e present to you this
month (March 2019) a relatively small catfish from
the African Mochokidae family, a family that also
contains its closely related genus Synodontis,
but this is a genera that is well suited to a community
The genus Microsynodontis
posess a rounded caudal, small eyes and have 3 pairs
of barbels, one pair of maxillary and 2 pair of mandibular,
the latter having thick branches. The dorsal has one
hard ray and 6 soft and a long low adipose fin.
There is quit
a bit of confusion when it comes to this genera as
there is not a lot known about the different species
which at the moment 12 species are described with
a few others undescribed. There is a fair bit of work
needed with this genera and we will need to wait for
the Ichthyologists to take up this mantle.
Microsynodontisbatesii - xanthic-albino
There has been
catchments from the Congo drainage and Gabon but they
may turn out to be different species as they are smaller
in stature. M. batesii is probably the most
common species that is exported.
River, southern Cameroon
I find that keeping
them in a higher p.H. above 6.5 seems to suit them
well. To sum up this is a very nice unassuming catfish
and ticks all the boxes for non aggression although
you will need to keep boisterous fish away from them
due to the stress this will cause.
They can be a
little fragile when first purchased but with good
water parameters they should settle down to a few
few years of life although you will not see them very
often unless watching your tank in semi darkness were
they will come out to feed. If you feel that they
are not getting any food you should feed after lights
out to let them get their fair share.
Ntem River basin, southern Cameroon and northern
Gabon, and Campo. Ivindo, Lobé, Nyong and Sanaga
River basins, southern and central Cameroon. Type
locality: Mvile River, southern Cameroon.
spines (total): Dorsal and lateral surfaces of head
with short tubercles in both sexes (not more than
0.1 mm long); dorsal spine gently curved; adipose
fin very long, its base 34.4-41.6% SL; body without
numerous dark brown elongate spots; caudal peduncle
slender, its depth 5.8-9.2% SL; anterior edge of pectoral
spine with antrorse serrations.
Grey to olive brown or darker
almost black. Five narrow yellowish to cream coloured,
irregular vrtical stripes extending from the dorsum
towards the belly.
Care & Compatibility
Not too difficult to keep as
long as the water quality is kept up to a good standard.
A dimly lit aquarium would be best with hiding places
such as driftwood and pipes. A good addition to the
medium sized community tank and will coexist with
most upper layer species such as African barbs and
Males are slimmer than the
females and in some of this genera the caudal fin is
longer in the males with the females being indented.
Will eat most aquarium fare
such as flake, tablet food and frozen bloodworm. Also
known to consume small snails. These catfishes will
rarely appear out during the day but may venture out
for food in early evening.
fin: Fleshy finlike projection without rays,
behind the rayed dorsal fin. Caudal fin: The tail. Caudal peduncle: The narrow part of
a fish's body to which the caudal or tail fin is attached.
Dorsal fin:The primary rayed
fin(s) on top of the body. Ichthyology: The branch of zoology
which is concerned with fishes and will comprise any
work that is scientifically orientated. Mandibular barbels: Pertaining to the
lower jaw (mandibular barbels). Maxillary barbels: Pertaining to the
upper jaw (maxillary barbels).
Micro = small; Syn = together; odontis
= teeth.(fused tooth plates). batesii:
In honour of Bates, the English explorer and collector.
C.J. Jr., 2007. Checklist of catfishes, recent
and fossil (Osteichthyes: Siluriformes), and catalogue
of siluriform primary types. Zootaxa 1418:1-628. Fermon,
Y., J. Friel, H.H. Ng and D. De Weirdt, 2007.
Mochokidae. p. 698-752. In M.L.J. Stiassny,
G.G. Teugels and C.D. Hopkins (eds.) The
fresh and brackish water fishes of Lower Guinea, West-Central
Africa. Volume I. Collection Faune et Flore tropicales
42. Institut de Recherche pour le Développement,
Paris, France, Muséum National d’Histoire
Naturelle, Paris, France, and Musée Royal de
l’Afrique Centrale, Tervuren, Belgium. 800 pp.
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
Seegers, L. 2008 The catfishes of
Africa. A handbook for identification and maintenance.
Aqualog Verlag A.C.S. GmbH, Germany. 604 p.