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 Synodontis brichardi  Poll, 1959 

ur factsheet this month (Dec.2003) spotlights on a Synodontis that does not look like your typical member of the Mochokidae family. By that I mean by the body shape and its dietary requirements. To the untrained eye it looks more like a Bagrid from the Bagridae family rather than one of the 150 odd members of this African genus.

Synodontis brichardi

We must think differently when dealing with brichardi from the vast majority of other Synodontis, starting with the requirements for housing this species in the aquarium. First off we should provide good water movement provided by either an internal or external pump as this species is basically a riverine species in that it lives in and around the rapids of the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A good pointer to this is the flattened body shape and also the 'sucker' type mouth to help it to hold on to the water polished stones that lie on the bottom of this part of the river. Dietary requirements are logged in the species table at the end of this factsheet.

Synodontis brichardi = Close up of the Palatine teeth

Above picture shows the palatine teeth in the mouth and so its tendancy is to graze on algae in its natural habitat.

It is less tolerant of bad water conditions than most Synodontis so make sure you keep up the water changes to keep this nice looking species looking bright and colourful in its surroundings.

A nice species to keep if you are more of an experienced aquarist and can spot any problems before they can become insurmountable.

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.flavitaeniatus.

The map shows the area around Kinshasa and Malebo Pool and the rapids of Kinsuka.

Dorsal 1, 7 (1, 7-1, 7 + 1), a thorn finished by a short filament. Adipose, basis 0, 65 (0,5 - 0,7). Pectoral 1, 9 (1, 8-1, 9) thorn finished by a short filament, smooth outside side and interior side very serrated. Ventral not reaching anal. Anal longer previous rays, 111, 8 (111-1V, 6-8). Caudal excessively elongated with prolonged lobes and filaments. Caudal peduncle 0,85 (0,75 - 1) as high that it is long.

Deep black, with 5 brilliant yellow transverse bars and fins banded with black and yellow.

Like most Synodontis species it can be territorial with its own kind but not much damage is incurred from this tolerant species, in fact if you keep Cichlids or larger barbs they can be more of a threat to the more peaceful brichardi. If you do house this Synodontis with larger inhabitants of your tank keep an eye out for the afore mentioned bullying. You may succeed with plenty of hiding places with rockwork, driftwood and tall plants, but make sure that they are eating even if you have to feed after lights out.

Not recorded

Leans more towards a green diet more so that other Synodontis species. Chopped leaf spinach, also algae wafers and vegetable tablets. Frozen and live brineshrimp also form part of their diet. When settled in the aquarium they will also take flake and tablet food.

Synodontis:Ancient name for an undetermined fish from the Nile (Cuvier 1816).
brichardi: In honour of Pierre Brichard, a collector in Burundi.

Poll, Max; Revision Des Synodontis Africains (Famille Mochokidae) 1971.

Photo Credits
Top image    © Hippocampus Bildarchiv
Bottom image: Danny Blundell
Factsheet 090

Common Name:
Brichards Synodontis
Democratic Republic of the Congo  Africa: Lower Congo River rapids. Type locality: Léopoldville, début des rapides à Kinsuka.
16cm. (6¼ins)
22-25°C (71-77°F)   
6.5 - 8.0
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