then
monitor them to see how they will interact with one another. I find
it to be a trial and error in keeping Syno's together, some
get on fine, while others will not tolerate a certain species/individual,
so watch for a few days when introducing, and have another tank
ready if you are spotting any problems.
Anything and everything!. Will eat any foods
given to your other tank inhabitants and will also take flakefood
that floats to the botom. Feed also tablet foods and frozen bloodworm
which they find a favourite. Some form of vegetable content would
also help to keep this Syno in tiptop condition.
Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2002.
FishBase.World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org,
20th August 2002
Ancient name for an undetermined fish from the Nile (Cuvier
acanthomias: Very spiny.
Pertaining to the humeral process.
Gosse, J.-P., 1986. Mochokidae.. p. 105-152. In J. Daget, J.-P.
Gosse and D.F.E. Thys van den Audenaerde (eds.) Check-list of the
freshwater fishes of Africa (CLOFFA). ISNB, Brussels, MRAC, Tervuren;
and ORSTOM, Paris. Vol. 2.
Bottom Image © David
omias, Synodontis depauwi, Synodontis pfefferi
Congo Dem Rep.
| 6.5 - 8.0
|If you found this page helpful
you can help keep ScotCat running by making a small donation,