robbianus Smith, 1873
his Synodontis species can be easily
mixed up with Synodontis nigrita, but the main difference
is the body colour with nigrita having a grey/black colouration
and robbianus being more of a brown colour. There is also
a difference in the shape of the humeral process ( the part of
the head shield that projects back just above the pectoral fins),
S. robbianus is that bit longer and ends in a point while
S. nigrita also ends in a point but is shorter and sweeps
up in a curve on the bottom edge.
Synodontis nigrita has a slightly
different body shape being more square shaped than robbianus
and also grows larger at 17.5cm. Both species are spotted over
most of the body although there are specimens that have very few
spots. The fins also carry spots. To confuse matters more S.
robbianusis also similar to S. obesus but the latter
has a smaller adipose fin and shorter maxillary barbels than the
former. In young fish the dorsal and caudal fins are striped,
the stripes break up to form spots as the fish matures.
Is this a community Synodontis?.
Indeed it is and can be kept with most species. It does not seem
to be too territorial and is very hardy as I have proved when
I found my newly acquired specimen, bought a good many years ago,
on the floor of my fishhouse when I opened up one morning. I
don't know how long it had been lying there but when I popped
it back into its tank again it contracted over the next few days,
velvet disease. I treated it as per instructions and I still have
it 10 years later.
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.
decorus and S.
Skin of flanks non villeuses. Humeral process
pointed. Mouth twice as wide than long, premaxillary teeth in a
strip. Eye relatively large and the
Ground colour of head and body, brown, lighter
towards belly region. Dark spots on the body mostly confined to
the upper parts, (the amount can vary). Pectoral, ventral and anal
fins dark brown. Dorsal and caudal fins spotted, adipose fin the
same colour as the body.
Good community catfish in a larger setup
but as with all Syno's will need their own
space, meaning their own bit of bogwood, PVC pipe or rockwork to
reduce the territorial behaviour of this genus.
Not known, but the females are deeper bodied
than the males.
Will take most prepared aquarium foods such
as frozen bloodworm, whiteworm, shrimp, prawns, tablet food, flake
food and pellets. A wide varied diet will provide a healthy specimen
for many years.
Catfishes of the World, Vol 2 Mochokidae.
Ancient name for an undetermined fish from the Nile (Cuvier
Baench, Aquarium Atlas 2, 1993.
© Allan James @