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 Synodontis greshoffi   Schilthuis, 1891

his month (March 2004) we arrive back to the Mochokidae family and a Synodontis that is not too well known or written about but never-the-less, a fine addition to the medium to large sized community tank.

Synodontis greshoffi
was collected by its namesake, M.A. Greshoff, in the area around Kinshasa, Stanley Pool, in the upper Congo River. near Brazzaville, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and the new species was so named by the above author, L. Schilthuis, in a paper written by him in 1891.

Synodontis greshoffi

As stated this is a fairly easy and tolerable species to keep, and a good looker to boot. It can be housed alongside other non aggressive species of Synodontis as long as they are given plenty of shelter such as pipes, rockwork etc to subdue any territorial tendencies between each species. I think with most Synodontis you have to watch them, and who you put in to their quarters with them, as some can be more aggressive than others. Synodontis can be territorial, so give them cave structures to make them feel more secure in their surroundings.

The following image shows the serrations on the interior and exterior of the pectoral spines and also the reticulated pattern on the belly.

There has been a reported import of an albino version into the U.K. in 1988 and an article on this species and others on the subject of fish albinism written in the monthly aquatic magazine, Practical Fishkeeping, by David Sands in that year. This may have been this species or Synodontis schoutedeni as the body patterns are somewhat similar.

The map here shows the area around Kinshasa and Malebo (Stanley) Pool.


The genus Synodontis sports three pairs of barbels 1 pair: 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.claria, S.decorus and S.flavitaeniata.


Percentage of the length: height of the body 27 (19, 7 to 30, 9), length of the head 29,9 (26,8 to 32,9), maxillary barbels 50,2 (39,3 to 64,4) distance of the muzzle to the origin of the dorsal 42,8 (37 to 43,1) base of the adipose 31,9 (22,7 to 31,9) dorsal spine length 33,8 (20,5 to 33,8) length of the pectoral thorn 34,8 (25 to 34,8) Serrated exterior and interior of pectoral spine.

Depending on aquarium conditions, pH and colour of substrate. Cream base body colour with brown to golden reticulated markings to body which continues on to belly area. Pattern becomes more intense on the head. Brown spots on all fins.

Nice temperment and will do well in the larger community tank alongside larger barbs and characins such as the Congo tetra.

Not recorded

Can be fed a varied diet of good quality flake, tablet food, pellets, worm foods and frozen food such as bloodworm.

Synodontis: Ancient name for an undetermined fish from the Nile (Cuvier 1816)
greshoffi: named after its collector, M.A. Greshoff.

Poll, Max; Revision Des Synodontis Africains (Famille Mochokidae) 1971.
Sands, David. Catfishes of the World, Vol 2 Mochokidae. Dunure Publications 1983

Photo Credits
© Allan James @ ScotCat
Factsheet 093

Synodontis afrofischeri, S.grenshoffi, S.depauwi, S.unicolor, S.tenuis, S.holopercnus, S.pantherinus  
Common Name:
Greshoff's Catfish
Democratic Republic of the Congo Africa: Congo River basin, except Luapula River system and lower Congo. Type locality: Kinshasa, Stanley Pool.
20cm. (8ins)
23-27°C (73 -81°F)   
6.5 - 7.2
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                                                                                                                             Factsheet 93= updated December 16, 2018 , © ScotCat 1997-2018 Go to Top