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Brachysynodontis batensoda Rüppell, 1832

Image contributors to this species:

Hippocampus Bildarchiv (2) Barry Appleby (1) Jim Makin (1art) Johnny Jensen's Photographic Library (2) Danny Blundell (1art) Jiku Ngando (1)

ScotCat Sources:

Factsheet Etymology = Genus  

Other Sources:

Fishbase  Google Search  All Catfish Species Inventory Wikipedia

Relevant Information:

The original description was Synodontis batensoda, named by the German Ichthyologist W.P.E.S Rüppell in 1832 in his paper "Continuation of the description and figure of several new fish, in the Nile. p1-14 ." It was known as this name until Bleeker in 1862 erected a new genus, Brachysynodontis for it. This was because of the differences between the numbers of gill rakers and the absence of a gap between the dorsal and adipose fin. Fishbase has this species listed as Synodontis batensoda but the Catolog of Fishes has B. batensoda as being valid. This is still an ongoing debate which I would not be surprised, goes on for a few years yet. The third specimen pictured by Barry Appleby has been about a bit and is around the 23 year mark, showing once again the longevity of some species of 'Synodontis'. Aquarium Care: Keeping B.batensoda in the aquarium poses no problem as they are in my experience an easy going 'Synodontis' and can be quite entertaining in their forages around the tank swimming upside-down along the top of the tank and then reverting to their bottom posture as they glide along the bottom. I have found that they sometimes can get bullied by the more aggressive members of this family so as with all Syno's you will have to experiment to find the best solution for its tankmates. They will do better in a small group but can also be kept singularly. Diet: Omnivore, in its natural habitat it feeds on plankton, algae and detritus. May also feed on surface insects, chironomid larvae, benthic crustaceans and mollusks. In the aquarium they will take a wide range of foods. They will feed during the day and accept live food, frozen food (bloodworm) tablet and pellet foods and a good quality flake. I have also witnessed my specimen gnawing away at a piece of courgette (zucchini) which was left out for my Ancistrus, so a little bit of greenery now and again would also supplement their diet.

Common Name:

Giant upside-down catfish


Synodontis membranaceus, Hemisynodontis membranaceus, Synodontis  melanogaster




Africa: Nile, Chad, Niger (including the Bénoué), Senegal and Gambia basins.


17.5cm. (7ins)


23-27°C (73-81°F)




ScotCat Factsheet no. 65. Nov. 2001.



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