months factsheet effort concerns one of the more aggressive
species of the Mochokidae familly and as such ranks
alongside the even more aggressive Synodontis
as the 'Bonnie and Clyde' of the Synodontis
acanthomias is found
in the rivers of the Congo basin of Africa in the
country of Zaire which is now renamed The
Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was first discovered
by Boulenger in 1899 in Boma, Leopoldville, just south
of the capital Kinshasa on the Congo River near the
confluence with the South Atlantic ocean in the aforementioned
country. The Holotype resides in the Natural History
previously this is quite an aggressive Syno and can
grow quite large. Its certainly not in the same league
as S. schall but never the less still a bit
of a 'grump' when housed especially with its own kind.
feature of this Synodontis is the humeral process
(the bony protrusion leading out from the bony head
shield) which is long, pointed and curves out at the
end. On adult specimens the tip of the humeral process
is adorned with spines (see above image) which makes
it look ragged looking. This is a good identifier
for this species.
showing where the first discovery of Synodontis
acanthomias was made by Boulenger in 1899.
Although it will
grow to around the 12¼" mark (30.5cm)
in the aquarium it is reported to grow to twice this
size in its natural habitat.
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.
All in all not
a beginners fish, not in the sense of managing to
keep them, but of their aggressive behavior towards
other inhabitants in the community tank. Best left
to catfish enthusiasts who know the nature of this
animal and can spot problems and are on hand to remedy
them, such as moving from the tank any fish that is
getting bullied. I am not being pessimistic here as
I think that the genus Synodontis is a fascinating
group of fish and my tanks have always housed one
or two as their interaction in the tank when feeding
or just going about their business is worth it alone
in keeping them.
Congo Dem Rep.
Type locality: Boma et Léopoldville.
Dorsal 1/6. Humeral process,
long, pointed and curved out at the end. Deeply forked
caudal fin with extension to top lobe.
Black spots on a grey/brownish
body. Spotted to some extent in the belly region.
Care & Compatibility
A better environment for it
would be with large Cichlids and even a Lake Tanganyika
tank setup would do fine as S. acanthomias
is very tolerant of different water conditions and
so a higher p.H.factor would not faze it too much.
If housed with other Synodontis I would give
it a large tank (4ft or above) and give them plenty
of shelter from each other and then monitor them to
see how they will interact with one another. I find
it to be a trial and error in keeping Syno's
together, some get on fine, while others will not
tolerate a certain species/individual, so watch for
a few days when introducing, and have another tank
ready if you are spotting any problems.
Anything and everything!. Will
eat any foods given to your other tank inhabitants
and will also take flakefood that floats to the botom.
Feed also tablet foods and frozen bloodworm which
they find a favourite. Some form of vegetable content
would also help to keep this Syno in tiptop condition.
Ancient name for an undetermined fish from the Nile
(Cuvier 1816). acanthomias: Very spiny.Pertaining to the humeral process.
R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2002. FishBase.
World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org,
20th August 2002. Gosse, 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.