Your internet guide to
all things catfish

Synodontis acanthomias  Boulenger, 1899 

his months factsheet effort concerns one of the more aggressive species of the Mochokidae familly and as such ranks alongside the even more aggressive Synodontis schall as the 'Bonnie and Clyde' of the Synodontis world.

Synodontis acanthomias

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 Museum, London.

As mentioned 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.

The ragged end of the humeral process is ringed in image.

One identifying 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.

Map Courtesy of The General Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.

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. clarias, S. decorus and S. flavitaeniatiatus.

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.

The side map shows where the first discovery of Synodontis acanthomias was made by Boulenger in 1899.

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.

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. 

Not recorded

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.

Synodontis: Ancient name for an undetermined fish from the Nile (Cuvier 1816)
acanthomias: Very spiny. Pertaining to the humeral process.

Froese, 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.

Factsheet Request
Paul Goodridge

Photo Credits

Top image:    © Hippocampus Bildarchiv    


Bottom Image © David Marshall @ The Aquarium Gazette

Factsheet 075

Synodontis omias, Synodontis depauwi, Synodontis pfefferi  
Common Name:
Black-Spotted Synodontis
Democratic Republic of the Congo  Africa: Congo Dem Rep.
30.5cm. (12¼ins)
22-24°C (72-75°F)     
6.5 - 8.0
If you found this page helpful you can help keep ScotCat running by making a small donation, Thanks. 

Donate towards my web hosting bill!


Print Friendly and PDF


































































                                                                                                                               Factsheet 75= updated December 16, 2018 , © ScotCat 1997-2018  Go to Top