brichardi Poll, 1959
ur factsheet this month (Dec.2003) spotlights
on a Synodontis that does not look like your typical member
of the Mochokidae family. By that I mean by the body shape and its
dietary requirements. To the untrained eye it looks more like a
Bagrid from the Bagridae family rather than one of the 150 odd members
of this African genus.
We must think differently when dealing
with brichardi from the vast majority of other Synodontis,
starting with the requirements for housing this species in the
aquarium. First off we should provide good water movement provided
by either an internal or external pump as this species is basically
a riverine species in that it lives in and around the rapids of
the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A good
pointer to this is the flattened body shape and also the 'sucker'
type mouth to help it to hold on to the water polished stones
that lie on the bottom of this part of the river. Dietary requirements
are logged in the species table at the end of this factsheet.
Above picture shows the palatine teeth in
the mouth and so its tendancy is to graze on algae in its natural
It is less tolerant of bad water conditions
than most Synodontis so make sure you keep up the
water changes to keep this nice looking species looking
bright and colourful in its surroundings.
A nice species to keep if you are more of an experienced
aquarist and can spot any problems before they can become
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,
The map shows the area around Kinshasa and Malebo Pool and
the rapids of Kinsuka.
Dorsal 1, 7 (1, 7-1, 7 + 1), a thorn finished
by a short filament. Adipose, basis 0, 65 (0,5 - 0,7). Pectoral
1, 9 (1, 8-1, 9) thorn finished by a short filament, smooth outside
side and interior side very serrated. Ventral not reaching anal.
Anal longer previous rays, 111, 8 (111-1V, 6-8). Caudal excessively
elongated with prolonged lobes and filaments. Caudal peduncle 0,85
(0,75 - 1) as high that it is long.
Deep black, with 5 brilliant yellow transverse
bars and fins banded with black and yellow.
Like most Synodontis species it can
be territorial with its own kind but not much damage is incurred
from this tolerant species, in fact if you keep Cichlids or larger
barbs they can be more of a threat to the more peaceful brichardi.
If you do house this Synodontis with larger inhabitants
of your tank keep an eye out for the afore mentioned bullying. You
may succeed with plenty of hiding places with rockwork, driftwood
and tall plants, but make sure that they are eating even if you
have to feed after lights out.
Leans more towards a green diet more so that
other Synodontis species. Chopped leaf spinach, also algae
wafers and vegetable tablets. Frozen and live brineshrimp also form
part of their diet. When settled in the aquarium they will also
take flake and tablet food.
Poll, Max; Revision
Des Synodontis Africains (Famille Mochokidae) 1971.
name for an undetermined fish from the Nile (Cuvier 1816).
brichardi: In honour of Pierre
Brichard, a collector in Burundi.
Top image ©
Bottom image: Danny Blundell
Congo River rapids. Type locality: Léopoldville,
début des rapides à Kinsuka.
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