month (November 2005) we welcome a new contributor
in David Marshall a keen Synodontis keeper
who is a member of English fish club, Ryedale Aquarist
Society, and also the editor of their newsletter,
Ryedale Reporter. He is a regular contributor to Aquarticles
on the net. I now hand you over to David on how to
take care of the "Ivory Synodontis".
scientific community currently recognises this fish
as Synodontis bastiani. In aquarist circles
we recognise this fish from its junior synonym name
of Synodontis euberneensis.
The Ivory Synodontis comes to us from Ghana and the
Ivory Coast. Here it is found in riverine habitats.
a young Ivory Synodontis find a full bodied fish as
emaciated youngsters never regain the habit to feed.
Youngsters really know how to fend for themselves
and will feud not only with each other but with any
other Synodontis species housed within their
aquarium. Be warned as their aggression can hit times
when it knows no bounds. At the juvenile stage they
like to hideaway among the décor emerging into
the open in hyperactive bursts that will see them
'spook' and bully small tank companions.
As far as the
U.K. goes these fish are relative newcomers to the
aquarium scene and thus have only been seen in any
number since the autumn of 2003. These fish tend to
grow very quickly. In general fast growing Synodontis
have the shortest natural life spans so we will
wait and see what happens with these fish?
An aquarium of
48x12x12" allows enough room for movement (my
trio are housed in an aquarium 60x10x10"). These
fish are sold for Rift Valley communities but are
not at home in the hard water conditions found in
such an aquarium and this affects their eyes, which
go extremely cloudy, very quickly. A pH of 7 and a
high water temperature of 79 F suites them very well.
As long as regular water changes are maintained filtration
can be minimal. Décor of rounded pebbles and
mopani wood with a substrate of fine gravel. The skin
of this specie is not as strong as that of many other
Synodontis so avoid using sharp edged rocks
etc. in your aquarium. Rough territories are formed.
that the pectoral spines of this specie are extremely
sharp so we never catch an Ivory Synodontis in a net
but lower the water level and shepherd them into a
plastic bowl. When removed from water many Synodontis
make squeaking noises but I have never heard such
sound coming from an Ivory Synodontis.
article was also written for the Ryedale Reporter,
Ryedale Aquarist Society, England
Bandama and Bia basins (Côte d'Ivoire), also
from the Comoe and Agnébi Rivers. Type
locality: Côte d’Ivoire: Bouaflé.
The caudal is deeply forked.
The first ray of the dorsal stands erect like a blade.
The adipose is extremely thick. A naturally streamlined
fish built for speed. As maturity is reached the body
thickens, arches and looses the distinct dorsal first
ray. At this time great confusion arises with identification
as Synodontis bastiani now looks almost identical
to its Egyptian cousin Synodontis schall.
The background colour of this
fish varies greatly from an ivory colour to plain
brown to lime green. Some populations have a foreground
of light spots. The gills are frilled and to the right
of this area is a large dark spot.
Care & Compatibility
As they mature their behaviour
becomes more stable, particularly when kept as a trio
or group, but they can turn on the aggression, should
the need or mood dictate. The mature trio in my care
live alongside Synodontis decorus, S.
schoutedeni, S. njassae, large Plecostomus,
Raphael catfish, large Botia species and a group of
red parrot cichlids. Perhaps the secret is to keep
them in a fairly crowded aquarium? I would definitely
not trust them with smaller species.
This occurs during
the West African rainy season when large tracts of
grassland become flooded. Scientific research indicates
that distinct pairing takes place. Dark coloured eggs
are scattered in open water and over the substrate.
There is no parental care of these eggs. As the eggs
hatch the fry feed upon abundant micro-organisms so
that they grow quickly and put on enough body fat
that will enable a high number to survive when the
dry season begins and the waters thus recede back
to their normal river courses. As yet there are no
reports of aquarium or commercial breeding of the
Feeding causes no problems
as large sized flake foods, catfish pellets, prawns
and pieces of Thai crabstick are taken with great
gusto. My trio have a strict pecking order but all
three make sure of getting plenty to eat.
Syn = together; odontis = teeth
(fused tooth plates).